Paul Ahrns
Program Director

Paul Ahrns

Program Director

Paul grew up in Nevada City, spending his summers exploring the mountains and valleys around Truckee. His summers in the Sierra fostered his passion for protecting and sustaining the natural wealth and beauty of the Sierra Nevada region. Paul returned home to the region in 2010 to join the Climate Planning team and work on the first phase of the Green Communities Program. Paul has served as a Planning Technician and Project Manager for the Climate Planning team providing technical expertise and project management support to assist over 30 local governments, special districts and private developers with climate planning assistance. Paul brings his experience in sustainability, planning, community engagement and project management to his new role as the Climate Planning Program Director for the Sierra Business Council.

Personal Highlights:

Paul earned his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science & Policy from California State University, Long Beach where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and was selected as the Department’s Outstanding Graduate for 2009. Paul combines his passion for the environment and desire to explore the world. He has had the pleasure of exploring 5 different continents and more countries than he can keep track off. The highlights of which have been working with communities in Kenya to drill water wells without using electricity or fuel and exploring the incredible history and culture of China.

Funding Affordable Housing in the Sierra

Are you spending nearly half of your income on housing? Have your adult children moved back into the basement, again? Are you married with a child and seven roommates? If any of these apply to you – and they do for many – then you already know: affordable housing in our region is needed more now than ever. Rising costs and the limited supply of housing due to increases in short term rentals have led to an affordability crisis across the West Coast and the Sierra has not been spared.

COMM Blog AffordableHousing PA 2016 12At the same time, building affordable housing has become increasingly difficult due to the need to piece together funding from multiple sources to make projects feasible. That is why it is incredibly exciting to hear that California’s Strategic Growth Council has approved $289.4 million investment in affordable housing and transit infrastructure this past month through the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities grant program.

You might remember this program helped jumpstart the Truckee Railyard project last year when $8 million was secured to fund infrastructure and construction of the Artist Lofts, including 60 units of work force housing. We are happy to report that for the second year in a row we were able to help secure much needed funding for affordable housing in Truckee. Stonebridge properties was recently awarded $10.7 million to fund the construction of 48 affordable units and the completion of Phase 5 of the Truckee River Legacy Trail. 

While this is a great success for Truckee, a proactive rural community that has prioritized compact, mixed use developments within the historic core of the Town on underutilized land close to services and amenities, the rest of the Sierra has once again been left out of funding from this program. Last year the Railyard was the only rural project that received funding. This year, the program guidelines were changed to include a 10% set aside for rural projects that ended up funding four out of the 14 rural projects that submitted applications. We have long promoted the local governments in our region to be proactive in planning to ensure their jurisdictions are competitive for these programs and advocated on behalf of the Sierra to expand rural set asides and improve the program guidelines to make them more accessible to our communities.

If you would like to see affordable housing in your community please feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and remember to let your local Council members and Supervisors know that you want them to prioritize affordable housing and proactive planning efforts that have the opportunity to improve the economic vitality, accessibility and affordability of our communities. We’ll all get out of our parents’ basements one of these days!