Public glimpses Railyard’s past, present, future |

Public glimpses Railyard’s past, present, future

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunA train passes through the Truckee railyard Tuesday. The proposed Railyard project would expand downtown, and has begun an extensive public review process.

Standing before a packed room Wednesday at Truckee Town Hall, Rick Holliday described the process, the challenges and the opportunities for his company’s proposed Railyard development.

Addressing a polite audience of more than 80 area residents, Holliday briefly described the history of the project ” spanning more than a decade for the town and four years for Holliday Development ” and the hurdles the project has cleared so far.

“The first years were all about planes, trains and automobiles,” Holliday said.

Sitting in the middle of the project’s 75-acre site is a loop of railroad track called the balloon track, used to turn snowplow trains around. The presence of the rail loop not only complicated the planning, but has also pinched the site’s Trout Creek, causing it to flood periodically, Holliday said.

“When I bought the site, the railroad was completely unwilling to move the balloon track,” Holliday said. “It took two years before they said we could move it a bit to the east.”

Holliday said he also had to work with Truckee Tahoe Airport’s Land Use Compatibility Plan, re-routing flight paths away from the development.

And as for the automobiles, Holliday said the project needed to alter the alignments of Donner Pass Road and Glenshire Drive, offering a second connection from Glenshire into downtown.

“This is why we haven’t had a meeting like this before,” Holliday said. “We didn’t want to present plans that may not be possible.”

After presentations by town staff, Holliday and project consultants, the audience dispersed to four “stations,” where they were presented with additional information about different aspects of the project. Those attending could wander from one station to the next at their own pace.

With many of the obstacles behind it, Holliday described the benefits of the project, which he said would grow gradually from west to east, rather than being developed all at once.

First up would be a three-story boutique hotel with 52 rooms, some retail space, and potentially a restaurant, he said.

With the addition of the new hotel, Holliday said the development firm would reshape Truckee’s Church Street into a public-events street, and the area adjacent to a large granite boulder on the corner of Church Street and Donner Pass Road could become a park.

Next would be a movie theater, which could include three to six screens, Holliday said.

“There are two very interested theater operators, but my main guy is Robert Redford,” Holliday said. “He said he should have done Truckee for the film festival; it’s more real than Park City.”

Continuing east through the site, the project becomes less dense, said planning consultant Lynette Dias, transitioning into the “industrial heritage” area with mixed residential/commercial uses, and finally to the “Trout Creek Neighborhood” with single- and multi-family homes.

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