My Turn: Doing backbends for a permit
I am writing this letter to inform the public and the businesses of the gross misrepresentation surrounding the development occurring at the corner of Airport Road and Highway 267 in Truckee. I wonder sometimes why rules, regulations and codes are even developed if they are not to be implemented and enforced. If there is always a way around the rules, why do we even have them?I am speaking, to put it bluntly, of the intent of the developer from day one of the permit application process and most likely, before that, to put a gym/health club/fitness center in one of the buildings on the property. Mind you, a gym is a non-allowable use of this property, that the parking is grossly inadequate for a gym of even small size, but this gym is impressively large (per Placer County officials).Given that the county code requires a health club to have one parking spot per two pieces of equipment, plus a parking spot for every 300 square feet (per Placer County Officials), how on earth are they able to get this approved through Placer County? Answer: skirt the issue by misleading the county.So instead of calling themselves a gym, which clearly they are, they are telling the county that they are getting a Personal Services Use (since a gym is a non-allowable use) and they are indeed not a gym at all but a rehab facility. Now I ask you this they write checks to the county with a gym check, they even advertised in the Sierra Sun several months back that the gym, which they currently operate in Tahoe City is expanding to Truckee, they tell people over the phone that their gym is opening in Truckee in the spring and they tell their current members that they will be in two locations and that they will have dual privileges. So, when is a gym a gym and when is a gym a Rehab/Health facility? Answer: when you need to get a permit from Placer County and you clearly cannot get it by calling yourself what you really are. Change a few words on your application and BINGO youre now a 10,000-square-foot health and rehabilitation facility, which allows you to skirt every regulation to which you know you cant conform. A 10,000-square-foot rehab facility? Wow, there arent many of those around. How many physical therapists, nurses and health practitioners does it take to fill a space that big anyway? Answer: ONE. You only have to have one to call yourself a rehab facility and change your intended use of the property. However, as I have also been informed by county officials, you cannot sell memberships. Thats interesting, because I have heard several people who have inquired about what the membership dues will be and then have been provided a multitude of answers. How do you run a facility that big without charging memberships? Just curious.Most important, there are parking regulations for gyms for a reason: they have a lot of traffic in and out at all hours of the day. Where are they possibly going to accommodate this? On Airport Drive? That will most definitely be a safety issue.How about in the surrounding businesses who are most likely to feel the brunt of this. Be prepared, because if this business goes in, it most assuredly will not be a rehab facility by anything other than name. It will be a gym and the county needs to step in and be aware of this. Nearby businesses should also be aware and, if necessary, file a formal complaint with Placer County.Arnold Wesport has lived in the area for almost 17 years and has studied planning and political issues for many years.
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