Council approves interim historic review process
Town council approved Thursday an interim review process based upon the recommendations of the Historic Preservation Advisory Committee for determining historic or architectural significance of qualifying downtown properties.
Properties qualifying for review under the interim process are those which are not listed in the 1979 Historic Resources Inventory, are not listed in the current inventory update as eligible for inclusion in the National Register and are those whose owners applied for a demolition permit before Feb. 18.
“The tough part of this will be (determining) what level of protection is merited,” Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook said.
Only one building, a Jibboom Street property owned by Dave Taylor and Dave Giacomini, qualifies for interim review under these terms.
All other downtown property owners seeking demolition of downtown structures must wait until the Historic Resources Inventory is complete or seek demolition through application for economic hardship.
A draft update to Truckee’s Historic Resources Inventory was completed by Kautz Environmental Consultants of Reno in April, 1999. The draft inventory outlined the boundaries of a historic National Register District and included the National Register status of all buildings in the downtown area predating the 1950s.
In February Council decided in response to Truckee Planning Commission and the Historic Preservation Advisory Committee recommendations, that the Kautz historic resources inventory will be expanded to include buildings and other points of interest that do not meet the strict federal district standards but which in some way contributed to Truckee’s history.
Three new categories will accommodate these structures, but the criteria by which such structures will be judged has not yet been developed. Lashbrook said it is likely the Taylor/Giacomini building will fall within one of these three categories and it will be council’s decision to determine what level of protection the structure deserves.
“The decision will be to determine if this building is historically significant enough to merit landmark status,” Lashbrook said.
In reviewing the Taylor/Giacomini request to demolish their building, called Dot’s Place, and replace it with an office building, town staff will forward the application to interested agencies, such as the Truckee-Donner Historical Society and the Downtown Merchants Association.
Staff will also examine and expand upon the draft criteria suggested by HPAC in order to help HPAC and town council determine the building’s historic or architectural significance.
HPAC will then review the Taylor/Gmiacomini application and provide to council its recommendation concerning the structure’s historic merit.
Town council will consider town staff’s recommendations and those of HPAC and will make the final decision on the building during a public meeting.
If the building is determined to be of local historic or architectural significance, the building cannot be demolished unless the planning commission approves a certificate of economic hardship.
“We’re in a no-win situation on this one,” Councilmember Ron Florian said. “If it was the recommendation of HPAC to bring these three (new categories) on board and HPAC makes the decision on this, I can pretty much tell you what that decision is going to be.”
In other business, council voted 4 to 1 to introduce an ordinance to enter a franchise agreement with Sierra Pacific Power Company.
Only Glenshire residences will be affected by the franchise agreement which will replace an agreement forged between Nevada County and the utility provider.
Under the terms of the old agreement, SPPC customers pay a 2 percent franchise tax which has gone directly to the county.
The new franchise agreement will raise the franchise tax to 5 percent to create consistency with other town franchises.
SPPC has requested that the town delay the effective date of the franchise agreement to request permission from the California Public Utilities Commission to include the 5 percent tax as a separate line item on billings.
Councilmember Bob Drake opposed the action.
“The existing 2 percent goes to Nevada County,” Drake said. “The additional 3 percent is applied to just one segment of our population and I don’t like that. This is just a tax we’re putting on a small portion of our population and I won’t support it.”
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