Live coverage Wednesday of proposed senior living development presentation |

Live coverage Wednesday of proposed senior living development presentation

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

Rendering by Ward Young Architecture and PlanningThe entrance to the Pollard Station lodge, a senior living center proposed for the Hilltop area above downtown Truckee. The planning commission will review the plan at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 10.

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Opinions over a proposed senior living center still differ as a smaller project prepares for another run this week in front of the town planning commission.

Pollard Station, pulled from consideration in January by developer FNC Communities to address public comments and town staff’s concerns, originally proposed 153 units on eight acres in the Hilltop master plan area near the Cottonwood Restaurant overlooking downtown.

FNC has pared the project down since then, reducing the main building from 125,000 to 112,000 square feet, and eliminating two condo buildings, bringing the total units down to 136.

and#8220;The question facing the planning commission is: Is senior housing important enough to modify the Hilltop Master Plan?and#8221; said Town Manager Tony Lashbrook. and#8220;It would still be the biggest building in town with the possible exception of the high school.and#8221;

By comparison, town hall is 38,500 square feet and the Hampton Inn is 62,500 feet, according to town staff reports.

But Heath Bynum of FNC Communities said the project is actually small for its type.

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and#8220;The median size for a center like this is 312 units, and Pollard is 136 and#8212; the median square footage is 357,000, and Pollard is closer to 200,000,and#8221; Bynum said. and#8220;We’re not trying to squeeze a standard size into our project and#8212; this is a boutique center we feel fits with the infill character of Hilltop and is sized appropriately for the community.and#8221;

By eliminating two of the eight condo buildings and re-arranging the project layout, Bynum said FNC hopes to address some of the tree-removal concerns town staff had with the previous proposal.

FNC also proposes to create more of the initial infrastructure for Hilltop, Lashbrook said, adding a connection from the project to Brockway, along with the previously proposed connection to Palisades Drive.

Bynum said the project will create 30 percent less traffic than what was originally planned for the site in the Hilltop Master Plan, so the connection to Brockway would be a and#8220;Tand#8221; intersection, rather than a new roundabout, as previously envisioned.

He said with the proposed changes, FNC feels Hilltop could make a good location for a senior living center.

and#8220;It’s really important for it to be integrated into the community and#8212; the residents will benefit from their proximity to health care and emergency services, easy access to downtown shopping and dining and other recreation opportunities,and#8221; Bynum said. and#8220;This is not an old-fashioned convalescent home.and#8221;

The Mountain Area Preservation Foundation still has concerns despite the recent changes.

and#8220;Now with the very first project to be brought forward under the Hilltop Master Plan, the project proponents, who gave their approval and support to the Hilltop Master Plan, are already looking to bend the rules …and#8221; the group wrote in a letter to the planning commission.

The letter also discusses potential issues with building the senior living center on the proposed location, and offers other options, including the Barsell property, above downtown on Donner Pass Road near Interstate 80, where a K-Mart and a Marriot have previously been proposed.

and#8220;We strongly urge the Planning Commission to abide by the Hilltop Master Plan and cap the Pollard Station project at 94 units or less,and#8221; the letter reads.

The planning commission will not make a decision on the project Wednesday, but will provide feedback to staff and the applicants.

The project aims to fill a gap between the independent living at the Truckee Donner Senior Apartment and extended care at Tahoe Forest Hospital.

Different units throughout the complex will cater to different age groups and levels of care, from cottages for those more independent and mobile to apartments specifically catering to those with physical or cognitive issues needing special care, said Phil Shapiro, managing member of Senior Traditions, hired by FNC to provide strategic planning, in a previous interview.

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