Category: Bulletin

Eastern District 5 Bulletin | August 3

Eastern District 5 Bulletin | August 3

IS THIS THE PEAK?
The six weeks between the beginning of July into early August are traditionally our busiest time of the year in Eastern Placer County and this year part-time residents and visitation numbers may even be higher. We may also experience these higher occupancy numbers for a longer period of time this year, given changes in school schedules and workplace telecommuting allowances due to COVID-19.

VIRUS SPREAD
Many people I hear from express their concerns that “outsiders” of any kind – part-time residents, overnight and day visitors – are exacerbating the spread of COVID-19 in our community.   Although we can contract the virus from any infected person we come into contact with, contact tracing efforts indicate that family gatherings of local residents remain the greatest source of transmission.   I urge you to review the reports that are published by Placer County, Nevada County and Tahoe Forest Hospital.  While the virus will continue to spread until we reach “herd immunity” through exposure and hopefully vaccination, our numbers in Eastern Placer have not grown in proportion to occupancy and visitation.  

Recent information shows we are averaging approximately one new case per day (see chart below).   These new cases bring our Eastern Placer total infections since March to somewhere between 0.3-0.5% of our total population. 

Despite increases in occupancy by part-time residents and visitors, our growth rate is below the other areas of Placer County.

Cases summarized by date of receipt with the exception of 14-day case rate, which is calculated by date of specimen collection to more closely align with CDPH reporting.*The 14-day case rate per 100,000 is the sum of new cases with specimens collected in the past 14 days per 100,000 residents (e.g., total new cases by specimen collection date for past 14 days/398,843 *100,000 for the County). This figure is lagged by 3 days as new cases continue to be received. Note: North Tahoe population used is year-round census population. Created 7/31/20 by Placer County Public Health

COVID-19 is a serious threat and we must stay focused on slowing the spread.  Physical distancing and face-coverings continue to be the best advice for protecting yourself and your loved ones. 

TENSION 
With that high level of occupancy and visitation, I continue to receive many emails, calls, and social media posts with suggestions and stronger, that Placer County shut down certain businesses and lodging, and/or close Tahoe to outside visitors. One of the things that makes the Tahoe area such a desirable place to live is that we are surrounded by public land. This is also what makes the Tahoe area such a desirable place to visit, and the County cannot prevent the public from using federal and state highways to access these public lands.  Federal and state funding and resources have been heavily invested in our region for the benefit of visitors as well as local residents.  We cannot take action on our own without the support of State and Federal leaders.  The only action the County could take would be enacting ordinances and restrictions that would close the businesses and services local residents rely on to make a living and try to carry on with daily life.  Any action at the County level would need to be based on evidence directly tied to the source and fortunately at this point we are not seeing a spread of the virus commensurate with the exceedingly high visitation levels.  Such action would also require a majority vote of the Board of Supervisors and we would consult with law enforcement and our District Attorney to ensure that they could and would enforce such closures. 

ENFORCEMENT
In our free society, law enforcement resources focus on a very small percentage of the population. We maintain peace and order because the vast majority of people are following the law.  As a nation, we do not staff law enforcement at the levels that would be required to enforce every ordinance and law for every incident of violation.  The Placer County Sheriff is an independently elected official dedicated to serving the community under local, state and federal laws.   Under the Sheriff’s direct authority, the Sheriff’s Office provides law enforcement services based on the highest priorities for public protection and safety.   While behaviors of some are very troubling and need to be addressed, the Sheriff’s Office must be trusted to focus on the greatest risks to overall public safety. 

EDUCATION
Understanding that we can’t enforce our way out of some of the issues we are facing, many organizations and volunteers have recognized that expanding the focus of education efforts is the best way to let visitors know how to safely and respectfully enjoy the Tahoe area. Many local groups have come together to create public education campaigns on COVID-19, stewardship of the environment, and being a “good neighbor”.    The Take Care Tahoe program evolved a number of years ago to educate the public on stewardship of the region’s environment.   The incredible efforts of the 45 public and non-profit organizations participating in the Take Care program are remarkable, and have now been expanded to include efforts to educate on COVID-19, with a series of billboards, signs, and information directed to those visiting the region.  In addition, Placer County created the “Good Neighbor” campaign focused on short-term rental issues in the community.  Repeated messaging to owners, posting of Good Neighbor policies, and a 24/7 hotline have assisted our enforcement efforts.   Placer County and the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association have also worked closely to develop the Stronger Together, Know Before You Go, and Mask Up Tahoe campaigns, focused on educational messaging.   

HELP KEEP OUR COMMUNITY SAFE
We are also currently developing an Ambassador program in partnership with the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association to address issues we are witnessing throughout the community. Volunteers can help with visitor and community education, trash pickup, distribution of face coverings and hand sanitizer and more. If you’re interested in participating, please contact Erin Casey with the County Executive Office in Tahoe at 530-369-1950 or ecasey@placer.ca.gov for details.

PROBLEM SOLVING and RESPONSE
I appreciate the many suggestions and questions.  I can’t possibly respond to each one but am trying to use these bulletins to explain the issues and questions that are most frequently raised.

Stay safe, physically distance, be considerate to all, use a face-covering, and help educate everyone in our community.  

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have questions or need any assistance with County issues or concerns.

-Cindy Gustafson, District 5 Supervisor

 


Extension of Truckee River alcohol ban until Oct. 15

Due to health and safety concerns resulting from a recent increase in activity along the Truckee River, the Placer County Board of Supervisors July 27 to temporarily extend an alcohol ban on the Truckee River until Oct. 15. Learn more


Placer County approves new rebate program for lodging projects

The Placer County Board of Supervisors approved a new transient occupancy tax rebate program intended to spur investment in lodging projects in North Lake Tahoe. Learn more

 


Supervisors provide direction on guidelines for proposed deed restriction program

The California Department of Public Health released additional guidance this week for some personal services to begin outdoor operations; including hair, massage, nail and skin care services. They also offered new guidance to help restaurants adapt to providing outdoor dining service. Find all the latest reopening guidance on our Reopen Placer website

 


 

Contact information:

 175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn, CA 95603 

Supervisor Cindy Gustafson: cindygustafson@placer.ca.gov

District Director Lindsay Romack: lromack@placer.ca.gov

District Aide Kelly McCaughna: kmccaughna@placer.ca.gov

Temporary Assistant District Aide Judy Friedman: jfriedman@placer.ca.gov

Eastern District 5 Bulletin | July 24

Eastern District 5 Bulletin | July 24

Managing the Truckee River 

Since mid-June we have been seeing growing visitation throughout the Lake Tahoe region.  This is not unexpected, we anticipated California and Nevada residents would remain closer to home to vacation this year.  Even with that expectation, the numbers have exceeded what most of us have ever seen.

In particular, the Truckee River’s heavy use has been the subject of many emails, calls, and social media posts.  For the last month I have been working with land managers and law enforcement at the county, state and federal levels to discuss the challenges and opportunities of regulations and enforcement. 

Placer County is responsible for issuing permits to the two commercial raft companies that operate on the river.  The conditions of those permits limit the number of commercial rafts allowed on the river and require the companies to operate shuttle buses, provide garbage clean-up and have restroom facilities available to all river users.  This year both companies have voluntarily limited their operations to 50% of what their permits allow in order to ensure the ability to provide safe physical distancing for their customers.   Partially due to these limitations there has been an explosion of public users crowding the river. 

Placer County cannot limit the public’s use of the Truckee River. In California, members of the public have rights to access and use the waters for fishing, recreation, and navigation.   People can swim, fish, and bring their own float devices and enter the river at numerous points along Highway 89.  Some of these entry points are on US Forest Service (USFS) land and others are within the Caltrans right-of-way or on private land.  While there is a lot of use on the river, the large gatherings at several locations are the primary health concern.  The “party scene” on the river is not new this year, it has regularly occurred at times in the past.  In 2008 environmental and safety concerns prompted Placer County to secure urgency legislation from the State that allowed for the adoption of an ordinance to ban alcohol on the river during “holiday times”.  With the added risk of COVID-19 we are again faced with the need to take action.

We are increasing efforts to educate the public of the importance of social distancing by posting more signs reminding people not to gather in groups.

As a result of the concerns for public health, safety and environmental impacts, I have asked Placer County Board of Supervisors to consider an alcohol ban through October 15 and our County Counsel’s Office has drafted the ordinance to mirror the efforts for the July 4th holiday period.  The discussion will be held during the Board of Supervisor’s meeting on Monday, July 27 and if the ban is adopted by a 4/5 vote of the Board it will go into effect   immediately. By banning alcohol, we hope to discourage the large group gatherings that pose a risk to public health and safety.  To watch that meeting electronically and offer comment, go to www.placer.ca.gov.

In addition to the proposed alcohol ban, we are working with Tahoe City Public Utility District (TCPUD), USFS and the rafting companies to increase education efforts by posting more signs reminding the public not to gather in groups.  Through a combination of education and enforcement we hope to reduce the behaviors that we have seen in recent weeks.  

Tahoe Items at Board of Supervisors Meeting
The Board of Supervisors meet on Monday, July 27 and Tuesday, July 28. The Board Chambers continues to be closed to public attendance, but the public may participate online or via telephone.

Monday’s meeting begins at 1pm and is a Special Meeting focused largely on Tahoe-area items and updates, including an update on the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association’s response to COVID-19, a proposed Workforce Housing Preservation Program and a proposed amendment to the North Lake Tahoe Economic Development Incentive Program. At Monday’s meeting the Board of Supervisors will also consider the Urgency Ordinance to ban alcohol on portions of the Truckee River from July 27 to October 15.

On Tuesday the Board’s regular meeting begins at 9am and we have a full agenda. Tahoe-area items include consideration of a third-party appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of a Conditional Use Permit Modification for a rafting license. The consent agenda also includes a budget increase for the Dollar Creek Housing Project Planning for consultant services surrounding the development of the Nahas property and a request for temporary borrowing of treasury funds for the North Tahoe Fire Protection District. On Tuesday the Board will also consider allocation of CARES Act funds and will receive an update from Placer County Public Health Officer, Dr. Aimee Sisson on COVID-19. I encourage you to take a look at the agenda, which also provides information on how to participate in the meeting.

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have questions or need any assistance with County issues or concerns.

-Cindy Gustafson, District 5 Supervisor

 


Learn how to prepare your home for wildfire

Want to learn how to harden your home against wildfire? Register for this free virtual workshop and hear from experts on how to reduce your home’s fire vulnerabilities. Learn more


Senior peer counseling program available

Are you 55 years or older, and feel like you could use someone to talk to who really understands what you are going through? Senior Peer Counseling is a free, voluntary, peer support program for Placer County residents aged 55 years or older, who are dealing with age-related adjustment issues.

COVID-19 is not slowing us down! We are currently providing services via phone and accepting new client referrals. Learn more

 


Guidance for outdoor operation of personal services released

The California Department of Public Health released additional guidance this week for some personal services to begin outdoor operations; including hair, massage, nail and skin care services. They also offered new guidance to help restaurants adapt to providing outdoor dining service. Find all the latest reopening guidance on our Reopen Placer website

 


Negative COVID-19 test not required for return to work

Placer County Public Health has announced that employees diagnosed with COVID-19 do not need to be retested after their initial positive test. Instead, following guidelines from the CDC, someone with COVID-19 can return to work using criteria based on time and symptoms. This will help keep testing available for those who need it most. Learn more

 


 

Contact information:

 175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn, CA 95603 

Supervisor Cindy Gustafson: cindygustafson@placer.ca.gov

District Director Lindsay Romack: lromack@placer.ca.gov

District Aide Kelly McCaughna: kmccaughna@placer.ca.gov

Temporary Assistant District Aide Judy Friedman: jfriedman@placer.ca.gov

Eastern District 5 Bulletin | July 17

Eastern District 5 Bulletin | July 17

Keep it Up!

Despite a significant increase in residency and visitation, the number of COVID-19 cases in Eastern Placer has remained fairly stable – averaging less than 1 per day for the last 10 days.  I am so encouraged by the number of masks I see here in the eastern part of the county.  We need to keep it up!  Unfortunately this virus is something we are going to have to live with until we have a vaccine that can be widely distributed.  This is not a sprint to the finish line – it is a very long endurance race, and we need to support each other in order to make it through.  Please continue your vigilance in caring for yourself, your loved ones and our community.

Considering the long-term nature of the situation COVID-19 has put us in, we must be dedicated to finding a balance between protecting human life and ensuring people are able to continue to take care of themselves and their families.  Reopening and slowing the spread of the virus are both critically important components of getting through this. Shutting down businesses has had profound impacts on many additional areas of public health, including access to medical care for other health issues and increases in mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Safely reopening is not about profit, it is about sustaining our whole community.   

Many don’t know that the single largest area of Placer County’s budgeted expenses is allocated to our provision of Health and Human Services programs. The 2020-2021 budget the Board of Supervisors approved on June 23rd included more than $230 million in funding for Health and Human Services programs, staff and services.  Placer County’s efforts in this area are tremendous as we seek solutions to societal issues faced within our communities, and these problems go far beyond COVID-19.   

Throughout the County HHS divisions provide essential services in partnership with non-profit organizations, schools, hospitals, and other community groups working to help our residents.  Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the secondary pandemic has been the impacts to other aspects of public health.  Specific to Eastern Placer County, here are some facts about what the Sierra Community House and our other partners have experienced in North Lake Tahoe / Truckee: 

  • 400% increase suicide crisis calls
  • 216% increase in households needing hunger assistance:
    • 90,000 meals delivered to families in our region
    • 30,000 meals delivered to youth through Boys and Girls Club
    • 130,000 meals for youth in region from Tahoe Truckee Unified School District
    • $47,000 in food cards to over 600 families
  • 100% increase in rental assistance for domestic violence/sexual assault victims:
    • 135 rental assistance applications totaling $182,000
  • 150% increase in calls to the Crisis Intervention hotline
  • Very significant increases in emergency housing needs in our region:
    • Emergency shelter
    • Transitional housing for families (out of homelessness)    
    • Safe housing from domestic violence

Covid-19 has required all of us to change some of our activities and habits to protect ourselves.  In addition, many have had even more impacts to our lives in order to take of our children and family members.  But as indicated by the numbers above, there are many in our community who not only have had to adjust as we have, but are suffering significantly more with lost employment and income, increased debt, lost housing, and even worse.  

Fighting the spread of COVID-19 is critical.  Fighting the resulting secondary pandemic is just as critical.   We must be in this together.  Fighting to help our community remain stable, employed and mentally healthy, is critical and each of us can help.  Please don’t condemn others, instead let’s help educate.  Please don’t judge people, there could be circumstances or factors unknown to you.  All of us in and around our community are struggling in our own way with the impacts of this pandemic.   We won’t get through this by antagonizing each other and creating more conflict and tension.  I encourage everyone to seek compassion and understanding.  We truly are stronger together. 

I also hope you will consider contributing to our non-profits that are providing services to so many in desperate circumstances.  They are on the front lines of this pandemic and are doing amazing work to help mitigate the impacts to the community.

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have questions or need any assistance with County issues or concerns.

-Cindy Gustafson, District 5 Supervisor

 


‘Know Before You Go’ North Lake Tahoe Informational Guide Released

Going outdoors is an important part of our mental, emotional and physical health. The North Lake Tahoe destination has compiled a number of “Know Before You Go” resources to help ensure safe and responsible recreation and travel across the Sierra region during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more


Electric buses and trail improvements coming to eastern Placer

Electric buses will be purchased and operating within the next three years to serve residents in eastern Placer as part of an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide more achievable housing. During this week’s meeting, the Placer County Board of Supervisors accepted nearly $3.6 million in grant funds from Neighborhood Partners, LLC in exchange for implementing transit and trail improvements. The transportation improvements will be completed by the county to support Meadow View Place in Martis Valley, a 56-unit housing project. Learn more

 


Community Development Operations Update

The County’s Tahoe CDRA office re-opened to the public on June 15, 2020.  The offices are open by appointment only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9am-2pm.  You can schedule an appointment online or by calling (530) 581-6200.  You can also submit applications for residential and commercial development projects and look up zoning requirements by using our eServices digital suite. Learn more

 


State orders some Placer County businesses to close and others to cease indoor operations

In response to the increasing spread of COVID-19, State Public Health Officer Dr. Sonia Angell issued an order for several businesses in Placer County to either close or eliminate indoor operations starting Sunday, July 12.  The State had indicated previously that any California county that remains on the monitoring list for three days will be ordered to draw back its reopening efforts. Learn More


 

Contact information:

 175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn, CA 95603 

Supervisor Cindy Gustafson: cindygustafson@placer.ca.gov

District Director Lindsay Romack: lromack@placer.ca.gov

District Aide Kelly McCaughna: kmccaughna@placer.ca.gov

Temporary Assistant District Aide Judy Friedman: jfriedman@placer.ca.gov