Another Grossman appeal denied
Who would of thought a 50-year old quote from a catcher could apply to historic preservation and parking issues in Truckee?
But Yogi Berra’s “It’s like dZj^ vu all over again” was fitting for Tom Grossman’s appeal of a Brickelltown neighbor’s plans to expand their existing building.
The Town Council considered the matter at last Thursday’s meeting, and for the second time in six months, voted 3-2 to deny an appeal by the Truckee developer.
In January, Grossman challenged the planning commission’s approval of Stefanie Olivieri’s Tin Can project on Jibboom Street.
This time it was their May 8 approval of the expansion of the Sierra Business Council’s offices on Donner Pass Road.
The SBC is proposing to add 1,100-square feet to their current office building and construct a 1,368-square foot detached office building.
The office is located in Brikelltown, a group of historic buildings approximately 300 feet west of downtown on Donner Pass Road.
At Thursday’s meeting, Grossman, as he had six months earlier, repeatedly referred to what he claimed were different standards for different people.
Double standards exist within Historical Preservation Advisory Committee (which makes recommendations to the planning commission), the Truckee Donner Historical Society, the planning commission and the council, he claimed.
Grossman also said that the SBC and the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation were against his projects.
“All the usual suspects would be hear fighting this project if it was mine,” Grossman told the council on Thursday.
But the appeal itself was based primarily on the parking requirements for the project and how the group will meet them.
While the expansion will almost double the square footage of the SBC office, no additional on-site parking was proposed.
In fact, one of the existing 11 sites would be lost due to the expansion.
To comply with the parking requirements, the SBC agreed to pay an in-lieu of fee of $5,634 per space for 10 additional spaces.
However, a shower credit reduced the required number of parking spots to 17. It was granted because the proposed office expansion included two showers which will reportedly allow three employees to ride their bikes to work, at least part of the year.
The Town of Truckee development code doesn’t specify how much on-site parking must be provided and how much of that requirement can be met by paying in-lieu of fees that will be used to build additional parking spaces.
That ratio is decided by the planning commission and the town council on a case-by case basis.
While the planning commission decided that the combination of existing on-site parking and the payment of in-lieu fees was sufficient, Mayor Ron Florian and Councilman Ted Owens felt it wasn’t and voted to uphold Grossman’s appeal.
However, Councilmen Josh Susman and Don McCormack, along with Councilwoman Maia Schneider, formed the majority that denied the appeal.
After an hour-and-a-half hearing and sensing the council was going to deny his appeal, Grossman said he would modify it to the tune of requiring only one additional in lieu- of-fee payment by the SBC.
Grossman said he thought the shower credit was excessive, and should be reduced to two.
He also requested that the council devise a way to ensure that “Brickelltown [in lieu of parking] fees stay in Brickelltown” and are not used to build parking spots for the often-congested downtown.
The SBC project has received the support of nearby property owners and businesses, including the owners of the neighboring C.B White House and Hunt Mountain Homes.
In January, Grossman said he appealed the approval of the Tin Can project because it wasn’t subjected to the same level of scrutiny his project was.
Grossman is currently building three buildings on a nearby Brickelltown lot, but only after spending more than three years obtaining demolition permits for two late 19th century homes that previously occupied the site.
Prior to tearing down the buildings on his property, he had to demonstrate “economic hardship” by establishing that their restoration would be more expensive than demolishing and reconstructing the buildings.
Local guidelines for what is considered historic and how such structures should be restored, reconstructed or demolished will be established when the town’s comprehensive Historic Preservation Program is completed, likely sometime this summer. It will only pertain to properties in the downtown area.
In the interim, town staff has used the Secretary of Interior’s criteria in order to determine what permits should be required for buildings considered historic.
Other items on the June 6 agenda included:
— A presentation by Nevada County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Barbara Green transferring the deed for the downtown depot from the county to the town.
— Transfer of ownership of property acquired from Peoria Sunnyside, LLC’s Barsell project to Caltrans for the Truckee Ramps Project. The project will keep two ramps off Interstate 80 onto what will be the old Highway 267 open after the Highway 267 Bypass is operational.
Town officials and business leaders feel it is important to keep those ramps open because they feed directly into downtown.
The Town Council meets at 6 p.m. at Town Hall on Airport Road. Call 582-7700 for more information.
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