TART Connect Microtransit Pilot Approved For Winter
At the Oct. 11 Truckee town council meeting, the free microtransit pilot program (TART Connect) was approved for winter. The pilot program will start on Dec. 15 and run through April 2, 2023, resulting in 109 days of operations to capture the peak winter tourist activity period. The winter pilot period is about 50% longer than the summer pilot period, which was 73 days. The zones in which the microtransit operates will be similar to that of the summer pilot period (Tahoe Donner, Glenshire, and downtown) with the addition of Alder Creek Middle School and expansion along West River Street to allow access to Donner Creek Mobile Home Park. Additional expansion to more residential areas is restrained by funding at this time. The winter pilot will use five vehicles instead of the seven used during the summer pilot.
The town’s transit program manager, Alfred Knots, presented on data that was collected on the summer pilot reporting that it proved cost effective, convenient, reliable, and accessible, with an average rider rating of 4.9 out of 5. The summer pilot carried about 20,000 people in 73 days spanning from June 25 to Sept. 5. The cost per rider during the summer pilot was $23.56. Knots reported that 41% of riders were second homeowners or visitors and 59% of riders were full-time residents (this data is subject to error because not all riders completed the survey).
The council was presented with three different winter pilot service scenarios. Scenario A would provide micro transit service from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m, scenario B from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and scenario C from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Scenario A matched the current funding for the program, whereas scenarios B and C would require additional funding that would be obtained from the Sustainability Designation Fund. Knots advocated for scenario C based on findings from the summer pilot program.
Discussion among council members as well as public comment brought forth that scenario C would prove most effective by providing transit service for those traveling in the morning for school and work as well as medical appointments. Scenario C also provides transit until 10 p.m., which helps to remedy the safety concern of drunk driving. The council members were in unanimous support of scenario C and in using the Sustainability Designation Fund to fund the winter pilot and therefore approved the pilot program.
Placer County’s Lower Secline Water Quality Project
The Lower Secline Water Quality Project is one of Placer County’s projects under the Kings Beach Water Quality Plan. According to Placer County, the intent of the project is to pave and formalize the existing parking already available at the intersection of Secline Street and Brockway Vista Avenue in Kings Beach to prevent fine sediment runoff from the unpaved roadway entering Lake Tahoe and therefore impacting the water quality. The county is funding the project through the U.S. Forest Service, Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act Funds, and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Water Quality Mitigation Funds.
The project will not increase nor decrease the existing amount of parking that is currently available but rather construct the existing dirt parking area. According to Placer, the existing parking is currently impacting the water quality of Lake Tahoe as well as access to the North Tahoe Public Utility District sewer lift station. The NTPUD owns and maintains this land.
NTPUD is in support of the project, the board of directors having approved the project with specific conditions at its Aug. 9 meeting. The term of the license agreement is through Jan. 1, 2043, and there are clauses to be followed for removal and revocation should that become necessary.
“Our board voted unanimously to approve the project on our Secline Avenue parcel with the requirements that Placer County host a public meeting with the North Tahoe Business Association’s Economic Vitality Committee and members of the public prior to construction; and that the county make a reasonable effort to redesign the project to preserve the large pine tree located on the east side of the parking area on NTPUD property,” said Justin Broglio, NTPUD’s public information officer, to Moonshine Ink.
As requested, the county met with NTBA Economic Vitality Committee, and at that meeting concerns were brought up about the quantity of the proposed parking as well as the specific location of pedestrian elements and whether or not the proposed project aligned with the Tahoe Basin Area Plan and Kings Beach Vision Plan. Based on this feedback, Placer County put a pause on the implementation of the project to ensure that the project meets the needs of the community and the environment prior to beginning construction. The county is continuing discussion with the NTBA committee and is planning to re-engage with the public at a public meeting that will be held in November.
Court Date Pushed Back for Caldor Fire’s Accused Parties
EL DORADO COUNTY
David Scott Smith and his son, Travis Shane Smith, are accused of reckless arson in connection with last year’s Caldor Fire, which burned 221,835 acres across El Dorado, Amador, and Alpine counties. Originally expected to attend their preliminary hearing on Oct. 7 in El Dorado County, that hearing was vacated. The next court date, which will decide whether or not the Smiths’ case will proceed to trial, is expected to take place Jan. 10, 2023 at 8:30 a.m. The hearing estimate length of time is a two-day minimum.
Single-Use Foodware Reduction Update
Following a multi-year community outreach and engagement process, Keep Truckee Green is drafting a single-use foodware reduction ordinance. A working group consisting of restaurant owners, members of the public, environmental advocates, students, and two council members wrapped up this past June. Over a six-month period, the working group evaluated three policies to reduce waste in our community. After a community survey was conducted to get feedback on the group’s recommendations, the policies were brought to the town council in August, where council approved the recommendations. Staff is now working on drafting the ordinance language to bring back for a first reading at the Oct. 25 town council meeting.
The three policies and proposed implementation dates are:
- Ban the sale and distribution of expanded polystyrene (commonly known as Styrofoam), effective April 1, 2023.
- Require reusable foodware for all in-house dining, effective Jan. 1, 2024.
- Require a $0.25 fee on disposable takeout cups and takeout food containers, effective Jan. 1, 2024.
These policies aim to reduce all single-use foodware and create a cultural shift towards reusable foodware. Given Truckee’s limited recycling and compost options and large upstream environmental impacts from repeatedly sourcing and producing single-use items, reusable products have a significantly reduced environmental impact and are the best foodware option. Learn more at keeptruckeegreen.org.
~ Talk From The Town: Town of Truckee monthly newsletter
Annual Unmet Transit Needs Report
Placer County Transportation Planning Agency wants to hear from county residents about how public transit can best serve the Placer County region. PCTPA has launched its Unmet Transit Needs survey, which seeks public input on the current transit system and possible service improvements. The survey runs until Nov. 18, and can be accessed at pctpa.net/utn.
Community members are also invited to join the PCTPA board meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 26, starting at 9 a.m. at 175 Fulweiler Ave. in Auburn to provide feedback in person on the existing transit system.
Once the survey closes, findings are anticipated to be presented to the board for adoption in February 2023.
~ Placer County Transportation Planning Agency
Washoe County Commissioner Allocates Grants
At the Oct. 7 board meeting of Washoe County commissioners, District 1 Commissioner Alexis Hill allocated grant funds for Incline Village. According to Washoe County, each commissioner has a budget to assist nonprofit and governmental entities in their districts. The board accepted Hill’s recommendation to approve the Commission District Special Fund distribution in the amount of $27,500. Twenty-five thousand dollars were allocated to the Incline Village Crystal Bay Community and Business Association to support funding of the Incline Village Main Street program and $2,500 was allocated to the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition to fund the update, printing and distribution of Lake Tahoe Bicycle Maps.
Beach-Cleaning Robot Purges Hidden Litter
Tahoe’s beaches represent the last stop for small pieces of litter before they enter the lake’s vibrant blue waters. The all-electric, remote-controlled, beach-cleaning robot, or BEBOT, was deployed around the Tahoe Basin for the first time in 2022. This debut was also the first time the technology has been used on the West Coast.
Between June and October, the BEBOT visited 11 beaches around the Tahoe Basin managed by the USDA Forest Service, California State Parks, Nevada State Parks, local governments, and private owners. Each visit was permitted and the effort ensured sensitive habitats were avoided. At each cleanup site, the robot covered up to a 5,000 square foot area, sifting sand up to 4 inches deep and gathering small bits of garbage and organic matter in its hopper.
Volunteers removed all the litter they could before the BEBOT was deployed. Even after pre-cleaning, the robot gathered a staggering amount of hidden litter – 6,315 pieces in total.
Looking ahead to next summer, the League and ECO-CLEAN Solutions are working with public and private land managers to schedule regular BEBOT cleanups for the spring and fall, expand cleaning areas to cover entire beaches, and use the data collected to devise policy solutions to stop trash before it becomes litter. The partners are also exploring a range of other opportunities, such as targeting invasive Asian clam shells and goose droppings as a nuisance and water quality threat, and introducing other innovative cleaning technologies in 2023.
~ League to Save Lake Tahoe press release
Upper Tyrolian Mountain Bike Trail
The Upper Tyrolian Trail, North Lake Tahoe’s newest singletrack mountain bike trail featuring berms, jumps, and other natural features is now open above Incline Village. The project was spearheaded by the Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association with a $60,000 grant from the Tahoe Fund. Its completion was celebrated by the volunteers, supporters, and donors who made it possible.
Together with the U.S. Forest Service and Sensus R.A.D. Trails, a trail-building nonprofit by local freeride mountain bike athlete Cam Zink, TAMBA converted old logging roads into nearly two miles of sustainable singletrack trail that connects Tahoe Meadows off Mount Rose Highway to the existing Tyrolian Downhill Trail. The new upper section of the trail provides an official start trailhead with improved signage, and was designed to reduce mountain bike traffic on the Tahoe Rim Trail.
The first part of the Upper Tyrolian Trail was built as a flowy singletrack trail that incorporates natural features to enhance the rider experience. After 0.75 miles, the trail transitions to one with professionally designed and built rollovers, tabletops, step-ups, step-downs, and triple-option jumps that provide a unique and challenging experience for riders to practice and build their skills.
The second element of the project was to decommission miles of eroded logging roads in the area where the Upper Tyrolian Trail begins. These dirt roads were used extensively by logging operations and were not designed to manage stormwater. Decommissioning included scarifying compacted areas, naturalizing the soil surface with pine duff, and incorporating erosion control features to reduce sediment runoff into creeks that flow into Lake Tahoe.
~ TAMBA press release
General Plan 2040 Expected Adoption, SB 6’s Impacts
The 2040 Truckee General Plan is expected to go before the planning commission on Feb. 21, 2023, and before the town council on March 28 for final approval and adoption. The project first began in November 2018, its progress waylaid by the Covid-19 pandemic.
At an Oct. 11 joint council and planning commission meeting, a working session allowed staff to present the latest information and lead a discussion about the following topics: the draft economic development element rewrite; draft safety and noise element revisions; floor area ratio as a combined residential/commercial standard; Gateway Area density; riverfront mixed-use land use designation; and workforce housing in the commercial land use designation.
Of note was the announcement of Senate Bill 6, which, beginning July 1, 2023, allows residential use on commercial property without requiring formal rezoning. As town staff is currently reviewing SB 6 and the impacts it will have on the town, some of the Oct. 11 discussion points, such as floor area ratio, were put on pause until the state legislation is better understood.
At the joint October meeting, no major changes were requested of staff, which continues to provide responses to comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report.
On Nov. 1, Town of Truckee staff will present noise and safety elements of the 2040 General Plan to the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, to receive feedback and comments.
Once the 2040 general plan is adopted, staff will begin implementing changes, including updating the development code and zoning, and begin work on short-term action items identified in the plan.
Cal Fire Adds New Demonstration State Forest
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) announced the addition of a new demonstration state forest and more than 1,200 acres to its demonstration state forest system. Acquisition of these areas continue to increase opportunities for forest restoration, critical research, and public recreation, and build upon the valuable role of California’s demonstration state forest system to help answer critical questions about the important role that forest management serves in the era of climate change.
These two new areas consist of 1,151 acres of Sierra Nevada forestlands in the American River headwaters in Placer County and 120 acres adjacent to the community of Twin Peaks in San Bernardino County. The Placer County property is the second of a three-phase project with multiple partners to create a permanently protected 2,618-acre Demonstration State Forest spanning the Upper American and Bear River watersheds in Placer and Nevada counties. The new Placer County property was formerly owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company and has been transferred to Cal Fire through PG&E’s Land Conservation Commitment in partnership with the Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council. Cal Fire will own and manage the property and the Placer Land Trust holds a conservation easement that prohibits subdivision, limits development, and maintains the scenic nature of the property.
This new procurement follows Cal Fire’s recent acquisition of 267 acres between the South Yuba River and Bear River below Lake Spaulding. The final phase of this three-phase project will be the addition of 1,200 acres near the Bear River. This is anticipated to be acquired from PG&E in early 2023.
~ Cal Fire press release
Ribbon Cutting for New Downtown Park
After five years of planning, a new park and outdoor gathering space is set to open in downtown Truckee, adjacent to the Community Arts Center on Church Street. Mark Tanner Construction drove the revitalization project in collaboration with the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe Community Project. The property is owned by the Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at the park on Oct. 26 at 5 p.m.
The multi-use space includes an outdoor amphitheater where cultural activities can be held. There’s also a natural playscape area for kids, picnic tables, and a Truckee-themed mural that was painted by local students and organized by Arts for the Schools. The new park replaces an old parking lot and play structure that had become outdated and worn down.
“Of course, starting the project during a pandemic was less than ideal,” says project manager Jen Weissenberg. “Especially with the supply chain and material issues that emerged over the past two years. But the community really rallied to make this happen.”
High West Landscape designed the park, and many local organizations donated money to the project, including the Truckee Tahoe Airport District. A slew of local companies also donated materials for use in the park, which is completely ADA accessible.
Local residents and businesses stepped up by purchasing customized pavers in a “Buy A Brick” campaign. Engraved pavers are still available as are other additional naming opportunities to be considered. To learn more visit downtowntruckeepark.com.
~ Truckee Downtown Park press release
Goodbye to Locals’ Summer
Have you checked the weather? Winter is coming!
Although we all know Tahoe weather can be unpredictable, it’s looking like a cold front is moving in, signifying the end of what we all know and love as “local summer,” when the crowds from the summer are gone but the weather is just right for outdoor activity.
Boats are coming off the lake, sandals are being thrown to the back of the closet, and the puffy coats are hitting the town. Check out this photo gallery by Moonshine Ink’s photographer Ted Coakley III, capturing the last of the beach day.
Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up
Navy Veteran Will Serve as County’s New Veterans Service Officer
There’s a new face ready to support Placer County veterans and their families. Matthew Galvin, a longtime Navy officer, has been appointed the county’s new veterans service officer, overseeing an office that supports veterans’ access to compensation and pensions, survivor benefits, education, vocational rehabilitation, home loans, life insurance, and burial benefits, among other services.
Galvin began his Navy career as a torpedoman’s mate operations technician working on submarine ordnance, after which he was honorably discharged and went on to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice administration and a master’s in public administration from San Diego State University.
He worked in county government before rejoining the Navy as an officer in 2003, where he served as an intelligence officer for several years before moving on to a variety of leadership roles involving recruitment and personnel, including region director of human resources and military honors. He concluded his service as administrative services director before retiring this year.
“I am excited about this role and working with the veteran community in Placer County to help fulfill this office’s mission,” Galvin said. “There are many veterans in the county who might not be receiving the benefits they have earned or are wary of applying. We are here to help and have an open door.”
The Veterans Service Office is available to serve the approximately 27,000 veterans who live in Placer County, along with their families, by helping them access and maximize the benefits they have earned — through counseling, education, benefits assistance, and advocacy in interactions with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Based primarily in Rocklin, the office also offers hours in Auburn and Carnelian Bay. Visit the website for more information about accessing services.
~ Placer County press release
Resort at Squaw Creek Announces Manfred Steuerwald as General Manager
Resort at Squaw Creek announces Manfred Steuerwald as general manager. Steuerwald joins the property from Hyatt Regency Calgary in Alberta, Canada.
“I am thrilled to join the incredible team here at Resort at Squaw Creek,” Manfred said. “In this new role, I look forward to opening a new and exciting chapter for the property following the Covid-19 pandemic, and enhancing our customer experience on all levels. I am also very excited to get to get involved with the local community here in North Lake Tahoe, while getting outside and enjoying everything our amazing destination has to offer.”
With nearly 40 years of experience working in the hospitality industry, Steuerwald began his career with a focus in the culinary field. Born and raised on a farm outside of Vienna, Austria, Steuerwald discovered a passion for cooking at a young age. He began working in restaurant kitchens as a dishwasher throughout school, and moved to Waldegg, Austria, to attend culinary school.
Following his graduation from culinary school in 1986, Steuerwald started to travel the world, including Germany, South Africa, and was part of the opening team of the Royal Viking Queen cruise ship in 1992, which provided a luxury cruise experience sailing worldwide.
Throughout his career, Steuerwald has been a member of several hotel and culinary professional organizations including serving as director of the board for the Calgary Hotel Association, president of the Cayman Island Culinary Association, and director of the Caribbean Culinary Federation.
~ Resort At Squaw Creek press release
Gatekeeper’s Museum Selected To Participate In Collections Assessment For Preservation Program
Gatekeeper’s Museum announces that it is one of 56 institutions in the United States selected to participate in the Collections Assessment for Preservation program.
CAP helps museums improve the care of their collections by providing support for a general conservation assessment of the museum’s collections and buildings. The museum will work with a team of preservation professionals to identify preventive conservation priorities. The final assessment report will help the museum prioritize its collections care efforts in the coming years.
“Being involved in this program will give our museum a stronger foundation for the preservation and conservation of our Native American basket collection, which is one of the largest collections in California, to ensure its longevity for years to come,” said Susan Winter, director of Gatekeeper’s Museum.
The CAP program is administered by the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation through a cooperative agreement with the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
~ Gatekeeper’s Museum press release
KidZone Luncheon Fundraiser
KidZone Museum, a local nonprofit children’s museum, will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a complimentary luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 3. The THINK BIG event will be held at the Resort at Squaw Creek. It is the museum’s sole annual fundraiser. Money earned from the event and community support are critical to keeping the doors of the museum open.
The luncheon will highlight three decades of play, discovery, and community connections. Keynote speaker Kristin Slye, a licensed psychotherapist and the Sierra Nevada’s only registered expressive arts therapist, will share what she sees happening with the community’s youth.
Slye will discuss how positive early childhood experiences at home and at KidZone Museum help lay the foundation for a more defined sense of self, fortified relationships, and improved mental health.
After two years of virtual events, the committee is delighted to once again offer the in-person luncheon format. Complimentary registration is open to the public and available until Oct. 24. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. for the one-hour program that will start promptly at noon.
“Donations made at the event help fund efforts to reach our most vulnerable families and provide scholarships so no family is ever turned away,” said KidZone MuseumPhilanthropy Officer Jen Parker.
KidZone Museum is the only children’s museum serving North Lake Tahoe and Truckee, with more than 30,000 visits annually. The creative play spaces, including an outdoor nature play-space, are optimal for children under 7 years of age. Camps and school programs are designed for children through elementary school. Teenagers gain important service learning experience through volunteering opportunities at the museum.
Through its community connections programs, no one is ever turned away from the museum for lack of funds. The nonprofit museum relies heavily on community support, and the need now is as great as ever.
~ KidZone Museum press release
Local Architect Todd Mather Wins Dwell Magazine Award
Tahoe-based architect Todd Gordon Mather of TGMA has been awarded Dwell Magazine’s 2022 Anderson Bright Ideas award. Mather’s approach to each project reflects his careful incorporation of well-thought and well-planned strategies for both snow-design elements and hot summers of mountain climates.
The criteria for the award included:
- Creative in their approach to fenestration and daylighting.
- Environmentally responsible with safe, healthy living spaces that incorporate recycled, renewable, or otherwise sustainable materials.
- Structurally innovative in their use of new materials and/or methods.
- Contextualized and responsive to their surroundings to ensure they fit into their environment.
Mather’s design, titled Phoenix Rising, is the winner in the 2022 Andersen Bright Ideas Awards in the single-family category. “We are very honored to have one of our local West Shore Lake Tahoe custom homes featured in Dwell next month. It is truly amazing to receive so many awards and publications with this modern A-frame,” Mather said. “My small staff and I worked diligently to make this home very special and unique among so many uninteresting and substandard A-frames in the region. And of course, it’s wonderful to be recognized for our talents, skill and hard work. The Andersen Windows-Dwell award is shared with our amazing local team because it takes a village to make these projects succeed. Our local team included builders Brett Spadi and Dan Kane, Linchpin Structural Engineering located in Truckee and one of the finest interior design firms around, id.3 in Tahoe City. This isn’t your grandfather’s A-frame!”
~ TGMA press release