Hilltop development gets last-minute tweaks | SierraSun.com

Hilltop development gets last-minute tweaks

A final vote on Truckee’s Hilltop project has been delayed, but the extra time has been used to make a few changes ” including one that could save the Great Ski Race.

Truckee’s planning commission recommended approval for the 57-acre site overlooking downtown in December.

But comments at the meeting led to further review and a number of changes in the plan, pushing the town council meeting on the project first to Thursday, March 6, and now potentially April 17.

One change has been to the historic ski hill, said Doug Read, co-coordinator for the Great Ski Race.

“We’re really pleased. Early on the developer verbally promised the hill would be left open for the race, and it looks like that’s happened,” Read said.

As of December, plans called for development at the bottom of the hill, which could have compromised the historic integrity of the hill, as well as the end of the Great Ski Race.

But developers now plan for a park at the bottom of the run, Read said.

“The developer is also looking for other events for the park area,” he said. “In the past there was a running race and a mountain bike race, I would say if the community is interested, it would be acceptable to the developer.”

The Mountain Area Preservation Foundation is also working with project owners to resolve some environmental concerns, said John Eaton, president of the group.

“We’ve been talking with the developers and I think it has been productive,” Eaton said. “Some of our issues were with the ski hill, visibility, wetlands protection, traffic, and the need for an economic study.”

Jaime LaChance, assistant planner for the town, said an economic study to explore the affects of Hilltop on local economy has been initiated.

“The study will look at impacts primarily to downtown, but to other areas as well,” LaChance said. “It should be done within the next four weeks.”

If any major changes come out of the discussions with the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation or from the economic analysis the project will go back to the planning commission, LaChance said. Otherwise, it will go to the town council for a decision.

But the master plan’s approval would really be just the beginning for the Hilltop project, with each of the project’s individual components returning to the planning commission and council for approval before ground can be broken, she said.

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