Redevelopment is tool for Truckee improvements
In addition to performing more publicized duties, Truckee Town Council members also sit on the board of the lesser-known Truckee Redevelopment Agency.
With projects ranging from the Railyard to the River Revitalization Strategy, the Town of Truckee turns to the redevelopment agency to plan, fund, and implement work. Established in 1998, the Truckee Redevelopment Agency is one of almost 400 similar bodies throughout the state that encourage revitalization in run-down areas and create affordable housing opportunities.
Elizabeth Seifel, president of Seifel Consulting, which is aiding the town with its redevelopment plan, said redevelopment is a tool for a town, city, or county to add value to the community.
“After World War II, ‘blight’ became the term to describe negative conditions in an urban area, and redevelopment became the tool to alleviate these conditions,” Seifel said. “The Railyard is a perfect example of this.”
Truckee’s redevelopment agency determines blighted sites in a 1,000-acre project area including Commercial Row, Hilltop, the Railyard, West River Street, Gateway and Planned Community One. These are areas identified as potential sites where the town might invest in public-private partnerships to improve conditions, said Redevelopment and Housing Coordinator David Griffith.
Projects can range from infill development to improve a section of downtown, to environmental clean-up and infrastructure improvement along the Truckee River, Griffith said.
Funded by property tax revenue generated from within the project area, Truckee’s redevelopment agency has collected $2.8 million for non-housing projects, according to the agency’s five year plan.
While special districts like the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District or Truckee Fire Protection District continue to receive property tax revenue from within the designated redevelopment area, any increases in property tax ” after establishment of the redevelopment agency and area ” from inflation or new development goes to the agency, Seifel said.
“Redevelopment doesn’t increase or create new taxes,” Seifel said.
A second function of the redevelopment agency is to facilitate affordable housing, Seifel said.
Of the housing units rehabilitated by the agency, 30 percent are required to be affordable, Seifel said, while of those built by private developers, 15 percent need to be affordable.
“With redevelopment 20 cents of every dollar goes to affordable housing,” Seifel said.
Truckee has to be careful which projects it picks, Seifel said, because the right redevelopment project could generate property taxes that would further fund the agency.
“Another town in California built a $10 million community center as it’s first project, which didn’t give any tax increment to fund future redevelopment,” Seifel said. “The Railyard could generate $30 million worth of new revenue.”