TTSA — State of the Union
The multi-year struggle of Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency employees to unionize will continue to drag on, at least for now (see It Rolls Downhill). Following an unproductive Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) informal hearing between agency representatives and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) in January, the union group representing many TTSA employees, an official hearing was scheduled for the end of April. This date was delayed and now PERB will hear an unfair practices charge made by IBEW against TTSA on May 30, according to general manager LaRue Griffin. Yet the agency’s special legal counsel may request an even later hearing date, Griffin said, because IBEW recently submitted amendments to their PERB complaint.
Employees of the agency cite complaints of a hostile work environment and illegal firings, among other more specific complaints, as reasoning for the charge against the TTSA. The agency’s legal counsel, Richard Shanahan, hired lawyer Terry Roemer to investigate many of these complaints. The investigation is ongoing and at the time of this writing Griffin said the balance owed to Roemer stands at $46,509.94.
“I understand that the investigation has been completed, and the board of directors has considered and is considering the findings and will take whatever actions it deems necessary,” said Griffin, following up that he could not disclose more because it included confidential personnel matters and other privileged information.
IBEW efforts encountered static in the fall when TTSA discovered previously unknown agency rules from 1993 for the set-up of potential union bargaining units that differed from the union’s plan. PERB ruled with TTSA that the 1993 rules must be complied with, but the union believes the rule’s units makeup is inherently flawed because it lumps management with regular employees, and would lead to problems, according to Rick Thompson, IBEW organizer. According to a fall 2017 TTSA board packet, IBEW plans to potentially litigate the 1993 rules.
Public Comment Period Opens for Squaw/Alpine Gondola
The U.S. Forest Service and Placer County have released the draft Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows Base-to-Base Gondola Project Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The notice of availability initiates a 45-day public comment period, which began on April 27. A U.S. Forest Service open house meeting will be held on May 22 and a Placer County Planning Commission meeting will be held on May 24. The public is invited to attend both of these events; however, formal public comments will only be recorded at the May 24 meeting. Info: squawalpinegondola-eis.com
Two Projects Move Forward for Firehouse Development Consideration
On April 24, the Placer County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved to seek Tahoe Tourism Master Plan grant dollars in the amount of $250,000 to cover costs for further study of the two proposed redevelopment projects for the Old Firehouse Station property. The proposed projects include the Siren Arts Center, a multi-use arts and cultural center, and a market hall concept called The Commonwell. Both projects will move on for further review by Placer County. (See more on Tahoe City revitalization.) Info: sirenarts.org, commonwelltahoecity.com
Big Jack East Project Comment Period Extended
A large outpouring of public sentiment r egarding a fuels management project just south of Sierra Meadows has led the U.S. Forest Service to extend the public outreach timeline to June 4. The Big Jack East project would potentially thin a large part of land stretching from Sierra Meadows to the West River/Highway 89 intersection, over the popular Sawtooth trail. “[The extended timeline] will allow us to have at least one public meeting and possibly a field trip,” wrote district ranger Joanne B. Roubique in an email. The first public meeting will occur on May 14 at the Truckee Airport, with an informational presentation to begin at 5:30 p.m. Info: fs.usda.gov/project/?project=49215
Kings Beach Center Development Seeks Community Input
The Kings Beach Center development team will host a public listening session on May 15, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the North Tahoe Event Center. Information will be presented about the established land use plan, regional plan alignment, and the anticipated economic, environmental, and community benefits of the proposed project. The developer, Craig Clark, was chosen in February in the face of some community feedback requesting consideration of another developer (see our February online article Lack of Transparency or Lack of Understanding?). The development team as well as officials from Placer County and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency will be present to meet and talk with interested members of the public.
Elementary School Facility Upgrades Begin
On May 2 Truckee Elementary held a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off their spring facility upgrades, as part of the TTUSD’s 2014 Measure U General Obligation Bond, which provides $114 million to fund the highest priority facilities needs of Truckee area schools. The list includes upgrades to existing school building systems, advanced technology, construction of new facilities, and improving outdoor learning and exterior play spaces, among other things.
Fire Rating Could Benefit Insurance Coverage
NORTH LAKE TAHOE
Beginning in April this year, the Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) rating for North Tahoe Fire Protection District (NTFPD) will jump to the top tier with a three-rating from a four — one being the best and 10 being the worst. A significant factor of this dramatic improvement includes the ISO’s recognition of NTFPD’s inter-operational relationships. “An ISO rating of three is hard to achieve in a rural area. Our lowered ISO score could potentially save the community millions in savings on fire insurance premiums and also makes our community more insurable,” said NTFPD Fire Chief Schwartz. “How it plays out under the current challenging fire insurance climate; we will see.”
Hotel and Gas Station Proposed for Highway 89 North
The Village at Gray’s Crossing is back on the Town of Truckee’s development queue, after having submitted an application in November 2017 for a mixed-use commercial, lodging, and residential development on approximately 14.29 acres. The project was originally approved in 2007 but those approvals have since expired. The development includes a 120-room hotel, 27,400 square feet of commercial space with six residential lots, a gas station with 12 fuel pumps, and 34 residential units. Info: email@example.com
Jessica Morse Opens Truckee Office
Jessica Morse, a Democratic candidate for California’s 4th Congressional District, opened a second office in Truckee on May 4. This makes her the only candidate to open an office in the Tahoe/Truckee area. With the primary on June 5 fast approaching, this location will serve as a hub for Team Morse’s volunteers to call the community and knock on doors. This opening comes on the heels of Morse’s endorsement by the Tahoe Truckee Democrats, three former Truckee mayors — Morgan Goodwin, Joan Jones, and Barbara Green — and the official endorsement of the California Democratic Party. Info: 12242 Business Park Drive, Suite 19; Truckee; open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday until May 14, then every day.
County Addresses and Adopts Marijuana Regulations
County commissioners addressed general marijuana regulations, a business license fee schedule, and consumption lounges in their April 10 board meeting. The commissioners adopted permanent regulations regarding the zoning, licensing, and public safety related to marijuana in unincorporated Washoe County, as well as new quarterly marijuana establishment license fees, which will be 3 percent of a marijuana establishment’s reported quarterly gross revenue. In addition, the proposed marijuana establishment will incur a $500 relocation application fee. Commissioners also discussed dedicating staff time to researching marijuana consumption lounges.
Roundabout Art Approved
On April 10 the Placer County Board of Supervisors approved the art to decorate the roundabouts at the Bear and Coon streets intersections on state Route 28. “Daow Aga” by artist Brett Moten of Reno, Nevada, and “Estrella” by artist Roger Berry of Clarksburg were selected out of 38 submissions by members of the community through a nationwide search facilitated by Tahoe Public Art. The top two vote-receiving entries were not approved through Caltrans’ initial review process, so the county pursued agreements for the two works approved last April.
In June 2017 the Board of Supervisors approved a grant contract with Tahoe Public Art to allow $209,152 of TOT funds to be used to manage installation of the artwork for both roundabouts.
Grant to Benefit Tahoe Watershed
The Nevada Division of State Lands (NDSL), a division of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, is providing approximately $350,000 to fund various environmental preservation projects in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The funding, which is generated through Nevada Lake Tahoe license plate (LTLP) sales and annual renewal fees, will provide funding for aquatic invasive species monitoring, an interpretive signage project, Lake Tahoe nearshore monitoring, invasive plant control at Elk Point Marina, outreach and education for the Lake Tahoe Shoreline Plan, and a study of metaphyton in the lake.