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Jibboom project takes step forward

Scott Hess, Sierra Sun

Jibboom Street could see more commercial buildings and a renovated motel in the near future.

Dubbed the McManus/Horst Jibboom Project, the three-building construction and historic motel reconstruction proposal was approved, 3-1, Wednesday by the Truckee Planning Commission. The approval, laced with several conditions of approval, will be forwarded as a recommendation to the town council.

The owner, John McManus, and his design team have worked on the project for two years, Michael Mason said, and it was reviewed at five different hearings of the Truckee Historic Preservation Advisory Commission. HPAC listed the motel building (which is located on the corner of Jibboom Street and Bridge Street) as a “Category B” building – the second highest category – under the Historic Preservation Program guidelines. Under the guidelines, a “B” building cannot be reconstructed unless demolition is approved, which is what the applicant is seeking.

McManus is proposing to use the reconstructed motel building as a retail office and restaurant, and is proposing to add 750 square feet to house a commercial kitchen. The three other buildings are designed as two stories, and would accommodate 16 units for office and/or retail purposes. The three buildings total 9,100 square feet of floor area.

By far, the most-discussed issue was with parking for the structures. While the applicant did provide 36 parking spaces in the rear of the commercial buildings, no parking was designed for the restaurant/retail building. While 12 off-site parking spaces are proposed to be created with the project, planning commissioner Nikki Riley said there was a large parking problem in Historic Downtown, and she did not want to add to that problem.

Only one person – Dan Cockrum, who lives on Jibboom Street – spoke about the project during the public comment portion of the hearing. He brought up the preservation of the open-space slope above the property, traffic – specifically people using Jibboom Street as a Donner Pass Road bypass, and the mass and scale of the project.

Cockrum did mention, however, that the project had already seen, “…good review, good give-and-take.”

The project, if approved by the town council, will be constructed in three phases. The first phase would include the reconstruction of and the addition to the motel, 45 parking spaces, frontage improvements and 3,500 square feet of floor area. The construction of three commercial buildings and 9,074 square feet of floor area would be the scope of phase two, and phase three would be for “future development” on the site.

While the project could be heard at the Dec. 18 town council meeting, a formal determination has not yet been established.

Donner Crest Subdivision

Another item in front of the planning commission was ultimately withdrawn by the applicant at Wednesday’s planning commission hearing. The 92-home, 32.3-acre development on Northwoods Blvd. across from Coyote Moon Golf Course raised too many questions and it did not seem as if the planning commission would approve the project.

A major issue was the grading included in the project design. The applicant, Production Homes Corporation, proposed to mass-grade the site all at once, making construction of the homes faster and cheaper; the applicant was proposing smaller homes to make them affordable.

However, the planning commission did not agree with the proposed grading and also took issue with the design of the homes, of which approximately 20 percent were proposed to be less than 1,500 square feet. The Truckee staff report noted the applicant estimated the cost of the smaller homes to be between $300,000-$375,000.

The project will likely return to the planning commission with a revised design at a date to be determined later.

New townhomes

Goldie Knapp’s eight townhomes on a .68-acre lot was the easiest approval for the planning commission, and passed with no problem.

“This is usually approved at the staff level,” said Tony Lashbrook, the Truckee Community Development Director. “The only reason this was at the planning commission was the subdivision map.”

Proposed for the corner of Northwoods Blvd. and Zurich Place in Tahoe Donner, the subdivision will include two garage parking spaces under the units, and approximately 50 percent open space.

The project is open for appeal to the town council, but an appeal is unlikely, based on the Wednesday hearing.


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