Workshop produces new vision statement for Truckee general plan

Scott Hess

In the third Town of Truckee General Plan Update workshop, the town and the approximately 80 members in attendance collaborated to move toward the revision of Truckee’s 1996 vision statement.

Truckee’s vision statement is a part of the town’s General Plan, which the town is trying to revise or replace, if needed. Town Planner and General Plan Update Project Manager Duane Hall said the update is necessary because the town’s original General Plan was established in 1996, when “we needed to get up and running.”

He said that for the original General Plan the community members and the town staff identified and addressed the crucial situations, but times have changed. In the 1996 General Plan, the town addressed the growing population situation, but Hall said Truckee is growing by about twice the predicted amount.

With population growth and other General Plan policies now out of date, Hall said the town wanted to take the original plan back to the community to find out if it needs revision, or if a completely new General Plan needs to be drafted.

By studying surveys, listening to community members in the workshops and employing examples from similar small towns, the Town of Truckee drafted a revised vision statement after the General Plan Update meeting last Wednesday. The new vision statement will be presented to the public at tonight’s General Plan Update meeting, at 6 p.m. at Town Hall.

In the new vision statement, the town defined what Truckee is and what it will be, as well as addressing important issues.

“The Town of Truckee is uniquely situated in a valley containing the Truckee River surrounded by the majestic Sierra Nevada,” the vision statement reads in the “Community Character” section. “Truckee’s natural environment is the physical, social and economic foundation of the community.”

As for the highly-debated issue of Truckee’s growth rate, the vision statement reads, “Growth will be treated as an opportunity to implement the community’s vision. We will meet the challenge of managing growth while enhancing the beauty, history and small town flavor that attracted many of us here. Balanced growth that takes into account regional growth trends and impacts will enable the Town to provide quality services to meet the long term needs of the community.”

In an effort to protect Truckee’s natural environment, the revised vision statement addresses the topic in both the “Open Space and Recreation” and “Traffic” sections. “As Truckee residents, we cherish our forests, waterways and spectacular mountain views, and are dedicated to protecting and restoring these precious resources,” the Open Space section states. Similarly, the Traffic section assures, “Access throughout Truckee will be improved through an enhanced circulation system including safe bicycle and pedestrian trails that extends public access to residential areas, commercial services and recreation and open space.”

During the meeting Wednesday, the community members in attendance were divided into 10 groups (including one Spanish-speaking group) and asked to review the 1996 descriptions of community character, housing, open space, traffic, economy and growth rate. The groups then made notes about how to revise the current vision statement in those six categories. They were asked to “review the existing statement by topic and determine how it could better reflect the issues identified by the community thus far,” according to the meeting minutes.

The results of the exercise were taken to the Town of Truckee and incorporated into the updated vision statement.

Hall said that the revised vision statement will be brought back to the public at tonight’s meeting and then to the town staff and consultants. Although this part of the process will be handled mostly by the town staff and consultants, Hall said, “We’re trying to think of how we can still keep the community involved.”

From here, the project will hopefully transition into Phase II, which would keep the General Plan Update project on schedule for a completion date of Summer 2004. A big question that remains, Hall said, was, “Are we going in the right direction?”

That remains to be seen, but the community can give its input about the updated vision statement and the General Plan Update by attending the fourth General Plan Update workshop tonight.

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