Martis Valley plan to be updated; development estimates scaled back
Truckee lawmakers and some local residents are watching with concern as the Placer County Planning Division begins the process of rewriting the outdated Martis Valley General Plan.
While only one application for development has officially been submitted to the county in the past few months, Placer County Planning Director Fred Yaeger said he anticipates applications for more golf course-centered planned communities in the future. The planning division is updating the general plan to better meet the needs of current growth trends.
“The Martis Valley General Plan, which was adopted in 1975, is the second oldest plan in Placer County and hasn’t been updated for over 20 years,” Yaeger said at a Truckee-Donner Chamber of Commerce luncheon last Friday, where he offered a presentation on the Martis Valley General Plan. “Back then, there was reason to anticipate the Martis Valley would develop at a rapid rate.”
The current plan anticipated Martis Valley would be built out by 1990. However, Yaeger said Martis Valley, located along Highway 267 from Sierra Meadows to Northstar-at-Tahoe, is not even 50 percent built out now.
When the plan was written, planners anticipated a high density commercial area to result from major growth. There is much less density than was originally anticipated, and Yaeger said there seems to be a market for larger, more expensive units, thus leading to developments like the proposed Eaglewood, which has plans for 475 units on 475 lots, townhouses and duplexes, a golf course and some employee housing.
Yaeger said that Martis Valley will be 50 to 60 percent less dense when it is fully developed than what the current plan anticipates.
“The request we’re getting now is for reductions in density,” Yaeger said. “It’s highly unusual for land-owners to request a reduction of density. It never happens, it’s usually the other way around. I think there is a market for the larger, more expensive units.”
Yaeger said he anticipates applications for further phases of Lahontan, which has purchased 2,100 acres to the south and west of the existing subdivision and approximately 200 acres to the north.
He estimates there will be approximately 5,000 new homes built by the time Martis Valley is completely built out, down from 10,000 new homes anticipated in the current plan.
Affordable housing, increased traffic on Highway 267 and impacts on downtown Truckee were concerns highlighted by members of the audience at the luncheon.
Town Mayor Maia Schneider raised concerns about Martis Valley becoming the home to “the country’s first 98-hole golf course.”
“My biggest concern with development in Martis Valley, to sum it up in one word, is balance,” Schneider said. “If they’re building residential developments, I would like to see them build the supporting infrastructure.”
Yaeger said Placer County wants to work closely with the Town of Truckee while developing the new general plan. He is also looking for public input in the new plan, which he said won’t be formally adopted until late winter or early next spring.
“There is still plenty of time for public input,” he said.
A good place to give input is at the Truckee-Tahoe Airport District meetings, which take place on the third Monday of each month at 1 p.m.
Other issues Yaeger said the planning division is concerned with include:
— Increased development with no through connections. Placer County will look at Shaffer Mill Road as possible through connection to subdivisions.
— Increased traffic in neighborhoods.
— Preservation of scenic vista along Highway 267.
— Visual and design issues – developing standards for design.
— Protection of riparian corridors.
— Air quality.
— Recreation needs.
— Utility services.
“The plan will also address cultural resources and community design issues,” Yaeger said.
He said housing and transportation along Highway 267 are the biggest issues involved in the plan.
“Providing employee housing is a big issue in Placer County,” he said. He said there is a specific need for affordable senior housing as well, and is concerned with the continuing impact of people commuting from Reno to work in the Truckee/Tahoe area, where they can’t afford to live.
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