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Town plans revamp of historic panel

JOHN A. BAYLESS

The Town of Truckee plans to create a Historical Preservation Advisory Commission that conforms with federal and state guidelines – a move which will replace the existing Historic Preservation Advisory Council.

Town Planner Duane Hall said that the state and federal guidelines which allow HPAC to participate in the planning process require a membership of professionals such as architects and historians. The town council will consider a resolution to create the commission in its meeting tonight at 6 in town hall.

Existing Historic Preservation Council membership dropped to three during the past year with the departure of two members.

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors created the Truckee Historic Preservation Advisory Council in 1983, following creation of the Downtown Historic Preservation District. Its purpose was to advise and make recommendations to county staff on demolition and design modification proposals within the historic district. When Truckee incorporated in 1993, HPAC began serving as an advisory committee to the town on historic preservation and design matters.

Hall pointed out in his report to council that the current HPAC does not meet the requirements of the State Historic Preservation Office for participation in federal and state historic programs, including Certified Local Government status and creation of a National Register District.

“This shortcoming was identified in the Specific Plan, which encourages the establishment of a historic preservation advisory commission that met SHPO requirements,” Hall wrote. He said participation in federal and state programs will provide funds to both the town and individual property owners.

“Consequently the town must have an advisory commission if the town wishes to participate in federal and state historic preservation programs and make federal tax credits available to property owners,” he wrote. “An advisory commission will also be important from a pragmatic standpoint by establishing a forum to investigate project alternatives, being a liaison between town staff and historical interest groups, and providing expert advice to town staff on design issues.”

According to Hall, town staff chose this time to create the commission because of the two recent resignations from HPAC. He said the commission was scheduled to be created in the coming year as part of the town’s historic preservation programs.

“Staff believes it would be more efficient to establish the new commission and begin recruiting new commission members now rather than appoint two HPAC members who would only serve for another six to nine months,” Hall wrote.

He said the main difference between the proposed commission and the existing council will be the membership requirements, which under state guidelines must include professionals from the building industry or people with expertise in historic preservation.

The resolution under consideration by council states that three of five HPAC members shall be appointed from among professionals in the disciplines of architecture, history, architectural history, planning, or historic preservation-related disciplines. One commission member will be a member of the Truckee-Donner Historical Society and another shall be a lay member who has demonstrated special interest, competence experience or knowledge in historic preservation, other historic preservation-related disciplines or Truckee history.

Each commission member will be required to attend at least one informational or educational meeting, seminar, workshop or conference each year that pertains directly to the commission’s functions.

At the Aug. 20 council meeting, HPAC member Sharon Arnold urged the town to give preference in selecting members to people who live inside the historic district, and her concerns were addressed in the resolution, which states, “It is desirable that members reside, work or own property or a business in the historic district.”

In other business, council will consider:

— By public hearing the abandonment of a portion of town-maintained Spring Street right of way to be consolidated with the abutting commercial property.

— Acceptance of a notice of completion for the Donner Pass Road project.

— Authorization of the public works director to purchase an equipment trailer.

— Approval of a change order in the amount of $4,028.38 for the western undercrossing project.

— Adoption of a resolution establishing the Truckee Trails Planning Advisory Committee and Advocacy Group.

— Authorization of the public works director to solicit bids for a self-contained snowblower unit.

Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.com

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