Richard Anderson doesn’t want to letTruckee’s quality of life get away
Many know town council candidate Richard Anderson as an advocate for watershed health and the editor and publisher of California Fly Fisher magazine. Perhaps fewer realize that Anderson has a educational and professional background in land use and land economy.In a council election where the town’s growth has once again taken center stage, Anderson’s diverse background doesn’t fit into the pigeonholes of pro-growth or anti-growth stereotypes – and that is just fine with him.”I see both sides of the issue and I think I am fair enough to dispassionately weigh the issues on both sides,” said Anderson, who is running unopposed for the two-year council term that Ted Owens will vacate when he becomes a Nevada County supervisor. As a watershed activist who fought for protections of waterways in the Martis Valley during the valley’s community plan update, Anderson showed the environmental sensitivities that led him to serve on the board of the Truckee River Watershed Council. But at the same time, he lent his planning knowledge to a committee reviewing proposed fees for new development that will be used to pay for infrastructure improvements.
Anderson says his planning and environmental backgrounds will dovetail with his decision making on the council.”I think that they will mesh quite well,” he said. “It was my interest in planning that led to my interest in watershed health.”Anderson’s interest in watersheds was sparked early on, when, as a grade-schooler, he pulled trout from the mountain streams of Tuolumne County, where he lived from third to sixth grade. That is when he got the fishing “bug.” The passion would eventually lead Anderson to drop his career in land economy and launch California Fly Fisher magazine, a publication focusing on both fresh and saltwater flyfishing up and down the state.Five years ago, Anderson left his Bay Area home for a permanent spot in one of his favorite flyfishing destinations -Truckee. Since then Anderson has added his membership in the Truckee River Water Basin Group, which lately has been focused on the Truckee River Operating Agreement, to his other involvement in water quality issues. But as a councilman, Anderson will not be focused solely on the health of Truckee’s watershed.
“Basically, my focuses are on downtown and the river,” he said. “Those really define what Truckee is.”What also defines the town is the people, said Anderson, and he sees Truckee’s high housing prices squeezing out important segments of the community.”I think that it is important that Truckee retain its youth,” said Anderson. “I think that in the long run the [housing] pressures will become more intense.” Part of the solution may come from a parcel of land donated by East West Partners near Alder Drive. With free land, the town has the opportunity to guide the building of truly affordable units on the property, said Anderson.”That land write-down is absolutely critical to ensure that that housing is affordable,” he said.
A project that will likely incorporate Anderson’s focus on water quality and the downtown area, is the Rail Yard property east of Commercial Row. Planning for that site must enhance downtown, not take away from it, and include the revitalization of Trout Creek, said Anderson. But the area is prime for development, said Anderson, with its proximity to services and its redevelopment nature.”It is good having this development happen near downtown and near services, rather than on the outskirts,” said Anderson.There are upcoming challenges also. Anderson acknowledged that the town may have difficulties funding all of its scheduled capital improvement projects, a matter that will be complicated by Town Manager Steve Wright’s retirement at the end of the year.But all of these decisions must be made with a focus of maintaining Truckee residents’ quality of life and preserving the natural and historical resources that brought many the residents here in the first place, Anderson said.
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