Public Comment – TRPA Regional Plan Update 5/24/2012

The following are the comments made by South Tahoe Association of REALTORS® Government Affairs Director Hayley Williamson at the TRPA Governing Board meeting on May 24th, 2012.  She highlights REALTORS®’ concerns that the TRPA is considering implementing a point-of-sale mandate for the installation of Best Management Practices (BMPs).  BMPs are landscaping requirements by the TRPA to eliminate runoff of water into Lake Tahoe to protect its water clarity.

Public Comment for the South Tahoe Association of REALTORS®
by Hayley Williamson, Government Affairs Director (GAD)
TRPA Governing Board meeting, May 24, 2012

“Hello, my name is Hayley Williamson; I am the Government Affairs Director for the South Tahoe Association of REALTORS®.  As Supervisor Santiago said, we as a community have a unique opportunity with the new Regional Plan.  The South Tahoe Association of REALTORS® would like to applaud the TRPA and all stakeholders in moving forward with this new Regional Plan toward effective environmental planning in the Tahoe Basin.  

TRPA did a great job taking into account many different points of view and came up with a preferred Alternative 3.  The South Tahoe Association of REALTORS® really applauds many aspects of Alternative 3.  The fact that there are more opportunities in land coverage transfers and the fact that there is more flexibility between hydrologic zones seems to go toward smart growth planning, which is something that TRPA has identified as one of their main goals. REALTORS®, home buyers and home owners are very excited to see more flexibility in the ability to build decks without having to get more coverage, which is something that allows people who live in Lake Tahoe to really get out and enjoy Lake Tahoe and the beautiful scenery that we live in.  

The South Tahoe Association of REALTORS® would also like to comment on Alternatives 2 & 5 in the form of a very strong caution against any point of sale mandate for BMPs.  One of the things TRPA did recommend in Alternative 3 is region-wide planning.  The South Tahoe Association of REALTORS® supports region-wide planning.   

BMP compliance at point of sale would be disastrous for REALTORS®, homebuyers and home sellers.  It would be close to impossible to implement in the winter with snow on the ground.  TRPA has mandates against moving dirt between November and March–how do you implement Best Management Practices at that point?  Some TRPA members have suggested we hold money in escrow for BMPs at point of sale.  Escrow companies are very unwilling to hold money right now, and furthermore how much do you know to hold if you can’t do an evaluation in the winter on the BMPs going in?  It puts a market that is very fragile right now at a disadvantage.  It makes it really hard for people to try to live and sell their home in Lake Tahoe, something that all of us have enjoyed.  Furthermore, BMPs at point of sale would not be environmentally effective.  If you look at the number of homes changing hands in the Basin, many times it is the same home changing hands, which means that if you are trying to do BMPs on every property, that is just not an effective way to do it.  

TRPA has come up with an effective way to implement BMPs, which is on a region-wide level.  The South Tahoe Association of REALTORS® thinks this is a way forward towards smart growth and a way for our community to do effective environmental planning.  

All of the REALTORS® here in this room make their living here in Tahoe, work here, and play here.  REALTORS® have a lot at stake with this new Regional Plan Update.  As an industry, we are really the front line to the person who is just being introduced to Lake Tahoe.  We support Alternative Plan 3.  Thank you.”