Truckee Planning Commission approves Grocery Outlet via 2-1-1 vote
The Town of Truckee Planning Commission approved Grocery Outlet’s development permit after a nearly two-hour meeting on the matter, via a 2-1-1 vote during a Special Meeting on Thursday night.
The proposed 16,147-square-foot market at Donner Pass Road and Vista Avenue has been met with disapproval by residents in the Gateway area, but was ultimately passed by the commission.
“I asked you to look at this with an open mind. I asked you to consider this is a residential neighborhood of homeowners,” said Sharon Arnold, whose family has lived in Truckee since 1890. “A lot of retired people live in that neighborhood. The traffic on Vista Avenue will be horrendous … we already have a traffic problem.”
Arnold and her husband, Bud, paid $951 to file an appeal of the original project proposal shortly after the commission approved of it on Feb. 20. The project then went back to square one after West Sacramento company, Capitol Avenue Development, modified its proposal to include an additional one-bedroom, one-bath workforce housing unit, which brings the total number of workforce housing units for the project up to three. The company also decreased the size of the store to 16,147 square feet from 17,568 square feet.
While most of the residents spoke out against the proposal, there have been those who’ve come out in support of Grocery Outlet coming to Truckee. Most cited the stores lower prices as good for the community’s lower-income individuals and families.
“We should be able to have affordable grocery stores in our own community,” said Judi Morales Gibson. “I know how important the look and feel of Truckee is, I love it. However, we want to look like we care about our community. What’s more important, to look like we care or to actually care about those people?”
The project calls for 11,610 square feet of retail area, 57 on-site parking spaces, entrances and exits on Donner Pass Road and Vista Avenue, increased landscaping, and a sidewalk on Vista Avenue. Plans for the project also call for a 60-foot open space barrier between the store and adjacent homes.
Traffic and other issues
Most of the complaints about the proposed project stemmed from concerns over increased traffic and noise in the Gateway neighborhood.
“We’re not talking a lot of trucks,” said Kurt Reinkens, project architect and president of architecture and engineering company, MWA, Inc. “We’ve said five semis in a week. So it’s less than one a day, with additional box trucks coming during normal business hours. And I’d like to note, we’re being held to a different standard than all other commercial stuff around us.”
Hours of delivery will be limited to between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., according to the town’s staff report.
Other issues residents brought up during the meeting centered around other trucks coming in for trash and snow removal, home values decreasing near the store, as well as additional litter coming into the surrounding neighborhoods and streets.
Ultimately the commission sided with the store developers, but not until the town attorney had to be consulted.
After deliberation, Commissioner Jerusha Hall motioned to adopt the proposal. Commissioner Doug Gadow subsequently abstained from the vote, citing a lack of knowledge on the project after missing the previous project’s presentation in February.
“I didn’t see the first presentation and I feel (I’m) at a serious loss,” said Gadow.
The project’s architects kept the presentation on Thursday night brief, due to minor changes in the project since its original proposal.
There was s confusion between staff and the commission on whether Gadow could abstain and what that would mean. Staff reached out to the town attorney and was told an abstention was treated just like a recusal, meaning Grocery Outlet’s approval permit passed via a 2-1-1 vote.
Chair Seth Kielas and Commissioner Hall voted yes on the project, while Commissioner Amanda Wiebush was the lone member of the commission to vote no. Vice Chair David Polivy recused himself before the meeting began.
An appeal period is open until 5 p.m., Monday, May 7.
For more information on the project visit TownofTruckee.com.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Truckee Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.