Protect Our Communities – Wear Masks, Socially Distance, Follow Guidelines!
As we put another busy summer behind us, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone for doing their part to keep our families, friends and community safe. Now more than ever, it is important to consider some of the positive steps taken in North Lake Tahoe during these unprecedented times. During this ever-evolving crisis, the County, other public agencies, and community members must reflect on lessons learned, seek solutions, and remain flexible. Keep it up – it will take all of us working together!
A NORTH LAKE TAHOE SUMMER SUMMARY
While the following issues are not new, they have certainly been exacerbated due to Covid-19. The County response has included coordination with several departments – I really want to thank staff for stepping in on so many fronts to collaborate with our various partners.
Signage + Regional Messaging
Placer County funded and worked closely with staff and external agencies on regional messaging, including the local special districts, State and Federal agencies, business associations, and the Tahoe Fund. Electronic billboards at all entrances to Tahoe included messaging. Additionally, signs were placed in public places including beaches, parks and trailheads. Staff also expanded on the Tahoe Fund’s ‘Take Care’ campaign to include Covid-19 focused messaging – including face coverings, hand sanitizer and physical distancing. Message boards were placed along SR 89 encouraging physical distancing on the river to educate users about the extended alcohol ban. In addition, yard signs were spread throughout our community using the look and feel of the ‘Take Care’ campaign to expand the messaging and were available to the public for free at various events and locations.
Distribution of Masks & Hand Sanitizer
Placer County secured and then partnered with the business associations to distribute thousands of masks and bottles of hand sanitizer to businesses in North Lake Tahoe. The County offered two different giveaways with our staff, our local associations and community volunteers to hand out PPE in Tahoe City and Kings Beach. In addition, staff took boxes down the streets of our downtown areas and walked into businesses to hand the PPE out.
Short-Term Rentals (STR)
The Board of Supervisors adopted a new ordinance for STR that became effective January 1, 2020. Unfortunately with the many impacts of Covid on our workforce, our roll-out of the brand new program was significantly impacted. As of last week, we have issued permits to 2,554 of the estimated 3600-3800 STRs. Citations are being issued for failure to obtain an STR permit. 195 properties have dropped their TOT certificates, deciding not to rent and 150 additional properties are not actively renting and may drop out of the program altogether. Since opening the Short-Term Rental hotline, we received about 600 official complaints. Due to a number of challenges including issues with Host Compliance, Covid’s impacts on workload, as well as staff turnover, many of our responses and investigations were delayed. Staff is working hard to improve their responses. The County has recently hired a new STR supervising code officer to focus on increased patrol and presence. A second full-time STR officer will be added in the next month to improve weekend and holiday coverage. Staff is also developing GIS mapping to improve chronic area identification so that they can increase patrol to better serve those areas.
Litter & Trash
In response to the overflowing liter and trash this past summer, a plan was created that included several key aspects of increased service and working with TTSD to provide these additional services. In Kings Beach, strategic locations were identified and dumpsters were added at 3 different locations. Trash service in the downtown business district was shifted to provide a Saturday pickup. In Tahoe City, the receptacles in the downtown area are the individual business’ responsibility but with the additional need the County stepped in and increased service. In addition, addresses were crosschecked for collecting TOT against the TTSD service list, and ensuring trash service was reinstated for all households renting their homes. Other solutions included increased marketing of our Bear Box Loan Program, added TTSD trash service for all TART bus stations, installation of educational stickers on trash cans, coordinated response with partner agencies and the creation of a volunteer ambassador program with NLTRA, TCDA and NTBA to educate visitors.
Traffic Management Solutions
The Placer County Department of Public Works hired a contractor to again pilot a program to provide crossing guards at our high volume crosswalks in both Tahoe City and Kings Beach. The locations included the Grove Street and Commons Beach Drive crosswalks at Hwy 28 in Tahoe City and the four crosswalks at the two roundabouts in Kings Beach. The contractor typically performed the work on Friday through Sunday – usually from about 12-4 pm to capture the highest volumes of pedestrians and help with improving vehicular flow through the two town centers. “This metering effect tended to help vehicles to move through town centers experiencing less congestion, as opposed to random and often continuous pedestrian crossing during high volume periods, which would cause more vehicular backup,” said Peter Kraatz. Community feedback tended to be positive, and with funding for next summer, it is likely to implemented again. In addition, Public Works plans to work with Caltrans on a future initiative to deploy a pilot/temporary signal at Grove Street in Tahoe City and similarly, installing temporary signal lights/pedestrian crossing infrastructure at the two roundabouts in Kings Beach.
Stronger Together Community Conversations
Placer County partnered with the Resort Association to leverage the already existing ‘Stronger Together’ campaign to develop an initiative to address the divisiveness in the community around issues and concerns impacting the quality of life in North Lake Tahoe. Zephyr Collaboration has been hired to facilitate several community focus groups with a broad cross section of community members and leaders. This also included a quality of life survey, which has already received over 500 responses. Similar to sessions held during the spring, we will host virtual town halls to discuss the issues and develop short and long-term solutions. “We believe that developing a venue to have constructive conversations around these issues, and then to develop solutions, is really important and somewhat lacking in our community right now,” said Erin Casey. “We feel that this effort, this initiative, could really help us to address issues, and build stronger relationships, as we continue moving forward.”
Placer County is developing a “data dashboard” with agency partners to identify and track what’s happening in the community. “There are additional data points that are important for us to understand,” said Erin Casey. ”I think it’s easy to make observations and come up with anecdotal thoughts about what may be occurring. But it is imperative for public agencies to have the data to ensure we are expending the public’s dollars in the most effective way.” Placer County staff is facilitating and attending weekly meetings (core team calls) with the Resort Association, bi-monthly meetings with the North Lake Tahoe-Truckee Stakeholder and regional recreation coordination meetings with TRPA, Resort Association and other agency partners. Finally, continued coordination with local, state and federal agencies to address trash issues on public lands as well as continued coordination with Business Associations and Resort Associations on traffic management, trash issues, business needs and public engagement. These efforts are truly unprecedented and have resulted in partnerships and services never before established.
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING | TAHOE RECAP
Commendation of Larry Sevison | Congratulations to long-time Placer County resident Larry Sevison who received a commendation from the Board of Supervisors this week for 50 years of service to the community. Sevison’s service on the Board of Supervisors, TRPA Governing Board, California Tahoe Conservancy, Placer County Planning Commission and as co-founder of Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue were cited. In honor of his contributions, the trail at Dollar Hill in North Tahoe, which he worked for decades to bring to fruition, has been named the Sevison Trail. To watch the Larry Sevison segment from last week’s BOS meeting, Click Here.
Renaming of ‘Coon Street’ to ‘Raccoon Street’ | The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved and adopted a resolution authorizing the renaming of Kings Beach’s “Coon Street” to Raccoon Street”. Learn More
Resort Triangle Transportation Plan Update | Placer County took a step forward on sustainable transportation in eastern Placer with the Board of Supervisors unanimously voting in support of the Resort Triangle Transportation Plan. The plan is intended to provide a unified local vision for North Lake Tahoe’s three main transportation corridors – state Routes 28, 89 and 267 and adjacent communities, which make up the area’s “Resort Triangle” between Placer’s lakeside communities, mountain resorts and the Town of Truckee. Learn More
Workforce Housing Preservation Program | After receiving a presentation from WHPP, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the description and guidelines. Next steps will be for their staff to return to the Board in 90 days with a program ready for adoption and implementation. Learn More
Capital Projects Committee | The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the staff recommendation to allocate $490,000 of Transient Occupancy Tax Funds to two capital projects – $475,000 for the North Tahoe Regional Park Sports Facilities Enhancement & Expansion (includes trail & turf field expansion) and $15,000 for the Tahoe City Community Tree. Learn More
CARES Funding – Small Business Assistance | The Placer County Board of Supervisors has approved an additional $5 million of the County’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding to aid anchor businesses and social safety net programs critically impacted by COVID-19. Learn More
For more information, full agenda and YouTube live stream of the October 27 Board of Supervisors Meeting, CLICK HERE.
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
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