Development destined for 53-acre ‘Hilltop’ site in Truckee | SierraSun.com

Development destined for 53-acre ‘Hilltop’ site in Truckee

David Bunker, Sierra Sun

Courtesy illustrationA schematic shows the proposed development for the Hilltop site, above downtown Truckee adjacent to the Cottonwood Restaurant.

Planners have spent years cobbling together development ideas for the 53-acre, 10-parcel Hilltop location (adjacent to Cottonwood Restaurant above downtown), and on Wednesday the public is invited to participate in the process of developing a master plan for the site.

The five owners of the site above Brockway Road have revealed tentative plans of commercial, residential and office development they say fit the town’s needs and respect the Hilltop’s historic value as the oldest ski hill east of the Mississippi River.

“The goal is to maintain the Cottonwood Restaurant and preserve the historic ski hill,” said Dale Creighton of SCO Planning and Engineering. “We have consensus that the plan is representing everyone’s best interest.”

The plan, as currently proposed by the landowners, would create 368 housing units on the hill, more than 56,000 square feet of commercial space and 1,137 parking spaces.

A lodge, bed and breakfast and restaurant are all part of the package planners will present to the public at Wednesday’s meeting.

The town and developers must create a master plan for the Hilltop area to ensure the 10 parcels are developed in a way that benefits the area, town needs and neighboring parcels. The individual development proposals for each site cannot be processed before the master plan is in effect.

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As well as being the first ski hill in the West, the Hilltop parcel had the first mechanical ski lift in the nation, and began to attract skiers from the Bay Area in the 1920s.

Guided by Truckee General Plan and Downtown Specific Plan requirements, the proposed master plan meshes this historical background with town needs in a way that planners feel represents the best uses for the site.

Heidi Scoble, the Truckee planner assigned to the project, said the plans for the area could change very little during the master plan process.

“You can see that what is proposed is probably what will be developed,” she said. “But as part of the process they can ask for additional density.”

One reason the plans may change little is because the owners and planners for the property have been working with the town and public to come up with development and access ideas for years. As early as March 2001, meetings with the public were scheduled to feel out direction for the land.

Traffic studies have already been done on the property, and access to the property, which is proposed from Brockway Road and Palisades Drive, has been determined to be sufficient.

“We have traffic studies saying that there is no circulation problem,” Scoble said.

Wednesday’s meeting is described as a presentation and informational workshop. The development team and a town representative will be available to answer questions and present details.

This meeting is the first in a series that will determine the specifics of the Hilltop Master Plan.

The Hilltop Master Plan meeting will be held from 4 – 6 p.m. at the Truckee Town Hall.