Paying for development down the road
Truckee residents and officials wrestled with issues surrounding an update to traffic impact fees Tuesday evening.
The fee ” assigned to new development in Truckee ” is used to fund road projects because of growth. While the fee could potentially more than double with the update, other issues overshadowed discussion of the increase.
Two primary issues discussed included which projects would be funded by the fee, and which entities would be exempt from paying the fee.
Prepared by LSC Transportation Consultants, the study considered exempting government, school, college, community center, and church uses from the fee, which would potentially increase the fee to $5,344 from its current $2,381.
John Britto, the facilities director for the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, said he hopes the town will exempt public schools.
“When you read the definition of the fee, it’s pretty clear it’s directed to growth-inducing development. By that definition [new schools are] not growth-inducing. When we build it’s to mitigate growth that’s already happened,” Britto said.
He said when it comes time to build a new school facility, a traffic impact fee of an additional $1 million would be a “hard pill to swallow.”
Becky Bucar, town assistant engineer, said affordable housing projects could also be made exempt.
“If affordable housing is exempt, the funding would have to come from other sources. Or it could mean another increase for the traffic impact fee,” Bucar said.
Pat Davison, executive director for the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe, said the association had supported affordable housing exemptions in the past, but is waiting to see the result of such an exemption on the fee-increase amount.
Other participants in the workshop questioned which road projects should be funded by the fee.
Geoff Stephens, general manager for the Glenshire Devonshire Residents Association, said development impact fees shouldn’t be entirely responsible for a fix at the Glenshire Drive/ Donner Pass Road intersection.
“We believe there is an existing problem not from development,” Stephens said.
While the town considers the intersection acceptable at the current traffic level, Stephens said improvements shouldn’t wait for fees to be collected.
Another project in question was the Tahoe Donner third access, called the Pioneer Trail Extension, which Public Works Director Dan Wilkins said would help relieve traffic on Donner Pass Road.
While some said the third Tahoe Donner access seems like an improvement solely for Tahoe Donner property owners, and not a community-benefit project, Wilkins said transferring east-west traffic to the Pioneer Trail extension would improve traffic that would be impacted by development.