Truckee goes for historic status again
After a failed first attempt to get downtown Truckee on the National Register of Historic Districts, the town has pared down the proposed district, leaving out certain landmark structures.
Stretching from the Truckee Hotel on the eastern end to the C.B. White House to the west, the newly proposed district includes the historic Truckee Jail and the Train Depot, but leaves out historic areas like Jibboom Street and West River Street.
“At least two-thirds of the buildings have to be contributing to the historic status,” said Town Planner Duane Hall at the Feb. 7 council meeting.
The 2004 application failed because it did not meet that criteria. The State office of Historic Preservation suggested narrowing the application to just Commercial Row, he said.
But that doesn’t mean if the proposed district is approved that other historic buildings would be ignored, Hall said.
“After this is approved we could look at other possible districts in downtown, or at least help property owners get their buildings individually listed,” Hall said.
“I think this will bring more business to town,” said Kappy Mann with the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce.
A sign would be placed on Interstate 80 to announce the historic district, Hall said.
If approved, the new classification wouldn’t change local ratings and building guidelines, but could add benefits for historic building owners, Hall said.
The new status could give historic property owners tax credits of up to 20 percent of the cost of restoration and rehabilitation, according to staff reports. Those tax cuts would be in addition to existing property tax reduction and a planned redevelopment loan or grant program, said Town Manager Tony Lashbrook in a previous interview.
“I am a major supporter of the historic district,” said Dave Wilderotter, owner of Tahoe Dave’s ski shop. “But without the knowledge and help on this funding … the codes are more onerous.”
Wilderotter has received approval for work on his historic building in downtown Truckee, but high building costs for historic structures have kept him from moving forward, he said.
He suggested training town staff to help building owners navigate the economic assistance available, something Wilderotter said he hasn’t been able to do successfully on his own.
“I’m just sitting here with $100,000 into plans waiting to see how all this pencils out,” Wilderotter said.