Hotel Avery approved | SierraSun.com

Hotel Avery approved

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

ContributedThe 47,299-square-foot hotel on the corner of Bridge Street and South River Street would include 40 condo-hotel rooms, a restaurant, and Truckee's first underground valet parking.

TRUCKEE ” Truckee’s planning commission approved Hotel Avery Wednesday evening after lengthy public comment. About 26 local residents weighed in on the project, arguing for its economic boost to the town or against its size or parking.

The 47,299-square-foot hotel on the corner of Bridge Street and South River Street would include 40 condo-hotel rooms, a restaurant, and Truckee’s first underground valet parking.

“Truckee is used as a portal to North Tahoe ” there are 700,000 vehicle trips per year to North Tahoe, and Truckee has been losing the opportunity to capture some of those people,” said Art Chapman, president of JMA ventures, project owner and owner of Homewood and Alpine Meadows ski resorts.

A number of local residents and business owners agreed.

“We really need this in the downtown core,” said Jerry Wood, owner of the White Buffalo in Truckee.

Stefanie Olivieri, president of the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association, said the group supports the project.

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Even one resident who lived on the same street as the proposed hotel supported it.

“I think it’s a good project. If this project doesn’t get built, something else will with surface parking,” said Russ Jones, who lives on South River Street.

But other members of the audience worried that the project was too big, would create traffic problems, and that parking would spill over to the fronts of their homes.

“I would be for it if I didn’t live next to it,” said Leon Smith. “People are going to park in front of my house.”

Truckee resident Denny Dickinson said he didn’t think the hotel fit with town codes, and thought it would contribute to a growing traffic problem on Brockway Road.

Andrew Esler, who lives in the Ponderosa Palisades neighborhood, agreed, and said he thought the traffic generated by the planned Hilltop development also needed to be factored in.

In the end, the planning commissioners approved the project four-to-zero.

“This is a large firm with an innovative project right smack-dab in the middle of downtown in the middle of an economic downturn,” said commissioner Bob Johnston. “I am sorry for the neighbors across the street and to the west.”

Truckee Fire Chief Bryce Keller said the fire district would need additional funding from the hotel to maintain fire and emergency services.

He asked that provisions be made in the approval of the project requiring a fee be agreed upon with the fire district to compensate for growth.

“May I assume that with out those conditions the town accepts responsibility and liability for fire, rescue and medical services and demand created by this project?” Keller said.

Fire district legal counsel Brent Collinson clarified, saying the district will have to serve the new hotel, but the concern was that new developments like the hotel will dilute services for existing customers.

Truckee Community Development Director John McLaughlin said such fees are normally between the fire district and the project owner, not the town.