Truckee Town Council hears legislative update, Dark Skies presentation
TRUCKEE, Calif. – The Truckee Town Council met on Tuesday, Oct. 24, during which they heard a number of presentations and discussed a potential Short-Term Rental violation.
The meeting began with several proclamations being read.
The Extra Mile Proclamation was read. The Extra Mile is an annual event held in Truckee that aims to honor the dedicated work of volunteers and organizations within the local community. Sierra Senior Services, in particular, is being recognized for their outstanding commitment.
They consistently go above and beyond by delivering meals to seniors through the Meals on Wheels organization on a daily basis. This initiative recognizes the profound impact that arises when individuals and groups extend themselves beyond the call of duty in service to the community. The Truckee community has collectively contributed tens of thousands of hours toward bettering our community.
Extra Mile Day is slated for November 1, 2023. On this day, each person is encouraged to not only reflect on ways they can go the extra mile in their own lives, but also to acknowledge those who have demonstrated exceptional efforts in making the world a better place.
The Veterans Day Proclamation was read. David West, the Nevada County Veterans Services Officer, emphasized the indispensable contributions of people who have served in the armed forces, safeguarding our freedoms and way of life. Notably, 10% of the region’s residents are veterans.
On Nov. 11, 2023, at 11 a.m., all are invited to gather at the Eagle Monument in Victory Plaza for a ceremony dedicated to honoring our local veterans. Nevada County Veterans Services conduct outreach efforts in Truckee every first and third Friday of the month at Truckee American Legion.
To streamline communication, a new email address has been established: email@example.com. This email is circulated to all members of staff, featuring a red flag to signify it as correspondence from a veteran.
In addition, Council Member Henderson has earned the title of Honorary Commander of Beale Air Force Base.
The council then heard a presentation from Emanuels Jones & Associates, a Sacramento-based advocacy firm partnering with the town since its inception, which outlined key legislative points for 2024. In June, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a substantial 2023/24 state budget of $310 billion, with a $30 billion surplus. Notably, there were no cuts to essential services for local governments.
An additional $1.1 billion was allocated for housing and homelessness, with a commitment for another billion this year. Public transportation received a boost, with $1.5 billion over four years, including active transportation and transit services. Truckee secured $1 million for the Reimagine Bridge Street Project, and the administration is actively working on next year’s budget.
In the recent legislative session, 2,636 bills were introduced. Of those, 1046 reached the Governor’s desk, with 890 signed and 156 vetoed, reflecting a 14% veto rate. Emanuel Jones & Associates continued by saying that the Governor’s stance appears more centrist, with a preference for budget adherence and reluctance towards spending outside the budget process.
Housing legislation priorities include expanded multi-family development approvals, changes to Accessory Dwelling Unit laws, adaptive reuse focus, and bills addressing the Surplus Land Act. The legislature resumes on January 3, with a two-year bill deadline in January and a new round of introductions in February.
Looking ahead to 2024, there will be two significant ballots. In March, a mental health initiative will feature a $6.4 billion general obligation bond to fund 11,000 mental health beds and an amendment to Prop 63 for funding for the chronically homeless. There are also five bond measures under consideration in the legislature, covering resources, water parks, climate, and potentially housing and education.
The November ballot already includes ten qualified measures. Sacramento will hold discussions on insurance, particularly wildfire insurance. An agreement was reached in September between the insurance commissioner and companies to increase insurance coverage in fire-prone areas.
For more information on legislative platforms and position letters, visit the Truckee Town Council website. Navigate to “government,” then “Town Council,” and scroll to the bottom for links to the 2023 Legislative Platform and correspondence letters.
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program provided an overview of key accomplishments during its first year of implementation in Truckee. This initiative emerged from a strategic goal to strengthen community unity through improved communication and outreach.
The program emphasizes embracing various characteristics like race, socioeconomic status, disabilities, and LGBTQ+ identities. It also strives for equitable access to services, information, and civic engagement opportunities for all members of the community, particularly those historically underrepresented. The focus is on fostering inclusivity, where everyone feels a sense of belonging and can thrive.
Several impactful measures have been taken, including addressing privacy concerns with Automated License Plate Readers, conducting a community survey with significant participation, organizing events in unconventional spaces for wider accessibility, providing housing workshops in English and Spanish, and installing interpretive signage to acknowledge Indigenous heritage.
Transportation outreach efforts have led to a 7% increase in overall ridership near multi-family and mobile home parks. The engagement has been substantial, with seven significant in-person events, notably the Día del Niño, drawing over 200 attendees.
Looking ahead, there are plans to launch a diversity, equity, and inclusion action plan, involving both qualitative and quantitative data collection, community interviews, and on-site information gathering over the next 10 to 12 months. Additionally, there are ongoing efforts to establish a Youth Council, aiming to engage and empower local youth in government activities.
The Dark Skies initiative was discussed. Born from discussions during a council retreat, Dark Skies underscores the vital need to preserve our night skies and follow lighting guidelines. The Dark Sky movement is committed to reinstating the natural nocturnal environment and shielding communities and wildlife from the adverse effects of light pollution.
This pollution, an artificial modification of outdoor light levels, disrupts ecosystems, affecting birds, predators, prey, and insects. It also impacts human health, leading to sleep disturbances and reduced daytime functioning. Excessive lighting is wasteful, with 30% of outdoor lighting in the U.S. going to waste. This amounts to a staggering $3.3 billion loss. Additionally, lighting contributes to 21 million tons of annual CO2 emissions, necessitating the planting of 875 million trees yearly for offsetting.
To combat this, it’s recommended to switch off exterior lights by 10 p.m., including holiday lighting. Turning off interior lights when not in use and choosing downward-facing, dark-sky-friendly exterior lighting is advised. Motion sensor lights can enhance safety. Most importantly, spread awareness about this critical issue and join the Dark Sky movement.
In partnership with Tahoe Adventure Company, a special offer for a full moon hike is available. Originally priced at $95, it is now offered at just $5. These hikes are scheduled for this Friday Oct. 27 and Saturday, Oct. 28 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and are suitable for individuals aged 8 and older. To book, visit Tahoeadventurecompany.com and use promo code DarkSkies23.
Considerable discussion has revolved around the mapping of biological and water resources. The intention behind this effort is to employ it as a valuable resource for making informed decisions regarding development, land use, and the preservation of open spaces. For those interested, the Town of Truckee Enterprise GIS can be accessed at Townoftruckee.com.
Additionally, mark your calendars for Nov. 15, when an Open House event will be held in the Prosser Room at the Town Hall Administrative Center located at 10183 Truckee Airport Road, Truckee, CA as part of GIS Day.
There was deliberation surrounding a potential short-term rental parking violation and an appeal by the homeowner. This involved the perception that the homeowner failed to promptly address the issue, which was in conflict with the stipulations outlined in the short-term rental ordinance. The ordinance specifies that a homeowner should take action to resolve such situations within 60 minutes of a violation.
In the end, the council reached a decision with a 3:2 vote to uphold the citation issued to the short-term rental homeowner (including a $1000 fine). Staff has indicated that there will be forthcoming updates to the short-term rental ordinance in the following weeks to tackle some of the issues discussed.
And lastly, the Town Council was asked to consider the re-appointment of Chaun Mortier and Bill Kenny, and appoint Kelly Gove to the Historic Preservation Advisory Commission, each for four-year terms. All council members unanimously approved the appointments.
The next Town Council meeting will be on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 5 p.m.
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