News Briefs

Advisory Committee Recommends Proposed TBAP Amendments with Conditions

NORTH SHORE

On Nov. 30, members of the North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council (NTRAC) recommended to approve proposed amendments to the Tahoe Basin Area Plan with the following conditions needing additional review:

  • Consider egresses/fire evacuation (updates to the 2016 review)
  • Maintain the 56 feet in height, regardless of number of stories, with allowances for appurtenances and rooftop uses 
  • Incorporate transition zones between town centers and residential areas
  • Support re-development over new development 
  • Consider how allocation and conversion of development rights take place 

The amendments as they stand are intended to kickstart the economy on the North Shore. The recommendation will go before Placer County’s planning commission on Dec. 8.

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NTRAC’s conditions were made as part of the recommendation after 28 community members spoke during public comment. Of those, eight people said they were for approval of the amendments. Commenters mostly shared concerns about the proposed changes in height for developments, how quickly the process seemed to move, and a removal or reduction of parking requirements. 

Read Moonshine Ink’s reporting on the proposed changes to TBAP in Amendments to Basin Area Plan Aim to Ease North Tahoe Development.

~ AH

Village at Palisades Tahoe Specific Plan Partially Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report Released

OLYMPIC VALLEY

Placer County has released for public review a partially revised draft environmental impact report for the Village at Palisades Tahoe Specific Plan, formerly known as the Village at Squaw Valley.

The Village at Palisades Tahoe Specific Plan proposes an 85-acre resort village located in northeastern Placer County to redevelop the existing ski resort base area at the west end of Olympic Valley. An 8.8-acre parcel known as the east parcel is located 1.3 miles east of the resort near the entrance to Olympic Valley. 

In 2016, the board of supervisors approved similar development. A lawsuit was subsequently filed challenging the adequacy of the project’s environmental impact report. California’s Third District Court of Appeal ruled in August 2021 that the EIR did not adequately address wildfire evacuation times, construction noise impacts, public transit, and regional impacts to the Lake Tahoe Basin as they related to water quality.

The partially revised draft EIR addresses the court’s concern and is online.

The Placer County Planning Commission will hear public comments on the revised draft EIR at a public meeting on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, at the North Tahoe Event Center, located at 8318 North Lake Blvd. in Kings Beach. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. and will be streamed virtually via Zoom.

The planning commission and board of supervisors will be asked to reconsider the project and the revised draft EIR for approval after the public review process is completed. 

The proposed plan and project, which Palisades owner and developer Alterra Mountain Company has kept consistent with the prior approval, includes public trail improvements, new sewer connection and flush restrooms, restoration, construction of a new fire station, employee housing, and public transit improvements. Additionally, the proposal includes an indoor recreation center to provide year-round recreation opportunities for both visitors and locals.

~ Placer County press release 

New Tahoe Forest Primary Care Clinic Location 

TRUCKEE

Tahoe Forest Health System is pleased to announce the opening of its new primary care clinic, occupying the second floor of the Tahoe Forest Medical Office Building at 10956 Donner Pass Rd. in Truckee, across from Tahoe Forest Hospital. With 18 clinic rooms, the brand new facility provides ample space to treat patients.

The following providers will now be located at the new primary care clinic on the second floor of the Medical Office Building: 

  • Gina Barta, MD
  • Michael Hagen, MD
  • Jonathan Hedrick, MD
  • Reini Jensen, MD
  • Claire Loomis, PA‐C
  • Joshua Pfent, MD 
  • M. Soraya Pourtabib, MD 
  • Melissa Rider, PA‐C
  • Sam Smith, PA‐C 
  • Dan Stoll, MD
  • Celia Sutton‐Pado, MD
  • Aaron Ulland, MD

Patients who are currently established with a primary care provider in Tahoe City or Incline Village will continue care in that location.

The new primary care clinic location is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To schedule an appointment with a primary care provider, please call (530) 582‐6205.

Additionally, hours have been extended for the urgent care clinic, located on the first floor of the Medical Office Building, suite 110, will now be serving patients from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. The urgent care clinic in Truckee is walk‐in only. For more information about urgent care services and clinic locations, visit tfhd.com.

~ Tahoe Forest Health System press releases

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COMMUNITY CARES: Tahoe Community Christmas is now Truckee Community Cares. The name change is part of the group’s mission to help people of all faiths. Courtesy photo

Truckee Community Christmas Adopts New Name

TRUCKEE

After more than two decades of helping people in the community as Truckee Community Christmas, a popular nonprofit organization is changing its name. The new title, Truckee Community Cares, is indicative of the group’s mission to help people of all faiths and beliefs during the holiday season. 

TCC’s annual giving event is scheduled for Dec. 17 at the Truckee Community Recreation Center. TCC collects cash contributions, as well as lightly used coats and outerwear and new toys and games, and then redistributes to local families based in Truckee and Soda Springs. The cash is used to purchase gift cards to local grocery stores and to supplement the toy and coat drives.

Those who want to help can support TCC with a financial contribution via the website, truckeecommunitycares.com or by dropping off new toys or gently worn outerwear at collection bins throughout the community.

~ Truckee Community Cares press release 

Update on Lower Secline Water Quality Project 

KINGS BEACH

Placer County continues to make progress on the Kings Beach Water Quality Plan and will host a public meeting in December to provide residents with an update.

The Placer County Department of Public Works is planning to move forward with the Lower Secline Water Quality Project, which will pave the roadways and formalize parking at Secline Street and Brockway Avenue in Kings Beach. The project is intended to prevent fine sediment from the unpaved roadways from entering Lake Tahoe through stormwater runoff, thereby impacting water clarity.

Join Placer County officials for an update on the project Dec. 14, at the North Tahoe Events Center, located at 8318 North Lake Blvd. in Kings Beach. Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. and the presentation will begin at 5 p.m. The meeting will also be streamed virtually via Zoom.

During the meeting, county officials will provide updates on the project’s drainage conveyance, stabilization, revegetation, road runoff treatment, and the paving of Secline Street south of State Route 28.

The project also calls for the paving of 13 of the existing parking spaces on the lakeside portion of Secline Street along with paving the access way to the front of the North Tahoe Public Utility District sewer lift station, which is adjacent to the right of way. 

The Tahoe Basin Area Plan calls for a 10-foot-wide boardwalk down Brockway Vista Avenue and the project is designed to include land along the new water quality and pavement project that will accommodate this in the future.

~ Placer County press release 

Climate Advocates Host Health and Climate Change Community Forum 

TRUCKEE

The North Tahoe chapter of Citizensʼ Climate Lobby, the Town of Truckee, and the Sierra Business Council will host a free community forum on Dec. 7, titled Our Planetʼs Health is Our Health. This presentation and discussion will take place at Truckee Town Hall from 6 to 8 p.m. The event will include five speakers, all physicians with expertise in the effects of climate change on the health of our community members. 

Brad Miller, MD is an internist and a member of CCLʼs Health Action Team. Kenneth Cutler, MD is a pediatrician and former Nevada County public health officer. Lee Ballance, MD is an emergency medicine doctor and a member of CCLʼs Health Action Team. Sarah Woerner, MD is a pediatrician and international medical volunteer who practices at Western Sierra Medical Clinic. Elizabeth Haase, MD is a psychiatrist on the UNR School of Medicine faculty, medical director of psychiatry at Carson Tahoe Hospital, and a steering committee member of the Climate Psychiatry Alliance. 

The presentations will be followed by a discussion in which community members can ask questions. Attendees will leave with a new understanding of how climate change may be affecting their health and that of their loved ones. 

~ Citizens’ Climate Lobby press release 

Town Approves Phase Three of Soaring Ranch Project

TRUCKEE

The Town of Truckee Planning Commission recently approved the third and final phase of the Soaring Ranch project, allowing for the completion of the mixed-use development that will bring much needed new housing options to the popular mountain town. In total, 178 new multi-family residential housing units will be built.

As high demand and low inventory of residential housing persists in Truckee, the groundbreaking of Soaring Ranch Phase Two is planned for spring 2023, with the final phase of construction to follow the completion of the second phase. Plans for phase two include 33,000 square feet of ground floor commercial spaces that will house new restaurants and retail, and 69 studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom residential housing units to help address the community’s housing needs. Eight units will be dedicated as affordable housing.

Phase three consists of 109 one-, two-, and three-bedroom multi-family housing units. In addition, 8,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space will be developed, including 18 affordable housing units.

Soaring Ranch’s 16-acre property will include common space including a community lawn for events and gatherings and a dog park. The project includes $9 million in off-site infrastructure improvements including sidewalks, a new transit shelter, multiple EV charging stations, water, electric and sewer improvements, and the already completed roundabout at Soaring and Joerger roads. 

Learn more about Soaring Ranch and its residential and commercial offerings at soaringranch.com.

~ Soaring Ranch press release 

RAIN OR SNOW? Mountain Rain or Snow Project invites community observers around the country to improve winter weather predictions. Courtesy graphic

Citizen Science Weather Tracking Effort Goes National

RENO

Satellite technologies often struggle to differentiate snow from rain near the freezing point in mountainous regions, with impacts on flood predictions, avalanche forecasting, snowpack water storage, and road safety. To help improve these technologies, researchers from Lynker, DRI, and the University of Nevada, Reno are partnering with community observers to track winter storm activity across the country through a project called Mountain Rain or Snow. The project has been so successful at collecting data that demonstrates regional variation in the rain-snow threshold that NASA’s Citizen Science for Earth Systems Program is funding an additional three years.

The project began in 2019 as Tahoe Rain or Snow and expanded last year to include mountain regions across the country. Last winter, more than 1,100 people in the Sierra Nevada, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountains, and Northeast submitted real-time reports of rain, snow, or mixed precipitation. Community observers submitted 15,000 observations — a six-fold increase over the previous winter. 

Community members sign up to receive alerts when storms with predicted temperatures near freezing are in the forecast, and submit observations of the type of precipitation they are seeing via a web-based mobile phone app. These reports show that the Sierra Nevada region transitions from rain to snow around 36 degrees Fahrenheit, rather than around the freezing temperature of 32 degrees. Expanding the project to include more regions will help scientists understand how the rain-to-snow temperature threshold varies according to local atmospheric conditions, improve scientists’ ability to make locally-relevant predictions, and improve the technology behind rain-snow estimates.

~ Desert Research Institute press release 

SINGLE-USE: Single-use foodware becoming a thing of the past. Courtesy graphic

Truckee Approves a Single-Use Foodware Reduction Ordinance

TRUCKEE

On Nov. 8, the Truckee Town Council adopted a Single-Use Foodware Reduction Ordinance including the following policies:

  • A ban on the sale and distribution of expanded polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam. (Effective April 1, 2023)
  • Food vendors must provide reusable foodware for in-house dining. (Effective Jan. 1, 2024)
  • Food vendors must charge a $0.25 fee for each disposable takeout food container and cup provided. Vendors keep the fee revenue, and customers on WIC, EBT, or Medi-Cal are exempt from the fee. (Effective Jan. 1, 2024)
  • Accessory foodware items must only be provided if requested by the customer. This includes utensils, chopsticks, condiment cups and packets, straws, stirrers, splash sticks, cocktail sticks, napkins, cup lids, and cup sleeves. Note that some of these were already part of Assembly Bill 1276 and additions were incorporated for the local level. 

The ordinance was steered by the Single-Use Foodware Reduction Working Group, which was made up of business owners, members of the public, students, environmental advocates, and two Truckee Town Council members. Once the Single-Use Foodware Reduction Working Group formed its recommendations, staff conducted surveys with community members and business owners to gather feedback. Survey results, working group recommendations, and alternative staff recommendations were presented to the town council and ultimately guided the development of the final ordinance.

Requiring reusables for in-house dining is estimated to eliminate 8,291,925 disposable foodware items, between cups, utensils, plates, and bowls each year. This is equivalent to 129,509 pounds of waste. Requiring accessories upon request will reduce 15,777,330 disposable foodware accessories each year. Combined, waste avoided under these two policies is predicted to avert 4.78 metric tons of CO2 each year, equivalent to avoiding greenhouse gas emissions from 1 gasoline-powered passenger vehicle driven for one year.

Additional information is available for review on the Keep Truckee Green website.

~ Town of Truckee press release 

New Building Standards Code Goes Into Effect Jan. 1

PLACER COUNTY

Big changes to state building requirements will take effect for new projects in Placer County next year.

The California Building Standards Code, also known as Title 24, will soon mandate energy storage system readiness on all new home construction; accessory structures such as sheds and barns will need to be built out of fire-resistive material when located within 50 feet of a  property line; and builders must pre-install safety features to accommodate aging occupants among many other changes coming in the new year.

Starting Jan. 1, Placer County’s building services division will require permits to meet the 2022 Title 24 regulations, which set uniform standards for the construction and maintenance of buildings, electrical systems, plumbing systems, mechanical systems, and life safety systems. The code is routinely updated every three years.

There will also be requirements to either pre-install or reserve space for future features such as a heat pump water heater or energy storage system. The code will also require electric stovetops and clothes dryer outlets. Affecting Placer County’s higher elevation communities such as Lake Tahoe, the code will also require structures be designed to restrict the shedding of snow on walkways, exits, decks, or adjoining structures. 

New homes must also ensure safety for aging occupants. For example, sheetrock walls will need to be reinforced so that grab rails can be easily installed, and electrical outlets will need to be placed at easy-to-reach heights.

Detailed information on the state’s adoption of Title 24 and all amendments to the code can be accessed on the California Department of General Services website.

Permit applications submitted to the Building Services Division prior to Dec. 31 will fall under the 2019 standards.

~ Placer County press release 

Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up

Tahoe Fund Welcomes Five New Leaders to its Board

TAHOE CITY

The nonprofit Tahoe Fund announces that five new leaders have joined its board of directors. Invited because of their extensive leadership experience in the corporate and nonprofit sectors, these new members will guide the organization as it works to improve the Lake Tahoe environment for all to enjoy.

The Tahoe Fund’s new board members are:

  • Ryan Buntain, managing director and senior relationship manager for The Carlyle Group
  • Bill Dietz, president and principal broker at Tahoe Luxury Properties
  • Vickie Holtmeier, global senior vice president of Salesforce’s Emerging Business Unit
  • Matt Levitt, founder and CEO of Tahoe Blue Vodka
  • Beth Treacy, retired CEO and chief strategist of Treacy Marketing Group

Learn more about each new board member here

In their professional roles, the Tahoe Fund’s new board members have built and led high-performing teams, managed large institutional relationships, and had direct oversight of business operations, marketing, and brand strategies. Their skills will contribute to the long term success of the organization as it continues to grow its reach and impact within the Tahoe Basin. 

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

~ Tahoe Fund press release 

Board Approves Contract for New Placer County CEO

PLACER COUNTY

After a nationwide search, Jane Christenson has been selected to permanently fill the position of county executive officer for Placer County. Christenson, who has been acting CEO since June 2022, was chosen from among a field of 15 qualified candidates.

The Placer County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a two-year employment agreement with a starting annual salary of $272,875. The board relied on the services of an executive recruitment firm to conduct the nationwide search for a new CEO. The recruitment attracted a strong pool of applicants from across California as well as other states.  

Christenson was first hired by Placer County in January 2019 as the assistant county executive officer to then-CEO Todd Leopold, who resigned in June 2022. Over the past three years, Christenson has been instrumental in moving forward the county’s strategic initiatives and facilitating interdepartmental communication and coordination. 

Christenson brings a wealth of leadership, land use planning, and budget experience to the position acquired through nearly three decades of service to a number of local government agencies spanning the West Coast. Her résumé includes 18 years of service to the City of Redmond in Washington, where she was the deputy city administrator responsible for strategic direction and daily operations. Prior to her time in Redmond, Christenson held senior positions working in land use planning, regional public works infrastructure partnerships, and public safety with the cities of Sacramento, Coronado, and Redondo Beach.    

Christenson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University in New York and a Master of Arts degree in public administration from the University of California, Los Angeles. She grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, has a daughter in college, and lives in Roseville. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with family.

~ Placer County press release 

Business Briefs

SUGAR RUSH: New tubing park and snow play area at Sugar Bowl Resort to open ahead of Christmas holiday with sweet treats, warm drinks, and plenty of fun. Courtesy photo

Sugar Bowl Resort’s Sugar Rush Tubing and Snow Play Park 

NORDEN

Sugar Bowl Resort’s new tubing and snow play park is opening this winter. Featuring thrilling tubing lanes that will get your heart pumping, an experiential snow play area for the littlest snow lovers, and goodies galore — from donuts to funnel cake, candies to hot cocoa, and warm libations for those of age — there’s fun for everyone at the Sugar Rush Tubing and snow play park.

Open on weekends and holidays beginning Dec. 17, tubers will slide, spin, and charge their way down Sugar Rush’s 625-foot-long tubing lanes, then be ferried back to the top by a covered moving carpet lift to do it all over again, and again. In the snow play area, a rotunda, mini-tubes, and Burton Riglet boards will make it fun for the youngest snow enthusiasts.

Two-hour tubing sessions will be available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays, with an additional two-hour session planned on Saturdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Daily operations are planned Dec. 17, 2022 to Jan. 1, 2023, Jan. 14 to 16, and Feb. 18 to 26.

The cost for a two-hour tubing session is $40 per person for guests 42-inches or taller, and advance reservations are recommended. Walk-ups will be sold as space is available, but limited to predetermined time slots, so guests are encouraged to arrive at the start time to enjoy the full session.

Learn more and book reservations at sugarrushtubing.com

~ Sugar Bowl Resort press release 

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