Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Register of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Collection, 1969-1976
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (66.16 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1969-1976
    Collection number: Mss200
    Creator: Richard Hanna
    Extent: 3 linear ft.
    Repository: University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
    Stockton, CA 95211
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Collection, Mss200, Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library


    The Lake Tahoe Basin is one of the world's most uniquely beautiful environments. High alpine mountains surround a deep (1,645 feet) blue lake that is both quite large and clear. This environment is so attractive that for fifty years it has been under intense pressure to meet the demands of a mobile, recreation-seeking public. Different portions of the lake lie in various political jurisdictions (five counties, two states, and several special districts) and the need to balance development with environmental protection was addressed for the first time as recently as 1969, when an act of Congress created the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
    The TRPA was mandated to "maintain an equilibrium between the region's natural endowment and its manmade environment, (and) to adopt and enforce a regional plan of resource conservation and orderly development..." It has three main branches: the Staff, the Advisory Planning Commission, and the Governing Body.
    The Staff is headed by an executive officer and is divided into administration, legal, transportation, and planning units. This branch develops plans and ordinances for the orderly development and use of the Tahoe Basin. The Staff present plans in draft form to the Governing Body, which advises and directs Staff as to how these ought to be revised.
    The Advisory Planning Commission includes the heads of all local planning and health departments and about four lay citizens. At its monthly meetings, the APC reviews staff recommendations, and makes its own recommendations to the Governing Body.
    Only the Governing Body can adopt the plans and ordinances of the TRPA. Its membership includes one representative from each of the five California and Nevada counties with jurisdiction in the Basin (usually a county supervisor), one governor-appointed representative from each state, the director of each state's natural resources agency, a councilman from the city of South Lake Tahoe, and a non-voting representative appointed by the President of the United States. No ordinance can be passed unless it is supported by a majority of the five person delegation of each state.
    The TRPA is financed by appropriations from local, state and federal sources. Each of the five counties in the Tahoe Basin is required to appropriate $150,000 per year for the uses of the Agency. The TRPA depends on local governments to enforce its ordinances since the Agency lacks monies for its own inspection and enforcement system. According to the TRPA's own assessment, local government has generally been willing to enforce TRPA ordinances if it has the same form of regulation (for instance, low density zoning), but less willing to enforce if it does not have the same kind of regulation (for instance, a ban on signs attached to trees). In the past, the TRPA has brought suit against counties that have approved development projects which violated its zoning ordinances.
    The TRPA has aroused considerable controversy. At one time or another, landowners, developers, local governments, conservationists, and even the State of California, have all brought suit against the Agency. Some very basic questions about the Agency and its role have never been fully answered: Shall the TRPA plan for the economic and social--as well as the physical--environment of the Tahoe Basin; how can the Agency ensure that its statutes are enforced; and, how can the TRPA adequately finance its activities?

    Scope and Content

    Most of this collection consists of printed matter generated by, or relating to, the activities of the TRPA. It is arranged topically and includes: materials that treat the history and structure of the Agency, copies of TRPA ordinances, drafts of a Tahoe Basin General Plan, studies and reports on specific environmental topics, and background materials on other locales used as planning models by the TRPA.