Featherstone seeks expansion
With plans for golf on the horizon, the resort community of Featherstone may grow larger, expanding the $80 million project along Interstate 80 to 905 acres.The developers of Featherstone have applied for approval of modifications from the Town of Truckee that would add 313 acres to the 592-acre project to accommodate an 18-hole golf course, a decrease in the number of fractional ownership homes from 235 to 222 and an increase in the number of lodging units in the central lodge from 21 to 63.Robert Schwartz, president of the development company Truckee Sierra Resorts, Inc., modified the application, which was submitted to the town, to match the results of market research. The result of the research, conducted by RCI Consulting, led to the inclusion of golf and a small number of homes with exclusive ownership.The town has been asked to approve four items, which Town Planner Duane Hall anticipates could take several months.”All the items will go to each of the hearing bodies. The Planning Commission will review the project and they will make a recommendation to Town Council, who will be the final hearing body,” said Hall. “This is the first formal submittal for them changing their project.”Hall said the developers have been in constant contact with the town in regards to modifying the scope of the project. He added that the modification could increase property tax revenue, and with the increase in cabins, increases in transient occupancy tax are likely.The 905-acre parcel is designated open space recreational under Truckee’s General Plan, which calls for protection of wildlife movement corridors and for recreational land uses, such as golf courses.Originally, Schwartz said one of the reasons the town welcomed the project was conservation of open space.Under the land use designation only 10 percent may be developed with structures and the remaining 90 percent must be preserved as open space. In this situation, Featherstone is proposing the golf course be included as open space, a condition that is permissible for density-restricted developments.”[We are] reevaluating the project completely for its impacts,” said Stefanie Olivieri, spokeswoman and president of Mountain Area Preservation Foundation, a local land use preservation group.Schwartz said of the 500 people who completed market surveys, 87 percent wanted golf as an amenity.If the modifications are approved, the golf course will be close to the the northern boundary of Olympic Heights subdivision, but Schwartz said the actual houses are far away.”It’s way far away from Olympic Heights. With the tree coverage they should not even know that it’s there,” he said.Dale Creighton of Sylvester & Creighton, the planning and engineering company in charge of drafting the project, said the closest point between the golf course and the subdivision is about 600 feet.”The plan is to not have any visual impact. There will be a lot of trees in there blocking the view,” he said.Hall has identified advantages Featherstone will bring for Truckee residents, such as increased availability for housing. If more residents are planning to live here for only two months out of the year they can find housing at Featherstone, leaving more single family homes available for full-time residents.Schwartz has been a developer and builder in the Bay Area for the last 30 years. He formed Truckee Sierra Resorts, Inc. with several other developers, including Ken Hoffman, a builder for 45 years and current owner of the Oakland A’s baseball team.Comments or questions about Featherstone must be received by the town by Jan. 26. For more information call Duane Hall at (530) 582-7820.
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