Truckee postpones housing ordinance
TRUCKEE ” Truckee is postponing any decisions to create more affordable housing for the town’s workers, mostly due to economic and social concerns.
Some members of the community want to see an ordinance, which requires new businesses to provide some housing for employees, enacted, which they say will help diversify Truckee socially and economically. Others say putting the burden on new business will stop necessary growth, especially in the current economic plunge. The Town Council last week sent back a draft ordinance back to the Affordable Housing Working Group to work on these issues.
“If you give us more latitude I believe we can make this ordinance better,” said John Faulk, chair of the Affordable Housing Working Group to the town council Thursday.
Pat Davison, another member of the group and executive director of the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe, said the slowdown in the economy necessitates putting the ordinance on hold. She recommended the ordinance be re-visited in six months.
“There is no scenario where a project would pencil out with these requirements, and that is pretty significant when here we are in the throws of an economic downturn,” Davison said.
Others said waiting is unnecessary and will hurt Truckee’s workers and businesses.
“Lets try to be proactive, I don’t want this town to turn into Tahoe City, which is a ghost town in the shoulder seasons because nobody lives there,” said Kappy Mann, another member of the working group.
John Eaton, also a member of the working group, said Truckee is in danger of losing nurses, police officers, and other public servants.
The current real estate crises shouldn’t kill the possibility of affordable housing, he said.
“Across the country there has been a real estate crash ” it wasn’t caused by Truckee affordable housing,” Eaton said.
Many blamed a town policy ” which requires new non-residential development to provide housing for 50 percent of its employees ” for being unrealistic and hard to implement into law.
“It was a challenging effort to begin with a policy that didn’t work, and we’re trying to enact an ordinance from that policy,” said Breeze Cross, former president of the now-dissolved Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe.
Council member Richard Anderson agreed the existing policy needs to be revisited ” something that could happen in the housing element update, which was also initiated Thursday night by town council members.
One item called for by both members of the public and of the town council was an inventory to quantify how much affordable housing exists, and how much is needed at different income levels.
“The need for a housing needs assessment is critical,” said Breeze Cross, former president of the Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe.
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Friends of the Truckee Library gave a presentation at Tuesday’s Truckee Town Council meeting, providing an update on work to ensure a new library while asking for further support for the project.