‘Throw it in the dryer:’ Truckee historic commission says Jibboom Street project needs more work

Hannah Jones

Truckee residents voiced concern over the size and character of a housing project planned in the heart of downtown Truckee at a Historic Preservation Advisory Commission meeting last week.

“We’re not against progress; we’re against something of this magnitude. This is not progress,” said Julie Cadjew, a resident of High Street adjacent to the property. “There’s no preservation anymore of what historic Truckee is supposed to be.”

The Residences at Jibboom housing project will consist of 83 units in four buildings, with 49 rental apartments, 34 for-sale residential units, a 1,294-square-foot laundromat and a 484-square-foot retail space. The project aims to tackle the “missing middle,” or those who make too much money to qualify for affordable housing programs and too little to buy a house. Of the units being built, 60% will be available as long-term rentals to those living in the Tahoe-Truckee region and 40% will be for sale with local purchase incentives, according to the project’s website.

The project, at 10002 Jibboom St., has mainly been used for public parking in the past. With 83 units on a 1.67-acre property, some were concerned that the project was too big for the site.

“There’s no preservation anymore of what historic Truckee is supposed to be.”— Julie CadjewTruckee resident

“Good planning doesn’t mean you take up the entire parcel and build to the maximum,” said Alexis Ollar, executive director of the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation. “It does disturb the character of downtown with visual impacts and could change the scenic vistas that we have from the downtown corridor.”

‘San Jose, Sacramento … not Truckee’

Sean Whelan, the developer behind the project, said the project is meant to house as many people as possible, though the size and number of units may shrink throughout the planning process.

“At the end of the day we’re going to have a suitable housing project,” said Whelan. “If I have my way it’s going to be full of local renters.”

Asked by the commission how the project respects the downtown character, Dale Cox, the architect behind the project, responded “It doesn’t.”

“This is San Jose, this is Sacramento. This isn’t here,” said Commissioner Vangie Wightman when looking at the design of the project. “That’s great if the rest of Northern California wants to buy into this, I don’t think Truckee has to.”

When comparing the project with the town’s guidelines in the commercial district and specifically on Jibboom Street commissioner Bill Kenney said “it just does not meet any of those guidelines what so ever.”

The project proposes 66 parking spaces on site with 30 spaces along High Street. Residents in 15 of the units will also be offered a car sharing program with restrictions that would prevent them from owning a car.

‘Take the community seriously’

Residents brought up traffic, parking and snow storage problems that already exist on High Street. According to Whelan, they are going through CEQA work right now and plan to do additional traffic and parking studies.

“It has to solve its own parking problems and snow storage problems. They can’t build it and hope it works out,” said Wightman.

The commission heard the project only to provide feedback and has not yet made a decision on whether to recommend approval or denial to the Planning Commission.

Commissioner Wightman suggested they take the project and “throw it in the dryer” to come up with a better proposal for the community.

“Take the community seriously,” said Vangie. “What’s proposed here feels like a meteor that’s going to blow downtown apart.”

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at or 503-550-2652.

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