Details emerge for Truckee housing-hotel combo proposal | SierraSun.com

Details emerge for Truckee housing-hotel combo proposal

This overhead site view shows the initial proposal of the property, including where the roundabout would be in proximity to the hotel and housing developments.
Courtesy town of Truckee |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Another Truckee housing development could soon be in the works for the old Barsell property next to the Truckee Cemetery.

Triumph Development, based in Bethesda, Md., has submitted plans to the town for a hotel and market-rate housing project called Coburn Crossing at 10470 East Jibboom St., which would put 127 hotel rooms and 138 apartments on the 10-acre property.

Over the years, that land has seen more than its fair share of controversy, including plans for a K-Mart in the 1980s and later a Factory Outlet. Neither of those developments came to fruition, and after years of litigation, the town agreed to rezone the property for lodging use in a settlement with the owner.

“My opinion is that what we call the Barsell property probably has more to do with the incorporation of the town than any other single issue,” said Truckee Town Manager Tony Lashbrook.

He said there’s been an old sign on the property advertising that a Marriott Hotel was coming soon for years, and six months ago, Triumph finally came in.

Lashbrook said the town rezoned the property — previously zoned as Downtown Visitor Lodging — to allow for housing, since both town staff and the developer agreed that just adding more lodging didn’t make sense.

“We’re talking about local rental housing,” Lashbrook said. “It can’t be ‘condo-ized,’ can’t be sold, can’t be short-term rented.”

The application, which has not yet been approved, is for a 76,000-square-foot Marriot SpringHill Suites hotel with 127 rooms, as well as five, three-story apartment buildings with 138 rental units.

The 138 apartments would be composed of 33 studios, 54 one-bedroom units, 42 two-bedroom units, and nine three-bedroom units. The apartments would be market-rate rentals, which means they’re based on the median income for the region, unlike the affordable housing units planned for the Railyard project, known as the Truckee Artist Lofts, that are priced for low-income wage earners.

Lashbrook said that Coburn Crossing currently has six workforce housing units planned to meet the town’s requirement for the 138-unit-project, but that could still change.

“This application isn’t quite ready for action yet … the rent has to match up with what people make around here, otherwise they won’t be rented,” he said.

Meanwhile, on Sept. 27, the Truckee Town Council OK’d a request to start working on design of a proposed roundabout at the intersection of Donner Pass Road, Stockrest Springs Road and East Jibboom Street.

To be clear, the roundabout has not yet been approved, but a request to start work on its design has.

According to a town staff report, Truckee earmarked $1 million in affordable housing funds from the 2016 budget “for an affordable housing project on the Barsell property.”

Since Triumph has chosen to develop housing on the site, according to the town, the developer asked Truckee to assist with design and construction of the roundabout, which will cost roughly $2 million total.

If approved, the roundabout would take $200,000 of those affordable housing funds this year and $800,000 next year — despite the fact the development is not for affordable housing, but rather, market-rate rentals — with Truimph funding the remaining $1 million.

“If the developer has to pick up that (entire) cost, this development does not make economic sense … which we find typically on development that’s not of high-income homes,” Lashbrook said.

He told the Sun the roundabout is proposed not only for Coburn Crossing, but also for public benefit to improve safety of that intersection.

He said the town’s affordable housing fund is being eyed for use since other funds have much stricter requirements and wouldn’t be able to be used on the roundabout.

“I think the town’s thinking is that the housing crisis requires development of housing for all economic segments, not just very low income,” he said.

Lashbrook said there’s no set date yet on when the Truckee Planning Commission will consider the development, but it could be as soon as November or December of this year.

According to previous reports, the Barsell property is among several plots of town land with the Downtown Visitor Lodging zoning district to be rezoned to “allow and incentivize high-density residential uses.” Others include Frishman Hollow II, Gales Property East and West, Joerger Ranch-Northwest Quadrant and Upper McIver Dairy.

According to staff, rezoning those areas would allow the town to accommodate as many as 302 units of low-income housing, a number that the town’s 2014-2019 Housing Element outlines as a shortfall.