The Lake Tahoe Basin, in all its glory, is a worldwide destination. About 15 million people visit each year — or the state populations of Arizona and Washington combined — and the lake is one of the top two clearest in the United States.
Behind the scenes of such beauty are the cogs to keep everything humming. To unify the multiple jurisdictions surrounding the lake in the name of protection, a bi-state compact in 1969 formed the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, which is charged with development oversight, regulatory enforcement, and implementation of environmental programs in the Basin, an area that encompasses all area draining into Lake Tahoe. Should a development be proposed within the Basin’s boundaries, by law the TRPA’s guidelines and thresholds must be considered.
Until August 2021, projects taking place just beyond the mountain peaks looking down onto the lake were not required to utilize the TRPA’s thresholds (though some certainly have). But a decision out of California’s Third District Court of Appeals last summer paved legal precedent for requiring formal consideration for impacts on the lake, even in non-Basin developments.