Truckee landscape photographer and former land use planner Elizabeth Carmel has been appointed to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board.

Carmel was appointed by California Assembly Speaker John Perez. She fills a board seat that was previously held by Mara Bresnick, who resigned from the board in January.

Carmel owns two fine art photography galleries, one in Truckee and one in Calistoga. She holds a degree in environmental science from U.C. Berkeley. And before opening her photography studio, Carmel was a land use planner for 20 years, working at the Town of Truckee, El Dorado County, and within the Tahoe Basin. 


“I think what I bring is a combination of environmentalism and support for small business, because I work in both of those fields,” Carmel said.

Carmel joins the board at a pivotal time for the agency. Her predecessor on the board, Bresnick, resigned from the board after voting against the agency’s approval of a new regional plan. That plan was subsequently sued by the Sierra Club and Friends of the West Shore. And pending Nevada legislation threatens the state’s withdrawal from the compact, which would effectively dissolve the bi-state agency.

Despite the turbulent times, Carmel said she believes the bi-state agency will not be dissolved.

“It is not a perfect agency, but it is serving a function and an important function. I hope it is not disbanded,” Carmel said. “I would have not agreed to be on the board if I did not believe in its overall goals.”

Carmel will not be the only new TRPA board member. William “Bill” Yeates, a California attorney with 34 years of experience in environmental law, also recently joined the TRPA board as an appointment by the California Senate Rules Committee.

Yeates has been involved in several landmark environmental and land use cases, served as counsel for the California Coastal Commission, and has helped form state environmental legislation and policies.


  • David Bunker

    David Bunker almost dropped out of journalism school to hunt non-native rats on an uninhabited Pacific island. Instead, he graduated college and launched into a career of dump truck driving and ditch digging before taking up writing as a profession. He’s written for newspapers and magazines across the West and won numerous first place awards in the California and Nevada press associations.

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