Airport adds $2M to Martis deal |

Airport adds $2M to Martis deal

Ryan Salm/Sierra Sun file photoRain falls down on Martis Creek Lake on Oct. 5, with Waddle Ranch property in the background. The Truckee Donner Land Trust is currently negotiating the purchase of Waddle Ranch, located along Highway 267 in the Martis Valley. Part of the property borders the Martis Creek Lake National Recreation Area, above, and is under the Truckee Airport flight path.

Members of the Truckee Tahoe Airport board and the Truckee Donner Land Trust shook hands on a $2 million agreement Tuesday afternoon that will assist the land trust in acquiring 1,500 acres in Martis Valley.

The land trust is currently negotiating the purchase of an undeveloped parcel called Waddle Ranch located along Highway 267 in both Placer and Nevada counties and bordering the Martis Creek Lake National Recreation Area.

If the purchase goes through it will be funded by multiple sources, including $2 million from the airport district and $2 million in state grant moneys from the Sierra Nevada Cascade Conservation Grant Program, according to Perry Norris, executive director of the Truckee Donner Land Trust.

The deal between the land trust and the airport is the first of several agreements necessary to assemble adequate funding to purchase the property, said Norris and airport district officials.

“The Truckee Donner Land Trust is delighted to have the airport join us as a partner in protecting this critical part of the Martis Valley,” Norris said in a news release Tuesday evening. “This is a real leg up towards raising the funds needed to acquire Waddle Ranch.”

The airport district got involved with the deal as a way to avoid more homes being built under its major flight path, said airport General Manager Dave Gotschall.

The land, which is owned by the Pritzkers family of the Hyatt hotel chain, had entitlements from Placer County for 1,400 new homes and a golf course, Norris said. But under the terms of the purchase agreement, the land will eventually be open to the public as a recreational amenity.

In the agreement the airport district will purchase fee interest in the property within the airport’s sphere of influence on the eastern edge of the Martis Valley. Eventually the district will hold title to the property.

“One of the airport’s goals is to give back to the community. This is one of the most exciting opportunities in the history of the airport to protect the Waddle Ranch property,” Steve Swigard, president of the Truckee Tahoe Airport District board of directors, said in the release.

A conservation easement will be held on the property by the land trust.

The agreement calls for the property to be eventually open to the public as a recreational amenity in perpetuity.

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