Busy development year ahead: Large projects rose dramatically in 2000 | SierraSun.com

Busy development year ahead: Large projects rose dramatically in 2000

To the surprise of few, development activity was heavy in Truckee in 2000, and it appears it will only get heavier.

The number of single family residential homes in Truckee, both second homes and those for full-time residents, remained relatively constant. On average, the town issued 29 residential permits per month in 1999 and 33 per month in 2000.

However, according to Truckee Town Planner Duane Hall, 2000 was different from 1999 in that the application growth rate for large developments dramatically outpaced the growth rate for single residential homes.

Large industrial, conglomerate single family estates, multi-unit residential complexes, public agency expansion and commercial projects trickled into the town’s planning department with surprising regularity.

According to Hall, the shift in emphasis toward larger projects further reflects the maturity of the town. As the town grows and as homeowners continue to move into the area, the pressure for cultural development and expansion grows.

Public agencies like the Truckee Donner Park and Recreation District, which is planning new baseball parks on Joerger Drive, or Tahoe Forest Hospital’s 47,000-square-foot expansion plan, indicate the need for public agencies to match the demand of an expanding community.

“A few years ago we saw increases in single family homes,” Hall said. “Single family (homes) are the first indicator because the lots exist. Larger projects take more time, but we’re seeing them go.”

Likewise, Hall said the recently announced expansion of Donner State Memorial Park also reflects development pressure facing the town. The need to protect certain biological or cultural areas has reached a new level of urgency.

The formation of new conservation groups will likely occur in the year 2001, many say. Mountain Area Preservation Foundation, Truckee Donner Land Trust or Sierra Watch plan to become more involved in public issues, as will smaller groups like Donner Lake Citizens Group for Drinking Water, Help Northstar or Landis Communications.

“It’s overwhelming,” Mountain Area Preservation Foundation spokeswoman Stefanie Olivieri said. “MAPF is all-volunteer, and we find the amount of development activity staggering.”

MAPF has been working with other preservation groups in the area for resources and fund-raising. The group has enlisted land use planners in San Francisco to help keep development activity in check, but it has been a difficult process.

“The town has a great deal on its plate right now,” Olivieri said. “Whether it is supportable and sustainable is the real issue.”

Hall said the most significant development in Truckee for the year 2000 would have to be Featherstone, a large community taking shape east of Prosser and just south of Interstate 80.

With more than 200 fractional ownership units in the works and more on the way, the value of Featherstone will likely exceed $80 million. Phase 2 of the project has been in discussion, and may include 165,000 square feet of commercial retail/office space, a 150-room hotel, an 18-hole golf course and hundreds of multi-family and single family residential units.

Five of the largest development proposals are in nearby Martis Valley, which is under the jurisdiction of Placer County’s planning department. The Martis Valley Business Center, Eaglewood, more than 1,000 units in Lahontan’s expansion plans and more than 2,000 units in Northstar’s updated master plan headline the list. Golf courses are common to most of the development plans.

To keep Town Council up to speed and organize potential trends, Hall gave a presentation at their last meeting describing some of the larger developments in Truckee and nearby Placer County.

“One of the reasons why we put this together is because we have never seen so many significant developments in the hopper,” Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook said.

In 1999, the Town of Truckee received 3.6 commercial applications per month and approved 2.75 applications. In 2000, the town received nearly four times as many commercial applications with 12.1 per month on average, and approved 2.5 per month on average.

While the actual number of permits isn’t the most accurate reflection of the number of new businesses (if one commercial development submits an application for 12 buildings, 12 permits must be obtained) it does portend the shift to larger projects looking to Truckee as a valuable location.

“One of the purposes (of the presentation to the council) is that all these projects in the pipelines may actually happen next year, which would actually be a substantial increase compared to last year. Especially compared to what type of activity is going on right now,” Hall said.

Developers broke ground on approximately 350 single family homes and 50 condominiums in 2000. Riverview Village, which comprises 39 single family homes, and Sierra Village with 72 affordable rental units, were significant projects underway last year.

In town, Hall said there were approximately 30 proposed projects adding to more than 1,000,000 square feet of commercial/industrial floor space, 1,700 dwelling units and 4,000 dwelling units in Placer County.

“There wasn’t a lot of single family or multi-family projects in 1999,” Hall said. “Next year there will be even more.”

Truckee Population and growth statistics

Housing Unit

Year Population Annual Growth Single Family Multi-family

Rate Homes Homes

1994 11,028 na 7,477 949

1995 11,318 2.63% 7,800 953

1996 11,451 1.18% 7,914 953

1997 11,880 3.75% 8,178 1,070

1998 12,259 3.19% 8,393 1,110

1999 12,539 2.28% 8,615 1,134

2000 12,903 2.90% 8,965 1,154

Source: California Department of Finance

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