Grocery Outlet project appealed after approval, again (DOCS)
May 3, 2018
Opponents of a Grocery Outlet store opening in Truckee wasted no time in appealing its approval.
Two business days after Truckee Planning Commission approved the project's permit on April 26, neighboring residents had already appealed the decision.
Sharon and Bud Arnold filed their opposition on Monday, April 30, according to Assistant Planner Kirk Skierski, who said the project will land on the Town Council's agenda for May 22, at the earliest.
““We should be able to have affordable grocery stores in our own community,”
— Judi Morales Gibson, resident
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The Planning Commission approved a development permit for a 16,147-square-foot store at Donner Pass Road and Vista Avenue during an April 26 special meeting via a 2-1-1 vote.
"I asked you to look at this with an open mind. I asked you to consider this is a residential neighborhood of homeowners," said Sharon Arnold, whose family has lived in Truckee since 1890. "A lot of retired people live in that neighborhood. The traffic on Vista Avenue will be horrendous … we already have a traffic problem."
The Arnolds had previously paid $951 to file an appeal after the planning commission approved of Grocery Outlet's original project on Feb. 20, but that proposal went back to square one after West Sacramento company Capitol Avenue Development modified its proposal. The reworked plan includes an additional one-bedroom, one-bath workforce housing unit, which brings the total number of workforce housing units for the project up to three.
The company also decreased the size of the store from 17,568 square feet.
While most of the residents spoke against the proposal at the Planning Commission meeting, there have been those who have spoken in support of Grocery Outlet coming to Truckee. Most cited the stores lower prices as good for the community's lower-income individuals and families.
"We should be able to have affordable grocery stores in our own community," said Judi Morales Gibson. "I know how important the look and feel of Truckee is, I love it. However, we want to look like we care about our community. What's more important, to look like we care or to actually care about those people?"
The project calls for 11,610 square feet of retail area, 57 on-site parking spaces, entrances and exits on Donner Pass Road and Vista Avenue, increased landscaping, and a sidewalk on Vista Avenue.
Plans for the project also call for a 60-foot open space barrier between the store and adjacent homes.
Traffic and other issues
Most of the complaints about the proposed project stem from concerns over increased traffic and noise in the Gateway neighborhood.
"We're not talking a lot of trucks," said Kurt Reinkens, project architect and president of architecture and engineering company, MWA, Inc. "We've said five semis in a week. So it's less than one a day, with additional box trucks coming during normal business hours. And I'd like to note, we're being held to a different standard than all other commercial stuff around us."
Hours of delivery would be limited to between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., according to the town's staff report.
Other issues residents raised during the meeting centered around other trucks coming in for trash and snow removal, home values decreasing near the store, as well as additional litter coming into the surrounding neighborhoods and streets.
Ultimately the commission sided with the store developers, but not until after the town attorney was consulted.
After deliberation, Commissioner Jerusha Hall motioned to adopt the proposal. Commissioner Doug Gadow subsequently abstained from the vote, citing a lack of knowledge on the project after missing the previous project's presentation in February.
"I didn't see the first presentation and I feel (I'm) at a serious loss," said Gadow.
The project's architects kept the presentation on Thursday night brief, due to minor changes in the project since its original proposal.
There was confusion between staff and the commissioners on whether Gadow could abstain and what that would mean. Staff reached out to the town attorney and was told an abstention was treated as a recusal, meaning Grocery Outlet's approval permit passed via a 2-1-1 vote.
Chair Seth Kielas and Commissioner Hall voted yes on the project, while Commissioner Amanda Wiebush was the lone member of the commission to vote no. Vice Chair David Polivy recused himself before the meeting began.
For more information on the project visit TownofTruckee.com.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Truckee Sun. Contact him at email@example.com.