Martis Valley plan meeting draws public | SierraSun.com

Martis Valley plan meeting draws public

Erich Sommer, Sierra Sun

The first evening meeting of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for the Martis Valley Community Plan drew close to 75 people to Town Hall on Monday night.

However, it was announced that the much-anticipated first draft of the general plan and accompanying environmental impact report were not completed, as expected.

Placer County Planning Director Fred Yeager said drafts were still two weeks, “or, at the most, four weeks away.”

The committee, appointed by the Placer County Board of Supervisors and made up primarily of representatives of service agencies and developers, will make a formal recommendation to the Placer County Planning Commission on which alternative of the new general plan it prefers. That recommendation may come as early as this fall.

The Martis Valley Community Plan will be a revised version of the 1975 Martis Valley General Plan and will seek to guide development and address “new environmental and land issues.”

With the drafts still under review, Yeager did offer a teaser, describing “the vision and direction of the plan,” that “will specifically say the town of Truckee is the center of the region.”

Yeager said the staff has “clearly characterized (Martis Valley) as a place that provides recreation and resort kind of uses, suburban residential development that will mostly provide second homes and very limited commercial development.”

Yeager said “it didn’t make any sense” to require commercial development considering the possibility of “perhaps several hundred thousand square feet of commercial development (at PC-3), almost on the county line near the airport.”

Several Martis Valley residents used the public comment period to express concerns about the amount of development planned for the region, including three new golf courses and several subdivisions, and the extent to which the Martis Valley Community Plan would address the impacts.

David Welch of Sierra Watch, a local environmental coalition, asked Yeager for his recommendation on how to reduce the number of homes planned for the Martis Valley.

“If individual citizens, either individually or collectively, would like to work towards a much smaller (housing) density for the Martis Valley, what steps could, or should they take to achieve that?” Welch asked.

“The first would be to provide comments on a draft (of the Martis Valley Community Plan) when it is published…that would be the time to raise the issues, if in fact the basis for a smaller number (of homes) is that the area can’t handle it,” Yeager said. “And follow through to the planning commission meetings and the (Placer County) Board (of Supervisors) meeting. The planning commission will make a recommendation to the board, and the board will make the final decision. You really need to participate in each of those hearings.”

Yeager said the plan that is “likely to be the staff’s preferred alternative” would more than double the number of existing homes and lots already approved for construction.

The time of the meeting, originally scheduled for 1 p.m. but moved to 7 p.m. in hopes of allowing more of the public to attend, also drew more committee members, with 10 of the 13 representatives in attendance.

At the Aug. 20 meeting, only seven of 13 of the members were present.

Currently the Citizens’ Committee includes representatives from the Truckee Fire Protection District, Truckee Sanitation Agency, Lahontan, Northstar, Waddle Ranch, and Siller Brothers. Ron Parr, representing Lahontan, has two seats. He also represents Siller Brothers. The next Citizen’s Advisory Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. For more information contact Bill Combs at 889-7470.

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A status report by Placer County Senior Planner Bill Combs on the various development projects in the valley, including three subdivisions, a gated community and four construction projects at Northstar, contained little new information.

Committee member Kevin McCall, who represents developers of Waddle Ranch, asked Combs if all of the projects fit into the current “historical land use designations” of the existing 1975 Martis Valley General Plan.

“They would all fit that except the employee housing at Northstar,” Combs said. Combs said that project will require a zoning change and a general plan amendment.

Combs also addressed concerns relating to the often criticized, athestically-challenged Town and Country Storage Project on the county boundary on Airport Road, just across from Town Hall.

“We are aware the are a number of people who are sensitive about the appearance of the project, and I can tell you we are doing everything in our power to (change them),” Combs said. “The project had county approval through what was called planned site agreement…Through the course of construction there were some changes made that were not reviewed.”

Yeager and Combs said planners will require modifications to the project, including increased landscaping and changes to the facade of the building, before a permanent certificate of occupanywill be issued.