Initiative deadline extended; Council requests MAPF postpone petition to allow for further negotiations
Members of the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation, who are circulating petitions to amend Truckee’s general plan, will continue collecting signatures until June 13 after town councilmembers proposed extending the filing deadline to place the initiative on the November ballot.
Signed petitions were scheduled to be handed over May 30 to Town Manager Steve Wright, who had the option of forwarding them to the Nevada County Office of Elections for signature verification or directing town staff to perform the task. But after town councilmembers met in closed session May 28 to consider possible litigation against the initiative, they asked MAPF to postpone filing the petitions for two weeks.
Developers, members of the Hopkins family who own the property, the town and MAPF members are willing to negotiate and are trying to iron out a solution before amending the general plan.
“The whole purpose of providing the June 13 commitment was to provide more time to reach a mutually acceptable solution (to PC-2),” Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook said.
Planned Community 2
The initiative targets land uses approved under the general plan for Planned Community 2, a 789-acre development area located north of the Highway 89-Interstate 80 intersection.
Developers have planned, but not submitted to town planners, a mixed use project on PC-2 called Boca Sierra Estates. The project summary provides for 368 acres of open space, 329 acres of clustered residential housing, 50 acres for commercial and office space, 22 acres for lodging and recreational uses and earmarks 20 acres for public use.
MAPF’s initiative originally proposed reducing potential commercial space square footage at PC-2 from 175,000 to 15,000 and eliminating the site’s potential for a resort hotel and golf course. In addition, future amendments to the general plan regarding PC-2 would require a majority vote of the public.
Also required under the initiative is a majority public vote to change any resource conservation-open space land designations to another land use or to add land uses not listed. The public vote requirement would end Dec. 31, 2020.
Through the course of negotiations with the town and the developers, MAPF has agreed to increase the amount of developable commercial space at PC-2 to 25,000 square-feet.
As written, Truckee’s general plan already governs proposed projects on Planned Communities – infill areas such as the Tiechart property near Cold Stream Road, PC-3 on Highway 267 between the Truckee-Tahoe Airport and the Best Western Truckee Inn, the Old Mill Site, the Truckee River corridor and at several spots along Donner Pass Road.
Specifically, the general plan, under land-use policy 5.4, attempts to “maintain and enhance the downtown commercial core as the heart of Truckee and as the town’s premier tourist destination” by using an economic analysis to determine the impacts of proposed PC specific plans on the downtown and the community as a whole. Also, the policy identifies PC development and competition it could generate with new development planned downtown.
The land-use policy also gives priority to the strategies of creating pedestrian-oriented development downtown, spending capital improvement funds on projects to enhance downtown and facilitate new development, as well as allotting town resources to reach these goals. The general plan will delay until May 1, 1998, any proposed construction in PCs that competes with downtown development until the strategies are in place or new development in downtown is determined infeasible.
Truckee Mayor Bob Drake said in their closed session discussion, councilmembers were hoping to continue negotiations to arrive at an agreement to forego placing the initiative on the ballot and amending the general plan.
“We offered a two-week extension of the filing date in return for continuing negotiations in order to reach a compromise,” Drake said. “In other words we said, ‘Will you talk to us for a couple weeks?'”
MAPF President Stefanie Olivieri said the organization’s attorney determined May 30 to be the “drop-dead” date for filing the petition in time to appear on November’s ballot. Because councilmembers directed staff to prepare a 9212 report, which analyzes initiative impacts on fiscal, traffic and other issues, timing petitions for a May 30 deadline would ensure a November vote.
The extended deadline, however, will not affect the initiative going to a vote in November, according to Nevada County Registrar of Voters Bruce Bollinger, as long as the signatures are filed by the end of this month.
“We were prepared to turn in the signatures last Friday,” Olivieri said. “Now the town has said we have until June 13. As a result, MAPF continues to collect signatures.”
Lashbrook said the 9212 report should be completed by the June 19 regular council meeting.
“Because of the previous negotiating sessions and changes to the initiative the start of the traffic analysis was delayed,” Lashbrook said. “It is expected the 9212 report will be scheduled for the June 19 agenda.”
A representative from the county elections office said elections personnel have up to 30 days to verify approximately 1,079 signatures, although it probably will not take the entire time. She said signatures are kept in a computer data base, scanned from voter registration cards, and are visually checked for verification.
Olivieri said support for the initiative has been overwhelming and speculated PC-2 opponents had enough signatures two weeks ago to bring the issue to a vote of the people.
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