Draft Downtown Specific Plan completed | SierraSun.com

Draft Downtown Specific Plan completed

Truckee’s Downtown Specific Plan draft copy is complete.

The purpose of the plan – which has taken more than two years to draft – is to suggest policies, projects, implementation plans and regulations to preserve Truckee’s unique mountain character as the downtown area is developed, according to Town Planner Elizabeth Eddins.

Contained within town limits, the Downtown Study Area covers a square mile centered around Commercial Row. The area is bounded on the north by Interstate 80, while the southern boundary is marked by the Truckee River, the Hilltop area and the Placer County line.

Eddins said the draft plan represents a group effort between town staff and officials and residents working together under the guise of the ad hoc Downtown Citizens’ Advisory Committee. The downtown planning process started with a visual preference survey and a weeklong downtown design workshop, the results of which were presented in the Downtown Vision Plan, she added.

An important chapter in the DSP, according to Eddins, addresses land use in the target area. DCAC members described use designations, guiding policies and future growth projections for downtown Truckee, she said.

Guiding policies include encouraging a mix of land uses in the commercial core of the downtown, enhancing the area to make it a destination attraction, phasing out industrial use facilities along the Truckee River, accommodating industrial uses north of the Truckee River and accommodating additional residential development and affordable housing in the target area.

In addition, DCAC members decided guiding policies would also include providing more public space linked with pedestrian and bike trails, making the area more pedestrian-friendly, encouraging additional office space, continuing existing businesses in parcels designated for future public acquisition, establishing density bonuses in the zoning ordinance and encouraging developers to build more overnight lodging facilities.

Land use designations

The draft plan land uses in the study area are industrial, single-family residential, high-density residential, commercial, mix-use, visitor lodging, public, open space, public parks and public parking.

“These designations are the basis for the application of more detailed zoning districts on individual properties,” the draft plan reads.

Land use policies identified in the draft report were developed for eight downtown sub-areas: commercial core, north downtown and River Street residential areas, the West River Street industrial area, Truckee River Corridor, Hilltop, the Old Mill site and Truckee cemetery/Highway 267 North.

Downtown commercial core

Truckee’s commercial core area consists of Commercial Row and Jibboom, Bridge, Church and West River streets. Land use policies applying to this area include extending the mix land use pattern into other areas of the commercial core, emphasizing the importance of pedestrians, improving the appearance of the alley behind Commercial Row, accommodating infill development along Jibboom Street and creating walkways connecting parking areas on Jibboom Street to Commercial Row.

Other land use policies for the commercial core include focusing on restaurant and retail development on ground floors along Donner Pass Road, protecting the area’s historical ambiance, relocating the downtown fire station, replacing internally lit business signs and developing an adequate parking supply.

North downtown and River Street residential areas

North downtown is a residential area above Commercial Row facing south. The River Street area is made up of neighborhoods on East River, Southeast River and Southwest River streets, as well as Riverside Drive.

Policies in the draft plan for these areas include clustering new high-density development that promotes environmental sensitivity, constructing new residences compatible with existing neighborhoods, cutting back the dominance of streets by garages and parking, allowing for the conversion of the Caltrans yard to residential homes and accommodating office additions to residential units.

West River Street industrial area

The subarea along West River Street contains industrial uses such as Truckee River Business Park and older areas that the DSP concludes “create serious land use and design problems.”

Land use policies for this area include relocating industrial uses off the river, upgrading industrial-zoned areas, increasing landscape buffers and converting industrial lands lining the river to residential and commercial uses.

Truckee River corridor

Policies identified applying to this subarea, which includes all properties adjacent to the river, include establishing a park on a state-owned parcel south of Truckee River Business Park, establishing a bicycle/pedestrian trail on the river’s south side, linking the commercial core area with the river, providing access for river recreation activities, improving views from the corridor and improving the appearance of the Bridge Street bridge.

Other policies in the subarea include improving the wildlife and fish habitat in the river and its tributaries, supporting a Truckee River Day, protecting and improving water quality in the river, mitigating visual impact of new construction in the area and increasing the visibility of the river.


Located in the southern portion of the DSA, Hilltop encompasses undeveloped land, the Cottonwood restaurant and high-density housing. New development in the area, however, will require a master plan to implement specific development policies.

Old Mill site

The Old Mill site contains the majority of undeveloped space in the downtown study area, most of which is owned by the Union Pacific Railroad. As with Hilltop, the Old Mill site requires a master plan to implement listed development policies.

Cemetery/Highway 267 North

Included in this area are lands on the south side of the I-80/Highway 267 interchange and the Truckee cemetery. The following policies apply to this sub-area: establishing a visitors’ center, preserving an expansion area for the cemetery district and establishing a gateway lodge at the southwest corner of I-80/267, subject to the listed land use and design policies for the area.

Other chapters

Also included in the draft plan are policies addressing vehicle and transit circulation and parking, pedestrian and bicycle circulation, streetscape design, public services and facilities, environmental conservation, historic resources, parks and gateways and the plan’s implementation and financing options.

Downtown Specific Plan draft copies are available for check out at Town Hall and for purchase at the Copy Center. For information, call 582-7876.

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