Historic commission: Hotel Avery ‘doesn’t meet downtown guidelines’
Truckee’s Historic Preservation Advisory Commission has recommended a denial of the Hotel Avery project to the Planning Commission as it did not meet guidelines set by the Downtown Specific Plan.
“We have adopted historic design guidelines as part of the Downtown Specific Plan,” said Jenna Gatto, Truckee planning manager. “The size and scale of the hotel did not meet the intent of the design guidelines for that character area,” she said of the commission’s recommendation.
The Historic Preservation Advisory Commission visited the site of the planned hotel on Sept. 25, when developers placed story balloons depicting where the building would be constructed and how tall it would be. Once commissioners left the site, the balloons were taken down. While all town officials involved in the decision-making process were invited to the visit, the town received multiple public comments expressing concern that the balloons would only be up for an hour.
Gatto said there were safety concerns related to keeping the balloons up longer, including the risk of balloons flying into power lines.
“The idea was to have it available to the commission and the planning commission and town council to view them that morning,” she said.
The town received interest from community members to have temporary story poles installed, constructed from wood or PVC pipes, that would stay up for several weeks to depict the scope of the project, according to Gatto. Not only would the town have to obtain a building permit to install the poles and their foundations, but Gatto said they had numerous safety concerns.
“Putting up story balloons was a compromise. It would still show the size bulk and scale of the building,” she said. “Ideally it would be great to have story poles up for a month so that anybody in the community could see them.”
She said hundreds of photographs of the balloons were also taken for the public to view on the town’s website.
The project located at 10002 and 10024 South River Street is a proposed 20-room hotel with nine condo units, a 2,327-square-foot restaurant with 900 square feet of outdoor dining and a 23-space valet parking garage with on-street and off-site parking.
The Planning Commission’s hearing for the project, where other issues such as traffic, parking, and environmental review will be discussed, has not been scheduled.
Original plans for Hotel Avery were approved by the town in November 2008 and amended in 2012, but expired in 2016 when JMA Ventures failed to break ground on the project. Those plans included a 48,064-square-foot hotel with 37 rooms, 10 condos and a 3,845-square-foot restaurant.
According to the project website, the hotel will create up to 22 full-time hospitality jobs and bring in an estimated $200,000 in transient occupancy tax revenue each year.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.