Canyon Springs development: Traffic congestion, wildlife, environment among concerns | SierraSun.com

Canyon Springs development: Traffic congestion, wildlife, environment among concerns

Jason ShuehSierra Sun
Courtesy of Canyon Springs of TruckeeThis photo depicts the current site of the proposed Canyon Springs of Truckee development near Glenshire.
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TRUCKEE, Calif. andamp;#8212; Feedback that will be used to fuel an environmental study of the controversial Canyon Springs development underscores traffic, noise, environmental and fire safety as the chief concerns from those opposed to the project that would construct 204 housing units near the Glenshire neighborhood.Plans for the development andamp;#8212; hailed by supporters as a needed vehicle to create quality housing, jobs and financial growth for the town of Truckee andamp;#8212; will move forward once the town of Truckee finishes compiling the feedback to be included in a Draft Environmental Impact Report, designed to assess the project’s effect on the construction site and to the Glenshire subdivision.The report could be completed later this year, and would then be subject to approval from the town of Truckee planning commission and town council. While the community waits, below is a breakdown of some of the feedback submitted.

The Mountain Area Preservation Association and Saving Open Space Glenshire andamp;#8212; two Truckee-based open space protection agencies andamp;#8212; have ardently decried the project as environmentally hazardous to the area; they suggest lower density or postponement or relocation of development.andamp;#8220;When people learn about this project, they share concerns about traffic, wildfire evacuation and the impacts to wildlife. People live out here on the edge of town for a reason. It’s less crowded, quiet and a great place to raise kids,andamp;#8221; said Leigh Golden, SOS Glenshire president. andamp;#8220;Adding another 185 (lots) out here will change all of that, not just for Glenshire, but for all the residents in eastern Truckee.andamp;#8221;MAPF President John Eaton suggests andamp;#8212; at the very least andamp;#8212; a project with fewer residents should be considered.andamp;#8220;Lower density at this location will allow greater setbacks from wetlands and drainages, fewer roads, improved water quality, reduced green house gases, reduced traffic delays and improved pedestrian safety in the area,andamp;#8221; said Eaton, adding that a lower resident population there would be more wildlife friendly. andamp;#8220;(Lower density) could also provide for more open space which is not only desirable for wildlife, but also enhances the value of the development.andamp;#8221;Despite criticism, Truckee resident Christopher andamp;#8220;Chipandamp;#8221; Huck andamp;#8212; project spokesman and one of five partners with the developer, Canyon Springs of Truckee andamp;#8212; has said repeatedly he believes while environmental review is necessary for any significant development, Canyon Springs’ proposal is designed to accommodate the site and surrounding area.andamp;#8220;We believe the project is consistent with town zoning for the property,andamp;#8221; said Huck in an email to the Sun.Huck andamp;#8212; whose four partners are based in Oregon and Minnesota andamp;#8212; further said the trails to be built within the proposed plan will benefit more than just Canyon Springs residents, but the entire community, as there will be open access.According to the town’s website, as of June 2, the town has received 47 comment letters regarding the scope of the project. The town’s EIR consulting firm allotted $305,996 in February to complete the draft study.

Government agencies as well as private groups also weighed in, and while concerns were varied, many targeted local wildlife in the area and potential traffic congestion.Jeff Drongesen, an environmental program manager for the California Department of Fish and Game, said the EIR should describe the project’s direct and indirect impacts to nearby habitats and to specific fish and wildlife resources.andamp;#8220;Of particular concern … are impacts to habitat and movement corridors for the Verdi sub-unit of the Loyalton-Truckee deer herd,andamp;#8221; Drongesen said. andamp;#8220;Habitat impacts resulting from residential development and recreational use are currently the biggest concern for the future of this deer herd.andamp;#8221;The Martis Peak Homeowners Association Board of Directors andamp;#8212; Craig Wilson, Nicole Reitter, Michelle Jones, Al Hall and Neil Blumenfield andamp;#8212; shared the following about traffic concerns: andamp;#8220;The only entrance to our development, Martis Peak Road, would be shared as the only access to the new development. That concern is still a major one for us. While there are currently approximately 200 trips per day on Martis Peak Road off Glenshire Drive, depending on the number of multi-family dwellings and secondary dwellings on the proposed 185 lots, this number will increase dramatically.andamp;#8221;

More than 60 percent of the project is proposed as permanently protected, publicly accessible open space which will preserve the most sensitive water tributaries and habitat corridors. Generous buffers are planned and an extensive trail system will be retained and expanded, providing for valuable public interaction with the newly-created open space.The project’s design will retain as many trees on site as possible to allow for proper habitat preservation. Selective re-vegetation will be implemented to restore disturbed areas, repairing damage caused by overland vehicle use and resulting from the forest fire that burned part of the property.In addition, components are in place to implement guidelines recommended by LEED (Leadership in Energy andamp; Environmental Design, a green housing rating system) for best green practices in regard to neighborhood development. Some of these smart-planning principles that Canyon Springs will embrace include encouraging a pedestrian environment, minimizing site disturbance, reducing sky glow via exterior lighting restrictions, protecting steep slopes and existing trees, promoting open space and habitat conservation, providing wide buffers and clustering home footprints, reducing water use via set landscaping design, requiring structures to blend architecturally with the natural mountain surroundings, recommending the use of recycled materials and preserving water quality by setting structures away from drainages and creeks.andamp;#8212; Source: http://www.canyonspringsoftruckee.com