Landing Locals Gets a New Name; Survey to Determine Regional Priorities; Placer Planning Commissioner Appointed; More

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News Briefs

CHP Addresses Weekend Ski Traffic

TRUCKEE

In a continued effort to provide the highest level of safety and service to the community, California Highway Patrol Truckee and the Truckee Police Department are addressing safety concerns on Interstate 80 and through the Town of Truckee by conducting proactive traffic control on Saturdays and Sundays.

What to expect:

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Due to heavy visitation, expect delays along West River Street and State Route 89 between 7 and 9 a.m. (approximate).

Suggested route:

Access State Route 89 (south) by using I-80 for ski traffic to Olympic Valley and the West Shore.

Tips:

Due to the unpredictable amount of heavy traffic, it is strongly advised to leave early and bring lots of patience. If travel is necessary, the most advisable transportation method suggested is public transportation or carpooling. TART is free to all riders and will deliver occupants closer to the mountain than any available parking.

Impacts to operations:

Weather and unforeseen variables can hamper the effectiveness of traffic control measures. Please consult with partners for up to the minute traffic and parking status on Instagram at chp_truckee and Facebook at CHP-Truckee, palisadestahoe.com, quickmap.dot.ca.gov, and tahoetruckeetransit.com.

~ CHP press release 

TDPUD Board Approves Pipeline Replacement Contract

TRUCKEE

Truckee Donner Public Utility District board of directors held its February meeting which focused on upcoming water infrastructure projects that will strengthen the reliability of Truckee’s water system, as well as the introduction of a new planning and strategy process for the TDPUD’s public information department.

The board took action to award a $2.1-million contract for pipeline replacements in the Glenshire area on Wellington Way, Canterbury Lane, Courtenay Lane, and Oxford Circle. This upgrade is an important project that will improve water service and reliability in Glenshire by replacing aging systems. TDPUD is making a significant investment in its water infrastructure in 2023, with a number of projects planned totaling $14.8 million. These projects will span from Hirschdale to Tahoe Donner, and include the construction of a new pipeline, pump station, and water tank, as well as replacing and rehabilitating aging pipelines and tanks.

TDPUD staff also presented an informational workshop to the board for members to review and provide input on the 2023 communications plan and strategy. The public information department has set forth a strategy for how to best communicate with customers to share all TDPUD does. TDPUD will be focused on approaching its communications from a customer perspective, which includes not only prioritizing the information that is most important to their daily needs but also making sure it’s shared in a way everyone can understand.

TDPUD’s staff and board look forward to engaging with customers and the community to share its exciting work and continuing to work diligently to improve the community’s quality of life.

Information about TDPUD board meetings and access to agendas, minutes, live streaming, and archived videos can be found at tdpud.org/boardmeetings.

~ TDPUD press release

Survey to Make Your Voice Heard in Setting Regional Priorities

NORTH TAHOE

Traffic, housing, tourism management — do one (or all) of these topics evoke strong opinions? Each is a hot topic these days. Take a few minutes to complete this short survey so relevant data from the community can be collected.

The Placer County Board of Supervisors and the North Tahoe Community Alliance Board of Directors are committed to the investment of local dollars in North Lake Tahoe for the community. Since there is a limited amount of local funds, this survey was created in collaboration between Placer County and the NTCA to better understand current priorities. This survey will be open through March 15. 

 ~ NTCA newsletter

Cortez Masto Cosponsors Bipartisan Act to Keep Ski Fees Local

LAKE TAHOE

U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) in introducing the Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development Act (SHRED) to support local ski resorts by keeping ski fees local. The legislation would enable the U.S. Forest Service to retain a portion of the annual fees paid by ski areas operating within their boundaries and use that money to invest in local year-round recreation opportunities and to further boost local gateway economies.

“Lake Tahoe has some of the best skiing in the country and I know how important they are to our outdoor recreation economy,” said Sen. Cortez Masto. “After the record winter we’ve seen this year, it’s more important than ever that the revenue generated by our local resorts stays in the Tahoe Basin to support our forests and our outdoor recreation economies.”

In exchange for using some of America’s most stunning forestlands, the 124 ski areas operating on Forest Service lands across the country pay fees to the Forest Service that average over $40 million annually. The SHRED Act would establish a framework for local National Forests to retain a portion of ski fees to offset increased recreational use and support local ski permit and program administration. The SHRED Act also provides the Forest Service with flexibility to direct resources where they are needed the most.

 ~ Office of Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto press release

BUY A LIFT TICKET, GIVE A DOLLAR: Vail resorts raise funds to support environmental improvement projects in the Tahoe Basin. Courtesy photo

Tahoe Fund Receives Donations From Guests of Vail Resorts

TAHOE CITY

Guests of Northstar, Heavenly, and Kirkwood are making sure that their time on the slopes is positively impacting the environment through Vail Resorts’ EpicPromise Guest Donation Program. By donating a dollar when purchasing online lift tickets, season passes, lodging, and rounds of golf over the past 12 months, guests at these Vail Resorts locations have raised more than $187,000 for the Tahoe Fund to support environmental improvement projects.

The Tahoe Fund supports environmental improvement projects that restore lake clarity, expand sustainable recreation, promote healthier forests, improve transportation, and inspire greater stewardship of the region. Since its inception in 2010, the organization has funded over 80 environmental improvement projects. 

Over the past decade, Kirkwood Ski Resort, Heavenly Mountain Resort, and Vail Resorts EpicPromise have contributed over $927,000 to the Tahoe Fund. Dollar donations from Vail Resorts guests have supported projects like the Lily Lake Trail, a 2.1-mile multi-use trail on Angora Ridge; the 72-mile scuba cleanup of Lake Tahoe’s entire shoreline; and the restoration of the 206-acre Johnson Meadow in South Lake Tahoe. In the coming months, Kirkwood, Heavenly, and the Tahoe Fund team will determine which upcoming projects this round of funding will support. 

“We are beyond grateful for the guests at Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood resorts,” said Cory Ritchie, chair of the Tahoe Fund Board of Directors. “Their generosity and the continued support of Vail Resorts makes it possible for us to preserve this mountain treasure for future generations.” 

Learn more about the Tahoe Fund and its current and completed projects at tahoefund.org.

~ Tahoe Fund press release

GOVERNMENT TO GOVERNMENT: The Washoe tribe and the Sierra State Parks sign five-year agreement to formalize the governing relationship between the two entities. Courtesy photo

Memorandum of Agreement Between Washoe Tribe and California State Parks

TAHOE CITY

Chairman of the Washoe Tribe Serrell Smokey and California State Parks Director Armando Quintero signed a new Memorandum of Understanding between the Sierra District and the Tribe on Jan. 28. This five-year agreement formalizes the government-to-government relationship between the two entities, establishes a protocol for open discussions, and outlines the responsibilities of state parks and the tribe to promote successful cooperation, co-management, and collaboration for the mutual benefit of the Washoe Tribe and state parks.

The MOU introduces traditional management practices and ecological knowledge to the management of 12 state park units in the Washoe people’s traditional homeland. The mutually beneficial activities outlined in the MOU include:

  • Washoe tribal access
  • Co-management of tribal traditional and cultural areas
  • Partnering on forestry and natural resource projects
  • Collaborating on interpretive themes, educational programs, public outreach, and collections management

The 12 Sierra District state park units included are Burton Creek State Park, Cascade Creek Unit, D.L. Bliss, Donner Memorial, Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point, Emerald Bay, Grover Hot Springs, Kings Beach State Recreation Area, Lake Valley, Tahoe, Ward Creek, and Washoe Meadows. The Sierra District and the Sierra State Parks Foundation look forward to working together with the Washoe Tribe as good stewards of the land and providing memorable experiences to future generations.

Director Quintero remarked that by creating these MOU agreements with Tribal entities, the department is meeting the goals of former California Gov. Jerry Brown’s Executive Order B-10-11, which requires the governor’s tribal advisor and the administration to engage in government-to-government consultation with California Native American tribes regarding policies that may affect tribal communities, and also Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-15-19, which established the Truth and Healing Council.

 ~ Sierra State Park Foundation press release

Evacuation Planning Software Using Artificial Intelligence 

TRUCKEE

The Town of Truckee continues to partner with leading edge professionals in the emergency management arena. Recently, the town entered into an agreement with Ladris Technologies, a local start-up company that is using artificial intelligence products to determine a community’s evacuation time. Town staff partnered with Ladris in the early stages to help the company run a beta test on a robust software application that combines roadway networks with high-powered computers to run multiple simulations with a variety of inputs derived from previous data.

Ladris is also working with SWCA, a nationally recognized company that consults with communities on their Community Wildfire Protection Plans. Ladris will be working with SWCA to apply its evacuation timing with SWCA’s fire modeling to better understand evacuation route threats from a wildfire. Currently, Truckee Fire Protection District is working with SWCA to update the district’s CWPP, which includes the town. The CWPP is a guiding document for wildfire mitigation built with leading-edge technology and boots on the ground knowledge to guide the use of limited resource dollars to obtain the most effective work on wildfire mitigation projects. The CWPP is updated every five years and drives decision-making on mitigation work to complete projects across the district that will help reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires burning into the town.

Both of these companies and their projects, combined with post-doctoral research town staff is involved in, will hopefully inform the town on ways the jurisdiction can better design evacuation plans and use mitigation projects to protect the community, particularly egress routes from different subdivisions. The many variables in an evacuation require very high-end super computer work to be effective, especially in a time-sensitive environment.

~ Talk From the Town: Town of Truckee monthly newsletter

Industry-Leading MRI System Now Available at Tahoe Forest 

TAHOE/ TRUCKEE

Tahoe Forest Health System announces the recent implementation of the industry-leading 3.0 Tesla MRI at the Tahoe Forest Hospital. The new MRI adapts to each patient’s unique body to deliver stunning precision, accuracy, speed, and efficiency.

Trusted by doctors and preferred by patients, the 3.0 Tesla MRI offers unparalleled comfort, speed, and results. The new MRI features a large opening that accommodates people of nearly all sizes, while the latest applications help improve the exam experience. New innovations and technologies ensure a quicker, more efficient exam, so the patient is in and out faster. The doctor receives consistent, high-resolution images that are needed to provide enhanced patient care. 

This latest addition was proudly supported by a $500,000 grant from the Tahoe Forest Health System Foundation.

To learn more about the new 3.0 Tesla MRI or to schedule an appointment, call (530) 582-6510.

~ TFHS press release 

Residents Encouraged to Showcase Properties for Potential Filming Location

PLACER COUNTY

The Placer County Film Office is asking residents to add their homes, cabins, barns, or properties to its new location library for the possibility of being selected for the next big production in the region. In tandem with the release of the reinvigorated film office website, filmplacertahoe.com. Anyone in the county can upload photos and descriptions online and earn the chance to be selected for the next national commercial or major motion picture.

The county’s location library allows residents to feature their properties with the chance of being seen and selected by industry location scouts and professionals. If chosen, residents will negotiate directly with filmmakers with additional assistance from the county film office. The county does not earn proceeds on any property agreements. To submit your property as a potential film location, click here

The new website is also a great resource for production companies and location managers. Beyond an extensive location library, production crews can view unique aspects of Placer County — such as our rolling foothills, extensive Sierra Nevada mountains, and the county’s crown jewel, Lake Tahoe. The location library includes a mapping tool to allow film scouts to map out their next commercial or movie.

The county film office has been assisting the film community for over 30 years but made a significant contribution to the region last year, generating just under $3 million in economic impact across the county. That number is up from around $462,000 in 2021.

The film office offers free film permits for media production on any county-owned property (monitoring fees may apply), making the possibility of filming in Placer County even more appealing. Additional permitting may be required depending on selected locations and the local jurisdictions.

~ Placer County press release

Town Launches Survey to Improve Communication, Public Outreach

TRUCKEE

The Town of Truckee has launched a survey that intends to improve communications efforts to foster community cohesion, greater accessibility to information, and increased, meaningful community engagement. It is anticipated that the survey will provide staff with information about what communication tools and social media platforms the Truckee community utilizes, and what Town of Truckee issues, programs, and services they want to stay informed about.

Mayor Lindsay Romack explains that “The Truckee Town Council is committed to enhancing communication and public outreach to facilitate community cohesion. We want to adapt our communication strategies to encourage greater engagement and community participation in town decisions. Survey results will not only provide us with a more comprehensive understanding of the ways our community wants us to engage with them, but also the different community groups that we may not be reaching and how we can better serve them.”

The Town of Truckee is committed to providing open, accurate, and effective communication to all community members and hopes to gain important feedback regarding public outreach opportunities. Survey participants will be entered into a raffle for a $250 Visa gift card. The survey will be available through March 31, and can be accessed in both English and Spanish.

Access the survey: townoftruckee.com/survey

~ Town of Truckee press release

Business Briefs

Landing Locals is now Placemate

TRUCKEE

Landing Locals announced it has officially rebranded to Placemate. This new brand speaks to its mission of helping local residents in vacation towns secure housing in communities where a sizable portion of the housing stock is used as second homes or short-term rentals.

Placemate was born out of an idea that while there is a vast amount of housing in vacation towns, over time the housing stock has tipped too far in the direction of tourism, to the detriment of the community. Tourism is the lifeblood of vacation towns, but a dearth of housing for local employees means the local communities suffer. And ultimately, the tourist experience is also affected by the shortage of workers who cannot find housing.

The ecosystem of housing in vacation towns is complex, but Placemate has identified an opportunity to quickly and efficiently create new rental housing with existing housing stock. This is exemplified through the Lease to Locals programs, which provide cash incentives to homeowners who convert their properties into new long-term rentals for local employees. 

These programs are overseen and funded by local governments and are an example of a successful and innovative public-private partnership. First piloted in Truckee in the fall of 2020, the program has since rolled out in South Lake Tahoe, Eastern Placer County, Breckenridge, Colorado, Summit County, Colorado, and Ketchum, Idaho. 

To keep up with the growth of services, Placemate has hired four new employees in the past year and will expand their operations to more regions throughout the country.

~ Placemate press release

Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up

MARK WATTS has been appointed to Placer County Planning Commission. “I look forward to applying my expertise in transportation policy and my lessons learned serving on the North Auburn Municipal Advisory Committee in recent years by giving back service to the community that has been so wonderful to me and my family,” Watts said. Courtesy photo

Mark Watts Appointed to Planning Commission Representing District 5

PLACER COUNTY

The Placer County Board of Supervisors acted on Jan. 14 to appoint North Auburn resident Mark Watts to the Placer County Planning Commission, representing District 5. 

Watts has served locally on the North Auburn Municipal Advisory Council and has decades of experience as a lobbyist and governmental relations consultant in Sacramento, with a focus in the areas of transportation, public policy, and governance. He is currently co-principal at Watts & Hartmann, providing lobbying services and strategic political advice along with day-to-day management of the firm. 

Among key initiatives throughout Watts’ career, he co-chaired the $20 billion Proposition 1B bond measure that helped fund transportation projects statewide in 2006, and more recently was the lead advocate for Transportation California to help the state position for Senate Bill 1 in 2017, which generated $5.4 billion in transportation revenue. 

The position received 10 applicants and all 10 were interviewed for the position. 

District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson said, “As chair of the North Auburn Municipal Advisory Council, Mark demonstrated his respect for the public process and thoughtful approach on a variety of planning issues. Mark and his wife have residences in Auburn and Tahoe and he’s very knowledgeable of the issues facing our foothill and Sierra communities.”  

The planning commission is composed of seven members, one from each of the five Placer County supervisorial districts and two at-large members. Watts will represent District 5, which stretches from North Auburn to North Lake Tahoe. The commission is charged with advising the Board of Supervisors on planning and related matters. 

~ Placer County press release 

Town of Truckee’s New Sustainability Program Manager

TRUCKEE

The town is thrilled to introduce its new sustainability program manager, Erin Brewster, who started with the town in January. Erin has eight years of experience with public sector sustainability programs, having previously worked for the City of Mountain View, the California State University system, and the County of Los Angeles. She holds a graduate certificate in global sustainability from UCLA and a Master’s degree in sustainable urban governance. Brewster leads the Keep Truckee Green program, which coordinates the planning and implementation of the Town’s waste reduction and climate change actions. 

~ Talk From the Town: Town of Truckee monthly newsletter

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