Workforce Housing Solutions Grow; Earthquake Authority Speaks Out; Broadband EIR; More

Briefs: February 3-9, 2023

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News Briefs

Workforce Housing Agency Introduces Plan to Grow Housing Solutions

TRUCKEE/NORTH TAHOE

The Truckee Tahoe Workforce Housing Agency board of directors approved a five-year strategic plan on Jan. 18. The plan sets forth a bold roadmap to expand services, programs, and funding for housing the local workforce.

Truckee Tahoe Workforce Housing Agency is a joint powers authority formed in 2020 by four public agencies to address the housing needs of their employees. Today, the agency has grown to include seven public agencies including Nevada County, Placer County, Tahoe Forest Hospital District, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, Truckee Donner Public Utility District, Truckee Tahoe Airport District, and the Town of Truckee.

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In 2022, recognizing the region’s growing housing needs, the agency determined that the founding mission, to serve the employees of its member agencies, needed to expand in order to better serve the entire community.

TRUCKEE TAHOE WORKFORCE HOUSING AGENCY approves five-year strategic plan. Courtesy photo

Currently, TTWHA provides housing services to member agency employees including general housing education, programs to access rental homes, home purchase navigation and assistance, and other activities to increase the inventory of available units. The new strategic direction will include expanded programs to serve a greater workforce, an acquisition program to preserve existing workforce housing, as well as development pursuits focused on creating middle-income housing.

As part of the agency expansion outlined in the strategic plan, a new nonprofit workforce housing fund is being created to combine public and private dollars to create financial tools for local housing programs and projects. The goal is to raise $10 million in public contributions in its first five years and unlock matching private funds to increase housing opportunities and capacity in the region.

To view the new agency strategic plan, visit ttjpa.org/about-us.

~ TTWHA press release 

Placer County is First County to Receive State’s Prohousing Designation

PLACER COUNTY

Placer County has been named the first county in California to receive the state’s prohousing designation, a distinction that provides Placer and its private development partners a competitive edge in obtaining grant funding toward affordable housing, workforce housing, sustainable community development, and infrastructure projects.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development awarded Placer County with the prohousing designation with an official announcement Feb. 3 along with two other jurisdictions: Sacramento County and the City of El Cerrito.

Local governments with the designation are eligible to apply for new Prohousing Incentive Program grant funding, a $26 million state investment from the Building Homes and Jobs Trust Fund. Prohousing-designated local governments can also receive priority processing or funding points when applying for several funding programs.

Placer County, along with other prohousing jurisdictions, has worked to be innovative in streamlining the process to get projects online to help tackle the critical need for more housing.

Placer County earned the designation by promoting infill development with zoning amendments to allow residential and mixed-use development with a design review in commercial zones within the county, and the planned creation of a multi-family and mixed-use design manual to set objective development standards, helping streamline construction and cut costs.

The prohousing designation program was formed in 2019 as part of a spectrum of support, incentives, and accountability measures to help meet California’s housing goals, according to state officials. Increasing the availability of housing statewide is critical to bettering the quality of life of all Californians and to ending homelessness.

For more information on the Prohousing Designation Program, click here.

~ Placer County press release 

Earthquake Authority Speaks Out

CALIFORNIA

The California Earthquake Authority has been following the devastation created by the Kahramanmaras earthquake with deep sadness. As they take stock of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake afflicting Turkey and Syria, the authority knows many Californians are also concerned about their own safety. 

Here’s how the California Earthquake Authority can help:

To prevent earthquake damage, homeowners (especially owners of older houses) should consider making their homes less vulnerable by having a seismic retrofit.  Visit strengthenmyhouse.com to learn more about the statewide retrofitting efforts. A retrofit could be as simple as strengthening a chimney or garage doors, or a brace-and-bolt type retrofit to a home’s foundation. Californians could also consider earthquake insurance; there are a number of options, including policies backed by the California Earthquake Authority.

~ California Earthquake Authority enews

Summit Emphasizes Emergency Preparedness for Public Agencies

SACRAMENTO

The California Special Districts Association is hosting its third annual virtual Emergency Preparedness Summit, presented by USC Price Executive Education Forum with sponsorship from Southern California Edison on Feb. 24. The purpose of the summit is to provide education to California’s special districts and public agencies for strategic guidance in areas of emergency preparedness to inform public policy and operations.

This year’s summit will focus on the implications of the ongoing drought, active shooter prevention and response, cybersecurity for public agencies, and wildfire preparedness and response. 

CSDA has a membership of more than 1,000 special districts who provide essential local services to millions of Californians every year. Special districts are a form of local government that work hand-in-hand with cities and counties to fulfill the state’s public service needs.

Southern California Edison and the Special District Leadership Foundation have sponsored the event to allow California Special Districts Association members to register for the 2023 Emergency Preparedness Summit for free. Other agencies may also register for the event at a cost of $340. The event is virtual to eliminate the cost of travel and provide maximum availability. Registrants will be able to view a recording of the summit until Dec. 31.

Those who complete the summit on Feb. 24 will earn a certificate from USC Price Executive Education. This course is also eligible for SDRMA Credit Incentive Points.

Registration will be open online until Feb. 23.

~ California Special Districts Association press release

Donner Lake Reclaimed Sculpture Selection

TRUCKEE

In July 2022, the Truckee Town Council approved a contract with Clean Up the Lake to complete a Donner Lake monitoring and litter removal program with support from a number of other funding partners. They also directed staff to work with Building 180, an art production and consulting agency, to design and fabricate an art piece using litter removed from the lake. 

The art is proposed to be located at the Donner Lake Boat Launching Facility in one (or two) of the existing planters, with the goal of installation by September 2023. Artists Joel Dean Stockdill and Yustina Salnikova are leading the creation of the art piece and have developed three concepts that we are looking for community feedback on. Please follow the link and rank your choices The results will be provided to the town council for the ultimate decision on which concept to approve. Vote and provide feedback here.

~ Town of Truckee press release 

Notice of Upcoming Public Hearing for Broadband Final EIR

NEVADA COUNTY

On Feb. 10, the Nevada County Community Development Agency’s planning department released a notice of public hearing and document availability for the Nevada County’s Broadband Final Environmental Impact Report to be heard before the Nevada County Board of Supervisors on Feb. 28.

Nevada County has conducted a countywide EIR for future broadband infrastructure to meaningfully address challenges and remove barriers for broadband project developers. The ultimate goal is to expand broadband access in the county more quickly and efficiently by streamlining compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.

This program would help streamline the construction of future broadband projects throughout Nevada County and the incorporated communities of Grass Valley, Nevada City, and the Town of Truckee, but excludes any projects on federal lands or in state highway rights-of-way. The countywide Nevada County Broadband EIR aims to achieve CEQA compliance so that individual fiber projects are preapproved and can take advantage of state and federal grant funding programs. Construction of individual fiber projects under the program could begin as early as spring 2023.

The programmatic FEIR is available at nevadacountyca.gov/513/projects-supporting-documents under the current planning board of supervisors tab.

On Tuesday, Feb. 28, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing for the FEIR at the Eric Rood Administration Center Board of Supervisor Chambers, located at 950 Maidu Ave. in Nevada City.

Residents are encouraged to stay up to date on significant broadband news items by signing up for the broadband in Nevada County newsletter at mynevadacounty.com/broadband. Those with questions, concerns, or opportunities to bring service to underserved areas should connect via email at broadband@nevadacountyca.gov.

~ Nevada County press release 

ALONG THE WEST SHORE: A public webinar will be held to discuss the recommended draft trail along the West Shore. Courtesy graphic

Cascade to Meeks Trail Study Ready for Review

MEEKS BAY

The draft Cascade to Meeks Trail Study has been released for public review. The study analyzes preferred routes for a paved pedestrian and biking trail along Tahoe’s West Shore from Cascade to Meeks Bay, along with access points and a cost/feasibility analysis. 

The SR-89 Corridor Management Plan identified the need for a multi-use trail along State Route 89 on the West Shore. The trail is one of several strategies to address high visitation levels, traffic congestion, and public safety concerns within the corridor. The agencies leading the project used the input received through public meetings and surveys to select the trail alignment analyzed as part of this trail study. 

The public is invited to learn about the draft report in a webinar to be held via Zoom on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 4 p.m. Please visit the project website at westshoretahoetrail.com to register for the webinar, view the draft report, and submit comments. The public comment period will close on March 3. 

The trail study was launched in 2021 by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, California State Parks, Caltrans, U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, El Dorado County, and The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California. 

~  TRPA press release 

National Forest Invites Public Input on Off-Highway Vehicle Program 

LAKE TAHOE 

Tahoe National Forest is preparing an annual application to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, off-highway motor vehicle recreation division, to request funding for trail and facilities maintenance, law enforcement, education, safety, development of a trailhead, and restoration. The forest will be hosting an open house where individuals and organizations are welcome to come learn more about the California OHV grants the Tahoe National Forest is considering applying for and how to provide input. The Tahoe National Forest OHV open house will be held on Feb. 16 at 3:30 p.m. at 631 Coyote St. in Nevada City.

Questions, comments, or letters can be submitted through the following ways:  

  • In-person: During the open house meeting via written comments  
  • Email: Trails Program Coordinator Joe Chavez, joe.chavez@usda.gov  
  • Mail: Tahoe National Forest, Attn: Joe Chavez, Forest Trails Program Coordinator, 631 Coyote St., Nevada City, Calif. 95959  

Feedback on projects and grant opportunities is requested by Feb. 22.  

Annual grants provide important funds for the Forest Service to develop and maintain trails and trailheads, repair winter storm damage, and restore trailside environments, as well as provide patrolling, education, and monitoring of OHV areas. When finalized, the grants will be available for public review on the State of California’s website March 7 through May 1.

~ USDA Forest Service press release

County to Apply for Federal Financial Assistance from Storms

PLACER COUNTY

Placer County was included in a winter storm disaster declaration approved by President Joe Biden. This action can bring much-needed financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, saving taxpayers up to $3.8 million. 

Under the declaration, Placer County, along with its cities and special districts, will all be eligible for public assistance, covering qualified emergency work and repairing or replacing disaster-damaged facilities and infrastructure.

The approval comes weeks after California was battered by a series of destructive winter storms. Storm impacts in the county include roadway damage, debris removal, wind and water damage, and more.

It is important to note that Placer County has not qualified for federal funding for individual assistance, which would offer direct support to impacted residents.

The Placer Resource Conservation District offers a chipper program to help landowners remove tree debris and vegetation, helping meet defensible space goals. The fee-based program also offers low-cost chipping services to qualifying residents. Learn more about the program on the Placer RCD website, here.

~ Placer County press release 

TRUCKEE COMMUNITY CARES is an all-volunteer, nonprofit 501(c)(3) umbrella organization that coordinates various drives during the holidays to help Truckee’s most vulnerable families and individuals. Courtesy photo

Mission Accomplished for Truckee Community Cares 

TRUCKEE

Truckee Community Cares is celebrating another successful season of helping locals enjoy a little bit of extra holiday cheer. 

“It’s amazing that such a small community has been stepping up so big for the last two decades,” says Truckee Community Cares President Will Mendoza. “That includes people from all economic backgrounds and faiths — and the amazing thing is they’ve continued to step up despite difficult economic times. It starts with individuals and goes all the way up to organizations like the Soroptimist International of Truckee Donner. They are a vital partner to our mission.”

This was Mendoza’s first season serving as TCC president. He says the Covid-19 pandemic forced the organization to reassess all aspects of the operation including its efficiency, values and mission. That is what spurred the name change: the idea of being as inclusive and welcoming to the entire community as possible. In addition to the new name, TCC also started a new partnership with North Tahoe Homeless Services to include the population it serves.

TCC collects cash contributions, lightly used coats and outerwear, along with new toys and games, and then redistributes these items to local families based in Truckee and Soda Springs. Monetary donations are used to purchase gift cards to local grocery stores and to supplement the toy and coat drives.

Mendoza says he’s grateful for the entire community’s continued support, from the over 100 local residents and businesses who made cash donations or donated clothes and toys, to the group of larger sponsors (15 total local community organizations) who help make it all possible. 

For a full list of sponsors or to sign up to receive email notifications ahead of next year’s efforts, visit truckeecommunitycares.com.

~ Truckee Community Cares press release 

50 YEARS YOUNG: Students must be 50 years old or better to enjoy Sierra College Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Courtesy photo

Age Less, Learn More at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

NEVADA COUNTY

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a mini college within the auspices of Sierra Community College, caters to fun explorers and inquisitive seekers of knowledge in Nevada and Placer counties who are age 50 and older.

Horwitz, 71, and her 73-year-old husband Stuart Smith appreciate that OLLI classes are tailored to adults. “Everyone in class seems to bond together,” she said. “People ask fascinating questions and make insightful comments. Everyone is there because they want to be there.”

Classes are stress free; there are no tests, grades, or college credits. Courses are held online via Zoom, in person, or a combination of both. In-person classes are held at the Nevada County campus, Rocklin campus, Sierra College-Roseville Center, and the Lincoln Public Library. Zoom classes are recorded so registered students can watch them at their leisure if they choose not to participate live.

Spring semester 2023 offers more than 100 diverse OLLI classes lasting from a few hours to several weeks. Genres include art, fitness and wellness, government and politics, humanities, literature and writing, music, nature, science, and travel. 

OLLI faculty is composed mostly of specialists and teachers, many retired after successful careers.

A course catalog flipbook is at sierraolli.org and a printed catalog is available by calling the OLLI Office at (916) 781-6290.

Perks of OLLI membership include a Sierra College library card good for borrowing privileges. OLLI members can bring a friend to a class session at no cost.

OLLI classes are a perfect fit for 50-plus people who are inherently curious, want to increase or refresh their knowledge, and stay socially active.

~ Sierra College OLLI press release 

Mercury Momentum and Reno Earth Day Dissolution

RENO

It is with sincerest gratitude and regret that the board of Mercury Momentum, the nonprofit that has organized the Reno Earth Day event since 2012, is announcing our dissolution. We will not be organizing the event for 2023 onward, but would like to thank our sponsors, volunteers, and community for supporting us. Without all of their support Reno Earth Day would not have been the successful community event that everyone has looked forward to each year in April.

~ Mercury Momentum press release

OBJECTIVES AND PRIORITIES: The board of supervisors for Nevada County unanimously adopts 2023 objectives. Courtesy photo

Supervisors Unanimously Adopt 2023 Board Objectives

NEVADA COUNTY

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted the 2023 board objectives at the Feb. 7 board meeting. The 2023 board objectives remain largely the same as 2022 and include eight community priorities: fiscal stability, emergency preparedness, economic development, broadband, climate resilience, housing, homelessness, and recreation.

In 2022, Nevada County celebrated significant accomplishments to advance the board’s objectives, with highlights including:

  • Broadband: Received $500,000 from the California Public Utilities Commission to provide network design and engineering for broadband across the county and is listed to receive almost $75 million total for grant project awards from the California Advanced Services Fund.
  • Housing: Celebrated the completion of Brunswick Commons and Cashin’s Field Housing developments, adding nearly 100 new affordable housing units in Grass Valley and Nevada City.
  • Economic Development: Secured $122,860 from the California Office of the Small Business Advocate to support 43 Nevada County microbusinesses, and granted over $2 million in funding to nonprofits, small businesses, and special districts through Nevada County’s American Rescue Plan Act allocation.
  • Recreation: In the first year of this objective, secured $200,000 from Sierra Nevada Conservancy to fund a countywide recreation and resiliency master plan, which will be one of the first of its kind in the state of California to comprehensively integrate.

Each year, the board of supervisors identifies its annual priorities during the board workshop in January. The board objectives identified aim to address community challenges and are used to manage county operations, programs, and services and to support the 2023/24 budget development process.

The mayors and managers from the City of Grass Valley, City of Nevada City, and Town of Truckee participated in the board workshop to discuss shared goals.

Learn more about Nevada County’s annual board objectives, including quarterly progress reports, at nevadacountyca.gov/boardobjectives.

~ Nevada County press release 

Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up

ADAM WILSON: The region’s destination stewardship and management organization expands its team with a new COO. Courtesy photo

Adam Wilson COO of North Tahoe Community Alliance

NORTH LAKE TAHOE

The North Tahoe Community Alliance, North Lake Tahoe’s destination stewardship and management organization, announces that long-time resident Adam Wilson has been selected as its chief operating officer. Reporting to president and CEO Tony Karwowski, Wilson will have oversight of business and community relations, events and marketing, promotions, communications, and other shared responsibilities across the organization.

Wilson moved to North Lake Tahoe in the mid-1970s, graduated from North Tahoe High in 1983, and has spent the entirety of his 40-plus-year career working in the travel, hospitality, and ski industries. Most recently, he served as the senior director of sales for Vail Resorts, overseeing the sales organization for all of the company’s mountain resorts outside of Colorado (including Northstar, Heavenly, and Kirkwood). Wilson served on the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association Board of Directors for over 10 years, seven of which were in leadership roles as chair, vice chair, and secretary. He was also part of the team that initiated the formation of the North Lake Tahoe Tourism Business Improvement District.

An active outdoor enthusiast, Wilson is passionate about skiing, wakesurfing, SUP, kayaking, biking, running, and more. He started in his new role on Feb.8.

The NTCA also recently welcomed three new staff members: Julie Barber, Joan Spelletich, and Laura Ann Sterling.

~ North Tahoe Community Alliance press release

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