Glenshre residents ask for environmental review of proposed subdivision
Glenshire residents asked the Truckee Planning Commission to require an Environmental Impact Report on TahoeBoca, a proposed 250-home subdivision bordering Glenshire near the end of Edinburgh Drive, and they are questioning the relocation of open space in the area.
In a letter signed by 26 Glenshire families, and circulated to local, county and state officials, residents also expressed concerns ranging from traffic congestion to the proposal’s impact on deer migration.
The subdivision applicants, the Curtis family trust, Brian Olson and Mark Gergen, have proposed the commission only require a Mitigated Negative Declaration, meaning the environmental impact of the proposal is insignificant or can be rectified by mitigating measures, rather than an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), where studies and public input makes the process more rigorous.
The commission has not decided if it will require an EIR, said Truckee Town Planner Duane Hall.
Residents believe that since a 1990 project proposed for the same area required an EIR, there should be no question that the current proposal should undergo an EIR.
“We believe, based on our cursory understanding of this project, that there is substantial evidence that the [TahoeBoca] project may have a significant effect, and the Town of Truckee must prepare an EIR,” the letter from Glenshire residents read.
However, planners say they have designed a proposal that takes into account environmental research of the 1990 EIR and further studies they have conducted.
Hall said the 1990 EIR would be of limited use to determine the impact of the current project. “We could use some technical information from the 1990 report,” he said, but added that most of the original document would be outdated.
Land Use Planner Gavin Ball has emphasized that planners did not relying on 13-year-old data to design TahoeBoca.
“We recognize that the then-named [Tahoe Boca Estates] final EIR as a whole was marginal in 1990 terms and even more in today’s environmental regulatory world,” wrote Ball in a letter to the town. “The 1990 technical studies have either been updated or supplemented.”
Using this updated information, the proposal has employed a clustered design that respects the environmental conditions of the site, Ball wrote in the same letter
Adrian Juncosa, a Glenshire resident, is concerned about the proposal’s effect on schools, the water system and natural habitat in the area.
“Is there enough protective space around natural habitat?” asked Juncosa, who questioned whether the subdivision would block deer migration routes near Glenshire.
An EIR would let residents and agencies have more input on these concerns, noted Juncosa. “There is a greater public participation in the public review of an Environmental Impact Report,” he said.
Juncosa added that it would be “unusual for a project of this scale not to require an EIR.”
Another area of concern and confusion for neighboring residents is the proposal to increase density and modify open space within the subdivision. The planners have asked for a 15 percent density increase in the 218 acres zoned for residential development, including a five-acre parcel the planners hope to annex from Nevada County. The current zoning allows for one unit per acre.
In exchange for the increased density, the applicants would offer all of the open space to the Truckee Donner Land Trust, the Town of Truckee, or the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District. They would also build and maintain a trail system on the open space, ensure public access to the land, and include 19 moderate-income houses in the development.
This proposal, if accepted, would eliminate the old, open-space boundaries and create 10 new open-space parcels. The modification would leave the development with more than 172 acres of open space, 60.7 percent of the 288.75 acres. Some of this open space would result from the increased density of the 250 lots, which would have average sizes of between 12,000 and 14,000 square feet.
Hall emphasized that any action on the proposal is between six months and a year away, and the general public can comment on the proposal all the way up to a final decision on the plan.
The Nov. 24 deadline that some Glenshire residents assumed applied to them was actually for initial public agency input, Hall said.
The Glenshire Homeowners Association will hold an informational meeting at the Glenshire Elementary School gymnasium to inform Glenshire residents of details of the TahoeBoca proposal on Tuesday, Dec. 9 from 6:30-9 p.m.
Land Use Planner Gavin Ball will give a presentation, and Town Planner Duane Hall will be present to answer questions, said Glenshire Homeowners Association General Manager Geoff Stephens.
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