Planners roll out Hilltop proposal | SierraSun.com

Planners roll out Hilltop proposal

David Bunker, Sierra Sun

The informal meeting was more of a plan presentation and outline rather than a public forum for comment. Those with comments on the 53-acre, 368-housing unit plan proposal were directed to speak with planners and property owners in attendance.

Town staff reviewed the process that a proposed master plan will go through before approval, and urged the public to comment on specific issues that would help planners make changes. After informal workshops, the plan will head to the Historic Preservation Advisory Commission, to the planning commission and finally to the town council. After a decision on the master plan, each specific development proposal within the plan area will still need to be approved individually.

“The Hilltop area is one of three special areas identified in our downtown specific plan,” said Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook. “It requires a high degree of planning.”

Several members of the public did voice specific concerns, such as the rezoning and inclusion of a 20-acre piece in the master plan and the projected timeline for actual construction of the site. Planners said inclusion of the 20 acres was necessary for achieving the goals of affordable housing and commercial space for the site. They also noted the addition of the piece did not mean an increase in density for the area.

“The density isn’t increasing. We’re taking some of the density and relocating it to a different area,” said Dale Creighton of SCO Planning and Engineering.

The current zoning for the 49-acre parcel (20 acres is included in the master plan proposal) is for one housing unit per five acres. The plan proposes 41 housing units for the 20-acre piece.

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The planners also discussed pedestrian access to downtown, tentatively planned to cross the Truckee Donner Public Utilities District land to the southwest under an easement agreement with the district.

The plan as it is proposed today would create a village on the northern portion of the hilltop, with three new restaurants, ski hill condominiums, a Bed and Breakfast, and more than 40,000 square feet of retail space. Directly behind the village, 80 rental apartments would be constructed. Commercial, lodging and multi-family housing would flank the village to the east. To the south, workforce housing, multi-family and single family homes would be constructed.

The workforce housing proposed in the plan is important to Truckee during the current affordable housing shortage, and is something the town and public has envisioned for the area all along.

The town is now reviewing comment sheets distributed at the meeting to see what the public thinks of the proposal.

“One thing that is great is as soon as you put something on paper, everyone has an opinion about it, and that’s exactly what we want,” said Johannes Van Tilburg, a principal architect for the plan.