Supes agree to Auburn’s redistricting shift into rural District 5

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Placer County supervisors set new borders for their five districts Tuesday, with the most notable change being the complete shift of the whole of the city of Auburn into District 5. The new boundaries will be put to their first electoral test next year when seats for both District 5, represented by Donner Summit resident Jennifer Montgomery, and District 3 are up for election next year. District 3 Supervisor Jim Holmes, who has represented Auburn on the county board since 2005, voted with Montgomery and other supervisors in favor of the new redistricting map. The county’s supervisorial district boundary lines are redrawn every decade to correspond with changes in population reflected in new census numbers. With explosive growth in south and western Placer County and comparatively slower growth in District 3 and 5, Holmes said it was “inevitable” that Auburn would shift into the sprawling District 5. Two public hearings were held on the final map and, as he had at the first hearing in September, the lone speaker contended that the new boundary lines don’t protect the rural integrity of the county. Michael Garabedian of Friends of the North Fork said the decision – including inclusion of Auburn in District 5 – doesn’t protect rural interests and the process the county went through to draw the lines is unconstitutional. But when pressed by Supervisor Jack Duran, who said he took issue with the claim of unconstitutionality, Garabedian said he had no case law to cite to show that the county’s actions are unconstitutional. Montgomery said that while her district is taking in about 13,000 Auburn residents to help balance out growth in other areas of the county, it remains largely rural and will stay that way after the change is completed. Montgomery added that other supervisors have substantial rural areas in their districts and support Placer County’s rural heritage. Garabedian said the shift was “a major change.” “We’re heading to a real problem,” he said. In other board business: n Supervisors approved an agreement with the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association to provide $5.43 million in transient-occupancy-tax funding to promote tourism and provide guidance to the board on infrastructure project expenditures. The budget is $340,000 more than last year because of an increased level of accommodation facility bookings, which raised bed-tax fund totals. n Supervisors agreed to plans for a new environmental review on a potential biomass plant for wood waste at the Eastern Regional Material Recovery Facility at Cabin Creek, near Truckee. The board authorized a $199,000 contract with Ascent Environmental to move ahead on the study, two months after it decided to scuttle plans for a plant at Kings Beach.