Specific Plan Process; Council reviews plan aimed to facilitate public involvement


Truckee Town Council will consider a program tonight to facilitate early public involvement in the Specific Plan Process for Truckee’s planned communities, in an effort to encourage developers to consider community concerns before formally submitting a plan to the town.

Town Manager Steve Wright said the second of two workshops on the public involvement process was a success. Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook presented his idea to residents in the workshop, which was April 8 at the town council chambers.

Wright said the meeting attended by the town council and planning commission lasted for about two hours.

“There was a consensus to include early public participation meetings in the process once somebody submits an application for a planned community,” Wright said. “The process will likely include meetings in the appropriate neighborhoods. It depends on which planned community submits a plan.”

Former legal process

Wright said the formal legal process for submitting a specific plan includes no public participation until the Environmental Impact Review, which focuses on issues like wildlife, air quality and water quality.

“What we hope to do is allow the public to be involved in the process when talking about other things, like how the specific plan fits into the Downtown Specific Plan or the Truckee General Plan,” Wright said. “The goal is to hear whatever substantive issues the community might raise,” Wright said.

Developers will have the option of participating in the public process, and would submit a summary plan to the town for presentation to the public before submission of the complete plan.

The summary plan would include maps or diagrams showing important features of the development, a phasing plan for phased projects, an infrastructure plan, descriptions of public facilities in the project like schools, firehouses or parks, a design theme for the project, proposed method of development and a summary of how the specific plan fits into existing Downtown Specific Plan and General Plan policies.

Lashbrook said the public participation process will begin with meetings with the developer at the neighborhood level, facilitated by town staff and attended by a member of the town council and the planning commission.

Results of those workshops will be presented to town council and the planning commission in a later community workshop held in the town council chambers. Town council will present pertinent comments to the developer for consideration.

Lashbrook said the applicant could proceed into the formal process without modifying the plan to address comments provided by the town. The scope of the environmental impact review process would be determined following this decision by the applicant.

Truckee attorney Jim Porter, who represents the Hopkins family, owners of Planned Community Two, said he was pleased with the process as proposed.

“The town’s proposed community outreach program brings the public into the planning process early on, and that’s the way it should be,” Porter said. “It is time-consuming, but the result will be better development.”

The approval of the public participation process is on the consent calendar for the Truckee Town Council meeting tonight.

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