Affordable housing advocates eye Alder Drive site
When East West Partners promised to donate the 9.5-acre parcel off of Alder Drive as part of the Gray’s Crossing development agreement, housing advocates saw the opportunity to build housing that could be truly affordable since the land was free.
The site also seemed ideal because of its proximity to a school, transit services and other subdivisions such as Coachland.
But during the General Plan update process, the land was recommended to be designated as open space, and organizations such as Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe (WHATT) and California Association of Business, Property and Resource Owners are urging the council to consider changing the designation to allow affordable housing.
There were three major reasons why the land seemed a logical choice for open space Ð access, wetlands and open space buffer.
First, access onto the site could be a problem since it is split by a wetland and drainage area. If the entire site were to be developed, two access points could become necessary. Wetlands also restrict development, making approximately 3 acres unbuildable. And a 25-acre parcel designated for high-density housing south of the site could make East West Partner’s donation a prime location for an open space buffer between developments.
But even with the restrictions, WHATT believes the site represents a rare opportunity. With free land, a nonprofit housing group Ð such as Mercy Housing Ð could be contracted to build affordable housing on the five or six acres that do not have wetlands. The result could be housing that fills a vital need for the town.
“The community has stated that it is imperative that we address this affordable housing crisis, and we have the opportunity to start with this piece of property,” wrote WHATT in a letter to the town.
“Truckee has control of this property and we can control our own destiny here,” the letter continued. “We can start by addressing the affordable housing deficit if you give this piece of property the proper high density designation.”
Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook said that land use designations for the updated General Plan are still open for public comment.
“There obviously will be additional opportunity during the draft plan to talk about land use changes,” he said.
The town’s Community Development Department has received approximately 15 letters advocating high-density housing on the site. And it’s likely that groups will continue pushing for the affordable housing on the parcel during the updated General Plan review process.
“Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work ‘building’ solutions to our affordable workforce housing deficit,” wrote WHATT.
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