Loading...
1996-03-07 6:00 PM Town of Truckee REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING March 7, 1996 6:00 P.M. Truckee Donner Public Utility District Board Room 11570 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, CA MINUTES CALL TO ORDER. Mayor McCormack called the meeting to order at 6:04 P.M. ROLL CALL. Town Manager Stephen Wright called the roll with Council Members Carpenter, Cross, Drake, Eagan, and Mayor McCormack being present. Also present were Town Manager Stephen L. Wright, Town Attorney Dermis Crabb, Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook, Town Engineer Jon Lander, Public Works Director Tom Covey, Police Chief Jack Bayer, Finance Director Jill Fox, Town Planner Elizabeth Eddins, Lieutenant John Tranner, Deputy David Ladd, Deputy Ron Phelan and Executive Secretary Barbara Johnson. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE was led by Steve Teshara. PUBLIC COMMENT. None PRESENTATION At this time Captain Jack Bayer introduced Deputy David Ladd and Deputy Ron Phelan who were both recently hired at the Truckee Station. Council welcomed the two Deputies and thanked Captain Bayer for introducing the Deputies to them. o Mayor McCormack announced that items 5.2 and 5.4 will be deferred to a future meeting. Mayor McCormack further announced that Council will move item 9.1 up on the agenda to be heard next. COUNCILMEMBER REPORTS (taken out of order) 9.1 Railroad Merger Update Mayor McCormack stated that item 9.1 is scheduled as a non action item presented by the Railroad Committee consisting of Councilmembers Cross, Eagan and Town Manager Stephen Wright. Town Manager Wright informed Council that there will be two presentations given by the two consultants Mike Christensen of Nolte and Associates and Dan Wilkins of Leigh, Scott and Cleary. Councilmember Eagan stated that the Railroad Committee did meet with Stacey Krum of Senator Feinstein's Office March 2nd. After that meeting the Railroad Committee decided to invite all interested parties to attend this Council meeting and receive update on the status of the Railroad merger at once. At this time Councilmember Eagan asked that everyone in attendance introduce themselves, indicating who they are representing. The following persons introduced themselves: Pat Finnigan, Incline Village General Improvement District Steve Teshara, Lake Tahoe Gaming Alliance and Truckee North Tahoe/Transportation Management Association Kay Williams, Tahoe North Visitors and Convention Bureau Carol Hester, Truckee North Tahoe/Transportation Management Association Tom Anderson, Squaw Valley Ski Corporation Rod Hill, Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District Peter Holzmeister, Truckee Donner Public Utility District Ed Candler, Truckee Downtown Merchants Association Gary Botto, Truckee Fire District Mike Di Giordano, Congressman Wally Herger Joarme Roubique, United States Forest Service Dan Landon, Nevada County Transportation Conunission Bob Leggett, Nevada County Planning Department Bill Jamieson, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Steve Gross, Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce Chuck Holt, Truckee resident Rachelle Pellissier, Truckee Hotel and Truckee Downtown Merchants Association Judy Newland, Tahoe Forest Hospital, Emergency Chris Spencer, Tahoe Forest Hospital Bob Herhusky, Truckee Downtown Merchants Association Don Estabrook, Truckee Planning Commission Jim Porter, Truckee resident Gordon Shaw, Leigh, Scott and Cleary Bill Palmer, Truckee Planning Commission Dan Wendin, Truckee Donner Land Trust Ron Mclntyre, North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce and North Lake Tahoe Resort Association Norma Schwartz, North Tahoe Business Association W. Dean Deiderick, Washoe County Planning Department Steve Kastan, Placer County Margaret Urke, California Association of Business, Property and Resource Owners Town Council Minutes Page 2 Jenny Ross, Truckee resident Julie Maurer, Northstar-at-Tahoe Kirk Taber, State Senator Tim Leslie's Office Martha Bellisle, Reno Gazette Journal Barbara Barte', Sierra Sun Councilmember Eagan requested that questions be held to the end of the presentation. Councilmember Eagan stated that Council first leamed of the merger in October/November of 1995. Councilmember Cross indicated that the merger was first brought to their attention after receiving a call from Martha Bellisle of the Reno Gazette Joumal inquiring of the Town of Tmckee's reaction to the merger. Councilmember Eagan further explained that the Town of Truckee enlisted the assistance from the consultants about two months ago. Councilmember Cross and Councilmember Eagan stated that there were a number of people who were invited to the meeting and were unable to attend. Those people include Chris Richard of Congressman John Doolittle's office who indicated that they are extremely interested in this issue, Sue Home of Assemblyman Richter's office, Assemblyman Knowles office has shown support of these regional concerns however, a representative was unable to attend, Dori Owen from the City of Reno was unable to attend due to previous commitments, Senator Boxer's field representative in San Francisco was unable to attend as well as Tim Douglas and Cindy Gustafson of Placer County Transportation Planning Agency. Councilmember Eagan introduced Mike Christensen of Nolte & Associates. Mr. Christensen gave a brief overview of rail history. He stated that currently an average of fourteen (14) trains per day travel through Truckee. The average train length is 5,000 to 6,000 feet. Upon finalization of the merger, Nolte & Associates has determined that Union Pacific will have thirty six (36) trains traveling through Truckee per day. Upon researching the at grade crossing Nolte & Associates found that 94 accidents in the last 10 years occurred at the at grade crossing. This is a fairly low number although the number of accidents could be expected to increase due to the increased train traffic. The average train length after the merger will increase to 7,000 to 8,000. The merger will impact emergency services, the environment including noise, air quality, hazardous materials, safety (accidents), economic impacts to the Truckee and Lake Tahoe (California and Nevada) areas. Mr. Dan Wilkins of Leigh, Scott and Cleary informed the Council that the Railroad merger will severely impact traffic in the region. The volume of vehicles crossing the tracks is currently 16,000 to 17,000 vehicles per day. On the average, the gates at the at grade crossing are down for four (4) minutes per train crossing. The maximum gate down time used in the study/report is estimated at seven (7) to eight (8) minutes. The resulting average daily vehicular delay caused by train activity through downtown Truckee is 45.3 vehicle hours per day or 16,535 vehicle hours delay per year. Town Council Minutes Page 3 Mr. Wilkins further explained that access to alternative mutes during train activity is cumbersome. Currently the delay caused by train activity is 45.3 hours per day, upon increasing the train traffic from 14 trains to 36 trains that number triples. You could expect 135 vehicle hours per day of delay. Councilmember Carpenter inquired of the possibility of placing reader board lights alerting travelers well in advance that a train is approaching the at grade crossing allowing travelers time to use an alternative route. This possibility was discussed and consultant Mike Chistensen indicated that travelers would have to be notified six (6) minutes in advance of the train arrival to be effective and that creating such a system would be very costly. Councilmember Cross asked Mr. Christensen if there was any way to stop the merger. Mr. Christensen indicated that it was highly unlikely to stop the merger. The process used to approve such mergers weighs heavily on the economic effects of a merger to the entire Country. Councilmember Eagan stated that there were draft reports for the audience to take with them to review. Councilmember Eagan asked the consultants why they used the time of four (4) minutes and seven (7) minutes for gate down times. Consultant Christensen stated that these numbers were credible numbers that would withstand any scrutiny of the Surface Transporation Board when reviewing the report. However, it is not uncommon to experience twenty (20) minute delays due to gate down time. It was suggested that the report include language stating that it is typical to experience gate down time much longer than seven (7) minutes. Councilmember Eagan asked Dan Wilkins of L.S.C. if the longer gate down time would create additional queuing of traffic. Mr. Wilkins stated that the queuing of traffic would increase by a factor of five (5) when considering a difference of seven (7) minutes to twenty (20) minutes. Councilmember Cross stated that upon discussing this issue with Union Pacific they indicated that they nm a better operation than Southern Pacific and therefore the impact on Truckee would not be as great as may be anticipated. Councilmember Cross inquired as to how the Town of Truckee obtains assurance that Union Pacific is a better mn Railroad. Mr. Christensen stated that there is no assurance that Union Pacific is a better mn Railroad, however, in his experience Union Pacific does mn a more efficient operation. Mayor McCormack inquired about the alternatives. Councilmember Cross stated that the Railroad Committee is trying to understand the impacts created by the merger. They want to fully understand the situation prior to looking at alternatives. Mr. Dan Wendin stated that the traffic analysis is missing the time it would take the queues to clear. If he is correct, 34 trains is a train every 45 minutes not counting switching and not counting peak periods and 10 to 15 minute gate down times at the crossing may take as long Town Council Mhmtes Page 4 as "X" to clear is it possible that we could be in a situation at peak times where we wouldn't clear on the 267 North, that before one train got through another train came and it could queue up again. Mr. Dan Wilkins stated that after the merger it is possible. The amount of time it takes the queue to clear today is about equal to the amount of time that the gates are down. Mr. Mr. Christensen stated that the tracks through Truckee are double tracks and it is conceivable that while one train is passing through Truckee another is approaching from the other direction causing significantly more traffic delays. This could happen about once a day. Councilmember Cross stated that the reports do not reflect weekend peak traffic for the same reason that the reports do not reflect the 20 minute gate down times. Since this is a tourism based economy shouldn't the reports reflect peak weekend analysis? Mr. Christensen stated that the reason weekend peak figures are not in the reports is because the reports are intended to be submitted to the Surface Transportation Board for review. Mr. Dan Wendin stated that he did have one additional concern regarding when the snow sheds were upgraded from wood to concrete, the Railroad threw the wood over the side. The debris still litters Donner peak. Also major rework was done on the snow sheds above Donner Lake where concrete was thrown over the side. It will be there forever. This could be an opportunity to get this mess cleaned up and insure that it does not get any worse. Mr. Tom Anderson of Squaw Valley Ski Corporation asked if there was a date certain for the merger? Mr. Christensen stated that the proponents are hoping to have the merger fmalized in mid-August, 1996. Mr. Anderson further stated that a careful analysis of what the impacts will be is certainly in line to enable us to act with understanding of the exact impacts that affect the resort triangle, in particular the Squaw Valley Ski resort. Mr. Anderson further stated that Squaw Valley is very supportive of any efforts taken place by the Town of Truckee. Kay Williams of the Tahoe North Visitors and Convention Bureau asked for clarification on the formula used to create the traffic analysis. Dan Wilkins explained the formula used in the report. Discussion ensued. Councilmember Cross stated that if you can visualize how bad it is today and then increase the delay by 257%, you will come up with the impact. Steve Gross of the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce asked about the impact of the gate down situation on people. What is the number of passengers in each vehicle? Dan Wilkins stated that the figure could be computed by way of finding the average vehicle occupancy. Steve Gross stated that this figure may hold more weight showing the number of people impacted by the delays. Christensen stated that he would tend to agree that there are more people per vehicle in this area due to tourism. It is not a typical commuter situation. Town Council Minutes Page 5 Julie Maurer of Northstar-at-Tahoe stated that Northstar calculates 2.86 persons per car on weekends and 2.56 persons per vehicle mid-week. This is the number coming into and out of the ski area. Dan Wilkins stated that the number of passengers per vehicle on 267 is probably lower than the Northstar figures due to commuter trips, etc. Margaret Urke asked about scheduling of trains. Mike Christensen stated that trains do fall into patterns, we could approach the Railroad to try to coordinate train schedules, but it is highly unlikely they could all be regularly scheduled. Bob Herhusky, Downtown Merchants Association, stated that he feels that the reports do a disservice to the community in terms of telling the community what it will really be like after the merger. The figures in the reports are not realistic. The experience that the community has with current conditions is that traffic is backed up substantially more than the report indicates. He further stated that the reports should also indicate a worst case scenario. The report should show what will happen with 36 trains going through Truckee on a ski weekend. Chuck Holt, Truckee resident stated that the at grade crossing is currently at a failure mode in relation to traffic circulation. How much worse can this get? Gary Botto from the Truckee Fire Protection District stated that the Police response time is 3 minutes and the Fire Districts is 4 minutes. The figure is misleading in that the figure is from West River Street and 267, however, once traffic backup is figured into the situation it severely affects the amount of response time. To speed up the response time, the Fire Dislrict can go to a Code 3 (Emergency Response), which increases the danger to the patient, the Fire District employees and the public. Backups in the downtown area also affect response to the Glenshire area where the train tracks are not crossed. Discussion ensued regarding the fane it takes getting a patient to the hospital. Mr. Botto further explained that the North Tahoe Fire District does transport quite a few people from the Kings Beach area and those ambulances are also delayed when trains are present. Recently Tahoe Forest Hospital entered into contract with Incline Village where there will be additional negative impact. Captain Jack Bayer of the Sheriff's Office confirmed the figures given in regards to response time by Gary Botto. Judy Newland from the Tahoe Forest Hospital stated that the increased train traffic will affect health care services. The hospital expects to increase their annual incoming patients by 365 patients from Incline Village. Martha Bellisle from the Reno Gazette Journal inquired about the 267 bypass. Dan Landon from the Nevada County Transportation Commission stated that the 267 bypass is scheduled to begin construction in the 1998/99 fiscal year, however, the State Transportation Commission was instructed to cut their budget by 600 million dollars in 1996 and this project is in jeopardy of being cut from the budget. Councilmember Eagan stated that construction of the 267 bypass would only be a temporary fix to the at grade crossing traffic Town Council Minutes Page 6 failure mode. In 10 to 15 years Truckee would still have the same problems at the at grade crossing. With the merger, failure of the at grade crossing will occur much sooner then I0 to 15 years. Discussion ensued regarding the letters of support received from agencies in the region regarding the 267 bypass. The audience was further informed of the support given by Senator Tim Leslie, Assemblyman Bernie Richter and Assemblyman David Knowles in relation to the 267 bypass. Rod Hill from the Northem Sierra Air Quality District addressed the Cotmeil regarding air quality impacts of the Railroad merger. Truckee already has a problem with violating Federal air quality standards for PM 10. The increased train traffic and queuing of vehicles will only increase the severe problems Truckee has. The use of newer locomotives would help, however, there are road sand/dust problems in Truckee as well. Mr. Hill suggested that Union Pacific be asked to mitigate the additional air quality problems they create possibly by purchasing street sweepers and assisting in the phasing out of old woodstoves. At this time Councilmember Eagan stated that the audience may be asking what can they do to assist in the Town's efforts. She further gave the audience the following schedule: MARCH 6 Final Town of Truckee/Tahoe Region Railroad Merger Study 7 Town Council Briefings 9-15 Letters of concern 11-15 Meetings with Railroads/Legislative Reps 15 Alternatives Assessment/Committee meetings 21 Official Town Position 25 - 26 Follow-Up Meetings with Railroads 29 Final Comments Supported by Verified Statements Due to US Dept of Transportation/Surface Transportation Board AUGUST 12 Final Decision Due--Surface Transportation Board Councilmember Eagan further stated that the Town is asking other agencies in the region to assist them with this effort. There are copies of the consultants reports available and a packet Town Council Minutes Page 7 entitled UP/SP Merger, Truckee/Lake Tahoe Region, What you need to do. This packet gives a list of Legislators with addresses and phone numbers, it gives a list of concerns regarding the Railroad merger and further asks for volunteers to take part in a Committee to help address this issue. Mike Di Giordano from Congressman Wally Herger's office stated that it would be helpful if the letters addressed to the Legislators be specific in their concerns and it would help to address the Federal regulations which will be violated due to the merger. Councilmember Cross thanked Mike Di Cdordano for attending the meeting and further stated that Congressman Herger's office has been very supportive. Town Manager Wright asked for volunteers to serve on the short term committee and further stated that those interested in assisting with this effort notify Executive Secretary Barbara Johnson on their way out of the meeting. RECESS 7:49 p.m. - 8:07 p.m. Mayor McCormack called recess at 7:49 p.m. Mayor McCormack called the meeting back to order. Upon returning from recess Councilmember Carpenter stated that he agrees with comment made by Bob Herhusky said comment being that there should be two reports regarding the railroad impacts; one to submit to the Federal government and one that is realistic. Councilmember Drake agreed adding that the worse case scenario does happen. Mayor McCormack commented that Northstar will be greatly affected by the merger as well. 5. PRESENTATIONS 5.1 Presentation of Plaques to Truckee Planning Commission At this time it was announced by Mayor McCormack that the presentation of plaques to the Truckee Planning Commission will be deferred to the next regular Cotmcil session. 5.3 Law Enforcement Annual Update by Police Chief Jack Bayer Captain Jack Bayer presented the Council with end of the year statistics relating to categories of crimes committed and the number of these crimes committed in 1993, 1994 and 1995 where data was available. Captain Bayer further informed Council that the dispatch system currently being used by the Truckee Station is still one of the finest systems used in California. In 1993 the Truckee Station received 5,210 - 911 telephone calls, in 1994 they received 6,158 and in 1995 they received 5,676 - 911 telephone calls. Captain Bayer further reported on the number of traffic accidents reported in 1994 and 1995, the number of parking citations in 1994 and 1995. The Truckee Station employs 1 DARE Officer, a minimum of 2 people on the street per shift, 7 Reserves, and has a Patrol division, Evidence, Record Clerk, Investigations and 911 dispatch. o At this time Councilmembers asked Captain Jack Bayer questions regarding the operation of the Truckee Station. Council thanked Captain Bayer for an informative presentation. CONSENT CALENDAR (One simple motion approves all of the following actions.) 6.1 Minutes of January 30, 1996 Joint Special Meeting. Approved 6.2 Ratify Agreement with Brunick, Alvarez & Battersby. Pulled from the Agenda 6.3 Adopt Resolution of Support regarding SB1590. Pulled for discussion 6.4 Payment to Nevada County for 1st Quarter Genuine Costs. Approved At this time Town Manager Stephen L. Wright asked that item 6.2 be pulled from the Agenda. Councilmember Cross asked that item 6.3 be pulled from the agenda for discussion. It was moved by Councilmember Drake and seconded by Councilmember Carpenter to approve items 6.1 and 6.4 on the Consent Calendar, to pull item 6.2 from the agenda and pull item 6.3 for discussion. Said motion passed unanimously. 6.3 Adopt Resolution of Support regarding SB1590. Mayor McCormack stated that he does not agree with language contained in the draft Resolution which stated that the bill will have "severe critical impact on Truckee". Town Manager Wright offered language stating: "The Town of Truckee may experience significant fiscal impact and other local governments will experience severe impacts". Discussion ensued regarding whether or not SB 1590 will affect the Town of Truckee at all. Town Manager Wright explained that SB 1590 would currently not affect Charter Cities. It was moved by Councilmember Eagan and seconded by Councilmember Drake to approve Resolution #96-11 modifying said resolution by removing "the Town of Truckee" in the second WHEREAS to state: "then a large number of other local governments will..." Said motion passed unanimously. COUNCIL IMMEDIATE PRIORITIES ge NONE. STAFF REPORTS 8.1 Set Meeting Dates for Budget Workshops Town Manager Wright stated that budget worksheets have been distributed for the 1996/97 fiscal year. However, to most efficiently proceed with the process, staffis requesting a meeting with Council to discuss "big picture" policy issues that may impact the budget. Input is needed from Council in order for staff to propose a budget that reflects Council direction. The entire budget process will include a public Town Council Minutes Page 9 hearing, so that Council may receive input from the community on various issues. Staff asks that Council set a date to review these items with staff. Upon discussion it was consensus of Council to set a special meeting for March 27, 1996 at 3:00 p.m. to review the 1996/97 budget. 8.3 Set Meeting Date for Joint Planning Commission/Town Council discussion on Downtown Vision Plan. (Taken our of order) It was consensus of Town Council to hold the Joint Planning Commission/Town Council meeting to discuss the Downtown Vision Plan on March 27, 1996 after the budget session. The Joint meeting shall begin at 6:00 p.m. 8.2 Selection of Sierra Economic Development Delegate (Taken out of order) Town Manager Wright explained that recently the Town received a request from Dee Mautino, Mayor from Grass Valley, as to whether or not the Town would like to have a representative serving on the SEDD/SPO Board of Directors. The Town would join in the rotation representing the cities in Nevada County. In effect, the Town representative will serve as an alternate voting delegate one year, the actual voting delegate the following year and then step down so that either Grass Valley or Nevada City would participate in the rotation. The SEDD/SPO Board meets on the first Wednesday of each month and during this calendar year the Town's delegate would serve as the alternate representative and serve as the regular voting delegate in the 1997 calendar year. Mayor McCormack stated that he would be willing to serve on the SEDD/SPO Board. It was moved by Councilmember Cross and seconded by Councilmember Eagan to appoint Mayor McCormack as the Town's representative on the SEDD/SPO Board of Directors. Said motion passed unanimously. COUNCILMEMBER REPORTS 9.1 Railroad Merger Update. (Taken out of order) 9.2 Road Committee Report Town Manager Wright stated that the Road Committee met on March 6, 1996 and Public Works Director Tom Covey attended the meeting as well. It was pointed out that the Vail Study is a two year old study and was in need of being updated. Discussion took place regarding Road Committee thoughts regarding future study needs. Councilmember Drake further explained that at this time it is not known what the plans of Southwest Gas are. Areas to be considered are the Town's finances, condition of the roads, rehabilitation costs, elections, capital equipment plan and the plans of the utilities in connection with the Towns' roads. Town Council Minutes Page 10 At this time discussion took place regarding the recently purchased dura patch machine and the possible use of the machine in the near future. Public Works Director Covey discussed some road repair/maintenance projects that will be tied into the FEMA grant. 10. ADJOURNMENT Mayor McCormack adjourned the meeting at 9:14 p.m. e..~ft~ly Submitted, Town Clerk Approved this 18th day of April, 1996. Town Council Minutes Page 11