Letters | SierraSun.com


Town should fight Barsell development

To the editor:

I was unable to attend the meeting of Aug. 17, but wish to have these comments included in the public comment concerning the Barsell project.

There is a glaring inconsistency in the town’s rolling over on Barsell. Over the last five years the citizens have been told time and time again to allow the process to work. Barsell went through no public process.

The Council decided it did not want to spend taxpayer dollars defending a lawsuit and reached a tentative settlement with Barsell. Yet within weeks of telling the public the Town did not want to spend more money on lawsuits, the Town filed suit against the Airport District. The Airport District had spent almost two years and $100,000 preparing the CEQA documentation to support the Airport’s negative declaration. Yet the Town saw fit to file a lawsuit. On the other hand the Town is giving the Barsell project a negative declaration, without any of the CEQA documentation being current and complete. Why are these two similar situations being treated so differently? Why is it okay to pursue a lawsuit with taxpayer dollars in one instance but not the other?

As a taxpayer I support defending a lawsuit. If the Town settles with Barsell, there will be no future “process.” Developers will know that all they have to do is threaten a lawsuit and the Town will cave in to whatever the developers want. The council is establishing a terrible precedent. Future projects will not have to comply in any way with the General Plan, as the council will just amend the General Plan in the developers’ interests, as the council is agreeing to do in the case of Barsell.

Another terrible precedent that will be established, if the Barsell settlement takes place, is the subsidizing of infrastructure. If the project is not feasible without a subsidy, it should not be built. The General Plan and Downtown Specific Plan only looked at subsidies to help clean up existing blighted areas, not undeveloped parcels such as the Barsell site. If the Council decides to give a subsidy to one developer, they obviously will be approached by every other developer of future projects for the same handout. As a rate payer I do not want to be subsidizing any development that cannot pay its own way.

The Barsell project and settlement agreement are simply wrong. Please do the right thing and go back to court if necessary.

Janna S. Caughron


Truckee airport part of the community

To the editor:

Last week airport board candidate George Simmons attempted to tell us all about the Truckee-Tahoe Airport and how bad it is, that it’s just one giant subsidy, that the airplanes and pilots have a free ride. How about some real facts: the airport is a Bi-County Special District formed in 1958, and supported by the tax rolls in a 560-square mile area.

Your tax bill does not show Truckee airport listed. That’s because the tax is taken from the general fund, and is about 2.7 percent of 1 percent, combined from both Nevada and Placer Counties. What does it give back? The yearly payroll, of almost $1 million, is generated from fuel sales, and other rental operations.

The counties charge an assessment property tax on each hangar plus each airplane, no matter where the pilots live. The assessed valuations of the hangars and aircraft amount to millions of dollars, the assessments return back to the counties’ general funds. The hangar rents pay for the cost of construction and are amortized to pay off their loans in ten years. All aviation fuel purchased pays the state motor fuel tax and Federal Highway tax (the jets pay sales tax of 7.5 percent per gallon).

How soon we forget the firefighting aircraft that worked the Tahoe Donner, Glenshire and Hirschdale fires, the Helios and fire-fighting aircraft staged and refueled at the airport. When the floods occurred, the airport was the only way into or out of the area, as Reno’s airport was closed due to flooding.

Other benefits from this terrible tax subsidy are: a permanent Truckee Fire/CDF station at the airport, Angel Flights, CAP search-and-rescue and many youth programs. The Truckee Airport is well run, the district directors are full-time residents of the area, and as taxpayers themselves, are very aware of tax burdens. The airport puts back much more into the economy than it takes. This is one tax subsidy that works.

F. Robert Marshall

Tahoe-Truckee Airport District Director


Candidate for airport board seeks change

To the editor:

If I were running for the Truckee-Tahoe Airport Board, what would I do?

First, I would properly inform myself by attending board meeting and asking questions instead of quoting newspaper articles!

Secondly, I would not tell anyone that I want the airport removed!

It is my understanding that hangars at the airport are paid for by the lessees, not the taxpayers. These same owners pay unsecured property taxes on the aircraft to either Placer or Nevada County. They also pay possessory interest tax on the hangars to these same counties.

This tax base amounts to millions of dollars no matter where the aircraft owner lives. Should we tell them to go elsewhere? Many planes so stored may fly only once or twice a year.

This November, I would recommend voting for knowledgeable incumbents.

Lowell E. Northrop, Jr.

Tahoe City

Downtown plan an asset to the town

To the editor:

After watching the riveting Town Council deliberations (Thursday night, Channel 6) on the Barsell property, applauding the insistence of the cemetery set backs and walking connections to downtown Truckee by Councilman Susman, I was disappointed by the remarks of other council members as to the validity of Truckee’s General and Downtown Plan.

The plan(s) are an incredible asset to the town and people of Truckee, a tribute to the people and community who worked to produce them, and would stand (in all ways) by any other General or Specific plan developed today, in any other area in America.

The contribution of passionate “other” viewpoints in our town (MAPF, the Historic Society, etc.) is also an asset, helping us all stay on our toes and in no small way contributes to the duality of life and sense of place that is Truckee. So rare in today’s money, money, poorly developed world.

Alison Pratt Schelling


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