The days of “ping-ponging” between North Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe to get a permit from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency are coming to an end. On Oct. 25, the TRPA Governing Board voted unanimously to increase the number of permit types Placer County can process on TRPA’s behalf, saving customers time and transportation costs.

In order to help protect the environment around Lake Tahoe, a TRPA permit is required for any construction project in the Lake Tahoe Basin, ranging from the addition of a new deck to a large commercial development. Previously, this would require an applicant to visit TRPA in Stateline, Nevada, to submit the necessary paperwork,  just once, but possibly several times, a one-and-a-half hour drive from North Lake Tahoe.

In addition to the TRPA residential permitting that the county already performs on TRPA’s behalf, beginning in spring 2018, the county Community Development Resource Agency in Tahoe City will offer a one-stop shop to customers requiring TRPA permits for certain commercial, tourist, and mixed-used projects located in the Tahoe Basin. The move will allow county staff to shepherd projects through the entire project review process, from conceptual project design, permitting and inspections, priming staff for the busy summer construction season.

“Permit delegation to local governments is a major goal of the 2012 Regional Plan and TRPA is pleased to see Placer County taking this next step,” said Theresa Avance, senior planner with TRPA. “We expect this to be more convenient for our shared customers, requiring fewer trips between our offices.”

Under a new memorandum of understanding between Placer and TRPA, the county will now be able to issue “TRPA Qualified Exempt” permits for simpler commercial, tourist- and recreation-related projects as well as continue to issue permits for residential projects from new construction to additions and remodels.

“Processing permits on behalf of the TRPA is a huge benefit for our North Tahoe community,” said Rick Eiri, assistant director of the Community Development Resource Agency in North Lake Tahoe. “We realized that we can do more for our customers and help keep projects on track.”

While the memorandum of understanding does allow the county to take on projects larger in scope, the county decided to take a more metered approach for now; managing projects that can be handled with a fast pace.

TRPA continues to process permits for lakefront developments, projects requiring scenic analysis or projects requiring an environmental impact statement.

Processing TRPA permits continues the county’s commitment to streamlining permit approvals for North Tahoe residents. Last year the North Tahoe Fire District and Placer County Community Development Resource Agency rolled out a new permit program for approving simple building permits at the county’s offices in Tahoe City, which previously required approvals from both agencies located in separate locations.

This year the county also entered into an agreement with the Lahontan Region Water Quality Control Board to perform plan checks and inspections on their behalf for projects disturbing 10,000 square feet to one acre of soil. Prior to this agreement, North Tahoe residents would also have to drive down to South Lake Tahoe to get their permits from the Lahontan Water Board.