Tahoe City utility district looks to wrap up snow storage plan for this winter | SierraSun.com

Tahoe City utility district looks to wrap up snow storage plan for this winter

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun

Jason Shueh/Sierra SunErik Henrikson, president of the Tahoe City Public Utility District Board of Trustees, voted Friday to allow snow haulers access to TCPUD properties for snow storage. However, he added the North Tahoe Fire Protection District, the current lease owner of the former snow storage site, should also allow continued snow storage at least until March 2010.

TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; A year-long plan is in place to allow local companies a venue for snow storage this winter.

On Friday, the Tahoe City Public Utility District Board unanimously adopted vice president Dan Wilkins’ motion to allow storage in the parking lot at the district’s courtyard property for immediate use, with its lot at the Fairway Community Center for additional storage for the 2009-10 winter season.

The agreement, which requires all snow haulers using the properties pay a property insurance fee on top of the district’s a $4,000 collective maintenance fee, comes with the condition only one contractor manage the sites for efficiency and easy coordination.

To further ensure proper oversight, board Director Ron Treabess recommended a one-year review on the agreement before any vote extends the deal into 2010-11.

and#8220;I think that the proposal is a valid proposal, and I know there are a lot of things to work out as to how it’s going to happen,and#8221; said Treabess, pointing specifically to questions about which contractor would be selected to oversee the sites and how Best Management Practices, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s environmental code, would be followed.

The district is talking with Matt Daniels, owner of Tahoe Marine and Excavating, to be the coordinating contractor, Wilkins said.

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Wilkins said the board is hoping to find a permanent solution in which the district is not the lead overseer, including exploring a possible agreement with the Placer County branch of the US Forest Service for a larger parcel of land.

and#8220;(The forest service) has jumped from the proposal stage to the application stage … but they want to make it clear this option is only available if all other options are exhausted,and#8221; said Bob Bolton, TCPUD director of parks and recreation.

Wilkins also urged snow haulers on Friday to continue plowing bike trails in the spring and to give some type of community service to show gratitude for the district’s donated properties.

Despite a unanimous vote from trustees, not all on Friday were completely satisfied with the agreement.

and#8220;It seems to me that it was a pretty generous deal for the fire district to have (the former storage site) for one dollar,and#8221; said Erik Henrikson, TCPUD board president, referring to last October’s agreement, in which TCPUD leased the North Tahoe Fire Protection District the city’s primary snow storage site for only $1 a year. NTFPD is leasing the site to build a new $11.84 million fire station, expected to begin construction in May of next year.

Friday’s motion would also allow snow to be deposited at the former site; however, the fire district would have to sign on to manage it.

Henrikson said he is in favor of that option, pointing out the lease requires the fire district to help find a new snow storage site.

and#8220;I don’t think the fire district has lived up to that,and#8221; he said. and#8220;I’ve always said replace what you’re taking away from the community.and#8221;

Henrikson proposed the fire district allow snow storage at least until March 2010, since BMPs are already in place and the snow would most likely melt before May.

Walter Auerbach, owner of Auerbach Engineering Corp., the firm designing the new fire station, disagreed, saying his company hired a geotechnical engineer to evaluate continued snow storage on the site; the engineer said it is not possible.

and#8220;His opinion was and#8216;absolutely not.’and#8221; Auerbach said and#8220;He told us that given the nature of the soils over there, we want to do everything we can to dry them out before we start excavating.and#8221;

Don Hale, an NTFPD trustee, said another reason the fire district is hesitant to allow further snow storage is because of a strict design deadline.

and#8220;We have to rely on our consultants, and they tell us adding more snow on that parcel is not good,and#8221; Hales said. and#8220;We have a window for the very best prices and#8212; any delay to that could send prices upward.and#8221;