Truckee council, planning commission discuss Climate Action Plan, mobility

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Truckee Town Council and Planning Commission hosted their second joint meeting on Tuesday to discuss the 2040 General Plan.

This draft General Plan is the update of the 2025 plan. Town staff are splitting the discussions into smaller elements of the plan to help focus the discussion.

During the Tuesday meeting, the council and commission discussed the Climate Action Plan and mobility and transportation.

Town staff said the Climate Action Plan received more feedback and questions than other elements of the General Plan, highlighting the importance of the CAP to the community. 

The discussion on the CAP started with whether or not the town should change their target goals to align with their 2040 goals instead of the 2030 goals as is currently written. The town is not currently on track to meet their 2030 goals, so part of the discussion was whether the town should be conservative with their goals. 

“I’m not looking for a conservative figure, I want to know what is feasible … conservative says to me that we’re leaving something off the table,” said Councilmember Jan Zabriskie. 

Councilmember Anna Klovstad agreed, stating, “we should be reaching beyond our grasp.”

While the council and the commission agreed the town should concentrate on the 2040 goals, one concern Suzie Tarnay mentioned was that while the CAP has goals set, it doesn’t have solid action items or benchmarks to ensure the town meets those goals. 

“This is a roadmap but it has no signs or mile markers,” Tarnay said. 

Next, the group discussed how to reach renewable energy goals, especially in housing. Staff recognize there are limits to what the town can do but Mayor Courtney Henderson said she’d like to see a consortium to pressure Southwest Gas to offer more, affordable renewable energy options for homeowners. The town is currently working with South Lake Tahoe to help push Southwest Gas in that direction. 

Along the same lines, the group discussed funding priorities in the CAP. They agreed on making it easier to get building permits for green buildings and financing options, such as credit enhanced loans, for retrofitting homes to make them more energy efficient. 

After the discussion on the CAP concluded, the group discussed the mobility element of the General Plan. 

A large part of the discussion focused on level of service, which tracks areas of town where there is frequent traffic congestion. The group was supposed to decide if staff should continue evaluating levels of service or not. 

Commissioner Ruth Miller said focusing on levels of service is contradictory to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

“To reduce greenhouse gas, we have to make it painful to drive,” Miller said. 

Tarnay added that the town adding roads to match capacity is only a temporary solution until capacity grows again. 

However, there are negative environmental implications to abandoning levels of service, such as cars idling at stop signs for a long time. 

Commissioner Nikki Riley also pointed out the wildlife evacuation has not been included in the discussion. If the town is at capacity for cars on the road and they don’t expand roadways, evacuating during an emergency will be next to impossible. 

Commissioner Dave Gove said he’d like to see a hybrid approach that considers ways to reduce cars on the road while also adding traffic calming measures such as roundabouts in high traffic areas. 

Henderson asked staff to do more research and bring the topic back to the council and commission before direction was given. 

The group resoundingly agreed that widening Highway 267 is a bad idea that should be removed from the General Plan. They also agreed to put a focus on funding opportunities for mobility measures. 

During the meeting, Henderson announced Miller was stepping down from the Planning Commission so Tuesday was her last meeting. Miller had been appointed by Councilmember Dave Polivy who was absent from the meeting. 

The next joint meeting is scheduled for Aug. 16, during which, they’ll be discussing the community character element, economic development element and the conservation and open space element. 

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