Truckee Town Council: litter leads off Tuesday talk

Tuesday’s Truckee Town Council meeting opened with a flood of public comments regarding the influx of litter in town.

Though the issue wasn’t among the agenda items, Town Council members heard a number of calls from locals voicing frustrations on the amount of tourists in the area and subsequent refuse left behind.

“The rising issue of litter has become nothing less than serious. The Town of Truckee has been inundated with visitors and trash that has accumulated to levels that have never been seen before,” said Clean Up the Lake Executive Director Colin West. “It’s obvious that the locals have become quite outraged with the situation.”

Clean Up the Lake recently pulled roughly 3,500 pounds of litter from Donner Lake’s north shore. The nonprofit also worked with local 12-year-old Ella Hoyer to install more than 30 anti-litter signs around Donner Lake (See story on page A1).

Several other locals called in to urge council members to take action on litter and prioritize funding toward the matter, saying that due to the outbreak of COVID-19 the number of visitors and amount of litter has substantially increased.

The issue of litter mitigation in Truckee was addressed during Thursday’s Truckee Town Council Budget Workshop (not available at time of press).

The meeting also included the town moving forward with submitting an application for operational assistance through the CARES Act to provide funding for transit operations, along with approving of moving planning commission meeting start times from 6 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Town Council also directed staff to develop a fee structure for transient occupancy tax registration in order to cover the cost of short-term rental administrations and enforcement activities. Short-term rentals, defined as housing units rented for less than 31 days, make up 12.9% of the 13,350 housing units in Truckee, according to staff’s report.

Between 2012 and 2018 the number of short-term rentals registered in Truckee has grown by 81%. The town requires these operations to register for tax purposes, but currently there is no fee assessed to administer the registration process. The town also doesn’t currently have a permitting process or regulations specific to the operations of short-term rentals.

Short-term rental regulation objectives, as outlined by town staff, include creating rules that minimize nuisance such as overflow parking, trash, occupancy levels and noise; creating an administrative framework to license operators; creating a higher level of accountability on operators, including a three-strike program for violations; and considerations on whether or not to proactively manage community visitation patterns through limiting the number or usage of short-term rentals.

Staff is expected to present an ordinance on the matter within the next six weeks.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at or 530-550-2643.

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