Council may invite vintage car race, building improvements discussed | SierraSun.com

Council may invite vintage car race, building improvements discussed

David Bunker, Sierra Sun

A representative of the Great Race, the nation’s richest and longest running vintage automobile rally, addressed the Truckee Town Council on Tuesday night to feel out the possibility of making Truckee an overnight stop on next year’s coast-to-coast, two-week event.

Council members supported discussing the event at the next council meeting, to decide whether the town would accept a spot on the route. The race attracts national media attention, arrives with a 600-person entourage, and encourages local civic groups to get involved in the festivities. More than 100 vintage cars, with models rangeing from 1909 to 1959, make the trip that will begin in Jacksonville, Fla., and end in Monterey, Calif.

“It’s virtually a rolling museum,” said Great Race representative Wayne Hoag of the estimated $4 million in cars that pass through each city. “When the race comes to town people come out by the thousands.”

Mayor Josh Susman, who said that lodging facilities in town had already embraced the idea, noted that the town had not had an event of such national scope since they sponsored the Olympic torch. If the council invites the race to Truckee, the vintage roadsters would roll into town on July 1.

The town, if picked for the All American City prize (a prize that judges hospitality, enthusiasm and spirit), could stand to earn $10,000 from the event for the local library. Council members acknowledged that lodging and other service sectors of town would also benefit from the business.

“We come out and have a good time and old cars are the excuse to do it,” said Hoag.

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In other news

Under an agreement with Caltrans the Town Council agreed to take over maintenance responsibility for about seven miles of road that has been replaced by the state Route 267 bypass, and listened as staff presented them with a working group’s recommendations on ways to simplify and speed up the building inspection process, at Tuesday’s council meeting.

The town will take over snow removal and maintenance operations on state Route 267, state Route 89, Hope Court and Joerger Drive, after the council determined that Caltrans had held up its part of the agreement that had to be fulfilled before maintenance responsibility was transferred.

The only council discussion was raised by Town Engineer Dan Wilkin’s report that hydrocarbon contamination had been found on portions of old state Route 267. Under the agreement, Caltrans was obligated to remove contamination “if necessary.” Dialogue over what “if necessary” meant, eventually led the council to adopt the resolution, since if the contamination is linked to a particular business, they will be responsible for the clean-up charges.

Town staff introduced the findings and recommendations of a working group dedicated to expediting a building inspection process that has caused builders frustrating delays during the peak season. The group is composed of representatives of the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe, engineers, builders, town staff and town council members.

The key recommendations of the group were to add a third plans examiner on staff, initiate a four-week maximum for initial plan review, develop a checklist for standard inspections and cross-train plans and building inspectors so they are capable of performing both tasks.

“This is a great idea, but is only as strong as its follow through,” said Councilman Ron Florian.

Now that the recommendations are in, and some of the changes already taking place, the town agreed that notifying builders and educating staff are the next big hurdles.

“We need to launch a public information campaign,” said Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook.

The changes are expected to draw mixed responses. Some fee hikes, specifically for inspecting complex building designs, and an emphasis on charging for reinspection, may draw criticism, but the working group is confident the changes will reduce the bottleneck the building department experiences in peak season.

“I believe that we will see more complaints, but the complaints will be from people that have nothing to complain about anyway,” said Councilman Ted Owens, who was part of the working group.

“The process already solved a major problem, and that was communication,” Owens said. “There will be hell to pay if we don’t implement the suggestions of this committee.”