My Turn: Truckee’s future better as a town |

My Turn: Truckee’s future better as a town

Ted Owens
Nevada County Supervisor for District 5.

The author of “Town of Truckee is wearing blinders” (Sierra Sun Aug. 8) longs for Truckee of the past. Many of us do. But I must take issue with some of the claims made in his guest column.

First is the question of Truckee’s incorporation back in 1993. Snow removal was an occurrence, not a service, and our roads were in bad shape ” creating the catalyst for a successful drive for incorporation.

Truckee residents secured autonomy over their future rather than leaving it to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors, four of whom always hail from the western reaches. Prior to incorporation Truckee’s only representation was a lone supervisor who, more often than not, didn’t come from Truckee. For more than a century, Truckee tax dollars easily made the way down the hill, but struggled to make the way back up in the form of services.

Let’s talk land use for a moment. Truckee’s growth over the last 10 years was market-driven, not enacted, mandated or caused by some resolution passed by the town council. I would submit that Truckee not only dodged a bullet by incorporating, but instead may have dodged a cannon ball.

The old Nevada County General Plan was literally gutted by town council in 1995, reducing development potential by nearly 50 percent in the town’s first General Plan ” fortunately just in advance of the boom.

If Truckee had not incorporated, growth arguably could have been twice what we see today, bear no boundary and have the same feel, quality and sense of place as the last big county-approved project ” the Safeway shopping center.

Granted, some folks do not like the direction of the town. Direction is a moving target that changes as does the local populace. A majority of Truckee’s current citizenry did not live here prior to incorporation and have brought different views and ideals than existed in the past.

Point being, the visions of locals in 1993 may not align with the visions of 2008 locals. Even so, we have the right to elect our own council, we can attend meetings and express our views as the public, we can corner councilmembers (at the grocery store if need be) or we can call them at home late at night or early on a Sunday morning “it happens.

To unincorporate would be a great surrender of Truckee’s self determination and voice. Although I represent Truckee at the county, my efforts are greatly enhanced by our local government here in town. Ask our friends in Tahoe City, or as of late Kings Beach, how they feel about their fate being determined by a board of supervisors all of whom live in the foothills.

It is sad and disturbing to see local businesses like OB’s and Buckhorn close or renovated buildings sit vacant. I agree with the writer on this point, but part ways with the reasons as to why. The landlords jacked the rent. This is a market-driven condition not even remotely under the control of the town, unless the suggestion is that the town should have been exercising rent control, which for my taste can stay in Berkeley.

To make meaningful change, run for office and try to make that difference. The writer of the column missed last Friday’s deadline to file for candidacy to run for council. It is easy to sit on the sidelines. I do it during football season and I have all the solutions to bring the 49ers back from the brink of obscurity.

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