Development decision delayed again | SierraSun.com

Development decision delayed again

David Bunker, Sierra Sun

Josh MillerTruckee and Lake Tahoe residents crowded the Truckee Town Council meeting as a vote was expected on the Gray's Crossing development proposal. After a lengthy review, no decision was made and the issue was continued to February.

After almost five hours of deliberation, the Truckee Town Council was prepared to make a decision on Gray’s Crossing, but 21 changes that the council directed staff to make before action and the council’s request that they have the final development agreement in front of them before approving it, held off a council vote and continued the meeting to Feb. 5.

The council reviewed almost every element of the plan, paying specific attention to water, golf and lodging issues, and making changes such as designating a locals’ day to play the golf course, requiring that the lodging facility be a high percentage (70 percent was suggested) overnight facility rather than fractional ownership, and that the live/work lofts not be raised from the $183,000 – $209,000 price range.

More noteworthy, however, was what the council did not agree to. In a three to two split (With Ted Owes, Ron Florian and Craig Threshie voting against, and Beth Ingalls and Josh Susman voting for), the council decided not to require East West Partners to designate a transfer fee on the sale of properties for an open space fund, as East West has agreed to on Old Greenwood and the Northstar Village. Also the council could not reach consensus on levying an admissions tax for the golf course that would generate money to buy open space with each membership sold or round of golf played.

“I think that we’re up here elected as negotiators and we’re here to negotiate the best deal for the community,” said Mayor Josh Susman, who introduced both ideas. “We have an opportunity not to impose a burden on East West, but to set a precedent for future projects.”

While other council members liked the idea, they objected to it being introduced exclusively on one project rather than on a town-wide basis.

Public comment on agenda items was not allowed, as it was closed at the end of the previous meeting. But town staff reviewed responses from consultants on issues that the council and the public had raised at the public hearing. The golf course cart paths would be open to the public after golf hours, and be made available to cross-country skiers in the winter, staff noted. Golf course fertilizing, design of cottage units, and tax revenue from the project were also outlined by staff, and did not generate much deliberation.

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Golf cart crossings on Prosser Dam Road were changed to go under the road, unless the water table or other factors make it infeasible. The project had the crossings above grade, with traffic calming and a center island for carts as safety mechanisms for the golfers.

Two documents, the development agreement and a Natural Resources Management Plan (NRMP), stalled deliberations, as the council noted vague, inconsistent and incomplete areas.

“In some points it is vague beyond the point of acceptance,” said Councilwoman Beth Ingalls of the NRMP. She pointed to discrepancies in a water sampling table, and pointed out the need for pre-construction water sampling to verify impacts of the project when further samples are taken.

Council concern was satisfied by staff reports that the NRMP was designed to deal with mitigation factors that were already deemed less than significant, and that the council would have future opportunities to comment on the plan.

The development agreement, however, was pulled from the agenda items, as the council asked to view the agreement in its final form before making any decision.

The town also required the developer to participate in a long-term transit plan.

“Just the East West projects are creating the need for a long-term transit plan,” said Community Development Tony Lashbrook. “We think that we are asking for something that they already want to do, but it is critical.”

The details of the plan, how it will be funded, and whether it will be self-supporting, have not been developed yet.

The meeting was continued to Feb. 5, which will give town staff time to make the changes proposed and craft the language of the final development agreement. At the February meeting, the 21 changes that the council made will be open for public comment.