News Briefs

Planning Commission Approves Aspects of Up-and-Coming Village at Gray’s Crossing

TRUCKEE

At Tuesday’s Truckee Planning Commission meeting, commissioners unanimously voted (with one recusal) to approve, with minor modifications, the construction of a car wash and amendments for a Marriott hotel within the Village at Gray’s Crossing. The Gray’s Crossing area, located in the Prosser neighborhood, comprises a golf course, market rate single-family lots, 92 affordable rental units (Henness Flats), 17 market rate townhomes, and a church. Active development and construction is occurring to bring about commercial, lodging, and other components.

The car wash amenity was first proposed to the planning commission in 2019, when a new iteration of the Village at Gray’s Crossing was presented. Because of neighborhood concern at the time over traffic generation and building character, the car wash and a gas station/convenience store were both removed by the applicant during the commission hearing.

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Since then, the same applicant team, which includes Matthew Abbate of Gray’s Crossing Investments and Martin Wood of SCO Planning & Engineering, has worked with Town of Truckee staff to meet the intent of the Gray’s Crossing Specific Plan and the town’s development code. Thus, the resubmission.

Over 80 public comments were submitted in reaction to the proposed car wash on Tuesday, a majority of which opposed the plans. Members of the Fairway Townhomes Association, which is part of Gray’s Crossing, touched on multiple concerns, including traffic congestion, heightened noise, hazardous wastewater release, exposure to harsh chemicals, and a lack of community equity. “The car wash is the developer’s attempt to salvage the investors’ return profile and is being forced through the planning commission on an invalid basis and flies in the face of extensive historical community opposition, without giving the community the opportunity to voice their concerns,” noted the Fairway comment.

Despite such open opposition from the community, the planning commission’s role was not to decide whether or not the car wash could happen because “the car wash use is a permitted use in the Gray’s Crossing permitted plan village center,” noted Yumie Dahn, principal planner with the town, during the meeting. 

“The planning commission,” she continued, “is here to ensure consistency with the specific plan and development code standards, ensure consistency with the 2025 general plan since this was deemed complete before the 2040 general plan was adopted, and then review the site layout and design of the document.”

Wood of SCO shared frustrations over the questioning of the project’s environmental credibility. 

“You guys know better than anybody how long it takes a project to get through,” he said at the meeting to the commission and town staff. “It takes years. Let’s just face it, in Truckee it takes years. And what happens when we finally get to the front of the thing? ‘Well, the [environmental impact report is] kind of old. We want to redo it.’ That’s just crazy … There’s no environmental concerns here. This meets the original EIR, it meets all the original approvals of Gray’s Crossing. We’ve done the updates that are prudent … we’ve done the homework. We’ve gone through this thing in painstaking detail and our client just wants something there that is by the rules that the town has put in place.”

View the full meeting here.

~ AH

New Imaging Technology at Community Hospital

INCLINE VILLAGE

Incline Village Community Hospital’s (IVCH) patients can now utilize the same level of state-of-the-art CT and X-ray technology available at Stanford and UC Davis.

The technology from Siemens is widely considered the best and fastest in the diagnostic imaging world. IVCH’s new 128-slice CT scanner, the SOMATOM X.cite, is powered by intuitive navigation that guides technicians in providing the highest level of accuracy, imagery clarity, and patient comfort.

In addition to the new CT scanner, IVCH acquired a ceiling-mounted X-ray system, the YSIO X.pree, that includes a 3D camera for patient positioning. It is the first radiography system to offer an interface that guides the technician through the exam workflow, improving the patient experience and the efficiency of the imaging process.

NEW CT SCANNER: TFHD diagnostic imaging technicians Jodie Higgins (standing) and Marie Donovan demonstrate the new equipment. Courtesy photo

The purchase of the equipment is made possible thanks to diligent years of fundraising by the IVCH Foundation. Led by Karli Epstein, executive director, the foundation raised over $7 million dollars for the project from rural healthcare grants from the Helmsley Charitable Trust, as well as generous local hospital supporters.

When the Helmsley Charitable Trust added Nevada as the eighth state in its rural healthcare program, it provided 10 Nevada hospitals with more than $11.3 million in grants to help purchase state-of-the-art diagnostic and radiology equipment. Of the $11.3 million, IVCH was gifted $1.8 million to purchase the new CT scanner and X-ray system.

IVCH patients can also look forward to 3D mammography equipment coming in the summer of 2024, thanks to a $1.9 million grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust and significant community support, including net proceeds from this past summer’s The Beach Boys Benefit Concert. 

To access the services at Incline Village Community Hospital, including information on diagnostic imaging and locations, please visit tfhd.com/ivch.

~ TFHD press release

ADOPT-A-HYDRANT: TDPUD and Truckee Fire recommend clearing a three-foot space around fire hydrants in your neighborhood. Courtesy photo

Adopt a Hydrant to Facilitate Access in an Emergency

TRUCKEE

Truckee Donner Public Utility District and Truckee Fire Protection District are encouraging community members to help keep the community safe by adopting a fire hydrant this winter.

House fires occur at the highest rates during the winter months and there are almost 3,000 fire hydrants in TDPUD and Truckee Fire service territory. While the agencies clear some priority hydrants on main roads and near critical infrastructure, they are not able to clear the thousands of hydrants in town following each storm. They are grateful for the community members who lend a hand keeping hydrants clear.

DO YOUR PART: TDPUD and Truckee Fire ask residents to help clear snow around fire hydrants after storms. Courtesy graphic

The agencies are asking Truckee residents to adopt a hydrant in their neighborhood, and work with their neighbors to keep it clear of snow. They recommend clearing a three-foot space around the entire hydrant, as well as clearing an access path from the hydrant to the street. This will ensure that firefighters have enough room around the hydrant to work, as well as allow them to identify and access the hydrant upon arrival. Residents should also exercise caution and use the appropriate tools when removing snow to avoid damaging the hydrant.

For more information on keeping hydrants clear, visit truckeefire.org/adopt-a-hydrant.

~ TDPUD press release

Avalanche Safety and Preparedness

WASHOE COUNTY

With the recent snowfall and more on the way, it is a good reminder to be aware of avalanche potential and become educated on pre-emptive steps to take before going outside to recreate.

In the Tahoe community, there are two historical avalanche zones: one in Third Creek drainage (terrain above upper Jennifer Street, Sutro, Bidwell, Lunar, and Mercury Courts) and one in Crystal Bay (terrain above Lakeview Avenue, Tuscarora Road, and Teresa Court). However, avalanches can occur anywhere when the right conditions exist.

When avalanche conditions warrant an alert notification, residents can expect a notification from Washoe County Emergency Management via a reverse telephone notification called Code Red. To receive these notifications (and other alert notifications), register at Washoe County Alerts & Warnings here.

Do not travel in the backcountry unless:

  • You know where and why avalanches occur.
  • You have checked the avalanche forecast in our region at the Sierra Avalanche Center.
  • You carry rescue gear and know how to use it.
  • You have learned to recognize the five red flags of an avalanche.

It is highly recommended to take an avalanche and avalanche rescue course. Local education providers can be found here.

To find avalanche information for the region, visit Washoe County Advisories – Avalanche.

~ North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District press release 

Presidential Primary Election Materials to Placer County Voters

AUBURN

Placer County voters should be on the lookout for the March 5 Presidential Primary Election Placer County Voter Information Guide. The guide provides information about the offices and measures on the ballot this election and a list of vote centers and secure ballot drop box locations available throughout Placer County. Guides will be mailed to all active, eligible voters starting Jan. 25.

If the voter information guide has not been received by Feb. 8 or if it has been misplaced, contact the elections office at (530) 886-5650 or (800) 824-8683 and a replacement will be mailed. View the voter information guide on Placer’s elections website at placercountyelections.gov.

All active, eligible Placer County registered voters will be mailed a vote-by-mail ballot for the March 5 Presidential Primary Election by Feb. 5. Voters may request a replacement ballot from Feb. 5 through Election Day, March 5, by filling out the vote by mail application on the elections website or calling the elections office. Placer County also offers a remote accessible vote by mail option to all registered voters. 

Placer County will have translated sample ballots in Spanish, Tagalog, Korean, or Punjabi that voters can use as a reference guide when voting their own ballot. To find out if the vote centers in your precinct will have a translated sample ballot in your language, or to request one be sent to you before Election Day, please call the elections office no later than seven days before Election Day.

Placer County voters are permitted to go to any vote center in the county for in-person voting. A list of locations will be included in the county voter information guide. 

If you have recently interacted with the DMV, your voter registration information may have been changed. Review your information at voterstatus.sos.ca.gov.

~ Placer County press release

IMPROVING ROAD SAFETY: Tahoe Regional Planning Agency hopes that its Vision Zero Strategy will make roads safer and accessible. Photo courtesy TRPA, Sarah Underhill

Vision Zero Strategy Aims to Make Tahoe Roads Safer

LAKE TAHOE

From 2013 to 2021, there were 41 fatalities and 183 life-changing serious injuries on Tahoe’s roadways according to crash data reported by state and local law enforcement agencies. To help prevent these crashes, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) this week released the draft Vision Zero Strategy for the Lake Tahoe region. The data-backed strategy includes proposed policy changes and priority projects to help transportation partners across the Lake Tahoe region improve safety for all road users, the agency said.

The Vision Zero Strategy aims to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries while increasing safe, healthy, and fair mobility for all. TRPA encourages members of the public to review and comment on the draft document through Feb. 2.

The Vision Zero Strategy will roll up into the 2025 Regional Transportation Plan update along with the recently completed Transportation Equity Study and Tahoe Trails Strategy. TRPA leads transportation improvement, planning, and funding in the Tahoe region to improve safety, create more walkable and bikeable communities, and protect Lake Tahoe’s air and water quality. 

Vision Zero emphasizes the importance of collaboration with local governments, state agencies, law enforcement, advocacy groups, and the public. During 2023, outreach in English and Spanish gathered input from more than 400 people at community events and 320 survey respondents.

The final strategy will be heard by the TRPA Governing Board at its Feb. 28 meeting. The public can review the draft Vision Zero Strategy at trpa.gov/visionzero and submit comments through Feb. 2 to Rachael Shaw at rshaw@trpa.gov or by phone at (775) 589-5267.

~ TRPA press release 

SKI WITH A RANGER: Skiers learn about cultural and natural history with a local ranger. Courtesy photo

Ski With a Ranger

NEVADA CITY

Tahoe National Forest announced the Ski-with-a-Ranger education program at Alpine Meadows at Palisades Tahoe. Intermediate level and above skiers and snowboarders are invited to join a Ski-with-a-Ranger tour beginning Friday, Jan. 19, through early April or as conditions allow. One-hour tours will depart every Friday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. from the Alpine Meadows Base Lodge deck, weather permitting. 

Tours are led by knowledgeable conservation education staff with topics covering the cultural and natural history of the area. This free conservation education program is offered to help bring awareness about the mission and role of the forest service in ski area management, improve public understanding of natural resource processes and issues, and promote environmental literacy and stewardship. 

Tours are available on a first come, first served basis for 12 participants maximum. Participants must provide their own lift ticket and gear. Call (530) 448-2603 or email roberta.walkerforest@usda.gov for more information.

Learn more or contact a Tahoe National Forest office here.

~ USDA press release

COMMUNITY FORUM: Get information on regional transportation at the next Good Morning Truckee on Feb. 20. Courtesy graphic

Two Lunch and Learn Events Offered in February

TRUCKEE

The Truckee Chamber of Commerce is hosting two Lunch and Learns for February. Lunch and Learn is a free monthly forum for Truckee Chamber of Commerce members to hear from a speaker and then discuss ideas, concerns, and best outcomes in a roundtable discussion format. 

  • Virtual Webinar: Employment Law Updates for 2024 with Emily Dubansky of McDonald Carano
  • Date: Feb. 8 from 12 to 1 p.m.
  • Location: Virtual on Google Meet (link provided upon registration). Pre-registration is required for all virtual events. Register here
  • Focus: Discussion around new legislation affecting California workplaces in 2024, including the minimum wage increase and new leave laws.

About Emily Dubansky: Emily Dubansky is a member of the Employment & Labor Law Practice Group and Commercial & Complex Litigation Practice Group. Her litigation practice includes trial and appellate work in state and federal courts, administrative hearings, and other proceedings before regulatory agencies, and private arbitration and mediation. 

  • In-person Session: Diversifying Your Social Media Marketing with Jordan Hicks of CC Media
  • Date: Feb. 14 from 12 to 1 p.m.
  • Location: Town Council Chambers, Truckee Town Hall
  • Focus: Explore strategies for diversifying your social media marketing by platform and audience.

About Jordan Hicks: Jordan has experience in almost every industry, from food and beverage to politics. She has a Bachelors in business leadership and management and has studied graphic design, marketing, and advertising with plans to get an MBA in the next few years.

All Lunch and Learns are free for Truckee Chamber Members and $20 for future members. For more information or to register, visit truckee.com/events.

~ Truckee Chamber of Commerce press release

Emergency Notification Test Scheduled

NEVADA COUNTY

As part of Nevada County’s ongoing commitment to community safety, a test of the CodeRED Emergency Alert System is scheduled for Jan. 31. CodeRED is an opt-in notification system the County of Nevada uses to notify residents in an emergency. Residents can receive text, email,  landline, cell phone, and TTY alerts. Despite a relatively mild fire season last year, the County of  Nevada Office of Emergency Services (OES) emphasizes the importance of year-round preparedness.  

SIGN UP FOR CodeRED: An emergency notification test of CodeRED is scheduled for Jan. 31. Courtesy photo

OES urges residents to sign up for emergency alerts for the Jan. 31 test. The test will run in phases throughout the day by supervisorial district beginning at 10 a.m. 

“Whether it’s for a wildfire evacuation or important information during a winter storm, it is critical that our residents receive timely emergency communications,” said OES director Craig Griesbach. “During the last two winter storms, CodeRED allowed us to share potentially lifesaving information as widely as  possible. Signing up for alerts and participating in our annual CodeRED test is an easy and critical way to improve your individual preparedness.” 

To register for CodeRED Emergency Alerts:  

  • Visit readynevadacounty.org/emergencyalerts 
  • Text ReadyNevadaCounty to 99411 and follow the link to complete the registration
  • Call 211 or 1-833-DIAL211 for assistance from a Connecting Point call agent 

CodeRED Emergency Alerts will display as originating from (866) 419-5000 or (855) 969-4636  on caller ID. Residents are encouraged to save these numbers. 

If you or someone you know does not receive the test alert by the end of the day on Jan. 31,  contact CodeRED’s parent company, OnSolve, to confirm the information is in the system at crsupport@onsolve.com or (866) 939-0911 x1, Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Residents can learn more  about wildfire preparedness at readynevadacounty.org. Follow the Office of Emergency Services on X here and on Facebook here for updates and tips on how to  prepare.

~ Nevada County press release 

Business Briefs

Make 2024 A Greener, Cleaner Year

TAHOE VISTA

This year, consider making energy, water, and wastewater resolutions to help contribute to a greener, cleaner future.

Bright Ideas for Your New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Change your light bulbs to LEDs. LEDs are more energy efficient – those that are ENERGY STAR certified use about 75% less energy than incandescent lighting.
  • Invest in air sealing your home. Reducing the amount of air that leaks in and out of your home is a cost-effective way to cut heating and cooling costs.
  • Install timers for your lights and appliances. Alternatively, you can use a power strip for appliances and devices. Plug your devices and appliances into a power strip and manually turn off the power strip when not in use.
  • Get a programmable thermostat to help reduce heating and cooling costs.  
  • Upgrade your appliances to more energy-efficient models.
  • Enroll in one or more of Liberty Utility’s free energy efficiency programs to learn how you can lower your energy use. 

 Resolutions to Help You Go with the Flow:

  • Invest in a low-flow showerhead. Standard showerheads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute (gpm) while showerheads with the WaterSense label use less than 2.0 gpm. By installing a showerhead with the WaterSense label, the average family may save approximately 2,700 gallons per year!
  • Install a weather-based irrigation controller (WBIC) to reduce your outdoor water use while maintaining your landscape. Liberty customers in California can apply for the Weather-Based Irrigation Controller Program to receive a free WBIC. 
  • Insulate your pipes.
  • Check your house for leaks each month. 
  • Upgrade your appliances to more water-efficient models. 

 Don’t Let Your Resolutions Go Down the Drain:

  • Help protect our wastewater systems and watersheds by knowing what not to flush down the drain or toilet. 
  • Get in the habit of disposing fats, oils, and grease (FOG) in the trash rather than washing it down the drain. 

~ Liberty Utilities press release

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