Decision could come Friday on future of Tahoe City snow storage
December 16, 2009
TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; Two trucks piled high with snow greeted residents outside Tahoe Cityand#8217;s public utility offices Wednesday afternoon, serving as a visual example of the communityand#8217;s mounting snow storage problem.
and#8220;As you can see, thereand#8217;s a load of snow in my truck and I have nowhere to put it,and#8221; said Stuart Gensburg, manager of local snow-removal company Gensburg and Sons, who attended Wednesdayand#8217;s special snow storage workshop with some of his coworkers.
Last October, the Tahoe City Public Utility District Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve a land lease for North Tahoe Fire Protection Districtand#8217;s new $11.84 million fire station, expected to begin construction in May of next year. The leased property rests on Fairway drive in Tahoe City and was the communityand#8217;s primary site for snow storage.
On Wednesday, General Manager Cindy Gustafson said the district is exploring all options, which includes talks with the Placer County branch of the US Forest Service to use county parking areas at the 64 Acres parking lot and on Jackpine Street.
and#8220;Our board is more than willing to go out on a limb here because theyand#8217;ve been doing it,and#8221; she said, referring to what she said is the boardand#8217;s constant efforts to assure proper snow removal.
Gustafson said the district has more than enough sites to accommodate the 21,000 cubic yards required for proper snow storage; however, she said choosing those sites, and making them compliant with Tahoe Regional Planning Agency standards, might take time, especially considering Best Management Practices, which are TRPAand#8217;s environmental land regulations required to ensure sediment does not filter into Lake Tahoe.
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and#8220;Our indication is that (TRPA) is not going to say and#8216;noand#8217; as long as we do our best to maintain those sites.and#8221; Gustafson said.
TRPA Spokesman Dennis Oliver said the agency always looks at snow removal on a case-by-case basis.
and#8220;Snow storage is something that needs to be done, and as long as we donand#8217;t have a situation where we are compacting large amounts of dirt, weand#8217;re OK,and#8221; Oliver said.
Another hindrance facing the utility district, Gustafson said, is that snow removal doesnand#8217;t fall under its purview, and without legislation changing its focus, the districtand#8217;s mission must be directed toward water, sewer, parks and recreation.
and#8220;There is a way for the community to empower us to do this. We just donand#8217;t have that power now,and#8221; she said.
Dave Wilderotter, president of the Tahoe City Downtown Association Board of Directors, praised the district for inviting the community to help out.
and#8220;The highlight of the meeting for me was that everyone was at the table; to see such a large group of concerned citizens was great,and#8221; Wilderotter said. and#8220;Push is coming to shove here; itand#8217;s coming to a point where a decision has to be made.
and#8220;A decision is imminent and it will either be yea or nay; If itand#8217;s nay, weand#8217;re going to have to see what happens.and#8221;
Ron Treabess, a district board member, said a decision could be possible during the boardand#8217;s month meeting today (Friday, Dec. 18).
and#8220;Iand#8217;m just grateful we have this much snow,and#8221; Treabess said. and#8220;And Iand#8217;m more than willing to bring these ideas and concerns to the board.and#8221;
The meeting takes place 8:30 a.m. at 221 Fairway Drive in Tahoe City. Visit http://www.sierrasun.com for meeting coverage.
For information, contact TCPUD at (530) 583-3796.