Truckee Update; Town of Truckee planning shifts gears in ’98
Since incorporation the town has been extremely busy preparing and adopting Truckee’s first general plan and the Downtown Specific Plan.
Implementation of the general plan through the preparation and adoption of new zoning and development standards will be a major effort involving the staff, planning commission, town council and the public this spring and summer. Lately, new and more focused efforts to achieve Truckee’s goals have been initiated.
PBID-The town is supporting an effort by downtown business and property owners to create a property-based business improvement district (PBID) to support new projects and enhanced levels of service downtown.
This activity is an excellent example of a public/private partnership; essentially using the town’s taxing authority to create a mechanism for downtown business and property owners to finance and equitably charge themselves for the improvements and services they desire. The process is still in the early stages and it appears that the target of the effort will be improved parking and pedestrian access.
The Downtown Specific Plan provides the basic plans for the projects that are currently being considered. Currently, there are a series of focussed discussions occurring with the affected parties. To create the district there must be a very high level of commitment from the businesses and property owners who pay the costs through their tax bills.
Essentially, the decisions regarding the projects, services and the spread of the cost are made by them. The town’s role is limited to facilitating the process. Meetings and hearings on this program will continue through the spring with a final decision expected in May or June.
Redevelopment- The downtown plan and the Truckee General Plan identify strong infill policies and a host of new community projects that require funding. These projects range from the parking and pedestrian improvements previously mentioned to open space acquisition and development of a trail system focussed along the Truckee River as well as business development in these infill areas.
Considering our young age and currently mandated programs (like maintenance of our 137 miles of town roads) money for these new programs is extremely limited. In fact, the downtown plan was developed based upon the assumption that no town general fund monies would be available to fund new projects downtown. Innovative new tools are necessary to achieve these new objectives. The town has embarked on a process to consider using redevelopment as a tool to achieve these objectives.
Redevelopment allows the redistribution of future tax dollars to achieve specific objectives within a defined project area. It is important to note that redevelopment does not result in any increase in taxes.
The town started the redevelopment process last November and it is expected to take a full year of analysis, hearings and discussion prior to a final decision. The redevelopment planning effort will focus on downtown Truckee and Donner Pass Road west of downtown.
Redevelopment can provide incentives to promote development and revitalization in infill areas, fund improvements to infrastructure like roads, sidewalks and parking areas, assist in the acquisition of park land and fund park improvements. The redevelopment planning process will zero in on the right projects for Truckee.
Truckee River Trail- During all of the town’s planning efforts the community expressed strong support for development of a trail network along the Truckee River. The Truckee River Trail was identified as a conceptual project in the General Plan and more specifically in the downtown plan. The trail not only will connect downtown Truckee to Glenshire and Donner Lake, it also has the potential to link with other existing and planned trails in the Placer County portion of the Martis Valley and along Highway 89 South.
Beginning as soon as this summer we should see segments of this trail actually constructed. The town has earmarked money to “kick start” trail construction, primarily as a match for potential grant funds. A more important role is assisting a growing citizen/volunteer commitment to construct the trail.
Other local government entities, such as the Truckee Sanitary District, have been strong supporters of the trail as well.
These projects are examples of the town’s commitment to assisting the community in defining and achieving our desired future. They all involve public/private partnerships and require strong citizen support to achieve important objectives.
One of the benefits of incorporation is the ability to identify and respond to community issues. Today, that means finding tools for our residents and business to help themselves.
For information on any of these projects contact the town at 582-7700 and if you’re interested, get involved in upcoming discussions. The Sierra Sun provides information on all upcoming meetings.
Tony Lashbrook is Truckee’s Community Development Director.
Sierra Sun E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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