Area Plans

The Lake Tahoe Regional Plan is the blueprint for Tahoe’s sustainable future. The plan guides community development, ecosystem restoration, transportation planning, and revitalizing the Region’s economy. It aims to create a place where people can live, work, and thrive while attaining and maintaining environmental standards.

Community-Focused Area Plans

Area plans are a signature element of the Regional Plan. These plans allow other regulatory agencies in the Lake Tahoe Basin to implement the Regional Plan policies with greater flexibility and at the community scale. Area plans are created by local governments with community members and stakeholders at the planning table. These plans are intended to reflect the community’s vision for its future and can be developed for varying geographical scales – from a local neighborhood or commercial center to an entire county.

Area plans are reviewed and approved by the local governments and TRPA through a public process. The local governments demonstrate their area plans meet the requirements of the Lake Tahoe Regional Plan and have annual reviews with TRPA to ensure these plans are working towards regional environmental and economic goals.

Area Plan Contents

  • Land use goals and policies, zoning, and other regulations
  • Permit requirements
  • Development and design standards (height, density, setbacks, etc.)
  • Goals and policies and special projects for the following planning topics:
    • Transportation
    • Conservation
    • Recreation
    • Public services

Existing Area Plans

Permitting within Area Plans

After the adoption of an area plan, the local jurisdiction and TRPA enter a permitting agreement, or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). These MOUs allow local building departments to carry out environmental review and issue permits on behalf of TRPA and can save you valuable time and resources while completing projects. To learn where you can go to obtain a permit, click here.

Developing or Amending and Area Plan - Resources and Assistance

Area plans are driven by the local jurisdictions, not TRPA. Local jurisdictions decide their approach to developing and amending area plans that are consistent with the Lake Tahoe Regional Plan. Before an area plan can be put into effect, it will be reviewed and approved by the local planning commission and/or council and TRPA. TRPA has staff available to provide technical assistance and guidance. To help facilitate the process, local jurisdictions should engage TRPA staff early in the process and ask for feedback at each major milestone.

Learn more about the benefits of developing an area plan for your community, as well as the planning process, content, environmental and conformance review, and lessons learned by checking out the Area Plan Development Handbook.

Reference Documents

Data Sources

Post-Adoption Resources

Funding Assistance

  • Seek grant funding opportunities where available:
  • Start networking with developers and property owners in town center areas. They may have a proposal that could benefit from an area plan and be willing to share in the costs of plan preparation and environmental review.
  • Consider enacting a cost-recovery fee to apply to new development that benefits from the area plan (California Government Code 66014).

Community Plans and Plan Area Statements

With the 1987 Regional Plan, neighborhood specific goals, policies, and land use regulations were included in community plans and plan area statements. Area plans are intended to update and replace these older planning documents. Community plans and plan area statements still exist in some areas of the Lake Tahoe Region. To view all existing local planning documents, click here.