‘Gray’s Crossing’ gets the once over | SierraSun.com

‘Gray’s Crossing’ gets the once over

Photo by Christina NelsonLorrie Moore looks at plans for the new subdivision.

Just as crews were mobilized for construction of the Old Greenwood project, East West Partners publicly introduced its plan for its latest development, Gray’s Crossing.

Roger Lessman, managing partner of East West, told the Sierra Sun at the Gray’s Crossing workshop Tuesday night that crews have begun logging and clearing the area to begin excavation of the Old Greenwood site.

That same night, the public and town council members asked questions about plans for Planned Community 2 property that have been in the works for almost two years.

“East West is kind of chomping at the bit to move forward [on Gray’s Crossing],” Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook said.

The plans proposed at Tuesday night’s workshop began after East West acquired the land from the Hopkins family in 2000 and significantly altered the initial plan, originally called Boca Sierra Estates.

Boca Sierra Estates proposed development in four phases over a 10-year period – including single-family residential homes, multi-family residential units, a commercial triangle, a golf course, a middle school, a church site and recreational facilities.

But since East West Partners acquired the land, initial PC-2 plans were withdrawn and new, more detailed plans have been developed.

East West removed the controversial commercial triangle, increased open space from 325 acres to 418, reduced office and retail space from 165,000 square feet to 48,000 square feet and added four acres to the proposed golf course.

Because the plans have changed significantly, the town requested that a new environmental impact report be prepared. The EIR will cost approximately $127,000 and take about 32 weeks to complete.

While council members complimented East West on the village neighborhood element of the plan and the cottage housing, they were also concerned about the amount and type of affordable housing that would be built with Gray’s Crossing.

Sixty of the 100 affordable housing units – mandated by the town’s general plan – will be part of a 90-unit employee housing complex that will serve both the Gray’s Crossing and Old Greenwood projects.

The other 40 units will be studio flats, cottages and housing attached to the commercial center.

Councilman Don McCormack said he believes the affordable housing proposed will not make the affordable housing situation better, but it will not make it worse.

He also pointed out that Gray’s Crossing would not be a middle class development.

“When you buy a lot for $200,000, you’re not going to put a $200,000 home on it,” McCormack said.

Lessman declined to comment on the prices of the lots.

Open space was an issue – as it has been with other development projects – that raised some questions from both the public and the council.

“{Planning consultant] Dale [Creighton] indicated that there’s about 400 acres of open space but as I look at the plot plan … it doesn’t even look like half the land is open space,” McCormack said.

“Are there nooks and crannies that have been classified as open space?”

But primarily, the council was concerned with the size of the hotel, and expressed a desire for something larger, perhaps a resort hotel.

From the town’s perspective, said Councilman Ted Owens, the transit occupancy tax generated by a larger hotel is desirable.

“By my calculation, you’re at seven rooms per hole,” he said.

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