General Plan Update: Mission accomplished
An important chapter in Truckee’s history ended Thursday night ” but the adoption of the General Plan Update is just the beginning.
The Truckee Town Council approved the 2025 General Plan, ending a four-year update process that involved the council, planning commission, town staff and the community as a whole. The update will provide the town with direction as Truckee grows and changes in years to come.
“This was four years of effort,” said Town Manager Tony Lashbrook “There was outstanding public involvement.”
That involvement was one of the keys to the plan’s success, said Town Planner Duane Hall.
“Toward the end we didn’t hear too many comments because of the community’s involvement back in 2003 and 2004,” Hall said.
Adoption of the updated plan involved a four-part approval process, including council’s approval of the new plan itself, its review of the environmental impact of the plan, direction for a program for implementation of the plan and acceptance of guidelines for processing applications for land use and development.
The General Plan is the town’s guiding document that dictates policy on issues the town will face. State law requires the plan be updated every 10 years.
“The update really focused on the public process and a need to refine the past plan rather than change it,” Lashbrook said. “One change was managing versus accommodating growth, which was the direction of the ’96 plan.”
Areas of the plan that were refined include circulation and traffic, defining and preserving community character, economic development and prioritizing open space protection, Lashbrook said.
Two recent controversies that could potentially have been addressed by the update were dissolution and redevelopment of the Ponderosa Golf Course and the connection of Deerfield Drive. One matter was resolved with the general plan’s adoption; the other will be addressed at a later time.
“Ponderosa will retain its current open space recreation land use,” Lashbrook said. “If development is proposed, it would need to remain 90 percent open space with 10 percent development.”
On the other hand, the Deerfield Drive issue will be addressed as part of Planned Community One’s approval, he said.
Affordable housing was addressed about a year ago, but is also an important element of the update, Hall said.
“Last year we were more aggressive with affordable housing,” Hall said. “We wanted people who work in Truckee to live in Truckee.”
The update process also requires the town to review the impacts a new plan could have on the environment, Lashbrook said.
“An (environmental impact report) is used to minimize the environmental impact of a project ” in this case the General Plan is the project,” he said.
The report identified nine “significant and unavoidable” environmental impacts.
“We understood there would be cumulative impacts because Truckee isn’t isolated ” there is a lot of growth in the area,” Hall said. “So we decided in Truckee to manage growth as best possible and make sure what happens in town is of the highest quality possible.”
The nine environmental impacts that have been deemed significant and unavoidable include: changes to the appearance of the region; air quality; effects on biological resources from building; noise; population; long-term traffic; short-term traffic; downtown circulation; and traffic on Interstate 80.
All of these issues are affected equally ” if not more so ” by influences outside Truckee, Lashbrook said.
The final two parts of the General Plan Update adoption assist in creating rules for the town to follow in moving forward.
The implementation portion “identifies over 125 actions and prioritizes them for now, this year or later on,” Hall said.
Town council also decided that all of those 125 actions should occur within the next 10 years, he said.
Some of the top priorities already underway include a review of the development code, historic preservation and the Railyard Master Plan, Lashbrook said.
Council’s acceptance of guidelines for application processing determines which land use and development applications are subject to review under the new general plan, and those that fall under the scope of the former general plan, Lashbrook said.