Town acquires land for third TD access road |

Town acquires land for third TD access road

Truckee Town Council voted last week to waive the Coyote Moon golf course’s $145,000 traffic impact fee in exchange for 14.5 acres of land which may one day become the third Tahoe Donner access road.

“I’d just like to remind council of the importance of this project,” David Gravell, acting general manager of the Tahoe Donner Association, said.

As development in the subdivision continues, he said, traffic volumes on Donner Pass Road and Northwoods Boulevard increase, and a third Tahoe Donner access will help alleviate the town’s traffic congestion while meeting Tahoe Donner residents’ need for access to industrially zoned areas.

Town Engineer Dan Wilkins reported that the current property owner, Steele Enterprises, has plans to sell the property in question but is willing to work with the town on the right of way acquisition before doing so. Wilkins said Steele’s willingness to work with the town cooperatively is greatly preferred to an adversarial eminent domain land acquisition, which could potentially occur with a different property owner. Wilkins also discussed the approximate $10,000 per acre cost at which the town would be acquiring the 14.5 acres.

“I do believe that’s a good deal,” Wilkins said. “It appears to be a very good deal.”

Mayor Maia Schneider said the project benefits not only Tahoe Donner residents but the entire town because for the time being the right of way acquisition precludes the town from necessarily widening Donner Pass Road to four lanes. Schneider also said that the acquisition does not mean the town is laying pavement at this time.

“I would like to acknowledge the creativity and foresight of town staff,” Schneider said.

In other business:

– Truckee Town Council voted 3 to 1 to suspend enforcement of the Donner Lake trigger ordinance which would immediately halt motorized use on the lake in the event MTBE levels became a health threat according to state standards.

University of California at Davis Staff Research Associate Brant Allen represented UC Davis, the Contra Costa Water District and CH2Mhill, three companies which will collaboratively study surface water effects of gasoline constituents using grant monies. The companies hope to use Donner Lake as the surface water test model in part because they have previously amassed data on the lake’s water quality.

“This grant provides an opportunity to gain information that may not otherwise be available,” Allen said.

The study would include gathering data on gasoline constituent concentrations in Donner Lake’s water, as well as gathering data on the number of motorized boats and other watercraft on the lake and the types of engines powering those watercraft, Allen said. The data would then be used to create a model applicable to all bodies of water similar to Donner Lake.

“This model can predict the carrying capacity of engine use on the lake,” Allen said.

Town Manager Steve Wright said the team will gather its water samples from different depth levels and emphasized the team will test the water for more than the presence of MTBE.

Pulling the trigger and banning motorized craft use on Donner Lake would create significant problems for the researchers by interrupting accurate data collection, Wright said.

“This study has the potential to determine how many hours of motorized use will turn a lake upside down,” Wright said.

Councilmember Don McCormack was excused from Thursday’s meeting and Councilmembers Ron Florian, Bob Drake and Josh Susman supported the request. Mayor Maia Schneider dissented in not supporting ordinance enforcement suspension.

“We made a commitment to this town last year,” Schneider said. “We’re not released from our responsibility to the people we made a commitment to.”

Schneider said she could have supported suspension of the trigger ordinance if asked to do so only through the Fourth of July weekend. However, the study is scheduled to go into October, Allen said.

“I can’t be in favor of not having this mechanism in place,” Schneider said.

– Council also adopted Resolution 2000-25, authorizing a cooperative funding agreement with Caltrans for drainage improvement at the Highway 267 railroad crossing.

The town will enter into a utility agreement with the Truckee-Donner Public Utility District for water and electric utility installation at this site as well.

“Of the total project cost of $311,180, the town’s project share would be approximately $30,965,” a town staff report stated.

– Town Council approved the purchase of a sand truck totaling nearly $140,000.

– Council authorized the reclassification of Public Works Office Assistant to Public works Administrative Assistant. The reclassification was recommended by the independent consulting firm, DMG Maximus.

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