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Council looks at town hall possibilities

ANNE GROGAN, Sierra Sun

As early as this summer Truckee residents could be parking their vehicles in Placer County in order to conduct business with the Town of Truckee.

Steve Carpenter and Andy Otto of Prudential California Realty presented to town council all conceivable town hall siting options during the town hall siting public workshop held Jan. 26.

To facilitate the town’s establishment when the town incorporated five years ago, the Truckee-Donner Public Utility District made office space available to the town on an interim basis, TDPUD General Manager Peter Holzmeister said. Now as the town has become well established and is filling in its staff positions, a severe parking as well as internal crowding problem has developed at the PUD building.

“I think for the long haul, it’s wise for the town to seek a more permanent location for its offices,” Holzmeister said.

The town’s current lease with the PUD expires April 30.

Otto and Carpenter identified five possible avenues for meeting the immediate and long-term needs of the town as identified in a 20-year needs analysis completed by Ryan Group Architects in August 1999.

Those five avenues include continuing the existing lease with the PUD, purchasing a building or buildings, purchasing land and constructing a new building, leasing space outside the PUD building, and pursuing a purchase and lease combination.

Otto and Carpenter identified within Truckee town limits all buildings over 10,000 square feet as conceivable sites for meeting the town’s short-term, mid-term and long-term needs. They admitted repeatedly during their presentation that though all conceivable options had been considered for comparative purposes, not all conceivable options are feasible, either because the structures are not available or, as warehouse-type spaces, do not reasonably meet the needs of the town and its employees or residents.

Upon completion of the Carpenter/Otto presentation, Town Manager Steve Wright suggested that as the workshop progress, participants think in terms of the town’s long-term goals.

“We are planning for the future of this community,” Wright said.

As identified by general consensus during a town hall siting workshop last year, the downtown area is the preferred location for a permanent facility. The short-term and mid-term solutions should not interfere with accomplishing the long-term goal, workshop participants agreed.

Councilmember Josh Susman expressed concern that purchasing property now as part of an interim solution might spread town resources so thinly that purchasing the ideal downtown location later might not be possible.

Carpenter and Otto responded that purchasing property now would build equity which should facilitate a later purchase. Property purchased now could be sold later if necessary as a contingency in the purchase of a new site or existing structure.

The town has been negotiating the purchase of a 40,041 square-foot Bank of the West building located near the Truckee-Tahoe Airport and Placer County line, though the two parties have not yet entered into contract.

Before adjourning, workshop participants agreed that though the Bank of the West building is not the perfect long-term solution to the town hall siting issue, especially because of its location, it may meet the immediate needs of the town in a more cost-effective and efficient manner than all other options presented by Otto and Carpenter.

Before a final Bank of the West building decision is reached, it was decided, the town will approach the PUD board to discuss the option of remaining a tenant in the PUD building.

Workshop members also agreed not to dismiss the short-term possibility that multiple smaller sites can meet the needs of town offices and departments.

The consensus of workshop participants maintains that a downtown location is the preferred site for Truckee’s town hall and that a downtown location should be held as the long-term goal of the town.


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