Public weighs in on Gray’s Crossing |

Public weighs in on Gray’s Crossing

Josh MillerMembers of the public express opinions on the controversial Gray's Crossing development Tuesday night.

Seizing possibly the last opportunity to express opinions on the proposed Gray’s Crossing development, Truckee residents filled the council chambers to voice support and concern over the proposal, and hear a presentation by the developer Tuesday night.

A decision on the plan was delayed until January. An exact date has yet to be determined.

Gray’s Crossing proposes 775 housing units on 757 acres north of Interstate 80, along state Route 89 north. A large portion, 225 units, will be affordable housing, and the proposal includes a 120-room lodge, almost 40,000 square feet of retail and office space, and a community cultural center.

“I think that this provides a balance of being a Destination Recreation Community, while also fulfilling the needs of the community,” said Rick McConn of East West Partners.

Aaron Revere, director of environmental initiatives, emphasized that East West Partner’s building practices will do all that they can to reduce environmental impact.

“As we build we are trying to send less and less to waste,” he said. “It’s not only that we buy recycled, we also use recycled, so we are closing the loop.”

Church groups, workforce housing advocates, contractors, environmental groups and opinionated citizens filed to the podium to voice glowing support, or denounce the inclusion of a private golf course in the project.

“Gray’s Crossing is not only offering us what we wanted, but what we never dreamed we were going to get,” said business owner and resident Cindy Monroe. “This is a great project. I don’t think that we could envision an owner that would give us land for a school,” she said referring to the developer’s promise to donate the land for Alder Creek Middle School if the project is approved.

Former Mayor Maia Schneider praised East West Partners, calling them “a good corporate citizen,” and urged the council to approve the proposal.

“Our process that is in place has served the town well,” she said. “Honor the process.”

Those that opposed the proposal focused on the golf course as unnecessary and of little benefit to Truckee.

“This is excessive,” said resident Emily Conn. “One thing that they could do better is be really innovative and build this project around a beautiful meadow.”

Another vocal opponent to the golf course was Stefanie Olivieri of Mountain Area Preservation Foundation (MAPF), who called the proposed course an “egregious waste of resources.”

“This project creates an exclusive housing environment,” she said. “A golf course at Gray’s Crossing would give East West Partners two golf courses side-by-side with little or no public benefit.”

However, much of the public comment was positive, including contractors’ comments that the building process would energize their companies and boost the local economy. Many of the objectors, including MAPF, did not oppose the housing units planned for the area, but simply thought the golf course should be eliminated from the project.

The meeting lasted for five hours, and the extent of the public input made it impossible for the council to begin deliberations or take any action on the proposal. However, the council did ask for additional information which will be provided by staff at a special meeting when the proposal will again be taken up.

Statistics on revenue loss and economic impact of the approximately 120,000 square feet of commercial space that could be developed on the land, but is not in the proposal, will be presented to the council in the January meeting. The golf course will likely remain a major discussion point as council members asked about the environmental impact and water consumption of the course.

The council set Jan. 13, as the date that Gray’s Crossing will be decided, however a scheduling conflict may require the council to change the date. The official date of the meeting will be decided at the Dec. 18 council meeting.

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