Neighborhood at odds over street-fix fee | SierraSun.com

Neighborhood at odds over street-fix fee

David Bunker
Sierra Sun

The Truckee Town Council stepped back last week from its financial support of an assessment district aimed at improving problems on Donner Lake’s West Reed Avenue.

The drainage and surface improvements of the narrow roadway are matters that have polarized the 70-home neighborhood that borders it. Drainage from Interstate 80 and the hillside creates erosion and icing problems for many of the Donner Lake homes that abut the avenue, but West Reed residents are fiercely split on the issue of taxing themselves to solve the problems.

The subdivision was created in 1924, and the road has been private while allowing public access, under both county and town governments, town officials said. The council, which had previously backed an assessment district by devoting staff time and $50,000 for an engineering study to the effort, said residents who support the district would have to come up with an additional $50,000 to update the engineering study if the idea of an assessment district is to move forward.

After a analysis of the cost for improvements, a vote among residents of West Reed would have to garner one vote over 50 percent support to authorize a assessment district.

For supporters of the district, the council’s decision was a disappointment.

“It’s a major problem with torrents of water coming down the hillside,” said Marty Woods, who owns a house that backs up to West Reed, along with her husband Brad Woods. “Unless we solve the runoff problem, I don’t know if there will be a West Reed anymore.”

But the decision by the council was influenced heavily by residents who have been outspoken critics of a levying a tax for the avenue’s improvement.

“I will never stop until this entire debacle has been ‘laid to rest,'” wrote Jean Peterson in an e-mail. “How the mayor and the city council allowed itself to agree to spend more than $50,000 and over 200 man hours of the tax payers money on exaggerated information by a few is absolutely beyond me.”

But West Reed Avenue resident Brad Woods, a supporter of the assessment district, said the council’s decision not to fund the engineering study does not mean the idea of an assessment district is dead. Residents may be able to pool $50,000 dollars to jump-start a vote on the assessment companies, he said.

Or the town and the utility districts, which have pipes and lines running under the road, may be able to leverage Caltrans’ help, since drainage from Interstate 80 is the major offender in the erosion problems.

“I think that if we all pull together … I think that we can put some pressure on Caltrans,” Brad Woods said. “We’re not giving up yet.”