First Reading of STR Ordinance Passes
On Sept. 22, Town of Truckee staff introduced the first reading of an ordinance intended to minimize nuisance associated with short-term rentals and create a framework guiding their licensing and enforcement. The town council motion carried the first reading 4-1, with Tony Commendatore as the dissenting vote. Commendatore shared his concern over restrictions on ADUs (currently made at a state level). The full presentation, discussion, and public comment period (over 300 comments were submitted) lasted roughly four-and-a-half hours.
Some of the key topics addressed in the ordinance (including changes adopted and passed) are listed below:
- Registration: An annual STR registration certificate and registration fee will be required for all homes operating in Truckee.
- Occupancy Limit: No more than two people per bedroom plus two additional people will be permitted, excluding children 12 and under.
- Accessory Dwelling Units: Prohibition of short-term renting of all ADUs and junior ADUs for which a building permit was issued on or after Jan. 1, 2020.
- Parking: On-site parking shall be provided and no parking will be permitted on the street or in an unpaved area. STRs in the Downtown Mixed Use zoning district may propose an alternative parking plan designating off-site parking.
- Noise: Noise regulations, including quiet hours between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., will be imposed (applies town-wide, not just to STRs).
- Garbage: Accumulation of trash and debris outside of a short-term rental at any time is prohibited. A bear-resistant garbage enclosure will be required at each STR to manage refuse and protect wildlife. Operators will have until Oct. 31, 2021 to install a bear-resistant trash enclosure.
To review the proposed ordinance, comments, and any future changes regarding STRs in Truckee, visit townoftruckee.com/government/town-manager/short-term-vacation-rental-ordinance-and-permit-program.
Road Name Deemed Offensive
A proposal to change the name Coon Street to Raccoon Street in Kings Beach has worked its way up to Placer County’s board of supervisors, who will review the idea on Oct. 27. The street name, which was first recorded in 1926, is one of several north-south running streets in Kings Beach that are named after animals; the cross streets are named after trout species. County staff received multiple public comments and requests to change the name due to the its offensive connotations.
The North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council voted 6-0 on Sept. 10 to recommend the change to the county planning commission. On Sept. 24, all commissioners except one voted to also recommend the change to the board of supervisors.
Jeffrey Moss, the dissenting vote, said of the proposal, “There’s absolutely nothing offensive about this. It’s a common term and it’s referring to an animal. I don’t want to see us heading in a direction of appeasement to anybody who chooses to be offended, because being offended is a choice.”
If approved by the Placer supervisors, the county will spend an estimated $4,700 for labor and materials for 28 new road signs.
Graffiti Removal Efforts Ongoing
The Donner Summit Association, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Truckee Donner Land Trust have been organizing graffiti removal cleanups over the past month to tackle tagging activity at the train tunnels on Donner Summit.
The sign-up list for graffiti removal in early September was hacked, according to an e-newsletter by the DSA. While 25 people were expected for a shift, only three showed up. Contact information was double-checked and revealed as fraudulent, yet the organization still expressed optimism at the progress made.
The most recent organized effort (as of press deadline) took place on Thursday, Sept. 24.
~ DSA e-newsletter
Cleanup Removes 8,000 Pounds of Trash
Local nonprofit Clean Up the Lake has removed a total of 8,183 pounds of trash from Donner Lake and Lake Tahoe. Beginning in July 2020, the CUTL dive teams circumnavigated the lake in SCUBA gear, collecting trash from the 8-mile shoreline at depths of zero to 25 feet. The teams pulled out all the smaller pieces of trash they could find, resulting in 5,151.5 pounds taken from Donner Lake, and 2,661 pounds of litter removed from Lake Tahoe in SCUBA cleanups since June (371 additional pounds were previously collected from Tahoe by the organization).
On Sept. 23, CUTL, UC Davis TERC, and the Desert Research Institute sorted and categorized approximately 2,000 pounds of trash. They will use the data to develop educational programs, better inform policy makers, and spread public awareness on items that need to be reduced so they do not make back into the lake.
~ CUTL press release
Community Pool Reopened
The Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District reopened the Truckee Community Swimming Pool on Sept. 28. It had been closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. With summer wrapping up, TDRPD is anticipating the community’s need and desire to recreate safely indoors.
TDRPD is putting in place many COVID-19 health precautions for the safest possible swimming experience. The pool will operate on a reservation system only that allows for significant physical distancing between households. Patrons can make reservations at tdrpd.org for lap swim, adult-only swim, and public swim time. Reservations through Oct. 31 will open on Monday, Sept. 21 for TDRPD and Truckee Tahoe Airport District residents. Swim lessons, both private and small-sized group lessons, began in October and will extend through November as TDRPD creates opportunities for students to learn this essential life skill. Water exercise classes and other aquatic programs will be added later.
~ TDRPD press release
COVID-19 Antibody Study Underway
The Washoe County Health District is conducting phase two of the COVID-19 seroprevalence (antibody) project to see if persons have been exposed or infected with COVID-19 and if they developed an immune response. The deadline to sign up has passed, and testing began on Sept. 27.
In advance, invitations were sent to 2,098 random households across the county to participate, which helped inform policies and guide plans for COVID-19 prevention.
About 290 participants are needed to ensure that the study is scientifically relevant, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria. The participants are receiving the antibody test at the Washoe County Health District – Livestock Events Center testing site. The results from the study will be released in late October.
The first COVID-19 antibody testing phase, which was done in conjunction with the University of Nevada, Reno – School of Community Health Sciences and the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, was completed in July and included 234 participants from 1,270 randomly selected households.
The results, with a 95% confidence interval, provided a more accurate representation of the number of Washoe County residents who had been exposed or infected with COVID-19. This data showed the number of infections was higher than reported, the percentage of COVID-19-related deaths was lower given the increased estimate for the total number of cases, and that the Hispanic community was under-represented.
For more information on COVID-19 in Washoe County, visit COVID19Washoe.com.
~ Washoe County press release
Tahoe Homeowner Alleges Fraud Against Realtor in Property Transaction
Owners of a newly purchased lakefront home on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe are suing their real estate brokers and agents for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and negligent misrepresentation.
The complaint alleges that while real estate agent and named defendant Darin Vicknair of Oliver Luxury Real Estate was showing the plaintiffs a home on West Lake Boulevard near Homewood, he “falsely told plaintiffs that an undeveloped part of that property, known as Lot 79, included a stream environment zone (SEZ) that would prohibit building on that portion of the property … Plaintiffs relied on defendants’ representation about the SEZ in declining to make an offer on” that property and “in agreeing to purchase their current home” next door and immediately adjacent to the protected wetlands.
According to the complaint, “defendants concealed from plaintiffs, however, that Defendant Michael Oliver intended to … split Lot 79 from the rest of the property and develop it himself,” that he “did not, in fact, believe Lot 79 could not be developed, and had reason to believe that it could,” and that “defendant Oliver had illicit plans to clear the protected wetlands and develop the property for himself, facts known by him, Vicknair and their firm Oliver Luxury Real Estate.”
The complaint alleges that soon after Plaintiffs’ escrow closed, they were “alarmed to find that Lot 79 had been stripped of all of the ferns, willows, and other vegetation at the direction of Oliver … who apparently was in contract on that parcel, but was not yet the owner” and that “crews were working seven days a week clearing the land, filling in portions of the SEZ.”
The plaintiffs are asking for compensatory damages and interest, punitive damages, and other relief.
~ Rumbaugh Public Relations press release
Grant Awarded for TART Night Service
In December 2019, the Town of Truckee implemented a new pilot transit service – Truckee TART Regional Night Service. The lack of night service between Truckee and the Northstar and Squaw Valley resorts has been identified for years as an unmet transit need. During peak winter and peak summer, the service operates from 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., and ends one hour earlier in the shoulder seasons (spring/fall).
Placer County (peak season) and the Truckee Tahoe Airport District (shoulder season) are providing partnership funding for 50% of the total operating cost ($422,246), with the remaining cost funded in part by a Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP) grant of $110,821 awarded to the town in August.
~ Town of Truckee press release
Supervisors Award $3 Million to Support Local Economy, Expand Broadband
The board of supervisors unanimously approved $3.2 million to support economic and community resiliency and offset COVID-19-related economic hardships and disruptions to local businesses and nonprofits.
Using State of California Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) monies, the board allocated $1.5 million for economic and community resiliency grants, $1 million to expand broadband connections in Paradise, and the remaining $700,000 was split between the Nevada County Relief Fund, the Nevada County Fairgrounds, and the police departments of Nevada City, Grass Valley, and Truckee.
~ Nevada County press release
Local Artist Honors Students’ Call for Climate Action
Lake Tahoe and Truckee renowned fine artist Sara Smith is inspired by the natural world and uses her art to engage people with environmental preservation. Smith recently completed a large 48-by-48-inch painting in participation with young students from the Lake Tahoe and Reno area. The painting, titled Big Bear Hope, is currently on display and available for purchase at Riverside Studios located at 10076 Donner Pass Rd. in Truckee. In honor of the student school strike movement calling for climate action, Smith will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Big Bear Hope to the Citizens’ Climate Lobby North Tahoe chapter.
~ Citizens’ Climate Lobby press release
Railyard Market Application Submitted
Douglas Wiele, president of Foothill Partners, has submitted a planning application to the Town of Truckee for the Railyard Market Square, as part of the Truckee Railyard.
Foothill Partners is requesting approval of a mixed-use commercial project called the Railyard Market Square, located within the southern portion of the balloon track in the Railyard Master Plan (RYMP) area. The project would include a market building (housing a grocery store, outdoor plaza, and retail space for one or two tenants) and a station building (housing a tenant space, four-story building with retail and office space, and a multi-tenant retail building). Additionally, two 360-square-foot shipping container structures would be converted to retail and food and beverage services with outdoor display or dining. A parking lot would hold 144 parking spaces for use of the Railyard.
The town’s planning commission will review the project, though as of print deadline there is no set timeline.
~ Town of Truckee press release, AH
TTBID Renewed Through 2025
The assessment district that creates dedicated funds for marketing and sales to promote and improve tourism in Truckee, known as the Truckee Tourism Business Improvement District, has been renewed by the Truckee town council through June 30, 2025. Under this new structure, Visit Truckee will become a stand-alone nonprofit. Currently, Visit Truckee is managed by the Truckee Chamber of Commerce, a business and destination tourism organization that partners with the town and the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association in working to create economic prosperity in Truckee.
Truckee Mayor David Polivy will serve as the council representative on the TTBID board.
Rental Assistance Available
The Placer County Housing Authority and the Community Development Resource Agency HOME program are offering rental assistance to eligible low-income residents who are facing hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tenant Based Rental Assistance program offers help for up to four months of unpaid back rent and late fees accrued after March 13, 2020 (not to exceed $2,500), and is limited to funds available. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the California Department of Housing and Community Development.
To be eligible for the program, an individual or family must be renting or leasing a unit within the county (excluding Roseville city limits), among other criteria. See a full list of eligibility requirements at placer.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/47474/Tenant-Based-Rental-Assistance-PDF.
The program is scheduled to end Dec. 31, depending on available funding.
~ Placer County press release
Solar PV Requirements for New Buildings
The 2019 California Energy Code requires solar photovoltaic systems to be installed on new single family and low-rise residential construction (R-2, multi-family, with three habitable stories or less; or R-3, single family; or U-building, located on a residential site).
The Town of Truckee and its partner jurisdictions have submitted a petition to the California Building Standards Commission requesting that the California Energy Commission (CEC) exempt buildings that have roof design snow loads greater than available PV panel capacities.
The CEC sought public comments on the matter, and the deadline to submit was Sept. 21. The petition and related documents are available for download at https://bit.ly/2S7IlIl.
~ Town of Truckee press release