Rafting company plans to house workers in tents | SierraSun.com

Rafting company plans to house workers in tents

As the phrase ‘affordable housing’ becomes more of an oxymoron with each passing day, one area business is proposing a somewhat unconventional lodging alternative for its employees.

During their May 11 meeting, the North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council decided to give the county their recommendation for a trial-run of the Truckee River Raft Company’s proposed tent-trailer housing.

“It’s very sad that this is the point we’ve reached for affordable housing,” said Steve Kastan, Tahoe field deputy for Rex Bloomfield. “This tent thing should be kind of a red flag to people as to how bad it’s gotten.”

Kastan said the council doesn’t relish the idea of trailers, but that they see no alternative.

“If this is indicative of the way this community is going, we have a real problem here, and I don’t know if we can solve it,” Kastan said, explaining that he believes the housing crunch will only get worse and could hinder growth in North Tahoe.

Required housing

The Truckee River Raft Company is required to provide affordable housing for a number of their summer employees because the business is participating in the J-1 Visa Exchange program. Working with the U.S. State Department, the company is hiring employees through the program from Russia, Poland and Czechoslovakia, according to Nick Fuller, president of the rafting company.

“It’s a bit of an experiment for us. I couldn’t tell you what’s going to happen,” Fuller said. “It’s these good ideas that sometimes scare me, but we’re trying.”

Fuller is planning on having six or seven tent-trailers on his property across the street from River Ranch. Each unit is 22 feet long and 8 feet wide, and will house three employees.

“It’s more of a trailer, it has tenting on the sides,” Fuller said of the structures, adding that the units feature water, electricity and a heater.

Placer County will take the advisory council’s recommendation and grant the company permission to go ahead with their temporary housing plans, said Fred Yeager, planning director with the county.

“We think it’s a good thing to at least try out,” Yeager said. “It’s something in the way of affordable housing.”

Trial run

Yeager said the rafting company will get a trial-run this summer; if there are no problems the tent-trailers could become a permanent summer fixture for North Tahoe.

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