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Boca Sierra workshops begin July 14

JOHN A. BAYLESS

The public participation process for Boca Sierra Estates is expected to begin with a workshop July 14 at the community center.

The Truckee Town Council approved a starting date for the workshops and a format in its meeting May 21, after hearing public comment from several residents.

Mountain Area Preservation Foundation president Stephanie Olivieri suggested several changes in the format of the workshops in her comments to council.

“I’m very disappointed in the plan for public participation,” Olivieri said. “The community came forth with many great ideas, and what we got back was business as usual.” She said the proposed outreach to neighborhoods was inadequate, as were the plan for getting the word out to the community and the number of site tours proposed.

Olivieri suggested notifying residents of the workshops by enclosing a notice in bills from the Truckee-Donner Public Utility District, along with notices on television and the Truckee-Donner Chamber of Commerce newsletter. She also proposed that a poster showing a simplified and eye-catching layout of the development be posted, and that copies of the specific plan be available for copying and viewing at different locations around town.

Olivieri said residents of Glenshire, Tahoe Donner and Donner Lake should each have neighborhood workshops on PC-2. Also, she said the chamber of commerce President Rachelle Pellissier wanted the organization to be included in the neighborhood outreach, and have workshops on the project.

“Rachelle had requested having the chamber of commerce included,” Olivieri said. “It has been included in the development code workshops, and would like to be in the neighborhood outreach.”

Olivieri suggested two or three site tours, conducted by town staff, be scheduled before one of each group of workshops, and that town staff conduct the workshops.

“Under the proposed format the developer would make the pre-

sentation,” she said. “We felt the neighborhood workshops should receive presentations by town staff. The staff could present the project in an unbiased and factual manner. We would appreciate the developer being there to answer questions.”

She also expressed concern that the early public participation process for PC-2 will run at the same time as workshops on the town’s development code.

“It is patently unfair to the community to do both at the same time,” she said. “The project should not be considered until the development code is in place.”

Councilman Josh Susman agreed that staff should take an

active role in the workshops, and use flipcharts to take notes as the public comments on the project.

“For the first time since I’ve been sitting up here, I listened to Ms. Olivieri and I didn’t disagree with what she said,” Councilman Bob Drake said. “That must be a red letter moment.” However, he questioned the need for redesigning the format of the workshops before the process starts.

Councilman Don McCormack said he was concerned that the summary plan submitted by developers appeared to be lacking information requested by the town – particularly an explanation of the project’s schedule and architect drawings showing how the project would appear from various angles and locations.

“We developed a list of what we needed,” McCormack said. “If we don’t give them that information, we will not have successful meetings. None of the additional information is onerous. I don’t think we can expect the community to participate effectively unless we convey what the developer has in mind.”

Susman agreed.

“The general list guidelines have not been met,” he said. “The community needs something to look at, or they have no concept of the project. We need to have enough tangible stuff for the public to comment.”

Consultant Dale Creighton of Boca Sierra Estates responded to the council’s concerns.

“Firstly, upon our submission of the plan, we fully expected changes,” Creighton said. “We wanted to get input.”

He said it is difficult to summarize the implementation of the plan before the full economic analyses required by the Specific Plan have been conducted. However, Creighton made it clear that the growth of Boca Sierra Estates depends on the success of each phase.

“If only half of the houses in phase one sell, will we go to phase two?” Creighton said. “Well, from a practical standpoint, if it ain’t selling, we’re not building.”

He said simulations of the project should be available within a week or two.

In response to the concerns of council and the public, Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook moved the first workshop from June 27 to July 14, and agreed to seek additional information from developers before widely distributing the summary plan for the project.

“We are asking for the plan to be updated to comply with the council’s policy on the content,” Lashbrook said. “We will get the summary plan and have it available on a broad basis to the public 30 days before the first public workshop, which is now set for July 14.” He said the first workshop could be delayed, if the amended summary plan is not available 30 days before. Times for the workshop at the community center have not been set at this time.

Lashbrook said the initial submittal by the developers, including the draft summary plan and specific plan, is available at Town Hall and at the Copy Center.

“This is a developer-submitted plan at this point,” Lashbrook said. “It is not a town plan, and it hasn’t been approved by the town. There is still an 18-month process to go through before any decision will be made.”

Boca Sierra Estates, designated as Planned Community 2 under the general plan, is located on the north side of Interstate 80 along both sides of Highway 89. The property encompasses 789 acres and includes meadows and heavily timbered hillsides.

According to the summary plan, phase one of the proposed development includes construction of an 80,000-square-foot grocery market retail center on a plot of forested land surrounded by Highway 89 on the west, the Highway 267 Bypass on the northeast, and Interstate 80 to the south. Also included in the first phase is a destination resort with 100 to 150 rooms, a clubhouse, an 18-hole golf course, and between 100 and 150 residential parcels for custom homes or multi-family units near the golf course, open space zoning and trail easement.

Phase two of the proposed project included a mixed commercial use village center of between 30,000 and 95,000 square feet in size, once the Highway 267 Bypass is completed, along with 32 to 70 parcels for custom homes or multi-family units.

Phase three includes 83 parcels for custom homes, followed by phase four with a residential and estate area located on the west side of Highway 89 North.

Land for public use is also incorporated in the proposed plan – specifically a church site located on the north side of Alder Drive and a public parcel located on the south side of Alder, for a middle school and fire station.

Developers estimate that the project, when built out, will bring in approximately $4.1 million in tax revenue yearly. Buildout on the project could take more than 20 years. Total impact fees for the project during the same period are estimated at $6.7 million. Once the project is completed, developers estimate it will provide 590 permanent, year-round jobs – excluding construction jobs.

The first step in the specific plan process will be early public involvement and possible refinements of the project, followed by the preparation of an environmental impact report and an economic assessment. Those studies will be conducted by firms selected by the town and paid by the developers.

Public review will then be taken on the EIR and economic assessment, in hearings on the plan before the council and planning commission.

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