Ron Florian’s work on the council is not yet complete
On Nov. 3, after all the votes for the Truckee Town Council have been counted, incumbent Ron Florian hopes to be able to continue doing what he loves to do – serving the people of Truckee.”The reason why I’m running is very simple,” he said, “I enjoy what I do. I enjoy working for the people of Truckee. And I’m still having fun doing it.”Florian, an 18-year Truckee resident who has twice served as Truckee’s mayor, is currently in his second term on the council. He is competing with current mayor Josh Susman and outgoing Nevada County supervisor Barbara Green for the two full-term seats open on the council this year.During his tenure Florian has had to deal with many of the issues that shape this year’s election. The points are growth, traffic, affordable housing, the Martis Valley and the update of the town’s General Plan. Not one to actively seek recognition for his work on particular projects, Florian is clear on what he feels will be the most critical issue for the future of Truckee.”Number one, which is the town’s A-plus priority, is the affordable housing issue,” he said, noting that the town has put in more than 400 affordable units in the last four years.
That, Florian said, is enough to meet the goals set by the state, but not enough to satisfy the local demand.Growth and developmentGrowth and development issues will always feature prominently on the town council’s agendas, and Florian sees himself as a moderate who recognizes the need for smart development that maintains the character of the town.”There is a lot happening [development wise] and what we have to do is what we’ve always done for the last eight years: We take it project by project and we make sure it’s a good balance for the community. We preserve open space along with developing the property,” Florian said. “It’s crucial to have a little bit of economic growth in order to keep the town’s funds very solid as they are today…”In the eight years he’s served on the council, Florian says he’s been happy with the process by which the town regulates growth and approves or disapproves large development projects.
“The development that’s occurred for the last eight years has been good development in my opinion,” he said, adding that many projects built prior to Truckee’s incorporation don’t live up to the architectural standards that new developments must meet.”With the balancing of property rights, open space, developers’ rights and also going through the process of how we develop a plan with the public involved, by the time a project gets to the town council, it’s pretty much whole,” he said. “It’s our job at that point to make sure [the project] meets the needs of the public.”As an advocate for the public interest, Florian has worked to negotiate the affordable housing element, commercial triangle and transfer fees that were incorporated into the Gray’s Crossing development plans.”He is very mindful in staying within the bounds of the laws and yet works very hard to exact community benefit whenever possible. But he does it quietly,” said outgoing councilman Ted Owens.Balance is key, according to Florian, both in the decisions made by the council and in the fund-raising he has done for his campaign. So while he has accepted contributions of $3,000 from the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe and $300 from the owners of the Ponderosa Golf Course, Florian notes that those contributions are balanced by contributions received from a broad cross section of the community.”If you look at my total contributions, I must have at least 200 contributions at the $99 level, so it’s a diverse group. I don’t just take money from one political action group, it’s a lot of individual donors,” he said.
Planning for the futureLooking forward, the most important issue that Truckee will face in the next 20 years, according to Florian, is the transition from an economy dependent upon construction and development to industries that will be sustainable once the town gets closer to build out. Truckee needs to start diversifying into clean businesses that will bring good jobs to the area, Florian said. He cited Truckee’s Clear Capital, a high-tech real estate services company located in the Pioneer Commerce Center, as an example of a company that has brought sustainable, high-paying jobs to town.Another passion of Florian’s, and a project that he hopes will serve as his legacy, is the revitalization of the Truckee River corridor that runs through the downtown area. If Florian is re-elected to the council he plans to step up efforts by the town to find grants that would allow industrial businesses that are currently on the river to relocate to other sites, paving the way for redevelopment of the river corridor into a mixture of trails, parks, restaurants and shopping areas.Florian acknowledges that the next four years will be a demanding time for the town council, especially with the upcoming departure of Town Manager Steve Wright. However, he said he’s confident that the town is headed in the right direction and hopes to continue to serve the people of Truckee as a councilman.”We’re always going to have land use issues, but that’s part of growth and development,” he said. “And the thing people need to realize is that it’s all about compromise. If people are willing to compromise we’ll have a win-win situation for Truckee.”
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