Canyon Springs project at crossroads
The developers of Canyon Springs, the planned subdivision east of Glenshire, may be facing new challenges.
Formerly known as Tahoe Boca Estates, the 289-acre, 213-home project was the subject of a recently released draft Environmental Impact Report, which will go before the planning commission tonight. A group of skeptical residents has challenged the review process, however, stating the project should be examined under newer town policies.
During public comment periods at recent planning commission and town council meetings, Glenshire and other area residents have gathered to voice concerns.
The group has also circulated petitions to get Canyon Springs reviewed under the new general plan and to reduce the planned number of homes, collecting roughly 400 signatures each so far.
Kristi Thompson, a Glenshire resident who has been involved in this effort, has studied the different general plans and believes reviewing Canyon Springs under the 2025 General Plan, rather than the 1996 General Plan, would require significant changes.
“The main issue affected by the difference in the two general plans would be traffic,” Thompson said.
While the town’s old general plan didn’t include Glenshire Elementary School, Thompson said the new one does, a change that would affect traffic considerations.
Two intersections ” Glenshire Drive/ Donner Pass Road and Glenshire Drive/ Dorchester Way ” would be defined as “failing” with Canyon Springs traffic under the new plan as well, she said.
Thompson also said the new general plan states a project cannot be approved if it increases traffic on local roads by more than 1,000 cars per day, a number that Canyon Springs is projected to meet or exceed on several Glenshire area roads.
“None of these issues are addressed in the old general plan,” Thompson said.
Both town staff and the Canyon Springs development team are examining what effects the potential change would make, said Town of Truckee Associate Planner Denyelle Nishimori.
She said the town council designated the 1996 General Plan as the relevant policy when Canyon Springs completed the review process, requiring town approval by May 16. Because the project will not be reviewed until a meeting on either June 7 or June 21, the development team has filed for an extension, Nishimori said.
Mark Gergen, a Canyon Springs development partner, said the proponents voluntarily started the process to create an Environmental Impact Report in 2003, before the adoption of the 2025 general plan.
“We spent well over 18 months and something in the $250,000 range to get where we are today,” Gergen said. “But the project has to bring something to Truckee, so we are analyzing what the 2025 General Plan will mean to us.”
This would mean going through the Environmental Impact Report chapter by chapter, looking for issues that could be changed by the 2025 General Plan, Gergen said.
Canyon Springs project manager Gavin Ball said his initial review of the 2025 General Plan seemed to indicate the project would meet the newer requirements.
“We are open to it and analyzing it,” Ball said, “but it seems like the type of residential project being promoted by the new plan with clustering, open space and affordable housing.”
He said there may be changes in traffic thresholds, and it would take a lot of research to fully understand the impact of switching to the newer general plan, but added that if the intent is to make the project better for everyone, the development team would be open to it.
Town council could choose to approve or deny the extension, or the development team could independently decide to change to the new general plan, Nishimori said.
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