Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Column 77 - An Historic Week

Monday the Place-Based Planning (PBP) process kicked up into full gear. In the afternoon the consultants met with the “Working Group” to plan the evening session, and in the evening over 100 people came to the Chateau for the first of three working sessions that will form the Washoe/IVCB part of the ultimate plan that goes to TRPA.

The Working Group are the 12 person committee that was the focus of the “pay to play” controversy earlier this year. After clearing up some miscommunication it turned out that IVGID had only 6 seats on this committee, and Washoe County the other 6. Commissioner Jim Galloway appointed the 6 from the County, including several from IV/CB. (I’m an IVGID appointee to the Working Group) The Working Group will provide the continuity between the Community Workshops, provide a direct link for the community into the process, and will work directly with the consultants to ensure that the output of those workshops is retained and translated into the final plan.

That 100 people came Monday evening for a three-hour working session is testimony to the work that Incline Vision has done since the Community Meeting in November. The people at the meeting said what they thought were the most important places in the village and also what they saw as the greatest opportunities for improvement over the next 20 years. Given the high degree of agreement among the ten teams working independently, what they came up with was probably pretty representative of thinking in at least one segment of the community.

Still, there is work to do. Unlike November’s meeting, Monday’s workshop was populated, largely by older, established residents. Missing were young families and their children, Latinos, renters, and probably part-time residents as well. The Working Group needs to make a concerted effort to collect and communicate these groups’ input to the consultants and to have these groups represented in large numbers at the second and third Community Workshops.

It’s important to remember that this is a process that is intended to be as inclusive as possible. If you feel that you or some group of which you are a part is not being heard or represented, don’t wait for the Working Group to find you – contact us to ensure we get your input. I can tell you for sure that all the data collected by Incline Vision and that will be collected in the workshops is being kept, listened to, and will be included in the end product, which will be a report and recommendations from the consultants to TRPA. At the end of the day what will translate all this into a real, concrete future for Incline and the Basin is new regulations, ordinances, and thresholds on the part of TRPA, the counties, and the communities and the consultants’ report will presumably be the basis for these changes.

The next Community Workshops are on May 22 and July 17 – mark your calendar now and plan to be there with as many of your friends and neighbors as you can bring.

The other big event this week is the IVGID Board meeting Wednesday night, where the Incline Lake purchase will get its final hearing and be put to a vote. After considerable study and thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a gamble worth taking. A million dollars is real money, to be sure, and anyone who thinks our payment as residents will end with a one-time assessment of $125 is probably naïve. Notwithstanding that I think we should take the opportunity. A Nordic ski area for the winter and another recreation area for summer use are probably a good bet to produce revenue and, as importantly, enjoyment for residents and increased tourism income. If the negotiations with the Forest Service don’t work out, the added investment over the initial million will not have been great and the land is likely to be salable at a profit that will match any other prudent investment of the money.

Maybe it’s the circles I travel in, but I haven’t spoken to anyone who opposes the purchase. I suspect opposition is out there and waiting for the Board meeting to come forward. If so, then Wednesday’s meeting should produce some interesting debate; if not, then those who attend will be present for an important piece of Incline’s history.

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