West Shore Area Plans (Community Plans)


What do the TRPA RPU’s new Local “Area Plans” mean for us?



Placer County’s Tahoe Basin Area Plan: 

There are two proposed Area Plans in Placer County. One is the larger Area Plan that will include most of the in-Basin portion of the County, as noted in the Area Plan map. The other is the proposed Martis Valley West Area Plan, which we have documented on another page due to the unique nature of the proposed Area Plan. Information on this page applies solely to the Placer County Tahoe Basin Area Plan.

October 2017 update:

The Tahoe Basin Area Plan (TBAP) was approved by the Placer County Board of Supervisors in December 2016 and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in January 2017. In October 2017, the TRPA Governing Board approved a new Memorandum of Understanding increasing the authority of Placer County to approve certain projects that previously required TRPA review and approval.

Background (2013-2016):

On June 3rd, 2015, Placer County released a second (revised) draft Tahoe Basin Area Plan Notice of Preparation (NOP). Although the revised draft Area Plan has narrowed its scope compared to the first NOP in 2014, FOWS remains concerned with several aspects of the proposed Area Plan, including the new addition of a “Tahoe City Lodge Pilot Program,” especially as it will draw more vehicles into Tahoe City, where congestion is already a significant problem. The additional visitors are also likely to drive along the West Shore to view unique places such as Emerald Bay. The draft Environmental Impact Report/Study (EIR/S) was released in June; FOWS submitted extensive comments (see below). At this time, Placer County anticipates release of the final Environmental Impact Study/Report in the fall of 2016.

All existing Plan Area Statement uses will remain along West Shore communities, however, single-family and multi-family residential uses would be added to the list of allowed uses in the commercial areas of Homewood and Sunnyside (termed “Village Centers” in the Area Plan). Other changes apply on an area-wide scale in the TBAP, however no additional heights or densities are proposed along the West Shore. Additional heights, densities, and other changes that would apply to the Tahoe City and Kings Beach Town Centers raise concerns about traffic and related environmental and public safety impacts. Unfortunately the draft EIR/S did not include adequate mitigation to address these impacts.

Read FOWS comments:

Placer County Tahoe Basin Area Plan and Tahoe City Lodge Draft EIR/S: Submitted 8/15/2016
Main Letter   Attachments 1-30   Attachments 31-51
Placer County Tahoe Basin Area Plan Revised NOP (June 2015)   Submitted 7/31/2015
Placer County Tahoe Basin Community/Area Plan NOP   Submitted 8/15/2014
Placer County Tahoe Basin Community/Area Plan draft Policy Document   Submitted 6/23/2014
Placer County Tahoe Basin Community/Area Plan draft Framework Document   Submitted 1/31/2014

Schedule of Meetings for the Final EIR/S (2016):

11/16: TRPA Regional Plan Implementation Committee (agenda) – Email Committee  (Read FOWS Comments)
11/17: Placer County Planning Commission (agenda) – Email Commissioners  (Read FOWS Comments)
12/6: Placer County Board of Supervisors – Email Supervisors  (Read FOWS Comments)
12/7: TRPA Advisory Planning Commission – Email Commissioners  (Read FOWS Comments)
12/14: TRPA Regional Plan Implementation Committee (same as 11/16)
1/25/2017: TRPA Governing Board (agenda) – Email Board (Read FOWS Comments)


Concerns with potential Placer County Area Plan/Community Plan for West Shore:

FOWS is very concerned with several of the changes contemplated for Placer County’s Tahoe Basin Area Plan:

1. More people, more buildings, and more cars:
TRPA’s new Regional Plan Update (RPU) creates a “Town Center” zoning district for Tahoe City, which allows for major increases in height (up to four stories or 56’), density (up to 400% more people per acre in some areas), pavement (allowing twice as much pavement and buildings covering the land in some areas), traffic, and other impacts. We don’t want to see Tahoe City transformed into an overly dense, urbanized replica of metropolitan resorts, like the one portrayed in the “Vision” developed by the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association (NLTRA) and Tahoe City Public Utility District (TCPUD) in 2012. Further, increases in residents and visitors in Tahoe City will mean more traffic and pollution along the West Shore’s roadways.

2. More “Mixed-Use” Zoning:
TRPA’s imposition of a new, more dramatic “mixed-use” land use within Tahoe Basin communities has the potential to completely change small, rural communities around the Basin. TRPA’s mixed-use zoning directs commercial uses, retail uses, tourist uses (e.g. hotels), and other uses into areas that may now be primarily residential neighborhoods.

On a positive note, the recently released revised NOP has reduced the original areas in Homewood and Sunnyside that would have been subject to the new mixed-use zoning. Instead, the mixed-use areas would be confined to the commercial areas of Sunnyside and Homewood, where many such uses are already allowed. The Area Plan’s changes would allow single-family and multi-family residential uses in these areas.

3. Height:
TRPA’s RPU maintained the maximum height of buildings in West Shore communities (which lie outside of the Tahoe City Town Center) at two stories tall, yet boosted the allowable building height in Tahoe City and Kings Beach “Town Centers” to 56-feet tall (approx. four stories). TRPA’s RPU also includes numerous exceptions that would allow taller buildings, even in areas zoned for two stories. TRPA has approved such exceptions in the past, with the Homewood Mountain Resort being a key example. FOWS remains concerned with the height and densities that could result from the Tahoe Basin Area Plan, and will continue to participate in the Area Plan process.


El Dorado County’s Area Plan:

For now, El Dorado County is developing a Meyers Area Plan. However, the update has been delayed due to efforts by the community to inform other residents and business owners what the proposed Plan actually represents (which is different than how it had been portrayed by TRPA and the County throughout the update process), and to bring the decisions back to the local community.

Representatives have said that the next ‘phase’ will incorporate the remaining unincorporated areas of the County, including Meeks Bay and Tahoma. We will keep you updated on this schedule.