Public reviews Gregory Creek development proposal | SierraSun.com

Public reviews Gregory Creek development proposal

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

A proposed subdivision at Donner Lake will be undergoing environmental scrutiny during the next few months.

Gregory Creek Estates is planned for a 32-acre property near the intersection of Donner Lake Road and Donner Pass Road. The development proposes 25 single-family lots, one duplex lot, and a four-plex affordable townhouse lot, while maintaining 75 percent as open space.

Project owner and developer Mark Simpson said the buildings would be clustered near Donner Pass Road with a single access point off of Donner Lake Road, leaving the northern portion of the property open space.

“The location of the open space is driven by slope and access to the sight,” Simpson said. “Plus town policy favors clustering development.”

According to the project plans, a trail connection to the Donner Lake Rim Trail will be included on-site with a parking lot at the trail-head.

Gregory Creek, which flows into Donner Lake, runs along the eastern boundary of the property.

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In preparation for the project, an environmental review process began Wednesday with a public meeting in which local residents and public agencies could make suggestions as to what environmental concerns should be addressed in the study, to be conducted by PMC of Sacramento.

Mike Sullivan, a building owner in Donner Lake Village, said the environmental review should consider Gregory Creek flooding and, in particular, should research the flood that occurred in 1997.

“In ’97 there was major flooding on Gregory Creek,” Sullivan said. “Two overflow channels went across the project’s property.”

Ben Ritchie, environmental consultant with PMC, said flooding is the number-one concern in the environmental review.

“It’s the 800-pound gorilla in the room, and it also affects water quality,” Ritchie said.

John Eaton, president of the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation, said water quality would also be affected by Interstate 80 runoff, and said Gregory Creek is important as a deer migration corridor.

“It’s the only place deer can cross 80 without going splat,” Eaton said.

Frances and Douglas Nord, who live directly south of the Gregory Creek property, said they have seen a wide variety of wildlife on the site as well, and said they are concerned about the project’s impact.

“January of last year our dog started barking, and I looked outside to see a wolverine lumbering through the snow,” said Frances Nord. “Wolverines are an endangered species.”

Town of Truckee Associate Planner Denyelle Nishimori said public comments on preparing the environmental study will be accepted until Feb. 12.

The environmental impact report will then be released again in draft form in May or June for public review, and a final draft will go before the planning commission for approval in August or September, Nishimori said.

Simpson said if the environmental report goes according to plan, he expects construction of the new subdivision could begin as early as the summer of 2008.

“With a project like this you have to be flexible in terms of time,” Simpson said. “It’s dependent on the process.”