Truckee’s river plan is adopted | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Truckee’s river plan is adopted

TRUCKEE – This town’s downtown river revitalization plan sets out an ambitious strategy to relocate industrial businesses away from the Truckee River and encourage widespread redevelopment along the stretch of river that flows through town. The plan, adopted June 7 by the town council and planning commission, will go back to Truckee’s governing bodies for fine-tuning after concerns were raised over traffic and the scale of development. But the overall ideas of the redevelopment strategy – which envisions public parks, plazas, pedestrian bridges and a hotel along the river – was endorsed by Truckee council members and commissioners. The anchor of the plan will be the old Nevada County Corporation Yard, which is now owned by the town. The yard’s central location and visibility makes it the prime redevelopment parcel, said Tony Lashbrook, Truckee town manager. “It is in the center of the plan area and it has that close connection to Commercial Row,” Lashbrook said. “That may be the jump-start for this overall effort.” “Commercial uses would line the street and frame the plaza,” reads the plan. “A new pedestrian bridge would connect it with improvements on the south side of the river.” It is unclear whether the town would retain ownership of the land when it is developed, said Lashbrook. Across a proposed pedestrian bridge from the corporation yard, the plan suggests a hotel or multi-family housing be built on what is known as the Bright Parcel. While planners agree that the corporation yard is the highest priority and will serve as a hub of activity, two other “nodes” of public access are planned to the east near the future Railyard development and to the west near the confluence of Donner Creek. But the plan does not focus solely on development. Habitat restoration areas are identified and strategies to reduce sediment in the river are touched on. After urging by the Truckee River Watershed Council, the town also agreed to pursue funding for environmental studies of the river as part of the plan. The Truckee River is currently federally listed as a impaired river because of its sediment loads. Public parks and river access points are also scattered along the river banks in the river plan maps. Residents’ concerns The traffic generated by the redevelopment outlined in the plan was probably the biggest concern voiced by residents. “I think that we are going to see a huge increase in traffic,” said Breeze Cross, a resident of South River Street. But other residents asked that development along the river be brought into balance with open space and habitat preservation. “This plan has an implicit and inherent bias toward development,” said Truckee resident Steve Ramos. Lashbrook, however, noted that only the downtown portion of the river was being planned for development, while the rest of the river corridor in town is slated to be mostly left in its natural state. Other neighbors and property owners applauded the plan and noted that redevelopment of the river corridor will expand redevelopment funding for public amenities. “The private property owners are going to pay for all the open space, public access and all the other niceties,” said Al Pombo a river front property owner.

State Parks revises golf course plan

Only five holes of Lake Tahoe Golf Course would move across the Upper Truckee River under a new proposal for a California State Parks restoration project. The agency has released a revised map for the Upper Truckee River Restoration and Golf Course Reconfiguration Project. As many as nine holes would have moved across the river under previous design concepts put forward by State Parks. Moving five holes across the river “will reduce construction costs, while still allowing for major improvements to the river and floodplain, retention of an 18 holes golf course and increased opportunities for other recreation such as hiking, fishing and biking,” according to a statement from the agency. Litigation surrounding the approval of the project’s environmental document is still making its way through the court system. The Washoe Meadows Community Group, made up of park supporters and environmental groups, filed suit to block the project in November 2011. Allowing the golf course to encroach on State Parks land was one of the group’s concerns. Some golfers have also opposed the plan, saying moving any of the holes would take away from the playing experience at the course. State Parks scientists and architects developed the new plan following input from the group, the Washoe Tribe and people working to update the Meyers Community Plan. Moving some of the holes away from sensitive land near the river is a key component of the project, which would restore approximately a mile of river and reconnect the waterway with its former floodplain. “Presently, the incised and eroding Upper Truckee is a major source of sediment flowing into Lake Tahoe contributing to an increasing reduction of clarity in the lake,” according to the statement. Relocating the holes will also open up a corridor that could be used for recreation and river access. Details of the new access and recreational opportunities is expected to be determined during a public process in coordination with an update to the Meyers Community Plan. The next hearing in the court case surrounding the project, being heard in Alameda County Superior Court, is scheduled for Feb. 14.

Seasonal closure at Upper Truckee Marsh

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Dogs will not be allowed in the Upper Truckee Marsh from May 1 to July 31 to keep them out of sensitive wildlife areas during breeding season. The Upper Truckee Marsh provides critical breeding habitat, including that for special status and threatened and endangered species, according to the California Tahoe Conservancy. The seasonal dog prohibition will be enforced by the El Dorado County Sheriff and Animal Services. Compliance will also be monitored by Conservancy staff. Beginning August 1 dogs will be permitted access to the Upper Truckee Marsh property, provided they are on leash. The Conservancy-owned Cove East property, west of the river, remains open for year-round, leashed dog access.

Seasonal dog closure at Upper Truckee Marsh begins May 1

Beginning May 1, dogs will be prohibited at the Upper Truckee Marsh, the Tahoe Conservancy announced Wednesday. This is the second year of the seasonal closure to dogs. The purpose of the seasonal prohibition is to keep dogs out of sensitive wildlife areas during breeding season. The Upper Truckee Marsh provides critical breeding habitat, including habitat for special status and threatened and endangered species. The seasonal dog prohibition will be enforced by the El Dorado County Sheriff and compliance will be monitored by Conservancy staff. Beginning August 1, dogs will be permitted access to the Upper Truckee Marsh property, provided they are on leash. The Conservancy-owned Cove East property, west of the river, remains open for year-round, leashed dog access. El Dorado County Sheriff patrols, suspended during the winter months, resumed this month. The emphasis is on leash law enforcement and reminding Marsh users of the impending closure. In 2001, the Tahoe Conservancy purchased the Upper Truckee Marsh as part of a comprehensive strategy to restore and enhance the largest wetland habitat in the Tahoe Basin. The Conservancy manages the Upper Truckee Marsh property to: preserve the qualities of this unique alpine marsh; preserve, restore, and enhance natural resources, critical habitat, and biological processes; and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities, consistent with natural resource protection. The California Tahoe Conservancy’s mission is to restore and enhance the natural and recreational resources of the Tahoe Basin.

Town of Truckee relaunching West River redevelopment talks

TRUCKEE. Calif. — The town of Truckee is relaunching efforts to redevelop the old Nevada County Corp Yard property located at 10257 West River St. In 2011, town officials hosted several community workshops to hear from residents about what kind of project they'd like to see built, and came up with a couple possibilities. According to the town, one option was to use the space as open space, with a plaza and river access, as well as a restaurant. The second option was to utilize the same open space and restaurant concept, but instead of a plaza, it would include two-story, mixed-use buildings to be used for office space and retail. The problem was that at the time, no developer expressed serious interest in either project, which, according to town staff, was likely due to the poor economic conditions at the time. According to an email from town management analyst Hilary Hobbs, the modern-day economy of downtown Truckee is thriving, and there is significant developer interest in local projects. Therefore, she said, the timing is appropriate to relaunch this project. The town has scheduled a community workshop for Tuesday, Feb. 7, to reintroduce the project to the community, and plans to reissue a "Request for Interest" to developers later this year. The Feb. 7 meeting is scheduled for 5:30-7 p.m. at Truckee Town Hall, 10183 Truckee Airport Road, Truckee.

Legacy Trail link ups ante for Truckee recreation, tourism

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Safer access to town, enhanced recreation and a draw for tourists — those are just some benefits that officials and community members envision with the newest addition to the Truckee River Legacy Trail. "I've been on the trail, and it's beautiful," said Marty Frantz, a Glenshire resident. "I see it increasing our property values, increasing our quality of life. I can't think of one thing wrong with this, and all I have are superlatives." The 2.2-mile multi-use paved section running west of Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency plant to the Glenshire subdivision, officially opened to the public Friday. "It's just huge for people living in Glenshire," said Claire Miller, a part-time Truckee resident. "… Glenshire (Drive) was totally dangerous, so it just makes it possible for people to bike to work, for young people to get to the (Truckee River Regional) Park, and for tourists, I think it just adds to what the town can offer them." With its completion, this section (dubbed Phase 3B) makes the legacy trail five miles long. "It's been a very long time coming," said Truckee Mayor Patrick Flora at a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday. "… The first discussions of a trail network, and specially a trail along the Truckee River, began in the 1980s. When the town incorporated in 1993, there were approximately zero miles of paved bicycle/pedestrian trails in town. "… We have a little over 18 miles of trail now, with more under way." Phase 3B not only adds to Truckee's trail network, but to other regional paths, such as the 116-mile Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway that's under construction, with the goal of connecting Tahoe to Pyramid Lake following the Truckee River. "It does two things — physically it helps connect Tahoe to Pyramid on the ground, and equally important, it keeps the momentum for trail building in the public mind," said Janet Phillips, president of the nonprofit Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway, who, along with more than 100 people, turned out for Friday's ceremony in Glenshire. The budget for Phase 3B was $3.7 million, with $2.9 million coming from a California River Parkways Grant, said Becky Bucar, associate engineer for the town of Truckee. "… This is exactly what a river parkways is," said Penny Harding, grants administrator with the California Natural Resources Agency. "It is honoring the river, and it is allowing people to access natural resources, which is one of the goals of the resources agency — to protect those resources and to provide access for the public to enjoy those resources now and in the future." Two more sections in the Truckee River Legacy Trail are needed to complete the connection between Donner Memorial State Park and Glenshire. "It's going to be a trail that will transform our community in phenomenal ways," said Allison Pedley, executive director of Truckee Trails Foundation. "I just can't wait to see all that happens." Visit legacytrail.org to learn more about the trail and the Truckee River Legacy Foundation.

Legacy Trail link ups ante for Truckee recreation, tourism

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Safer access to town, enhanced recreation and a draw for tourists — those are just some benefits that officials and community members envision with the newest addition to the Truckee River Legacy Trail. "I've been on the trail, and it's beautiful," said Marty Frantz, a Glenshire resident. "I see it increasing our property values, increasing our quality of life. I can't think of one thing wrong with this, and all I have are superlatives." The 2.2-mile multi-use paved section running west of Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency plant to the Glenshire subdivision, officially opened to the public Friday. "It's just huge for people living in Glenshire," said Claire Miller, a part-time Truckee resident. "… Glenshire (Drive) was totally dangerous, so it just makes it possible for people to bike to work, for young people to get to the (Truckee River Regional) Park, and for tourists, I think it just adds to what the town can offer them." With its completion, this section (dubbed Phase 3B) makes the legacy trail five miles long. "It's been a very long time coming," said Truckee Mayor Patrick Flora at a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday. "… The first discussions of a trail network, and specially a trail along the Truckee River, began in the 1980s. When the town incorporated in 1993, there were approximately zero miles of paved bicycle/pedestrian trails in town. "… We have a little over 18 miles of trail now, with more under way." Phase 3B not only adds to Truckee's trail network, but to other regional paths, such as the 116-mile Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway that's under construction, with the goal of connecting Tahoe to Pyramid Lake following the Truckee River. "It does two things — physically it helps connect Tahoe to Pyramid on the ground, and equally important, it keeps the momentum for trail building in the public mind," said Janet Phillips, president of the nonprofit Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway, who, along with more than 100 people, turned out for Friday's ceremony in Glenshire. The budget for Phase 3B was $3.7 million, with $2.9 million coming from a California River Parkways Grant, said Becky Bucar, associate engineer for the town of Truckee. "… This is exactly what a river parkways is," said Penny Harding, grants administrator with the California Natural Resources Agency. "It is honoring the river, and it is allowing people to access natural resources, which is one of the goals of the resources agency — to protect those resources and to provide access for the public to enjoy those resources now and in the future." Two more sections in the Truckee River Legacy Trail are needed to complete the connection between Donner Memorial State Park and Glenshire. "It's going to be a trail that will transform our community in phenomenal ways," said Allison Pedley, executive director of Truckee Trails Foundation. "I just can't wait to see all that happens." Visit legacytrail.org to learn more about the trail and the Truckee River Legacy Foundation.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Golf course relocation best for environment

I support relocating Lake Valley Golf Course to less sensitive areas across the river. This is Alternative 2 of the State Park’s plan to restore and improve the Upper Truckee River corridor and watershed, thereby improving river water quality and lake clarity. Implementation of this plan will have many benefits to the environment and recreation in the Tahoe Basin such as improved fish and animal habitat, reduced sediment flowing into the lake, and more access to a natural meandering river. Hikers, fishermen, rafters, bikers and outdoor enthusitists will enjoy the nearly one mile of new river front access. A newly improved golf course will continue to be a recreational and financial asset, with 90 jobs and millions of dollars added to our community. As a long time resident I have witnessed the decline of Lake Tahoe’s famed water clarity, this decline in large part due to the siltation of the Upper Truckee River. Our environmental agencies have performed many restoration projects along our streams and rivers such as Trout Creek, Cold Creek, Angora Creek and the Upper Truckee River’s lower reaches with great success. Now it is finally time to address the stretch of river along the golf course, the worst in the entire Tahoe Basin. I hope this progress will continue without further delay. Please join me in supporting a reasonable approach to solving an environmental issue while balancing economic and recreational opportunities for locals and tourists alike. For more information please visit: http://www.restoreuppertruckee.net/index.htm. Thomas A. Yant South Lake Tahoe

Upper Truckee restoration planned

The first stage of work in the long-awaited restoration near the mouth of the Upper Truckee River likely will start next year, and officials from the California Tahoe Conservancy want South Lake Tahoe residents to know about the work far ahead of time. Access to an 11-acre wetland and its surrounding areas will be limited during the work, and trucks will be hauling dirt through neighborhoods where people may be disturbed. “The primary impact will be on those who use the site, but the people living along the haul routes may also be temporarily inconvenienced,” said Steve Goldman, an erosion control and stream restoration specialist for the Conservancy. “But hopefully people will look at all the benefits of having a restored wetlands out there, better wildlife habitat, an improved trail system and all the water quality benefits.” The lower 2,000 feet of the Upper Truckee River, the largest tributary to Lake Tahoe, once meandered through the large Truckee Marsh, where sediments were filtered from the water. Because of agricultural activities in the 1800s and the construction of the Tahoe Keys in the 1950s and early 1960s, the river was straightened. Now it acts as a pipeline for algae-promoting sediment going into Tahoe. The Conservancy, a California agency that buys and preserves environmentally sensitive parcels in the basin, purchased 200 acres surrounding the disturbed river in 1988 for $4.3 million. After years of planning, the Conservancy has completed the environmental documentation necessary to start on the first part of the Upper Truckee River and Wetland Restoration Project. The Conservancy’s long-term plans include rechanneling parts of the river; taking fish habitat restoration, re-vegetation and bank stabilization measures; and building trails, parking areas and other public access improvements. Many of those goals are still years from reaching fruition. Work next year will focus on restoring an 11-acre wetland. The Conservancy plans to remove 78,000 cubit yards of fill dirt from the site. Potential disposal sites for the excavated fill include areas near the Lake Tahoe Airport, a U.S. Forest Service site off Meyers Road, Tahoe Asphalt Inc., and three areas outside of the Tahoe Basin. The trucks carrying the dirt likely will use Venice Drive East, Tahoe Keys Boulevard, U.S. Highway 50, Pioneer Trail and roads near Ponca and Onnontioga Streets. breakout What: Public meeting on Wetland Restoration Project When: Oct. 4, 7 p.m. Where: City Council Chambers, 1900 Lake Tahoe Blvd. Information: (530) 542-5560, ext. 17 optional breakout The Initial Study Mitigated Negative Declaration and Environmental Assessment for the project is being circulated for public comment until Oct. 20. It can be reviewed at the office of the California Tahoe Conservancy, 2161 Lake Tahoe Blvd., and the El Dorado County Library, 1000 Rufus Allen Blvd.

New weekend Truckee farmers market to open in June

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Slow Food Lake Tahoe recently announced approval of a new weekend farmers market in Truckee. The market will take place Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting June 14 and running at least through September 27, according to a news release. It will operate, weather-dependent, at 12047 Donner Pass Road, in the Tri Counties Bank/Sears/Coffeebar Bakery parking lot. "We're very excited to be offering an additional market to our Truckee-Tahoe community," Jessie Phillips, Slow Food Lake Tahoe chapter leader, said in a statement. "A weekend farmers market will provide access to local, seasonal, sustainable produce to more residents and visitors in Truckee and North Tahoe, many of whom haven't been able to get to the weekday markets." The Truckee Community Farmers Market, organized by Slow Food Lake Tahoe and Gary Romano of Sierra Valley Farms, is focused on increasing access to local, healthy food for all people in the region, said Cheryl Schrady, Slow Food Lake Tahoe's policy lead. "The intention is to allow for use of SNAP benefits at the market, which were previously known as food stamps," she said in a statement. "We are currently working through the process to allow market vendors to accept SNAP benefits as payment for produce and other food items." Slow Food Lake Tahoe's mission is to reconnect people to the enjoyment of local, seasonal and sustainable food while educating the community about their vital role as participants in our food system. Slow Food Lake Tahoe also runs the Truckee Demonstration Garden at the Truckee River Regional Park, and offers a monthly Skillshare Series with inexpensive classes that teach participants techniques like making fermented foods, homebrewing beer, composting and gardening in our high altitude environment. The Slow Food Lake Tahoe annual farm-to-table event, "Cooking Outside the Box," will take place June 21 at Plumpjack Inn in Squaw Valley. Visit slowfoodlaketahoe.org to learn more.