By EMILIE KASHTAN | Truckee
One of the main reasons Truckee incorporated was to provide as good, if not better, road service and snow removal to public roadways than was previously provided by Nevada County. While this has been a difficult winter, the Town is neglecting one of our local roads, which is affecting the safety of Truckee residents, the transmission of utilities to many Donner Lake homes, and revenue from tourists staying in rentals around the lake.
Over the years, West Reed Avenue, a street on the northwest side of Donner Lake, has degraded increasingly and after the intense weather this year has become alarmingly dangerous. The entrance is currently washed out, potholes are ginormous, most drainage ditches are filled with dirt, and the under-road culverts are crushed and/or clogged, obstructing drainage. All of these issues have led to flooding of homes and severe erosion of some properties while also compromising strategic electric, gas, water, and sewer utilities for residents around the lake.
The Town says that West Reed is a privately maintained road, but meanwhile it gladly required at least 25 encroachment permits and trenching permits on West Reed.
I believe the concerns of West Reed neighbors have been disregarded by the Town. As citizens we should expect that our elected leaders care about local properties, and more importantly, our unique Donner Lake. This lake doesn’t appreciate the same interstate federal attention as Lake Tahoe and the state oversight agency, the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, has failed to address this issue for years, despite many letters, site visits, and presentations. So, it is really left up to us, Truckee citizens, to care.
The issues are more than a driving nuisance. This winter, the degradation of the road has sent rocks, debris, road petroleum particulate, and trees into the lake, which is a protected waterway. The misdirected drainage has significantly undermined large boulders and trees, which potentially can cause further harm. I believe that this is a violation of the federal Clean Water Act and the State Storm Water Management Program that has clear and specific drainage requirements.
Nevada County Resolution 92483 states that upon incorporation Truckee is responsible to provide services for “all county roads and storm drain facilities” within the Town limits, to control traffic safety and provide required maintenance. This was what people voted for and what Town representatives agreed upon in writing as a condition to incorporate. This should be the expectation from Truckee residents and visitors on any street, especially when it involves the public’s safety and welfare. That is what some of our tax dollars are supporting.
~ Emilie Kashtan is a 25-year resident of Donner Lake who has long worked on issues involving the lake including oil spills, MTBE pollution, and getting clean drinking water to residents.