Ponderosa proponents hit a hole in one | SierraSun.com

Ponderosa proponents hit a hole in one

Sierra Countis
Sierra Sun

Jason Kelley/Sierra SunWerner Buchele of Alpine Meadows takes a swing on the first tee at Ponderosa Golf Course in Truckee.

The Truckee Planning Commission Tuesday night recited an alphabet of items to approve for the 2025 General Plan, with the letter “P,” for Ponderosa Golf Course, receiving a unanimous response.

Commissioners spent the majority of the discussion and deliberation time during Tuesday’s meeting on the plan’s land use element. Making Ponderosa Golf Course a proposed special study area for home development spurred strong negative opinions from commissioners and in letters and public comments from concerned homeowners and other residents during a public hearing last week.

On Tuesday, the commission was in agreement to leave the 53-acre, nine-hole course zoned for recreation. The Himsl family, which has owned the property for 43 years, had approached the town in order to conduct a special study with the possibility of re-zoning the land to allow for up to 150 residential units.

The golf course is “important as the amphitheater to the park,” said Cole Butler, planning commissioner, who favored keeping the golf course as is.

Bob Johnston, planning commission vice chair, echoed Butler’s position.

“It is a unique place in Truckee with a unique price-point,” he said.

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Homeowners have formed a committee with the intent to try and buy the course outright, said Nikki Riley, planning commission member.

Referring to the golf course as “a recreational core,” Riley said, “It’s something that needs to stay as long as it can.”

– Tony Lashbrook, Truckee town manager, said community character and maintaining Commercial Row as a thriving part of downtown is important in the town’s future.

“There’s only one thing worse than offices,” Lashbrook said, “and that’s empty spaces.”

– Planning Commissioner Nikki Riley addressed the town’s decision about roundabouts. She noted that there were workshops held in the past to discuss the use of roundabouts at town intersections versus other alternatives, such as traffic signals.

“We came to the conclusion that we would like to support roundabouts whenever feasible,” Riley said.

– Lashbrook said he wanted to clear up any confusion regarding the closing of Bridge Street, as it is not included in the General Plan. He said many downtown merchants raised concerns about the issue, and Planning Commissioner Bob Johnston said closing the street would be “a catastrophe.”

– The planning commission will hold a meeting Sept. 13 to resolve modifications to the updated plan that will be presented to the town council and later adopted.