Main Street helps fund holiday decorations
Tehachapi City Council Update
February 2, 2019
At the Jan. 22 City Council meeting, Charles White, representing Main Street Tehachapi, presented Mayor Susan Wiggins with a check for $5,000 to help fund the new Christmas decorations that adorned the downtown street lights during the holidays. The City had purchased the decorations last year with the assistance of donations from downtown businesses and civic organizations.
White said that he wanted to take a minute to familiarize the new council members with Main Street Tehachapi's purpose and how it relates to the city.
"Main Street takes its lead from the National Trust for Historic Preservation," said White. The nonprofit was formed 20 years ago to assist the City in achieving its Master Plan. To raise money, Main Street holds events like the wine walks and Farmers Market. Most recently, they sponsored $3,000 Facade Grants for downtown businesses that wanted to update their building exteriors.
As part of the Planning Commission, White also explained the role of the Commission. "We take our responsibility seriously," he added saying that they ask questions of City staff and applicants and can suggest modifications to proposed projects. They do not just rubber-stamp projects.
A new utility truck was approved for the head operator of the Water Treatment Plant. Public Works Director Don Marsh said that the $50,000 for the truck is already in the 2018/19 Budget.
The Council gave the final approval to two versions of the Capital Hills Specific Plan that involves 1,900-acres north of Hwy. 58 and excludes existing development areas. One plan includes the potential high-speed rail and the other plan does not. City Manager Greg Garrett reminded the Council that the original plan for the area envisioned skyscrapers. The new plan will protect the hillsides from development. Councilwoman Joan Pogon-Cord asked if noise is a concern with the high speed rail and Development Services Director Jay Schlosser said that yes, it is a major concern. He added that new Governor Gavin Newsom is not as enthusiastic about the high speed rail as Governor Jerry Brown had been and that might affect the route, thus the presentation of two plans.
With Councilman Kenneth Hetge abstaining, the Council voted to sign the agreement with the California Natural Resources Agency for Urban Greening Grant Program. Tehachapi applied for a grant to be used for a citywide tree planting and stormwater capture project. The City was awarded the grant on Oct. 30. The project provides for the planting of approximately 474 trees and additional plants and stormwater capture features along 2.5-miles of bike paths and public spaces, including the Curry Street median, Antelope Run bike trail, Valley Blvd. bikeway and Tehachapi Blvd. bike path. According to Schlosser, the project will most likely be designed in 2019 and completed in 2020.
Councilman Phil Smith, who attends the Kern Council of Governments (KernCOG), reported that truck climbing lanes on Hwy. 58 have finally become a high priority in the state as truck traffic is expected to increase 35 percent by 2040. The initial report divides the project into three sections. The first starts near Gen. Beale Rd., the second near the Caliente turn off and the third at Keene. Cost estimates are in the neighborhood of $33 million per section.