Hilltop decisions held off
July 17, 2008
Concerns about water, traffic and housing sizes cause the Truckee Town Council to delay action on the Hilltop project after a five-hour meeting Wednesday night.Proposed for 57 acres near the Cottonwood Restaurant overlooking downtown, the project has undergone a number of changes over the last few months to preserve the historic ski hill and reduce commercial development.Despite those changes, the council wanted to see a number of issues resolved before approving the projects environmental documents, an amendment to the Downtown Specific Plan, and ultimately the projects master plan itself.Among the councils concerns were getting assurance that the Truckee Donner Public Utility District will provide water to the project, providing options for the potential intersection at Ponderosa and Palisades drives, insuring that Brockway Road wont have to go to four lanes, and limiting small lot houses in size to keep them affordable.Its a great concept having small parcels for small homes, said council member Richard Anderson. However with a 35-foot height limit its going to be difficult to achieve affordability the tendency is to build to the maximum.Council Member Josh Susman wanted a will serve letter from the public utility district to insure there would be enough water for the potential 52,000 square feet of commercial space, 60 lodging rooms, and 289 residential units.While Gordon Shaw, the towns traffic consultant with LSA Transportation, maintained that the corner of Ponderosa Drive and Palisades Drive is technically a safe one, many residents challenged that assertion.The Hilltop Master Plan calls for that corner to be turned into a three-way intersection, creating access to the new development.I dont agree that there is no traffic hazard there. Every winter when theres a storm cars are crashing into the side of the road all the time, said Peggy Towns, a project neighbor. I think you should leave that access gated.Council decided they wanted to see triggers for both that intersection and Brockway Road, where they could come back to reconsider those issues as the project grows.In any case, Hilltop wont likely see much development on the ground in the near future, said Dale Creighton of SCO Planning andamp; Engineering.For the most part the property owners dont have any immediate development intentions, he said.