Truckee kicks off redevelopment process
Truckee Town Council members moved the town into the first stage of planning for redevelopment, by approving a contract for a consulting firm to help organize Truckee’s redevelopment process.
“This is a very serious and significant step for the community,” Mayor Bob Drake said before the council discussion. “We are at the decision point.”
Last week’s decision was unanimous, 4-0 for the hiring of The Davis Company as consultants to assist with redevelopment. Council member Ron Florian was not present.
The town sent requests for proposals to a number of qualified consulting firms, and The Davis Company submitted the best reply – a contract of $36,000 plus approximately $10,000 in expenses. Jim Williamson, a consultant with The Davis Company, prepared the feasibility study for redevelopment project area adoption in Truckee earlier this year, and is familiar with the community.
“One of the high priorities established by the council was the adoption of a redevelopment plan,” Town Planner Elizabeth Eddins said. “The town has now moved from considering to preparing and going through with the process. The first step is selecting an expert in redevelopment.”
The council also approved the selection of Truckee Town Attorney J. Dennis Crabb as redevelopment counsel. Crabb currently serves as redevelopment counsel for South Lake Tahoe, and has experience in the issues involved in the process.
Council to act as agency
The selection of a redevelopment consultant will allow the council to move forward with the process. The council will name itself as the redevelopment agency in the Dec. 18 council meeting, adopt a resolution establishing a survey area, and direct the planning commission and the redevelopment agency to select the boundaries of the project area and prepare a preliminary plan.
Those actions will be the beginning of a yearlong process, which should culminate with the town passing an ordinance adopting the redevelopment plan in November 1998.
“I want everyone who is affected by this to be aware of it,” Drake said. “I would hate to see us get into the process then have someone say ‘I want no part of it.'”
“We should have a dialogue situation at the meeting on Dec. 18 concerning redevelopment,” Council member Josh Susman said. He said the type of consensus reached in the recent meeting on the 267 bypass issue shows how valuable discussion with the community can be.
Some residents present at the council meeting questioned the use of redevelopment, citing past abuses in the state.
“My purpose here is not to second-guess anyone, but to ask you to think hard about what you are doing,” Glenshire resident George Robertson said. “The Davis report does not discuss any of the pitfalls of redevelopment. It could be ranked up with the greatest snake oil salesmen of all time.”
“We’ve been working on this for a long time,” Council member Don McCormack said.
Other council members chimed in, pointing out the public hearings and workshops which have been conducted on redevelopment in the past.
“We’ve had slides, presentations, etc.,” Drake said.
Robertson also questioned the spending practices of the redevelopment agency.
He said money from taxes would be used to improve buildings, whose owners would then charge more in rent.
“Are there no other recourses open to force them to clean up their properties?” Robertson said.
McCormack explained that state legislation passed in recent years has made redevelopment requirements much more stringent, and the process is now much less prone to the problems which plagued earlier redevelopment projects in the state.
Resident Chuck Holt asked if it was mandatory for the council to serve as the redevelopment agency, and what additional staffing would be required.
“The council will usually serve as the redevelopment agency in order to maintain a consistent process,” Crabb said.
Town Manager Steve Wright said the agency will begin with no staff, and work its way up very slowly, using the existing resources of the town. After the redevelopment plan is adopted and the RDA begins receiving the tax increment for its funding, there will usually be a long delay before it takes any action. Adoption of the redevelopment plan should take about a year, after which the agency will begin receiving funding through the tax increment. Those funds have to accumulate before it can begin its work, although the RDA can acquire tax anticipation bonds to begin work in a shorter time.
Holt urged the council to keep the general public and the people in the project area informed about the redevelopment plan’s progress and its goals.
“(Redevelopment) is an excellent tool to achieve the Downtown Specific Plan and the General Plan,” Council member Maia Schneider said. “We must use it judiciously and count on the people in town to assure we are doing that. We require your input.”
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