Grocery Outlet still up in the air
The proposed Grocery Outlet will face yet another public hearing as Truckee Town Council decided there was still a lack of adequate information from staff and developers needed to deny or approve the project.
This was the second public hearing for an appeal filed in April against the Planning Commission’s approval of the 16,147-square-foot market. Tuesday’s hearing came after town council directed staff to study traffic and other impacts the grocery store may cause at their May 22 meeting.
At the last hearing residents of the Gateway neighborhood, which sits adjacent to the proposed site of the grocery store, voiced concerns of increased traffic to the area and potential parking overflow onto surrounding streets. Other concerns included noise and traffic impacts from delivery trucks.
“The entrance or exit on Vista is just unacceptable,” said Sharon Arnold who filed the appeal in April. “Getting out of Gateway now is a traffic problem,” she said. “No one wants to see increased vehicle traffic.”
“What I care about is the traffic that goes into Gateway,” said Truckee resident Gary Waters
“If you lived on Vista would you approve this?” he asked the council. “Probably not.”
The town hired LSC Transportation Consultants to study the traffic effects and come up with ways to mitigate the issues.
According to a staff report, the proposed project would meet the town’s standard if it does not increase daily trips on the surrounding roads by more than 1,000 daily vehicle trips. The study concluded that only 20 additional trips would be made by vehicles coming to and from the grocery store on residential streets located south and east of the site, including Vista and Sierra avenues.
LSC Transportation evaluated three options to mitigate traffic on residential streets. The first is converting Vista Avenue into a one-way, northbound street between the project’s driveway and Tahoe Drive. The second involved closing Vista Avenue immediately south of the project, and the third option would designate the driveway on Vista as entrance-only. While traffic would be diverted from Vista, consultants concluded that the first two options would add traffic to Sierra Ave. The third alternative would allow vehicles to enter and exit Gateway neighborhood on Vista and relieve congestion from vehicles trying to exit the Grocery Outlet parking lot.
Staff also concluded that despite concerns of vehicles parking on the streets, there were few sites available to construct additional parking lots. Staff also believed that the project should not result in customers parking on the street.
“Based on the town’s findings, we believe there is not significant traffic impact,” said Town Attorney Andy Morris.
“It’s a local choice to set the threshold for traffic,” said Gordon Shaw from LSC Traffic Consultants. “It is a busy part. When we add in traffic from the project we are not tipping over the edge, but yes we are close.”
Currently the area is operating at level E, meaning there is high congestion, but is still at an acceptable level according to town standards.
Many who presented comments at the meeting were in favor of the project but not at the proposed site, suggesting that the grocery store relocate to the Railyard.
“This would be awesome in the Railyard or out by Raley’s, but not here,” said Truckee resident Greg Beardsley.
“It’s a great project but not the right place,” said Mayor Carolyn Wallace Dee. “It’s impacting a longstanding neighborhood in our town and I think that we have to take that into consideration.”
The Mayor also expressed concern that there weren’t enough studies done on the environmental impacts of the neighborhood such as noise pollution and air and water quality.
Council members Patrick Flora and Morgan Goodwin both stated that they did not feel comfortable making a decision yet as council member Jessica Abrams was not present and further deliberations were required.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2652.