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Gray’s crossing approved

Scott Hess

Truckee’s largest development project since becoming a town may finally become a reality.

The Truckee Planning Commission gave approval to the 757-acre Gray’s Crossing (planned community-2) project and forwarded recommendations to the town council.

The council will hear the plan in approximately one month.

The commission deliberated for nearly five hours to work out the details, and approved the project, 4-1.

Commissioner Nancy Richards was the lone opponent.

“I’m not opposed to the project,” Richards said during deliberation.

In fact, she mentioned she thought it was well-designed, but also felt the commission needed to get into the detais of te plan further.

Protecting wildlife habitat

One of the main issues Richards brought up was with the natural wildlife habitats in the area, which is now open space, but bordered by Interstate 80 and several developments. Richards suggested another alternative with more contiguous open space (which she said could be achieved by more tightly-clustered residences or a nine-hole golf course instead of 18) be reviewed, to help protect the habitats.

However, the rest of the commissioners disagreed.

“I find it interesting we talk about the wildlife in relation to the golf course, but not with all these trails we’re proposing everywhere,” said commission chair Bob Jensen.

In addition, Truckee Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook cited a study done in the Rockies that mentioned golf courses could have more forage benefit than some dense-canopy forests.

In the end, the commission (minus Richards) decided another alternative did not have to be reviewed, and the mitigation measures and natural resources management plan supplied by applicant East West Partners were enough to protect the habitat.

Benefits to locals

Another part of the project that raised eyebrows and received modifications was deed restrictions on the residences. Commissioner Nikki Riley said she felt strongly the residences, especially the ones slated for affordable housing, should be deed-restricted so they would be offered to locals and first-time home buyers first.

She proposed the single family homes that were dubbed median- to moderate-income houses should be offered to local, first-time home buyers for 90 days. The reason, she said, is simply to have these residences on the market for these types of people (people with median to moderate income). Also, she said she did not want to see the affordable housing bought as second homes and rented – it’s much different renting than owning, she said.

After deliberation and an OK from East West, the commissioners agreed the affordable homes should have the deed restriction attached to them.

The golf course issue

The issue of access to the golf course was also mostly settled, as the planning commission strongly disagreed with East West’s proposal to have a private course. In its recommendation to the council, the commissioners said the course should be semi-private or completely public, to allow more people the chance to play on the course.

The outcome

At the end of deliberation – and 5 1/2 hours – Richards said there were too many issues left open, and she could not give her approval of the EIR, the specific plan or the development agreement. Despite her pleas, the other commissioners sent the project on its way.

Thursday night the Truckee Town council was expected to set a hearing date for the project, and will be held on or after the council’s Dec. 4 regular meeting.

Scope of the project

The PC-2 area was identified by the town’s General Plan process as space to have a “destination recreation community” for the town. The town has required that the development should include mixed uses (residential, commercial and other uses), a recreational component and a benefit to the town.

East West’s proposal includes the 18-hole golf course, a site for two churches, an area for a new middle school to be built. In addition, the development would include a “lodge” (hotel) and the Village, the commercial center of the community.

For updates on Gray’s Crossing, visit http://www.sierrasun.com or http://www.grayscrossing.com.


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