Joerger Ranch plan advances
After its sponsors returned to the drawing board more than a year ago, a revised Truckee development garnered positive feedback from the planning commission Monday night.
The Joerger Ranch project received critical remarks from both the town council and planning commission in April of 2007. Since then, the proponents reconfigured the 71-acre project that is bisected by Highway 267, Brockway Road and Soaring Way.
“It appeared to me to be dead in the water,” said Larry Young, the project’s lead architect and planner. “I suggested a clean slate without preconceptions, baggage or previous developer interest.”
Taking a step back, Young said planners decided to flip the uses on either side of Highway 267, moving predominantly residential development to the west, closer to existing neighborhoods and away from the airport, while moving commercial uses to the east side of the highway.
“The west side is currently predominantly residential with the exception of the rock, and the east side of 267 has future hangars, mini-storage, and the Hampton (Inn),” Young said. “This started to indicate a development pattern.”
Young said the project is designed to include residential, commercial and light industrial uses, with a roundabout at the intersection of Highway 267, Brockway Road and Soaring Way.
Raley’s grocery, which had previously expressed interest in opening a supermarket in Joerger Ranch, is waiting to see what comes out of the planning process, Young said.
Young said the development team brought in Terry Watt, a planner who frequently works with the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation, to help make the project compatible with the community.
Proponents have met with the Sierra Green Building Association, Truckee Trails Foundation and the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation, which has written a letter supporting the initial plans, Young said.
Project planners also worked with town staff in reconfiguring the plan, said Jenna Endres, associate planner for the Town of Truckee.
“This is really the beginning of a number of public workshops,” Endres said. “This is the first step in crafting a summary plan.”
Endres said town staff regard the changes made over the last year as very positive, and planning commissioners on Monday agreed.
“This is a tremendous stride forward with mixed use on three of the four quadrants,” said Planning Commissioner Bob Johnston. “I agree with every single principle, which flabbergasts me.”
Commissioner Tom Murphy also called the new plans an improvement, but cautioned developers about residential development and nearby noise from the airport.
Denny Dickinson, a longtime local resident who lives near the project, also brought up noise as a concern.
“I’ve lived there with the noise of the corp yard and airport, and I just ask the applicant to understand it’s no fun living with noise,” Dickinson said.
If the project continues to win favor with the public and town government, Young said he would like to have a working plan by the end of the summer, take one year for environmental review, gain approval late in the summer of 2009, and begin construction as soon at 2010.