Digging and earthwork resumed May 1, agency improves virtual services

Lake Tahoe, CA/NV – With the May 1 start of grading and digging season in the Tahoe Basin now passed, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) is highlighting how virtual operations and permit streamlining this building season will help customer service while achieving regional environmental goals.

The challenges of the past two years have brought forward improved services at TRPA, including an appointment system, virtual meetings, and online and virtual site inspections, the agency said today. The improved efficiency helped planners process a record 1,156 permit applications in 2021, with more than 75 percent of them submitted entirely online. These permit applications lead to more properties implementing water quality and other environmental improvements that benefit the region.

Applicants can also often get a TRPA permit from their local building or planning department, which further streamlines building projects.

To support the appointment system and virtual services, TRPA is currently redesigning its front office in Stateline, Nev. to add more one-on-one meeting space and improve accessibility. Front counter service will be replaced by planner appointments, pre-application consultations, online submittals, and virtual services, according to the agency. During the front office redesign, TRPA is open and serving customers by email, phone, and appointment.

The agency is also reminding Lake Tahoe property owners that grading and digging season for permitted projects began this weekend on May 1 and continues through October 15. Grading projects are confined to drier months to protect Lake Tahoe’s water quality from sources of erosion and sediment that can hurt the lake’s world-famous clarity. Working in dry conditions prevents loose soil and mud from washing away from project sites, into streams and ultimately Lake Tahoe.

Not all digging requires a permit. Homeowners can move up to three cubic yards of soil if the site is stabilized to prevent erosion. More information is available at trpa.gov/applications-forms under Grading.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency leads the cooperative effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, while improving local communities, and people’s interactions with our irreplaceable environment. For additional information, contact Jeff Cowen, Public Information Officer, at (775) 589-5278 or jcowen@trpa.gov.