Glenshire Bluffs faces complicated process
Glenshire residents are lobbying the Truckee Town Council to allow only sparse development on 46 acres bordering steep cliffs on the west edge of their subdivision. The move by residents comes even before the developer’s application has reached Truckee decision-makers. At Tuesday night’s General Plan update meeting, the town council designated the parcel known as the Glenshire Bluffs as one residential unit per two acres in the upcoming General Plan. But it remains unclear if that designation will affect an existing subdivision application for 45 single family lots on the parcel.While the 1996 General Plan also shows the density designation as one unit per two acres, the current development code sets the zoning at one unit per acre. The change was made when the northern parcels, which house a quarry mining operation, were changed from a residential designation of one unit per two acres to resource conservation open space, which would allow only one home on each of the three northern parcels.This was an effort to reduce the overall density of the entire area, said Town Planner Duane Hall.”If you look at the entire piece of property, the density is not increased, it is decreased,” said Hall, noting the change would allow 18 units fewer that the previous zoning. The matter is further complicated by a policy in the General Plan that says any transfer of the northern parcels’ density to the southern parcel will have to be done in conjunction with the closure and reclamation of the mine to the north. The town staff and the developer for the Bluff property seem to be at odds over whether the General Plan policy still applies since the density was transferred through a development code zoning change and not as part of a specific subdivision application. Since all the parcels were also under common ownership when the policy was created, GLA Morris, the subdivision applicants for the southern 46 acres, argues that they, as the new owners, have no control over the mining operation to the north.The council shied away from discussing the specific proposal for the parcel, since those issues will be worked out when the application arrives at the planning commission.But on Tuesday, Glenshire residents pushed hard for the less dense designation, and depending on when the subdivision application makes it to the commission, the designation could come to bear on the amount of homes allowed on the parcel. Subdivision applications are required to comply with the town’s General Plan.Everyone from young kids to members of newly-formed Friends of the Bluff group, spoke of land’s beautiful views, bountiful wildlife and special place in the hearts of its neighbors. “I implore you to do the right thing and save something truly special,” said neighboring homeowner Peggy Jones.The council wrestled with whether a lower density could create large, estate-type parcels that could become an “enclave of $1 million or $1.5 million homes,” as Ted Owens noted.Despite these concerns, the council directed staff to apply the one unit per two acres designation, and also changed a General Plan policy to allow one of the parcels to the north, which is not currently mined, to have a density of one unit per two acres if it is never mined.Both town staff and the council noted that the decisions gave no entitlement to the landowner and did not definitively determine the future of the parcel.”The General Plan will establish the average density, the zoning will establish the maximum density and the project review will establish the actual density,” said Hall. Hall said the physical features of the land and other characteristics of the site will factor into the actual density of building permitted on the Bluffs.”The zoning establishes a maximum density, it doesn’t necessarily say that you will get that,” he said.
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