Council considers Prosser tree issue; continues Betts hearing hearing
Council allowed tree cutting along the town right of way in Prosser to resume, but said personnel would advise resides of the cuts before they happened.
During their June 15 meeting, the town council heard from a number of concerned Prosser residents.
The Town of Truckee Public Works Department has been clearing brush and trees from the town right of way in the Prosser Lakeview Estates and Prosser Lake Heights areas. A number of residents attended the meeting to voice their disapproval.
According to Director of Public Works Tom Covey, the right of way is cleared to improve sight distance, fire safety, drainage and to make snow removal easier.
Residents complained that the work crews had not been selective in their trimming, clear-cutting much of the right of way; a few residents also claimed that they had never been made aware of the project. Many residents also expressed to the council that they lived in the Prosser area because of the heavy vegetation.
“As you walk through our area, you’d think you were in suburbia – all cut and trim,” said 15-year-Prosser-resident De Tracy. “You have the right to cut down the trees, the question is, ‘was it the right thing to do?'”
Some residents suggested possibilities such as property owners helping choose the trees to be cut from the right of way, while others were opposed to the clearing entirely.
“To me, cutting down a tree is like killing a person – that’s how much they mean to me,” said another resident, Bob Zimmerman. “I’m seriously thinking about strapping myself to those trees if they come by and try to chainsaw them down.”
The residents were told the clearing program would continue in their area, but that crews would be working to make sure people were notified when cutting would be done.
The council also heard from employees of Jim and Janis Betts. A public hearing concerning the Betts’ business’ dealings with the town’s Planning Commission was on the meeting’s agenda, but was continued until the Council’s July 20 meeting.
Lawyers for the Betts, as well as the Council, agreed on the continuance, stating that they hoped to resolve their issues before that time. Even so, the board took public comment on the matter, and got an earful.
“The corruption that is in the planning department is wider than you know,” Brad Brown, who is employed by the Betts, told the board.
He made claims, which were dismissed by both the Council and the Betts’ lawyer, regarding county fees.
“We’ve got corrupt individuals on this board and I’m just trying to expose that,” Brown said.
Board member Don McCormack, said that the accusations were totally unfounded and that Brown was confused about fees required by the town.
“I think your comments are totally unacceptable and offensive,” he told Brown.
Brown’s wife, Alisha, said that her husband’s comments may have been off-base, but only reflected his frustration with the process. She said that the employees are concerned about the security of their jobs.
“We’re talking about people who have families, who have children,” she told the board. “I heard somebody make a comment, ‘why don’t you move?’ Why should I have to move?”
The board thanked those in attendance for their input and restated that the public hearing on the revocation on the Betts’ conditional use permit had been continued until the Town Council’s July meeting.
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