Contact: Jeff Cowen, 775-589-5278

TRPA Solutions to Environmental, Equity Issues Remain Unchanged by Settlement Agreement

Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev. – The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) and Mountain Area Preservation (MAP) reached a settlement agreement this week over a lawsuit brought by MAP against affordable housing policies approved by the TRPA Governing Board in December 2023. The litigation sought to block new land use policies in the highly protected Lake Tahoe Region that combined incentives for water quality, transportation, and workforce housing improvements, according to TRPA.

According to the settlement agreement, MAP will be invited to join other organizations on the Tahoe Living Working Group that TRPA formed in 2020 to advise on housing policies.

“We look forward to engaging Mountain Area Preservation in a more productive dialogue along with the full range of stakeholders,” TRPA Executive Director Julie Regan said. “We must keep the Tahoe Basin moving forward to address an affordable housing crisis that is impacting Lake Tahoe’s environment and marginalizing members of our community who deserve to live and work here. Resort communities everywhere are facing similar challenges, but we have proven over the years that environmental protection and community revitalization can go hand-in-hand.”

“We are satisfied that the settlement supports the Governing Board’s decision and shows that TRPA’s high environmental standards can be maintained while advancing more affordable and workforce housing projects,” said TRPA General Counsel John Marshall. “Across the nation, we are seeing important environmental laws being leveraged to block equitable housing policies. Fortunately, the MAP litigation was short-lived and the agency is able to apply its time and resources to the important work of modernizing land-use policies.”

TRPA has kicked off a new phase of housing policy work and seeks additional perspectives on the Tahoe Living Working Group the agency formed in 2020 to advise on housing policies. According to the settlement agreement, MAP will be invited to join other organizations on the working group.

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement that paves the way for more inclusive and equitable housing policies in the Lake Tahoe Basin,” TRPA Board Chair and Placer County Supervisor Cindy Gustafson said. “Moving these critical policy updates forward will help us support our region’s local workforce. The agreement underscores our commitment to addressing the housing needs of our community while preserving the natural beauty and environmental integrity of Lake Tahoe.”

Under the direction of the TRPA Governing Board, in 2020 the agency set out three phases of affordable and workforce housing policy work. The first phase approved in July 2021 encouraged more accessory dwelling units for local workers and made it easier to convert small motels to residential uses. The Phase 2 amendments approved last December made it possible for property owners building deed-restricted affordable and workforce housing to apply for building incentives that result in appropriately designed multi-family or mixed-use buildings in certain areas, as long as they improve walkability and include water quality improvements. With the signing of the settlement agreement, those policies can move forward as originally proposed with no cloud of legal challenge, according to TRPA.

The TRPA Governing Board approved technical clarifications to the December policy updates and new policies requiring affordable housing as part of mixed-use projects at its meeting Wednesday, June 26.


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