Truckee alcohol ban closer | SierraSun.com

Truckee alcohol ban closer

Andrew Cristancho
Sierra Sun

Placer County officials may soon have the authority to shut down alcohol consumption during certain summer holiday periods on the Truckee River.

California state senators passed Senate Bill 1159 with a two-thirds majority on April 1, according to Placer County Manager Jennifer Merchant for the Tahoe CEO Office.

“It has passed its first significant hurdle,” she said.

The bill is now headed to the Assembly, although Merchant was not aware of a timeline for the hearing of the bill.

The SB 1159’s author, State Sen. Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks, introduced the legislation on Feb. 6.

The proposed ban, reads in part “a person in a nonmotorized vessel” along the portion of river between the river’s headwaters at Lake Tahoe in Tahoe City and Alpine Meadows Bridge, may not possess alcohol during the summer holiday periods when the Placer County Board of Supervisors prohibits alcohol on the “land portions along the river.”

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Although county officials are able to pass an ordinance to regulate federal- or state-owned land, they do not have the authority to ban alcoholic beverages on the state’s navigable waters without passage of the proposed legislation, according to notes from the Senate Rules Committee.

Placer County’s Board of Supervisors will vote on an ordinance allowing county officials the authority to impose an alcohol ban on the public land lining the Truckee River during their quarterly Tahoe meeting on April 15, Merchant said.

Placer County staff are busy sending out notification of the meeting and considered ordinance to the property owners of the 80 private parcels that dot the riverbanks along the 3.5-mile stretch of river, Merchant said.

The residents of the private property would not be regulated by the alcohol ban while on their property, according to Merchant.

Officials hope to have SB 1159 approved by the Assembly before the start of this year’s Forth of July weekend.

“We think just by having the law in effect [it] will be a significant deterrent,” Merchant said.

The amount of people floating down the river during the July holiday nearly doubled last year, Merchant said. Officials stationed at the “pipe bridge” counted 2,023 people passing under the bride in a two-hour period on July 4 2007, compared to 1,115 people passing the same spot in 2006.

Assembly Bill 951, a similar ban on the lower American River, passed both state houses in June 2007.