A block party of the conservation kind | TahoeDailyTribune.com

A block party of the conservation kind

Burning coals and burning houses are two parts of a barbecue designed to raise awareness of fire safety measures in the Lake Tahoe Basin this weekend. The “Conservation Block Party” will conclude with demonstration fires on parts of a model home. “We need to have people understand what will actually burn down your house,” said John Pickett. “That is what this demonstration will show. It’s going to be great.” Details of a home, such as screens over attic vents, are often the barriers that will prevent it from burning during a forest fire, according to Pickett. In addition to a guided walking tour highlighting the defensible space and best management practices utilized by nearby homes, information on a streamlined permitting process for California residents will also be available. “It’s easy; it’s painless; we’re not going to clear cut your property,” said Pickett. Three fire protection districts on the California side of the basin have been recently granted memoranda of understanding from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. These memorandums allow the districts to issue tree removal permits for defensible space projects, making the process more efficient and cost effective, according to Pickett. “We really encourage people to come out and find out how easy it is to get this work done now,” Pickett said. A free barbecue will take place between the walking tour and burn demonstration. Parking will be limited, and the event’s sponsors urge carpooling. Conservation Block Party When: Saturday, June 2 Guided Walking Tour: 10:30 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. Free barbecue lunch: 11:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. Live Burn Demo: 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Where: Boulder Mountain Drive, across from Lake Valley Fire Station No. 5 Registration is encouraged for the event. Call the Tahoe Resource Conservation District at (530) 543-1501 ext. 113 to RSVP.

Guest View: Rebates, free consultations ease homeowners through regulations

Sometimes it’s challenging to be a property owner in the Lake Tahoe Basin. As is the case in many special places, regulations and the costs associated with complying with them are a fact of life. Luckily, a few key agencies in the basin have stepped up to the plate to help property owners with the expenses they incur integrating fire defensible space, best management practices (BMPs) and water conservation. Read on for information about many of the rebate programs being offered to homeowners in the basin. The Tahoe Resource Conservation District is a nonregulatory, grant-funded agency that educates homeowners about backyard conservation issues, such as vegetation management and erosion control. The TRCD has free consultations available to property owners in the basin, including vegetation and invasive-weed consultations. These include site-specific vegetation plans and assistance with native and adapted plant selection. Plants are available for all properties receiving these consultations, including those in the Angora fire burn area. The TRCD also conducts BMP site evaluations and final inspections for single family residences in California. BMPs help to control soil erosion and improve water quality. The TRCD has BMP materials available for demonstration homes and BMP monitoring participants. For more information, call (530) 543-1501, ext. 113, or visit http://www.tahoercd.org. The district’s counterpart on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe offers the same quality services. You can contact them at http://www.ntcd.org or (775) 586-1610. Both conservation districts work in collaboration with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to educate the public about erosion control and how it works hand-in-hand with fire defensible space. The South Tahoe Public Utility District is a public agency that provides drinking water and wastewater collection, treatment and recycling in South Lake Tahoe. The district has been awarded two state water conservation grants to implement a Turf Buyback Program. Lawn areas help provide defensible space, play areas for children and pets, and serve an integral role in a comprehensive landscaping plan. However, turf is the most water-intensive landscaping option a homeowner can choose. Nonfunctional lawns, ones that are rarely used, waste water and represent an ongoing cost in both time and resources. The district rebates $2 per square foot to replace turf areas with attractive water-efficient landscaping. In the Angora area, the district offers a rebate of $1 per square foot for new water-efficient landscaping up to 800 square feet. For more information, call (530) 543-6268 or visit http://www.stpud.us. The Nevada Fire Safe Council is a coalition of concerned citizens who share a common interest in preventing the loss of life, property and valuable natural resources to wildfire. The NVFSC works with the fire districts and protects natural and manmade resources by motivating citizens to make their homes, neighborhoods and communities fire-safe on the Nevada and California sides of the basin. The Fire Safe Council has a rebate program to assist homeowners in completing their defensible space. Rebates are available for 50 percent of fuels reduction costs – up to $1,000. The rebate program is in place for residents within the North Tahoe, North Lake Tahoe, Lake Valley, Meeks Bay and Tahoe Douglas fire protection districts. Residents in the city of South Lake Tahoe or served by the Fallen Leaf Fire Department will be eligible for rebates beginning in November. The five-step defensible-space rebate process is: 1. Contact your local fire protection district to schedule a defensible space inspection. 2. Contact the Fire Safe Council to receive a voucher. Vouchers expire within 60 days of issuance. If you are not a member of the NVFSC, join for $20. 3. Do your defensible space work. 4. Once the work is completed, contact the NVFSC to schedule a rebate evaluation. 5. If the property passes, the NVFSC will mail a rebate check within 21 days of the completed evaluation. For more information, call (877) LT-NVFSC or (530) 543-FIRE, or visit http://www.nvfsc.org. The Lake Tahoe Basin is a special place. There are many resources available to property owners within the basin that help to improve lake clarity, create defensible space and conserve water in an integrated way. The resources provided by these agencies aid in keeping our area safe and beautiful for generations to come. – Courtney Walker works for the Tahoe Resource Conservation District.

Developer trades open space fee for undisputed project

By David Bunker Tribune News Service TRUCKEE – An agreement that would clear the path for more open space has been reached between an environmental group and backers of the town’s largest proposed development. East West Partners, the developer of Gray’s Crossing, will use a fee on all its new homes that will raise $6 million to buy open space in the Truckee area. Under the agreement, the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation has promised not to file, endorse or support any challenges to the Gray’s Crossing project recently approved by the Truckee Town Council. Gray’s Crossing, a project of 725 homes and more than 38,000 square feet of office and retail space, is proposed north of Interstate 80 along State Route 89 north. The environmental group had objected to aspects of the project – most notably the construction of a golf course on the site. East West Partners had already agreed to a one quarter of 1 percent fee in the development agreement approved by the town council. Each time a residential property is sold in Gray’s Crossing, one half of 1 percent of the sale price will be donated to the Truckee Donner Land Trust for the purchase and maintenance of open space. “As Truckee continues to grow, a major concern of MAPF has been permanently and intelligently protecting open space,” said Stefanie Olivieri, president of the foundation, in a written statement. “In that spirit, we are satisfied that we are able to fashion an agreement that works for East West Partners and the people of Truckee.” After 15 years, East West Partners will have the flexibility to lower the transfer fee rate back to one quarter of 1 percent and allocate that money to other causes such as education, recreation or the library.

News Briefs

On Monday, the Upper Truckee River Watershed Stewardship Group will lead a tour of the Upper Truckee Marsh in conjunction with the California Tahoe Conservancy. The stewardship group is a new project of the League to Save Lake Tahoe. Conservancy staff is evaluating several proposals to restore the flow of the river, protect surrounding wetlands and manage recreational access in the marsh. The tour will allow community members to learn more about project proposals, share ideas and explore solutions. Upper Truckee River water delivers more clarity-decreasing sediment to Lake Tahoe than any other tributary, making its restoration a top priority for many Tahoe agencies, officials contend. The Upper Truckee Marsh, which contains the largest wetland area in the Tahoe Basin, serves as the river’s final filtration system before it empties into Lake Tahoe. Questions about the tour or the watershed group may be addressed to John Friedrich at cleanwateractor@yahoo.com. Monday’s tour of the Upper Truckee Marsh will begin at 5 p.m. at the intersection of Bellevue Street and El Dorado Avenue in South Lake Tahoe. BMPs and BBQ Several Lake Tahoe fire departments, conservation agencies, and a new watershed stewardship organization are teaming up with residents of a North Upper Truckee neighborhood to host a community defensible space and best management practices (BMP) demonstration day this weekend. The event is free and open to the public, and will feature tours of three homes to discuss integration of defensible space, erosion control measures and forest health. Tours will be led by staff from the Lake Valley Fire Protection District, Tahoe Fire Safe Council, Tahoe Resource Conservation District, California Tahoe Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service. Following the tours, there will be a “thank you” barbecue for Tahoe firefighters to honor their work combating the Angora fire. Saturday’s event will start at 10 a.m. with a guided walking tour of homes. The barbecue lunch will be at 12:15 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling the Tahoe Resource Conservation District at (530) 543-1501, ext. 114 or by e-mail at eben.swain@ca.nacdnet.net.

Drink Tahoe Brew: Alibi Ale Works to open second location in Truckee

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Following the recent celebration of the second anniversary of its Incline Village brewery, Alibi Ale Works has announced it will open a second location near downtown Truckee in spring 2017. The brewery plans to take over the 3,500-square-foot space at 10069 Bridge St. that used to house a CrossFit gym and a Bank of the West, Alibi owners Kevin Drake, a Kings Beach resident, and Rich Romo, an Incline Village native, said they are hard at work converting the space into a family friendly taproom. Based on the success of the Incline Village location, Alibi has been looking to open a second taproom in the Reno/Tahoe area, Drake said. He and Romo looked at locations in Reno, Kings Beach and Tahoe's South Shore, but the Bridge Street spot in Truckee is ideal for its size, parking and proximity to downtown. Officially signing the lease mid-December, Alibi's owners are prepping for the remodel, and in the process are submitting permits and plans. "It's a blank slate — we're building a bar, a kitchen, cooler, putting in a stage, bringing in furniture, tables, art, speakers and remodeling the bathrooms," said Drake. "We're building it from the ground up." Drake said he and Romo like the Truckee building because its 28-spot private parking lot is viewed as an important asset among downtown Truckee's paid parking. "We like that it's not on the main strip, but that it has good exposure, that you can see it from the corner of Moody's and Bar of America," Drake said. "Every third business on the strip is a place to get a beer — there's no shortage of places to drink in Truckee — but we think we have unique offerings and beer made with local water." Drake said that they want to create an inviting, family friendly environment with long tables to spark conversation and a place where strangers become friends. A key focus for Truckee's Alibi will be hosting live music a few nights a week, where musicians can play on a specially designed stage. Sound-barrier-designed acoustic panels with integrated artwork will also help even out the noise. Along with beer, Alibi will also have a limited menu through its kitchen aimed at serving creative snack food. "The biggest issues we hear about the Incline Village Alibi is regarding not having enough bathrooms, parking, food, it not being family friendly and the acoustics," said Drake. "So we are being proactive in integrating all of that into the new Truckee location." Drake and Romo opened the Incline location at 204 E. Enterprise St. in 2014, and are now serving as many as 12 to 15 beers, along with wine and nonalcoholic beverages on tap. "I lived in Truckee years ago when downtown was really quiet, and it's come to life in the past few years," Drake added. "So much is happening downtown, even outside of Truckee Thursdays. It's really exciting to be opening up an Alibi there." When asked about rumors about possibly opening a third Alibi location in Reno, Drake said it is definitely on the list of possible locations when the business is ready to continue expansion, but nothing is in the works right now. "Our intention is to have one more taproom in this area. Reno is definitely on the list of possible locations, but we are not strategizing on anything right now," he said. "We would be a couple of years out on that; right now, we don't have the capital or bandwidth to open anything in Reno. "When we were looking at Truckee, offers came to us in Reno and South Lake Tahoe, too. Reno would be easier and cheaper, but right now we want to be closer to home." Alibi is targeting an April 1 opening for the new Truckee location, which Drake said is an aggressive but realistic goal.

Clear Capital further exploring Truckee airport options

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Clear Capital's inquiry to lease land from the Truckee Tahoe Airport District in an effort to keep its employees and revenue local has taken another step forward. After four potential sites were analyzed to house a Clear Capital campus, the airport board agreed on June 27 to further study two of them — 10 acres fronted by Soaring Way and Airport Road, and 12 acres at the southwest corner of Soaring Way and Joerger Drive. "We want to be headquartered in Truckee," Gabe Nacht, Clear Capital's chief financial officer, told the airport board last week. "We are continuing to grow in Truckee, but there are limited (site) options in Truckee — that's the reality we're facing." Clear Capital, a national provider of real estate analytics and valuations, is headquartered at Pioneer Commerce Center, but with about 330 employees working out of four neighboring buildings — a total of 40,000 square feet of space — the company has outgrown the location, Nacht said. As one of Truckee's largest employers, Clear Capital is looking for a site that can accommodate an 80,000-square-foot campus and 500-plus parking spaces, taking up approximately 6 acres of land, said David Tirman, executive vice president of JMA Ventures. JMA's role in the land leasing arrangement, if approved, would be as developer and landlord, while TTAD would serve as landowner and lessor. "The idea of tying up all that acreage, that doesn't leave much room for other options," said airport board president Mary Hetherington. "If you have 10 acres, then where does a nonprofit or transit center ­— how do those fit into that space?" John Jones, vice president of the airport board, pointed out that future development wouldn't have the same site needs as Clear Capital, meaning there would be other viable airport site options for nonprofits and others. "I really feel after hearing all of the input and digging into the (airport) master plan for six months, that we have room in our 2,700 acres of property for open space, for private land leasing, for public use, for recreation, for all these things we've talked about," said Kevin Smith, TTAD general manager. "I think it's all there." The favored site to house Clear Capital is the one fronted by Soaring Way and Airport Road due to its easy access and extension of nearby utilities, and its rectangular site geometry and flat, treeless topography, Tirman said. Based on land-leasing rates at Prescott Airport in Arizona — an airport with similarities to Truckee Tahoe Airport — Clear Capital's occupation of the preferred site could generate between $45,000 to $150,000 annually for TTAD, Tirman said. Since Clear Capital would need a long-term lease — 40 to 50 years — total revenue could be between $1.8 million to $7.5 million, Tirman said. "I don't believe the important thing here is the additional revenue to the airport," said Andrew Terry, chair of the Airport Community Advisory Team. "I believe the value is in retaining Clear Capital." Clear Capital contributes about $25 million annually to the local economy through payroll and local spending, Nacht said. "It would be interesting at least to have an understanding of what Clear Capital's options are outside of the airport," said TTAD director Tom Van Berkem. "… I wish I knew if we said no to everything, what does that mean for Clear Capital?" The airport board could give direction on whether the company can lease airport land as early as next month. If that's the case, construction of a facility could start in June 2014, with Clear Capital occupying the building in November 2015.

Nevadan develops real-time electricity monitoring device

Bill Littlehales, of Incline Village, has invented a tool that could save you money on your power bill. His corporation developed a half-pound box that can be plugged into a wall outlet to display the monthly cost of energy being used in the home. It looks small, but it could save you $30 to $40 a month. “It tells you how much you’re paying in real time – like a gas pump,” said Littlehales, 74. It takes about five minutes to install, with no rewiring. Littlehales used his mechanical-engineering background to construct the Power Cost Display and a transmitter that is installed on the utility meter panel. The home owner sets the kilowatt-per-hour rate into the box, which is 11.9 cents in Carson City, and watches the digital meter climb with each switch that is flipped. Friends envious Those who have it in their home, love it, and their friends are envious. “It’s a topic of conversation,” said Dave Noble, assistant staff counsel for the state public utilities commission. He had a Power Cost Display system installed in his Incline Village home about three months ago as a test. “When friends are over, they all want to know what it is. They all want one.” After he saw how much one 100-watt incandescent light bulb cost – $7 a month – he switched to compact fluorescent bulbs – $1 a month. When Noble gets home from work, his display reads $100, which is after the heat kicks on. When his wife, Jennifer, uses the oven to cook dinner the display goes up to $300. After dinner it hovers between $180 to $250 except when the hot tub heat turns on, increasing it to $800. Thankfully, that’s only on for two hours a day. A microwave can cost $120 a month; a toaster $112. “I’ve become much more aware because you can glance at it and you know right away if you’re using more than normal for the house,” said Noble, whose electricity bill is usually about $150. He’s seen it decrease to $130 since installing the system. Cost-saving tool Roger Collins, a retired Lockheed Martin executive of 32 years, who lives in Kelseyville, Calif., believes this product is a cost-saving tool. He’s the chief executive officer for Energy Control Systems. “This is a psychological devise for people who want to save money, billionaires may not care, but normal people will,” he said. The inventor demonstrated the product recently using a space heater and two high-beam lights. He turned on the space heater and the digital meter flashed $113. That means, leaving the space heater on for 30 days will cost the home owner that much a month. Turn on one of the lights and the red numbers increased to $115. The 24-hour, 30-day display is the one that gets people’s attention most, Littlehales said. “You just saved $3 right there,” he said, after turning off one of the lights. He turned off the space heater. “Or $113 right there.” Customers save, the corporation profits. They think it could make about $1.9 billion in its life, based off new-home construction numbers in the U.S. They have invested $100,000 initially into the product and have no debt. Energy Control Systems is revving up for a marketing campaign driven by one goal: They think this tool will lower power bills 15 percent to 25 percent at a time when energy costs are skyrocketing. “It’s about giving people control of their energy bill,” said Michael Bertrand, a Carson City accountant and chief financial officer of the corporation. Brown-outs and overburdened utilities could be a thing of the past, the developers muse. “We’re aware of their product and what it does,” said Sierra Pacific Power Co. spokesman Karl Walquist. “The engineering folks want to make sure technically that it works properly and is compatible.” The invention took about five years from design to working product. After several prototypes, Littlehales installed the latest version in his Incline Village home – and saw reductions in his power bills, even though he admits he’s “bad about turning stuff off.” He’s developed products most of his life and has had about eight patents, three on automated HIV detection devises. It took a dentist to get the Power Cost Display into homes. Littlehales was getting a teeth cleaning when Dr. Richard Klein, owner of Sierra Cosmetic Dental Center in Carson City and Incline, asked him this question: “So, what are you doing these days, have you had any good ideas?” Klein and Littlehales started up Energy Control Systems and took the product to Southern California Edison, an investor-owned electric utility. It has tested several similar systems, but has not committed to the Nevada corporation. They’ve also presented it to the Nevada Public Utilities Commission. Unit to cost $380 Littlehales’ patented, Underwriters Laboratories-approved unit will cost $380 retail. They hope to have it available in limited areas though programs with utility companies. They plan to install about 150 units in new homes built by Syncon in Minden. Syncon officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment. One of the biggest challenges facing new products is mass distribution, said Dave Archer, managing director of Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. “If you can work with a big home builder, you can make one sale and they will put it in all homes, but with a store like Home Depot, first you have to convince them to carry your product and then Home Depot may say they want to carry it in all their stores. You’d have to ship out X-thousands of units,” he said. That isn’t a concern for Littlehales. He expects to sell Energy Control Systems to a larger corporation. How to save a buck (or a few) on your electricity bill: n Turn off lights and appliances when not in use. Don’t forget your computer – it can use as much energy as a refrigerator. Most new computers have “sleep” settings. n In the cold months, set the thermostat to 68 degrees when home, and then back to 58 degrees when sleeping or when you’re not home for more than four hours. n In the winter, open window coverings on the sunny side of your home to take advantage of “free heat from the sun.” Close the coverings on cloudy days or right after the sun sets. n Use your dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer and cook as late in the evening as possible. n Set your water heater to 120 degrees. n Vacuum your refrigerator coils (underneath and in the back) and don’t obstruct the coils. They need air space to work. n Keep your freezer as full as possible. You can place containers or plastic bottles filled with water in the empty spaces. n Make sure food is cool and covered before it goes into the refrigerator. n Clean the reflectors underneath the burners on stovetops. n Unplug your televisions/VCR when you’re on vacation. Most new sets draw power even when they’re turned off. n Use compact fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent ones. This will typically save $1 per bulb changed out (for bulbs running 4-6 hours per day) and reduce heat in your home. n Plant trees and shrubs on the south and west side of your home. The vegetation acts as insulation and provides shading, reducing thermal gain in a building. n Fix leaky faucets and install low-flow shower heads. n Replace normal thermostats with programmable thermostats. – Source: Sierra Pacific

South Lake Tahoe wrestlers heading to state championship

A couple of South Tahoe wrestlers will find themselves in familiar territory Friday and Saturday. After taking regional championships in their respective weight classes this past weekend in Truckee, senior Andrew Herrera and sophomore Jose Leon will head to Spanish Springs High School in Sparks to compete in the state championship. Herrera, the lone senior this season for the South Tahoe Vikings, will look to defend his state title in the 195-pound class. He has made it to the state championships all four years at South Tahoe High. "Andrew is the school's first two-time regional champion and he's the first South Tahoe wrestler who has a chance to repeat [as state champion]," said Sean Griffis, Vikings coach. Leon also competed in the state championship in 2016. Unlike last year, however, he enters this year as the No. 1 seed in his class. Leon is competing in the 170-pound weight class. "Jose … had a really good season, Griffis said. "He dominated everyone in our northern league throughout the year." Both athletes are healthy and feeling good coming out of the regional competition in Truckee, Griffis added. Herrera and Leon were not the only two South Tahoe wrestlers who competed in the regional finals this past weekend. Joshua Brackett (106 pounds), Nate Singelyn (113 pounds) and Josiah Brackett (152 pounds) all placed fifth in their weight classes. Kody Griffis (126 pounds) and James Knudson (132 pounds) placed sixth in their classes. As a team, Griffis said he is optimistic given the overall strong performance and the relative inexperience of the young Vikings. "Next year we're looking really strong."

Post office plans new building in Truckee

Truckee’s mail service is growing along with the rest of the region, and officials from the U.S. Postal Service on June 8 announced plans to build a new larger structure. In the Truckee Town Council meeting last Thursday, Postal Service administrators outlined the reasons behind the new building and some details of the plan. “In the Postal Service, one of things that triggers us to let us know we might need a new facility is when the productivity in a particular office begins to decline,” Post Office Operations Manager Becky Bernard told council. “That happens when a post office becomes functionally obsolete. The post office boxes are not large enough to accommodate the amount of mail you receive in one day. I’m sure that most of you, if you have a post office box, know that’s a problem in Truckee.” Bernard said the Truckee Post Office, which is located on the corner of Jibboom and Bridge streets, is too small to be modified or updated. “Truckee is not just a small nucleus where we can have one post office,” Bernard said. “We thought the best thing to do would be to have an additional post office in Truckee, and that’s what we’re looking to do.” Ed Barr, the supervisor for customer services in the Truckee Post Office, said the current facility was never designed for rural deliveries. “When they started deliveries eight or nine years ago, they started with three routes that were two hours long,” Barr said. “Now we have eight routes that are more than eight hours long and a ninth route that is still growing. It’s growing at a route per year and we don’t have the space to accommodate it.” Barr said each route housed in the building takes up about about 120 square feet. “With the growth in the last two months we have added 120 new deliveries,” Barr said, explaining that some of those might be people who opted for home delivery instead of a post office box. Postal Service Real Estate Specialist Bob MacGill, who is coordinating the project, said the new 7,270-square-foot building will be similar to ones recently erected in Alturas and Susanville. “We’ll be looking for a site of about 1.4 to 1.5 acres,” MacGill said. “The square footage on the site is net usable, exclusive of setbacks, water retention or anything else that the town may require.” He said the preferred site for the new post office will be on the east side of Truckee, along Highway 89 to the north and then to the south along Highway 267. The facility should have 1,785 post office boxes, 37 parking spaces, two handicapped spaces, seven employee parking spaces, and room for six carrier vehicles and a mail drop, MacGill said. In response to questions from council, MacGill said the Postal Service will work to extend its current downtown lease, which ends in 2002. “We have two areas, retail and delivery,” Bernard said. “Delivery can take up a lot of room,and there’s no need for them to be downtown. I can assure you we will always have a retail presences downtown.”

Assessment for open space has support

TRUCKEE – A survey among residents here shows many are willing to pitch in money to protect open space. Guided by the results of the survey, Truckee officials are likely to put a measure on the ballot in 2006 to pursue either a sales tax hike or a parcel charge to raise funds to buy undeveloped land. Protecting land along the Truckee River and at nearby lakes registered the highest support among residents who backed both a quarter-cent sales tax hike and a property assessment to raise money for land purchases. “The survey results suggest that, if packaged properly and combined with a broad-based and well-funded public education campaign, the measure has a very good chance of being successful,” the survey read. A polling firm conducted 300 telephone interviews averaging 10 minutes in length to gauge support for the sales tax. More than 70 percent of those called said they would “definitely” or “probably” support the measure. A quarter-cent sales tax increase would raise about $800,000 per year, said Truckee Town Manager Steve Wright. The tax initiative is a way the town can give residents what they want – open space – while still maintaining a balanced budget, Wright said. “Clearly the town does not have the discretionary capital to acquire much-desired open space,” Wright said. In a mailed property assessment questionnaire, of which 931 were completed, the $56 parcel charge per year was supported by 59 percent of the respondents. A sales tax initiative, while enjoying greater support, must pass by a two-thirds majority vote, the survey said. A parcel charge will only have to achieve a majority vote to be successful. The request for a survey came from an open space committee formed by the town in 2003 to explore ways to protect undeveloped land. The committee, which included representatives from nonprofits, agencies and districts in the area, decided a professional poll was necessary to gauge public opinion on the matter. Town councilman Richard Anderson, who sat on the open space committee, said a private campaign group must now form to educate the public on the effort and do further research for the initiative. That group will fund and direct the “full-blown campaign” since the town is not allowed to use taxpayer money to support a ballot measure, he said. Anderson said the sales tax option has the benefit of raising money from visitors and residents alike – an option that more equally distributes the burden across groups that use the undeveloped land around town. “That is one of the benefits of the sales tax, that the burden will be broadened beyond property owners,” Anderson said. “The parcel charge hits only property owners … the idea is you want everyone who benefits to help finance this thing.” Land Trust conservation With Truckee contemplating becoming the new player in protecting open space, it has examples and experience in the region to follow. In the 15 years the Truckee Donner Land Trust has conserved open space, it has protected more than 3,300 acres. The organization’s successes include: — The Donner Memorial State Park expansion that included Schallenberger Ridge – nearly 2,000 acres. — Negro Canyon north of Donner Lake – option to buy 280 acres. — Jackass Ridge that runs from Highway 89 south to Coldstream Canyon – 68 acres will be preserved by conservation easements. — Property along Gray Creek, a tributary of the Truckee River – working to preserve over 1,300 acres near Mount Rose Wilderness. — McIver Hill – along with the upcoming construction of a Sierra College campus on the hill, the land trust will arrange easements to preserve the undeveloped portion of the 73-acre hill. The goals of the town and land trust coincide in protecting land that will improve and protect water quality. While the survey shows that Truckee residents are the most supportive of buying land near waterways, the Truckee Donner Land Trust is negotiating the conservation of nearly 4,000 acres along the Truckee River. – David Bunker