Deerfield residents speak out against developments
A small band of Deerfield Drive residents are stepping out from the sidelines and getting involved in the Town’s planning process.
Hoping to further control the development activity looming over their small, one-road neighborhood, residents on Deerfield Drive and the First Baptist Church of Truckee filed an appeal over the Town of Truckee Planning Commission’s decision to approve The Boulders Condominiums, a 180-unit condominium project.
The developer and the appellate have since reached a compromise, and the church will have a fence separating the development from its property.
“It has been taken care of without the appeal process,” said Karen Pilaar, one of the two parties named on the appeal. “The church and the residents balked and asked for the fence to be there.”
While the Community Development Department has yet to receive an official settlement, Town Planner Duane Hall expects the settlement will arrive within the week.
“We’ve had a lot of (development) problems with our street,” said Alan Marshall, an 18-year Deerfield resident. “The people on our street are quiet people and they may not be the best public speakers. We are all feeling like spectators in a game we are being pushed around in. It’s kind of a David and Goliath thing.”
Residents on Deerfield Drive are hardly through fighting for how they want their neighborhood to change.
At the intersection of Deerfield Drive and Highway 89 South, a 160-unit affordable housing project called Deerfield Village has been placed on hold.
On March 9, neighborhood residents gathered at First Baptist Church of Truckee to discuss the Deerfield Village development.
“Everyone was opposed,” Pilaar said. “The people on our street are saying the town is going to have to bend over backwards.”
Town Council will consider a request by the developers, Cascade Housing Association, for a two-year commitment involving $1 million of community development block grant money.
Staff has recommended that council begin preparing the grant package to be heard at a public hearing April 5. Staff has also recommended Town Council deny the grant request based on three reasons: the speculative nature of the project, the necessity for additional town grant money for the project to continue, and so that the town may use grant money for more than one project.
The development is further controversial because of a General Plan amendment that would change the zoning from commercial to high-density residential. The applicants have also proposed residential access to the east, a design that contradicts the original plan by town officials.
“The flood plain is also an issue,” said Tony Lashbrook, the town’s community development director.
Town Council has made affordable housing a top priority. Development pressure and housing demands have continued to grow, adding weight to the need for new low to moderate income housing.
While aware of the housing shortage, the residents on Deerfield Drive are opposed to the project, and plan to voice their concerns at tonight’s Town Council meeting.
“The developers have a lot to overcome,” Pilaar said. “They are professional persuaders, and there are a lot of people on our street that think that is what their tactic is.”
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