RENO — John Singlaub has resigned as executive director of the land-use regulatory agency charged with protecting Lake Tahoe, citing the grind of a job tugged by the competing interests of environmentalists and developers.
Singlaub’s resignation letter was submitted Friday to Tahoe Regional Planning Agency governing board Chair Allen Biaggi.
In it, Singlaub said he lived up to a pledge to stay in the job for five years, and thinks the timing is right for his departure because of a major turnover in the 15-member board this month.
“As previous executive directors have experienced, the position is relentlessly grinding on the individual who sits at the helm of TRPA, both mentally and physically,” he wrote. “The issues TRPA confronted in 2004 are very different than those we face today, and I think it is appropriate to let this new board select an executive director they believe is the right person for those new challenges.”
His resignation becomes effective Feb. 28; he was named to the post in October 2003.
Singlaub did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment Sunday.
Former California state legislator Tim Leslie said Singlaub’s resignation had nothing to do with his own recent resignation as a planning agency board member.
Leslie, who represented Tahoe as a Republican state lawmaker, cited philosophical conflicts with some board members over development projects for his resignation.
He described Singlaub as a centrist who tried to move various projects forward despite resistance.
“I was surprised by John’s resignation,” Leslie said Sunday. “I thought he did a good job in a tough environment. He has the kind of job you can’t win no matter what you do. You’re either giving everything to the development community or to the environmental community. It’s very difficult.”
Leslie said that though he heard criticism of Singlaub from some board members, he thinks Singlaub resigned on his own.
During his performance review in November 2007, some board members complained about Singlaub’s management and communication skills.
Also during his tenure, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency emerged as a favorite target for those seeking to assign blame for a June 2007 wildfire that destroyed 254 homes in South Lake Tahoe.
Some homeowners accused the agency of dragging its feet on projects to reduce the wildfire threat at Tahoe. Singlaub has said he was shocked by the public backlash.
Last year, environmentalists staged a protest over the agency’s latest plans to regulate boats, piers and buoys at Tahoe, saying they didn’t go far enough to protect the lake.
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, formed by an act of Congress, includes members from California and Nevada and receives funding from both states.