Major Truckee projects converge on planners
It’s a busy week for Truckee leaders as they debate three projects that could make big waves in town.
Truckee’s town council will address the controversial airport land use plan, a $100,000 funding request (from a grant fund) by the police department, and the Trout Creek restoration project at its Thursday, 6 p.m. meeting.
The airport’s future
The Truckee Tahoe Airport land use plan, required by law and updated by the Foothill Airport Land Use Commission, has raised the ire of residents concerned about more future airport traffic increases and the noise the planes could bring. Despite objections to projected increases in airport operations, the plan was presented at a special town workshop that was not well attended.
The land use plan – currently in draft stage – addresses the airport’s future, including growth in operations, expected noise changes and the airport’s general plan. The FALUC creates the plan independently of the airport and simply gathers data from the airport and its general plan.
The biggest issue in each of the airport’s presentations has been air noise in relation to the residential areas of Truckee. The land use plan estimates airport operations will grow from the current 48,000 per year to an estimated 120,000 per year in approximately 20 years.
While the airport general manager Dave Gotschall has said this estimate is generous – he estimates the number is closer to 100,000 – and the land use plan indicates newer planes are quieter, some Truckee residents are still upset.
While no action will be taken at the town council meeting, comments from the town council, town staff and the public could be taken into account. With the comments from the first workshop, and a presentation at the Sierra Economic Development District’s board meeting today, the plan could move toward a final draft.
According to the town, Truckee Chief of Police Dan Boon has requested the use of $100,000 from the state COPS grant fund, mostly for extra equipment.
The money comes from a state grant fund, Boon said, which provides a minimum $100,000 block grants to police and sheriff departments. The chief has to bring the use of the grant before the town council (or similar committee) for recommendations on how it is spent.
Because the money comes from a grant, “There is no impact on our general fund, or the taxpayers,” Boon explained.
The largest part of the request is for development and implementation of Mobile Access Terminal Equipment, which will cost approximately $77,000, according to the town. The next highest cost is $10,000 for laser measuring equipment and software for crime and accident scenes.
The police department is also proposing to purchase computer hardware for an evidence bar coding program, a computer work station and a “FIST” suit and equipment for weaponless defense and ASP (baton) training. The cost with training: approximately $2,300.
The FIST suit is a foam suit worn by a police trainer, so trainees can have a “higher level of realism” when training with a baton.
While all the equipment will be new to the Truckee Police Department, Boon said most of the equipment and training is standard for departments around the state.
Trout Creek restoration
The town is hoping to revive Trout Creek, and has three goals for the project: restore the approximate 6,600-foot section of the creek from Bridge Street to the Truckee river, construct detention basins to treat stormwater runoff and include the Truckee community in the restoration process.
Pat Perkins, Truckee Senior Civil Engineer said, “Trout Creek has been heavily disturbed in the past 100-plus years.” Now, the town wants to implement more water treatment for the creek to repair the fish habitat, as well as mitigating the possibility of flooding downtown.
A big part of the project is repairing the creek bed. “We’re going to keep it in the same creek bed, but make the creek meander back and forth,” Perkins said. He added that this will also create wetlands around the area.
Perkins said the town does not own all of the property the creek runs through (or will run through). “We still have to work out the property issues,” he said.
The project, according to the town, will cost an estimated $1.5 million, and will be partially paid by two grants: one from California State Parks and the other from the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board.
In conjunction with the restoration project, Perkins noted the town will conduct outreach programs with the community, mostly in the schools.
He said the outreach programs would include students monitoring water levels and acidity, as well as studying the habitat and conduct other studies related to water and the surrounding environment.
The town has created an initial and a California Environmental Quality Act document. It is recommending approval for the project. If approved by the town council, Perkins said construction could begin in 2004 or 2005.
During the meeting, the airport plan item will be informational only, the COPS expenditure will be the only public hearing and the Trout Creek restoration is a “staff report.”
The Truckee Town Council meets the second and third Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. at Town Hall, located at 10183 Truckee Airport Rd. For more information on the town council or any projects on the agenda, visit http://www.sierrasun.com or http://www.townoftruckee.com/minutes.html, or contact the town at 582-7700.
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