By Kathryn Reed
ROUND HILL — Neat stacks of paper fill every inch of Steve Teshara’s desk. They continue onto a side table. He goes to another room to get a piece of paper, this one with unemployment stats for the Lake Tahoe area and beyond.
“I think the community is at a real tipping point,” Teshara said. He points to the loss of 10,000 full-time residents in the last decade, how tourism is changing, and the role gaming plays today and into the future.
In the 37 years he has lived at Lake Tahoe, Teshara has seen an abundance of change – and recently, not for the good. He wants to lend his expertise to turn things around.
Teshara opened Sustainable Community Advocates in April, the same month he stepped down as head of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. He had thought about opening a consulting practice in 2002 when he left the Gaming Alliance, but the NLTRA job opened up and he jumped at that.
“Sustainable Community Advocates was established to assist clients in the development and advocacy of strategies, initiatives, action plans, and projects designed to support and ensure the long-term viability of communities and regions. Sustainability promotes equity, strengthens the economy, protects the environment, and promotes healthy, safe communities,” the website says.
Two key projects Teshara is working on are the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Regional Plan update and the Prosperity Plan.
“I think sometimes people are more infatuated with the process than the end result,” Teshara said.
Part of the sustainability part of his job is integrating land use, housing and transportation issues.
He spends his times at meetings and sifting through all the written material his clients don’t have time for.
Through the Prosperity Plan the idea is to blend economic development with the environment. It’s also possible the three philanthropic foundations in the region – Parasol, Truckee Tahoe and El Dorado Community – will begin to work more collaboratively.
“I like to connect the dots with people that have not been connected before,” Teshara said.