Candidate Q&A: Placer County Supervisor
October 13, 2008
Kranz: There are many different solutions to the many problems that any community faces. There no one single solution. Recently, I chose the four-lane alternative in Kings Beach because the [Environmental Impact Report] and traffic and public safety agencies (CHP, Caltrans, Placer and Washoe Sheriffs) said it was the superior alternative to keep traffic moving safely. Traffic and insufficient parking also hurts small businesses. This decision angered some people, but it was the best alternative for the vast majority dependent on autos to get to and from work and school and those traveling through our region to other destinations. I voted against spending over $40 million to replicate gridlock that we already have in Tahoe City. I do not know why we would spend $45 million to make traffic worse, while we are spending hundreds of million of dollars to correct gridlock on Interstate 80, Highways 65 and 49. Montgomery: There is no single answer to address the economic and social problems already facing Kings Beach. There are a number of proposals and projects that will help move Kings Beach into a more vibrant future. The proposed Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project will bring much needed beautification and economic revitalization to the downtown area, but may also raise new concerns for Kings Beach residents those concerns must be addressed as part of the entire project. The proposed Community Enhancement Projects by and large would add to the vision of Kings Beach as a community that is walkable and welcoming. Those projects must include addressing the safety issues in the grid such as insufficient street lighting, no sidewalks, cut-through traffic, substandard living accommodations and the many other infrastructure and societal issues that already exist today.
Kranz: Usually many interests and values, majority rule with minority right, must be considered and balanced. That said, my priorities are public safety: clearing wildfire fuels around homes and businesses; banning alcohol on the Truckee on the 4th of July to ensure a safe holiday for families along the river; working for prompt and efficient snow removal with new equipment stored close by. In terms of infrastructure: seeking alternative funding through Middle Fork Project revenues for clean and clear water; and completing broadband coverage in the Basin.Montgomery: The Tahoe Basin faces a unique regulatory challenge in that the Basin is overseen by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency which is a federally mandated, bi-state organization that includes five counties Placer, El Dorado, Douglas, Washoe and Carson City (which is deemed a county under the agreement). As such, the TRPA has powers unique to itself which could override state and local powers and the local decision making process. As Placer County Supervisor I will always strive to place the interests of local communities first, but within the guidelines of overarching state and federal law as related to the health of the Tahoe Basin. The lake is, and must remain, a protected asset as it is worth far more to the lakeside communities in Placer County as a shining blue jewel than it ever could be as an overdeveloped destination.
Kranz: The TRPA has been far too effective in diminishing property rights, commerce, jobs and housing, even burning down our homes and businesses. And that is why I had warned of the dangers and fought to bring some common sense to TRPA fire policy. From day one, before the Angora Fire, I fought for improved fire protection often against TRPA regulations obstructing defensible space with combustible pine needle ground covers, limits on sizes of trees cut etc. At my urging TRPA has finally, 250 houses in ashes later, relented on requiring combustible pine needles, brush and dead trees next to our homes and businesses. I also made Calfire the county fire warden, spearheaded the Hazardous Vegetation Ordinance, which is now working to remove fuels from neglected properties. I supported Healthy Forest legislation and improvements in California law. I have led in chipper and wood box pickups and transporting biofuels to biomass energy plants.Montgomery: The TRPA has a stated mission to encourage the wise use and conservation of the waters of Lake Tahoe and of the resources around the area of said lake. The good intentions of this mission statement are fairly well undisputed. However the effectiveness of the agency has been disputed by many at all levels. One perception is that the agency needs to work better and smarter that it needs to work more for individual homeowners and less for the large real estate and development interests around the lake. As a member of the TRPA Governing Board, I will actively work with other governing board members, the TRPA staff and local communities to make the agency more responsive, more transparent and more amenable to local solutions. Not all regional solutions may be correct for all areas on the lake. I think we all agree that TRPAs mission is a good one. Making it more equitable in how it enforces its own regulations is a goal that will make TRPA better.
Kranz: Most of the lower income people working in tourism in Tahoe cannot afford to live in Tahoe because of restricted housing supply and inflated housing prices. TRPA height and view requirements conflict with the need for high-density housing. It is an absurdity that most of the people who work in the tourism industry cannot afford to live in Tahoe. We need to find a way to create lower-cost, high-density housing by adjusting height standards and reducing permit fees. Affordable housing is needed, but difficult in the existing regulatory climate. Both TRPA and the county need to adjust regulations, through an MOU agreement, to be flexible about allowing second units on existing residential properties.Montgomery: The first step to creating affordable housing is to understand that we must have it we do not have an option. Our teachers, firefighters, nurses, sheriffs and other middle-class workers are often forced to live out of the area due to a shortage of local affordable workforce housing. We must make it a priority to create workforce, low- and moderate-income housing around the north and west shores. While Placer County has built almost nothing in the last 10 years, Truckee has managed to build the Spring Creek, Henness Flats, Frishman Hollow and Stoneridge moderate-income housing projects. Domus Development, working with the Placer County Redevelopment Agency in Kings Beach, has a number of projects in process now that I fully support. These projects would provide approximately 90 plus units of affordable workforce housing on six different parcels scattered throughout the Kings Beach area. Public-private partnerships and incentive-based programs that encourage developers to address this issue are the key to any success.
Kranz: Private property owners have a right to develop their land in accordance with their original entitlements. I have told all developers and interested parties to work together to solve problems and avoid lawsuits. The final number of units, if any, in Royal Gorge like all other projects will be entirely dependent on a very long process of economics workshops, MACs, and the planning commission, complying with laws and regulations, receiving community input. After a detailed specific plan always quite unlike the original reaches the board of supervisors, I will listen to testimony and cast my one vote out of five on the board. It is irresponsible to either support or oppose a project sight unseen before it has taken a final form and mitigated objections before EIR/EIS is released. With the final project unseen and unknown, taking a position now would be crowd-pleasing but profoundly premature, immature and irresponsible.Montgomery: There is currently no project proposed by Royal Gorge although the proponents of the project continue to contribute large sums of money to Supervisor Kranz campaign $30,000 to date, including a $5,000 donation just last month. Until the time that a project is actually presented, I will continue to focus my energy on other projects that are on the table in the 5th district and the rest of the county. Furthermore, I will always fight to ensure that community members have a seat at the table when projects affecting their lives come before the board. I will also repeat my pledge to take no money from the large out-of-district developers in the county whose projects may come before me as supervisor.