Land use highlights general plan workshop | SierraSun.com

Land use highlights general plan workshop

David Bunker, Sierra Sun

The public suggested the town attract a college campus to McIver Hill and keep Ponderosa golf course from major development in a General Plan update meeting Thursday that looked at 10 sites eligible for land use redesignation.

Town residents also commented on Planned Community 1 (PC-1) land near Donner State Park, the middle school site on Donner Pass Road, two parcels near the proposed Gray’s Crossing development, the Joerger Drive area near the airport and a mining site outside of Glenshire.

While no definitive council action was scheduled for the meeting, public input from the meeting will affect the council’s Feb. 12 choice of one to three sites out of the 10 for land use redesignation. These redesignated sites will then be considered for various town land needs, including affordable housing, a third major grocery store, a regional park or a college.

Town consultants and staff chose the 10 eligible sites by administering three requirements: Sites must be of town-wide importance, there cannot be any pending applications or approvals, and the site cannot lie within the Downtown Specific Plan area.

McIver Hill, located south of Interstate 80 and west of state Route 89, was repeatedly mentioned as a good location for a junior college or a community center. But many questioned the feasibility of a major access up the steep slopes of the hill.

The owners of the parcel have already given Sierra College the option to buy the property if they are interested, a representative said. A bond measure will be on the March 2 ballot for college financing, and if the measure passes, it is likely that the college would move to purchase McIver Hill.

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The Ponderosa golf course, now designated as recreational open space, was up for consideration to be redesignated as residential, commercial or office space, but residents overwhelmingly said it should remain a golf course even if it has to be bought by the town. Concern over what development would do to neighboring home values and its proximity to the airport convinced attendees that it was not suitable for development.

While some residents suggested that the PC-1 area be used for industry, others noted that its proximity to Donner State Park made it a more suitable site for lodging and commercial development.

“The town is looking at this area as being the second industrial space,” Associate Planner Heidi Scoble said.

However, Rachelle Pellissier, executive director of the Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe, said the space should also be considered for affordable housing.

“It’s right next to Donner Pass Road where buses could be caught if it was higher density,” she said.

Much of the area’s development direction would be mandated by whether the town decided to connect both ends Deerfield Drive, creating an alternate route to Donner Pass Road, residents said.

Many agreed the he middle school site on Donner Pass Road will likely be retained by the School District and therefore not redesignated.

“There is so much other residential in the area that leaving it public seems like a no-brainer,” Tom Murphy said.

The portion of McIver Hill on the other side of Interstate 80, known as Upper McIver Dairy, had many attendees thinking of locating senior housing on the property because of its proximity to the hospital.

Several sites were considered for Department of Parks and Recreation land, including the Alder Drive and commercial triangle sites near the proposed Gray’s Crossing project.

The Joerger Drive area abutting the airport was generally considered to be useful in its current land designation, and some residents commented on increasing park and ballfield locations there.

A large, square parcel on Comstock Drive north of Interstate 80 seemed fit for either commercial or light industrial since it lies between the Pioneer Commerce Center and downtown, citizens agreed.

The Hirschdale Mine property, currently a working mine but expected to cease operations fairly soon, could be used for residential, but may be better preserved as open space, according to input.

The last topic brought up in the meeting was Airport Flats, an open space area owned mostly by the Hualapai Tribe. The tribe had representatives at the meeting to voice their opinion that the land be redesignated for residential or commercial use.

“The tribe has been sitting on the property since 1993, pouring $6,000 a year down the hole and getting nothing out if it,” said Erin Forrest, a Hualapai Nation representative.

While several people expressed interest in locating a college campus or housing on the land, the majority said that it should be kept as open space because of its visibility from Interstate 80.

The next General Plan Update meeting will be held on Feb. 12, when the town will continue discussion on land use redesignation. For more information go to http://www.truckee2025.org