Initial PC-2 workshops completed | SierraSun.com
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Initial PC-2 workshops completed

JOHN A. BAYLESS

The early public participation process for Planned Community 2 ended with a final workshop Tuesday afternoon, and attendees generally agreed the process served its intended purpose well.

“We had about 60 people there,” Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook said. “It was another good meeting and kind of wrapped up the discussion.”

He said participants at the last workshop were divided equally in their support or opposition to the commercial triangle proposed by the developers of Boca Sierra Estates at the intersection of Highway 89 and the Highway 267 bypass.

“Discussion went on for about three hours,” Lashbrook said. He said another concern was the proposed connection to Prosser Lakeview Estates.

“I think the meetings served a couple of important purposes,” Lashbrook said. “First, about 140 people or so became much more familiar with this project than they would have been. Second, the public had an opportunity to provide comments to the developers which will result in changes.”

Lashbrook said anyone interested in submitting a questionnaire or written comments on the summary plan for Boca Sierra Estates should deliver the documents to Town Hall no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 14.

Stefanie Olivieri, president of the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation, said the workshops have served an important purpose.

“They seem to be very well-attended and very informational.” Olivieri said. “I have had a lot of questions answered. There is a lot of community interest about this project.” Olivieri said that three preliminary workshops on the project may not be enough, because many people are out of town on vacation during the summer or engaged in other activities.

She said she still has concerns about the nature of the project as well, because it appears to be creating an entirely new community to the east of Truckee.

“Having attended two of the sessions and looked at the project, it strikes me that in essence we are creating an entirely new community,” Olivieri said. She said the possible movement of school, rec and park facilities, churches, fire station and post office to land provided Boca Sierra Estates was discussed during the workshops, along with the location of a regional commercial center.

“When you have all of those elements, you have all the elements of a new community,” Olivieri said. “It concerns me because one of our philosophies is to try to sustain the heart of our town as the core historic downtown. It concerns me that we would be losing elements that add character to the downtown.”

Olivieri added that although the community decided to allow the use of the Hopkins property development of up to 600 homes in the town’s general plan, she feels it was the wrong decision.

“When I went out on the field trip, we went to the beautiful meadow area along Highway 89,” Olivieri said. “It struck me that it was at one time held as U.S. Forest Service Reserve Land. The forest service traded the land to the Hopkins family for other land by Boca Reservoir. At the beginning of the general plan process, the community had the option to retain it in that state, with 150 homes on 500 acres of land. As I stood in the middle of that meadow area, I could not help but be ashamed that we lost a chance to keep this property in its natural state.”

She also expressed concerns about the housing for the estimated 590 employees which will work in Boca Sierra Estates, as well as finding the necessary employees.

“If the retail comes first, where do you find those employees and where do you house them?” Olivieri said.

Geoff Stephens, president of the Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District and an officer in the Glenshire-Devonshire Homeowner’s Association , said the last workshop went well.

“There were lots of visual aids to give an idea of the situation of the development,” he said. “The developers answered a lot of questions in regard to open space requirements.” He said he has been well-informed about Boca-Sierra Estates because of his affiliation with the rec and park district.

“I though the workshop was effective,” Stephens said. “It is an opportunity for the public to explore and be aware of what is going on. He said representatives from various groups in town were present at the meeting.

As for the project, Stephens said the rec and park district is pleased with Boca Sierra Estates’ promise to donate 40 acres of land for public use.

“From a rec and park background, we are excited about 40-plus acres being donated to the school district and the rec and park district,” Stephens said. “Both will be considered equal partners in the development of this land. The Hopkins family and their representatives have indicated they will not develop the the public parcel land, so it is up to the school district and the rec and park district to submit something that will work for the community. We will be very excited to begin master-planning it to use it in the best way.”

He said the only concern the rec and park district has is the positioning of the proposed third access road for Tahoe Donner, which bisects the public parcel.

Now that the developers of Boca-Sierra Estates have received public input on the project, their next step will be to review the information received and revise the project as they see fit before submitting a specific plan to the town.

Further public comment on the project will be included in the environmental impact review which is part of the town’s formal specific plan review process.

Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.com

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