Employee housing decision delayed
Placer County and the Town of Truckee will have additional time to resolve their disagreement over how many employee units should be a part of the Siller Ranch project, a 726-home golf course development in the Martis Valley.On a 3-to-2 vote – supported by Harriet White, Ted Gaines and Rex Bloomfield and opposed by Bill Santucci and Robert Weygandt – the board of supervisors Tuesday approved the trails portion of the development, but left the decision on employee housing requirements until a Feb. 22 meeting. The Town of Truckee, which along with environmental group Sierra Watch appealed the county planning commission’s decision to approve Siller Ranch, will have more than two months to work with the county on an employee housing solution for the proposed gated community.Truckee officials said they were stunned by Placer County staff’s recommendation that the development proposal should only have to provide housing for 124 employees. The 726-home subdivision includes plans for 27 holes of golf, a putting course, a clubhouse, spa, amphitheater, private ski lift, staffed gate facilities, a nature center, tennis courts, swimming pools, a mountain lodge, a community postal center, and a sales and administrative center. “Seemingly in private negotiations with the developer the employee housing number has been cut in half,” said Truckee Mayor Craig Threshie at the meeting.The Town of Truckee and the Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe believe that a more accurate calculation of employees generated by the size and nature of the Siller Ranch development is between 555 and 600. If Placer County was to use that number it would be required to provide housing for half of those employees – between 278 and 300 workers. By using Placer County’s draft housing ordinance, the project will create 555 full time jobs, the workforce housing association said.”Whether they knew what they were doing or not, we got 60 more days to work on a reasonable solution to the housing issues,” said Truckee Vice Mayor Beth Ingalls, who testified at the meeting. “Hopefully we’ll start working with them in a real spirit of regional cooperation.”The hopes for cooperation with the county were the same feelings the town had following the Oct. 5 meeting on Siller Ranch where Placer supervisors denied the town’s appeal. However, those hopes never materialized as the town and the county never met in the two months between the Siller Ranch meetings. Representatives from the two entities, according to comments at the meeting, hardly spoke over the phone in that period. Placer County said that the inability to meet was due to scheduling conflicts.The fact that the town was left out of the process, and the prospective developers of Siller Ranch were highly involved, upset Truckee officials. Vice Mayor Ingalls questioned the employee housing number developed by Placer County, that she said was “based on incomplete and faulty data.”Placer County Planning Director Fred Yeager said that the county’s numbers were lowered because the homes will only be occupied about 10 percent of the time.The developers of Siller Ranch have said that they plan to use the land originally proposed as a golf course development called Hopkins Ranch, near the intersection of State route 267 and Schaffer Mill Road, as a site to build their employee housing.