News Briefs

After General Plan Disagreements, Hospital District, Town Execute Memorandum to Work Collaboratively


At the Aug. 8 Town of Truckee council meeting, council members approved a two-year memorandum of agreement with the Tahoe Forest Hospital District to work collaboratively and efficiently with regard to planning alignment for upcoming hospital expansion projects.

The two jurisdictions underwent a public back-and-forth earlier this year when the town’s 2040 General Plan was adopted without inclusion of TFHD’s master plan. Moonshine Ink reported on the process in Town General Plan Adoption Delayed, Time Needed to ‘Reestablish Community Trust’ and Next Steps After Hospital District Master Plan Omitted from Truckee Adopted 2040 General Plan.


Since the May adoption of the general plan, town and hospital district staff and representatives have met multiple times to discuss coordination for upcoming hospital expansion, with a primary and immediate focus on parking solutions. These meetings will continue, per the MOA.

TFHD’s master plan efforts are currently on pause so as to apply as much attention as possible to the need for parking. Town funding set aside for hospital master plan work will be reserved for the time being.

The approved memorandum touches on timely communication, community outreach coordination, the hospital’s retainment of a professional planning consultant, and more.

“Town staff appreciates the opportunity to discuss future partnership with TFHD and feel comfortable that the proposed MOA outlines a positive path forward for partnership and collaboration,” noted the town staff report in part.

The TFHD board of directors approved execution of the MOA on July 27.

~ AH

Planning Commission Recommends Approval of Tahoe Basin Area Plan Amendments


The Placer County Planning Commission has recommended the board of supervisors approve a set of amendments that would allow revisions to the 2017 Tahoe Basin Area Plan.

The TBAP is the land-use document that governs development in the Placer County portion of the Lake Tahoe Basin. It was originally adopted by the Placer County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 6, 2016, and by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board on Jan. 25, 2017. 

The TBAP replaced all previous community plans, general plans, land use regulations, development standards and guidelines, and plan area statements within the Placer County portion of the Lake Tahoe Basin. It includes both a policy document and an implementing regulations document similar to a zoning code.

The planning commission cast three unanimous votes on the TBAP amendments and an addendum to the 2017 TBAP environmental impact report. The third vote was to recommend adoption of the amendments to the TBAP implementing regulations.

The amendments are aimed at accelerating the production and supply of affordable housing in the North Tahoe area and enhancing economic vitality in both the Kings Beach and Tahoe City town centers. They are intended to streamline environmentally beneficial redevelopment by removing old, dilapidated buildings and replacing them with newly constructed, energy efficient ones that can better collect stormwater runoff and protect Lake Tahoe’s water clarity.

The recommended modifications would remove outdated zoning restrictions to encourage potential redevelopment in lodging and mixed-use businesses within the town centers. The amendments would also clarify where countywide street improvements are required and help prevent loss of multi-family housing.

A potential amendment to increase building height from the allowed 56 feet to 72.7 feet and length allowance up to 500 feet in the town centers was removed from this set of amendments following community feedback. The maximum allowable height of 56 feet remains unchanged.

The board of supervisors is expected to hear this item at a meeting in October. Meeting details will be announced as soon as they are available.

For more information about the planning commission and to review meeting agendas and schedules, click here.

~ Placer County press release 

Wildfire Planning Efforts Ramp Up


On the heels of Measure T, Truckee Fire Protection District’s successful tax measure to dedicate local funding for wildfire prevention, Nevada County’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) has worked to have an active presence in east county with an eye toward supporting collaboration and partnership. Separated by the 7,000-foot Donner Summit, east and west Nevada County are different not only in ecology but in community make-up. Long recognized as a tourist destination, Truckee faces unique challenges in wildfire preparedness and mitigation efforts, including those posed by seasonal population fluctuations and heavy recreational use. Several efforts led by Nevada County are currently underway to ensure that projects and programs align with community priorities and needs.

There are three opportunities for Truckee to learn more about the Community Wildfire Protection Plan Update that is part of the Roadmap to Resilience, as well as provide feedback on behalf of the Truckee/Donner community. 

Sign-up for the Truckee/Donner Forecast Zone Virtual Lunch & Learn:

  • What: This workshop is the first east-county specific community meeting to support the Nevada County Community Wildfire Protection Plan Update. During the Lunch & Learn, OES will review initial results from the Nevada County wildfire hazard analysis and public survey, as well as provide opportunities for questions and community feedback.
  • When: Wednesday, Aug. 23, from 12 to 1 p.m.
  • Where: Virtual, register at Truckee/Donner Lunch-and-Learn.

Take the Nevada County Community Wildfire Protection Plan Survey:

  • What: If you live, work, or own property in Nevada County, you are invited to weigh in on your wildfire mitigation priorities. The CWPP will assess Nevada County’s wildfire hazard and wildfire risk, as well as prioritize areas for multi-benefit wildfire risk reduction actions. Public participation is an essential part of the CWPP process. This survey will help Nevada County OES better understand how wildfire risk impacts our communities and will support the creation of a CWPP that is designed by the community it is intended to serve.
  • When: Available in both Spanish and English through Aug. 31
  • Where: Online and by request in hard copy. Available online at CWPP Survey or email to request a hard copy.

~ Nevada County press release 

SCENIC OVERLOOK: The new Lake Tahoe scenic overlook and plaza at the Tahoe Vista Recreation Area was constructed by the North Tahoe Public Utility District and funded by the California Tahoe Conservancy, Placer County, and the North Tahoe Community Alliance. Courtesy photo

Scenic Overlook and Recreation Enhancements at Tahoe Vista Recreation Area


On Aug. 8, yhe North Tahoe Public Utility District (NTPUD) proudly unveiled new public recreation and accessibility upgrades to the Tahoe Vista Recreation Area.

Enhancements include reconstruction of the Lake Tahoe scenic overlook and pathway to improve access for recreational users with disabilities, environmental improvements to stabilize the site and prevent erosion, and installation of community kayak and paddleboard storage racks. 

The Tahoe Vista Scenic Overlook and Trail project was funded by the Placer County Tourism Master Plan Grant Program (which reinvests transient occupancy tax,TOT, in Eastern Placer County and is administered by the North Tahoe Community Alliance), the California Tahoe Conservancy Lake Tahoe Public Access and Outdoor Recreation for All Grant Program, and the NTPUD Recreation Capital Improvement Plan. 

The Tahoe Vista Recreation Area is the NTPUD’s primary lakefront recreation facility. The site provides the public with year-round safe and convenient access to Lake Tahoe to swim, fish, kayak, and paddleboard, launch and retrieve motorized vessels, and recreate. The TVRA also serves as a Lake Tahoe Water Trail trailhead, providing a sheltered site to launch non-motorized vessels, with parking, restrooms, picnic tables, and drinking water.

More information about the Tahoe Vista Recreation Area and all of the NTPUD’s Recreation, parks, and facilities can be found online at

~ NTPUD press release 

Prepare for Wildfire Season Power Outages


After the recent historic winter caused a delayed start to wildfire season, Truckee Donner Public Utility District is now urging customers to be prepared for the possibility of prolonged power outages in the summer and fall as the weather changes and the risk of fire increases in our region. NV Energy (TDPUD’s energy transmission supplier) and TDPUD both take actions during wildfire season to help mitigate wildfire risk to the community, but these safety programs can result in electric power outages.

TDPUD does not generate power locally and is dependent on the transmission of electricity from its generation sources through the NV Energy system. NV Energy is continuing its wildfire safety de-energization program, referred to as Public Safety Outage Management, in which NV Energy will de-energize transmission lines that deliver power to Truckee — and likely the entire North Tahoe/Truckee region — during extreme weather conditions and elevated fire risk levels.

TDPUD’s ability to communicate with customers and visitors during outages is key to making sure the community is well-prepared for these events. TDPUD is asking customers to confirm their contact information and sign up for automated alerts via text or email by visiting and clicking on My Account. Step-by-step instructions can be found at Customers can also call (530) 587-3896 for assistance. 

For additional information and resources, visit

~ TDPUD press release 

PUD Unveils Strategic Initiatives, Asks for Community Input


The Truckee Donner Public Utility District board of directors is updating the agency’s strategic initiatives and wants the community’s input to help create TDPUD’s vision for the future of Truckee. 

TDPUD went through a strategic planning process in 2021, which set the course for the agency through 2024. During that process, the TDPUD board developed strategic initiatives that defined long-term, ambitious projects for the agency, which the community expressed support for in public workshops. The four strategic initiatives adopted by the board were enabling community-wide broadband, undergrounding overhead utilities, purchasing 100% clean renewable energy, and pursuing local clean power generation.

Earlier this year, the board and staff began a mid-cycle review of those initiatives to ensure TDPUD is on the right path and utilizing its resources in the best way possible to serve the community. During this review process, they determined that while the original initiatives were focused on specific projects, focusing instead on the desired outcome or goal would allow TDPUD to achieve the same or similar results more efficiently.

The board has recently defined new or updated strategic initiatives, which they are again asking the community to weigh in on before they are considered for adoption later in the year.

Community Circles Schedule

  • Donner Lake/Armstrong: Sunday, Sept. 10, at TDPUD (​​11570 Donner Pass Rd.), 3 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Sierra Meadows/Brockway: Tuesday, Sept. 12, at the Community Arts Center (10046 Church St.), 5:30 to 7 p.m.
  • Prosser/Olympic Heights/Coachland/Gray’s Crossing/Old Greenwood: Wednesday, Sept. 13, at the Community Arts Center, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
  • Glenshire: Thursday, Sept. 14, at Glenshire Elementary (10990 Dorchester Dr.), 6 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Tahoe Donner: Sunday, Sept. 17, at the Alder Creek Adventure Center (15275 Alder Creek Rd.), 3 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Downtown/Gateway/Deerfield/Meadow Park: Monday, Sept. 18, at the Community Arts Center, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
  • Makeup session for all neighborhoods: Tuesday, Sept. 19, at TDPUD, 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Spanish translation services will be available at every meeting. All customers and community members are welcome to attend and engage with TDPUD. For more information, visit

~ TDPUD press release 

Vacancy Tax Exploration Put On Hold, Sales Tax Renewal to Be Explored


After reviewing a completed Vacancy Tax Options Analysis, the Town of Truckee Town Council voted in early August to shelve local efforts to pursue such a levy within jurisdiction limits. While the tax was being considered in part as a long-term financial option to fund TART Connect microtransit, town staff presented an alternative sales tax renewal idea to satisfy the need. The council voted to move forward in gauging the community’s interest on the latter suggestion via a poll.

Vacancy taxes are a relatively new concept in the U.S. Modeled after a Vancouver, Canada, 2017 tax and adopted in some Bay Area communities, the idea is to levy charges against property owners who leave units vacant for an extended period of time. Truckee’s 2040 General Plan includes exploration of “a vacancy tax ballot measure to encourage owners of vacant non-residential spaces and housing units to provide the units as long-term rental housing and/or to support town affordable housing initiatives.”

In March, the town entered into a contract with BAE Urban Economics to complete a vacancy tax analysis and its potential funding of microtransit, sustainability initiatives, or housing programs. Stand-out figures in the report include an estimated generation range of “$5,969,709 at a flat tax rate of $1,000 per vacant unit to $59,697,092 at a rate of $10,000 per unit” for residential units; and for non-residential properties, an estimation of “$60,593 at a rate of $1.00/square foot to $605,930 at a rate of $10.00/square foot.” Considerations worth noting in the report include the definition of vacancy, monitoring and enforcement, application to different property types. 

Staff recommended not pursuing a vacancy tax at this time because the idea is rather novel (and the San Francisco tax, adopted in November 2022, is facing legal challenge) and instead suggested “that the town continues to monitor the San Francisco case and emerging examples of vacancy tax measures in other jurisdictions for at least one year, then revisit this discussion at a future date,” per the staff report.

Alternatively, a different microtransit funding opportunity could come out of a renewal of the town’s road tax. First passed in 1998 as Measure A, then renewed in 2008 as Measure V, the road tax levies a 0.5% sales tax within the town to fund road maintenance and road construction. Currently, the measure is set to sunset in 2028.

Thus, the proposal by staff at the Aug. 8 meeting stated the following: “Extend the term of the current 0.5% road maintenance and construction sales tax; set a new tax rate of 1%; and expand the eligible uses of the tax to include transit, microtransit, and other transportation services in addition to the current road maintenance and construction uses.” This would raise tax generation from between $3 million and $3.5 million to between $6 million and $7 million.

Council approved the gathering of public opinion to understand if the community is interested in such a change to the road tax, which would end up on a ballot in the March 2024 Primary Election of November 2024 General Election.

Consultant TeamCivX, which provides election strategy and communication for public agencies, will conduct the survey during August and September, then present results and analysis to the council in October for direction on moving forward.

~ AH

Achieve Tahoe Expands Sailing Program With Grant


Achieve Tahoe has been awarded a $75,262 grant from the Truckee Tahoe Airport District to expand the capacity of its adaptive sailing program for children and adults with disabilities. With this funding, Achieve Tahoe will provide U.S. Sailing training and certification to volunteers and staff, increasing its pool of trained adaptive sailing instructors, and will purchase a safety-craft and a new adaptive RS Venture sailboat that will allow individuals with complex physical disabilities to sail with their friends and family.

Achieve Tahoe’s adaptive sailing program is based out of Obexers on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe and is operated in partnership with the Tahoe City Public Utility District’s youth sailing program. Through regular, on-going adaptive sailing lessons, Achieve Tahoe helps people of all abilities develop health, confidence, and independence through harnessing the power of the wind on water.

~ Achieve Tahoe press release 

MAJOR MILESTONE: A little haze on the lake didn’t dampen the spirit of the day, when volunteer pilot Tom Meadows flew his 2000th Young Eagles flight. Meadows, pictured with his milestone Young Eagle, was presented with a commemorative plaque, T-shirt, and cap, and was gifted a pair of high-end flight headphones from the EAA, which also honored him at its AirVenture conference in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in July. Photo by Juliana Demarest/Moonshine Ink

Mr. 2000: Volunteer Pilot Hits Milestone


When Tom Meadows started volunteering as a Young Eagles pilot in 1993, Bill Clinton was president, Schindler’s List was in movie theaters, and Ruth Bader Ginsberg was appointed to the Supreme Court. Thirty years later, Meadows has joined a small club of Young Eagles pilots who have flown 2,000 kids.

The 77-year-old was on track to hit the mark back in the spring, but a fall in his Truckee driveway derailed his achievement, leaving Meadows with a fractured pelvis and sacrum. But the Navy veteran defied his doctors’ predictions that he wouldn’t be able to fly or drive until September or October and took to the skies at the Aug. 12 Young Eagles rally at Truckee Tahoe Airport.

Meadows comes from a military family. His dad was stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, where Meadows recalls spending his childhood watching “everything in the Air Force inventory flying over our house at one time or another.”

“In the summertime as a young teenager I would go to work with Dad, and he would drop

me off at the Air Force Museum and pick me up at the end of his workday,” said Meadows, who followed in the military service footsteps of his five older brothers.

After 22 years in naval aviation, Meadows and his wife, Lynn, retired to Truckee. He discovered the Experimental Aircraft Associations’ Young Eagles program while at an open house at the airport in Silver Springs, Nevada.

“There were pilots flying kids and there was a long line of kids waiting, so I asked if the pilot/YE assigner needed help,” Meadows said. “He said yes, and I started flying kids to help their EAA chapter.”

Thirty years and 2,000 Young Eagles takeoffs later, Meadows still loves the feeling of watching kids’ faces as they take off on their first flight. “Many young kids don’t grasp the phenomenon of cars being small when seen at a distance, so when we get up 500 to 1000 feet, they’re surprised that the cars are real small,” he said. “A girl once said, after climbing to 500 feet, ‘This is just like Google Earth!’ That’s one of my gems.”

Meadows said he hopes to ignite a spark that kindles into a flame encouraging a youngster to enter the aviation world as a pilot, mechanic, aerospace engineer, or any of the other myriad aviation professions.

“I love to fly and I love to share my passion for flying with young people,” he said. “I love allowing 8-year-old kids to believe that they are performing shallow turns, all the while I’m flying with the rudder. I love taking photos of the kids with their hands on the yoke, with Lake Tahoe in the background.”

Young Eagles rallies take place at the Truckee Tahoe Airport on the second Saturday of each month, weather permitting. Contact for information about these free plane rides for kids ages 8 to 17.

~ JD

Local Teens Host Music and Arts Event Aug. 27

The Aspen Collective is a teen-run organization bringing alternative music and arts to the Tahoe/Truckee area with a focus on mutual aid and harm reduction. Music and art are aspects of the human experience that connect people regardless of personal differences. In a world where we can feel so isolated, experiencing music is key to community and promoting well-being. The Aspen Collective has been immersed in the alternative music scenes of neighboring cities and discovered a welcoming, supportive, and passionate community that has provided a place for them to experience music and be unabashedly ourselves. The co-founders feel that the population of the Tahoe/Truckee area needs better access to this fantastic community and a safe space for teens to experience art.

The Aspen Collective is putting on its first show on August 27 at the downtown park in Truckee, 10046 Church St. This is an all-ages event. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with music starting at 6. Tickets are $15 cash at the door or get your ticket online through Instagram. There will be local artists, vendors, and community resource tables. The event is welcoming to all and the Aspen Collective intends for it to become a recurring, safe, and fun activity in our community. 

You can find them on Instagram for more details: @theaspencollective_truckee

~ The Aspen Collective press release 

Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up

TRPA Board Welcomes New Presidential Appointee


The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) Governing Board recently welcomed Meghan Hays as the newly appointed U.S. Presidential representative to the board and adopted a resolution in appreciation of the service of outgoing Presidential appointee, A.J. “Bud” Hicks, who had served in the non-voting board seat since 2018. 

MEGHAN HAYS is the newly appointed U.S. Presidential representative to the TRPA board and adopted a resolution in appreciation of the service of outgoing Presidential appointee, A.J. “Bud” Hicks, who had served in the non-voting board seat since 2018. Courtesy photo

Originally hailing from Auburn, Hays gained a deep appreciation for Lake Tahoe while spending time at her family’s seasonal home in Homewood on the lake’s West Shore. Hays is a seasoned communications executive with a 20-year portfolio that includes eight years working for President Joe Biden during his time as Vice President, a presidential candidate, and now President. Learn more about Hays on the TRPA Governing Board page

During the public meeting, the board also unanimously adopted a resolution recognizing the exceptional leadership of Hicks during his time as chair of the TRPA Forest Health and Wildfire Committee and for his advancement of forest resilience priorities and policies in the Tahoe Basin. TRPA staff and members of the public echoed the board’s appreciation of the work and support he provided.

Before his appointment to the board under the Trump administration, Hicks played a pivotal role on the California-Nevada Tahoe Basin Fire Commission improving forest health practices and wildfire management after the 2007 Angora Fire.

Membership of the 15-member governing board was established by the states of Nevada and California through the Bi-State Tahoe Regional Planning Compact. There are 14 voting members, seven representatives from each state, with six members being local government representatives. As an interstate agreement, the compact also required approval from Congress and the signature of the President of the United States.

~ TRPA press release 

Jeff Ronten Appointed to Placer County Planning Commission


The Placer County Board of Supervisors took recent action to appoint Jeff Ronten to the Placer County Planning Commission, representing District 5.

Ronten, who lives in Meadow Vista with his wife, Nina, works in business management for Denio’s Roseville Farmers Market and D.F. Properties, a property management and development company.  

He has been active for four decades in the Roseville, Rocklin, and greater Placer County communities as a volunteer or board member for the Roseville Chamber of Commerce, Catta Vadera Country Club, Placer SPCA, the Active 20/30 Club of Roseville, and various youth sports organizations.

“I have lived, worked, and raised my family in Placer County for close to 40 years. With this, I feel an obligation to serve in some small capacity in maintaining and enhancing this diverse and well-structured county,” Ronten said. “I feel my background will serve me well in providing a fair perspective on all planning issues that will come before the commission, always committed to maintaining a proper balance between the economic, environmental and overall quality of life concerns of the residents and businesses in this county.”

The planning commission is composed of seven members, one from each of the five Placer County supervisorial districts and two at-large members. The commission is charged with taking action on various land use requests and advising the board of supervisors on planning and related matters.

Ronten will represent District 5, which stretches from North Auburn to North Lake Tahoe. A seat became available in recent weeks when former commissioner Bridget Powers, who served an at-large seat on the commission, accepted a position in the office of Supervisor Cindy Gustafson. Commissioner Mark Watts, who had represented District 5, was re-appointed to the at-large seat and Ronten to District 5.

~ Placer County press release 

MIKE JANKOWSKI: Former U.S. Olympic Freeski and Snowboard teams head coach to lead Sugar Bowl Resort’s sport programs and initiatives. Courtesy photo

Mike Jankowski Named Executive Director of Sport at Sugar Bowl Resort


Sugar Bowl Resort announced that Mike Jankowski has been named as its new executive director of sport. An elite performance professional with 20 years of Olympic sport organization experience, Jankowski has coached U.S. Olympic Ski and Snowboard teams since 2003. In his new role, he will lead Sugar Bowl’s ski and snowboard school, high-level sport education, Nordic events, and summer experiences to deliver high-quality experiences and world-class events. Additionally, he will be responsible for developing and reinstating Sugar Bowl’s famed historic event, the Silver Belt Classic.

Jankowski’s coaching career began in the mid-90s when he worked as a snowboard instructor at Arizona Snowbowl. He was recruited to coach and manage the U.S. Olympic Snowboard Halfpipe Team in 2003, and moved into the head coach role in 2006. From 2010 to 2022, Jankowski served as the head coach and general manager of the U.S. Olympic Snowboard and Freeski Teams, where he was responsible for strategy, planning, programming, and people development through five Olympic Winter Games. A collaborative, motivational leader, Jankowski has coached U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes to 37 Olympic medals since 2006.

A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Jankowski earned his Bachelor of Science in Geography and minored in recreation management with an emphasis in outdoor leadership.

Learn more about Sugar Bowl Resort or purchase a 2023/24 winter season pass at

~ Sugar Bowl Resort press release 

Business Briefs

Liberty Bell Smart Home Showroom Opening in Historic Theater of the Capitol Building


A new iteration of Truckee’s historic theater upstairs in the Capitol Building is once again open to the public. After months of careful renovation, Mark Buzzard, CEO of Liberty Bell Smart Home and Alpine Electric, announces the opening of the showroom and theater to the public.

The theater’s history reaches back to 1870 when the Capitol Building was built with Hurd’s Saloon downstairs and live entertainment on stage upstairs. After the turn of the century, silent films were shown as well as live stage productions through the 1970s.

CAPITOL THEATER: Liberty Bell Smart Home and Alpine Electric announces the opening of the showroom and theater to the public. Courtesy photo

The new Liberty Bell Smart Home showroom features innovative and efficient security, electrical, and smart home design for architects, builders, and clients. The theater renovation includes additional seating and is available to host film, art, and literary performances.

“Offering this historic space as a gathering venue for town community events is an opportunity to strengthen our relationships with existing customers and expand into exciting new projects,” Buzzard said in a statement.

Liberty Bell Smart Home and Alpine Electric creates peace of mind for the homeowner through fire and alarm monitoring, surveillance and alerts as well as audio video smart home theater and media, indoors and outdoors.

~ Liberty Bell Smart Home and Alpine Electric press release


Previous articleCommunity Division Over the ‘Improvement’ of Incline’s General Improvement District
Next articleMoonshine Recognized Nationally for 2022 Reporting