Truckee council extends moratorium on gas stations, storage units

TRUCKEE, Calif. — After a robust discussion, the Truckee Town Council approved an extension of a temporary moratorium on gas stations, storage facilities and large box stores during their Tuesday meeting.

The temporary moratorium was first approved in August as a safety measure while town staff finishes the 2040 General Plan. 

There were several elements in the General Plan that led staff to recommend the moratorium such as economic diversification and land use considerations. Storage units, for example, take up a lot of space in the industrial zone which could be used for several various types of businesses. 

Both storage units and gas stations employ a low number of employees, which is another priority in the General Plan. Also, with California prohibiting new gas vehicles in the future, gas stations will become less necessary.

Councilmember Jan Zabriskie had concerns about the gas station piece of the moratorium, stating there wasn’t enough evidence to support a moratorium on gas stations would decrease vehicle miles traveled or other environmental benefits of limiting the number of stations. 

Councilmember Dave Polivy pushed back saying that while there might not be enough evidence, it’s worth trying and it sends a message that the town wants to make driving a car inconievent while it focuses on other forms of transportation. 

Polivy was originally against the moratorium but expressed his support for the extension. 

The moratorium needed four votes to pass and Councilmember Anna Klovstad was absent from the meeting, meaning all four present members needed to approve it. 

Staff originally wanted the moratorium to be extended six months but Zabriskie would only support it if it was extended until Nov. 4. Polivy was frustrated that this was a waste of staff’s time but still voted in favor. It passed 4-0. 

During the meeting, Council also approved changes to the Truckee Home Access Program, previously named Below Market Rate Program. The program pays buyers, sellers, businesses, and developers to reserve homes for income qualified local workers with a 55-year deed restriction.

Qualified buyers must make at most 245% of the area median income, have at least one household member who works at least 30 hours per week within the boundaries of the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, and occupy the home as a full-time residence. While the AMI seems high, it only qualifies moderate to middle upper incomes, which still accounts for the highest number of housing needs. 

Changes included adding a maximum sale price, a rental cap and the program now allows for current homeowners to apply for the program. Council approved the program 4-0. Staff hopes to open applications mid-October. 

The council also approved an agreement with Nevada County regarding Measure V proceeds. Measure V is a half-cent sales tax to be used for wildfire prevention and readiness. The item was placed on the consent agenda but Mayor Courtney Henderson pulled the item for discussion. 

She said that while she would vote in favor of the agreement, she was publicly stating that she would be voting against the measure during the election. 

“I wanted to take this opportunity to thank our town team for all of your tremendous work on this. I know it was a really big lift and I appreciate all of the work and the negotiation and I know that you all did the best that you possibly could in these circumstances,” Henderson said. “This tax measure puts the town in a position where we have more limited ability to address unforeseen issues in the future.”

She went on to state that if the measure passes, the town will only have one-quarter of a cent tax available to approve for other issues. She also wished the tax would be a special tax and not a general tax, so the funds have to be used for wildfire. 

The rest of the council echoed Henderson’s thoughts and spoke in opposition of the measure. Polivy asked for an official statement to be crafted in opposition of the measure.

Council approved the agreement 3-1 with Zabriskie voting no, because if the measure does pass, this agreement for the county to share the money with the town is critical for Truckee. 

Finally, the council approved new “Welcome to Truckee,” signs. The signs will be paid for and maintained by the Rotary Club and will be placed on Truckee Way southwest of Highway 89, 89 South, north of I-80 and on 267 North, north of Airport Rd. 

A rendering of the new “Welcome to Truckee Signs”
Screen Shot of Presentation

While the signs include no cultural or historical references, Henderson asked that the signs include the same message in the Native Washoe language. 

The signs were approved 3-1, Polivy voted no on the signs, stating the community and art commission weren’t given the opportunity to weigh in on the design.

The meeting began with a presentation from Donner Lake Interagency Partnership for Stewardship, which is a partnership between the land and water rights owners of Donner Lake. They are creating a stewardship plan which aims to protect and enhance long-term ecological and economic health of Donner Lake.

The group is conducting a State of the Lake study, which should have results available in Spring 2023. The stewardship plan is still being crafted but should be available this winter for public workshops, with implementation beginning June 2023. 

Correction: This story was updated to correct Mayor Courtney Henderson’s comments.

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