Truckee Town Council approves rezoning of McIver property for affordable housing
In order to fulfill a state requirement to supply adequate opportunities for affordable housing development, Truckee Town Council voted to rezone the Upper McIver Dairy property from commercial to residential.
During the 2014 to 2019 Housing Element the town did not complete the required property rezoning changes, leaving them until December to meet state requirements. As they begin updating the next planning period for 2019 the requirements of the current housing element must be met.
“Because we got behind we’re in this catch up mode,” said Denyelle Nishimori, community planning director.
To fulfill the previous Housing Element requirement the town must have enough property in residential zones to accommodate up to 302 units. After rezoning Joerger Ranch and the Barsell property, on which Coburn Crossing is being built, the town was at 245 units.
The Housing element requires that each site allow renters and homeowners in multi-family units. The site must fit 16 units per acre and be large enough to accommodate at least 16 units. As the town’s current development code allows only 14 units per acre, the council changed the maximum density to 18 units per acre. The rezoning of the Upper McIver Dairy property will allow between 88 and 99 units.
While there is no requirement that affordable housing units must be built on the property, Nishimori suggested the state may not be looking at the issues that Truckee faces but wants to ensure that the property is available for affordable housing projects.
The property was considered for rezoning during three previous stages of the Housing Element but was never approved.
“This decision has a tremendous amount of impacts,” said Truckee resident Nikki Riley.
“It probably wasn’t rezoned before because there wasn’t community support.”
While the members of the public argued the property was not suitable for an affordable housing project, the town would risk losing access to grant money from the state if they don’t fulfill requirements by December.
“We risk losing millions and millions of dollars that the town needs,” said Mayor Carolyn Wallace Dee.
“We are backed into a corner and this is a terrible way to be making land use decisions,” Council member David Tirman said.
According to a staff report the rezoning of other housing sites may be considered in the 2040 General Plan update. The council also expressed its intent to review the site again during the update.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.