Town council votes to put MAPF initiative on Nov. ballot
A motion to adopt the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation’s initiative to amend the Truckee General Plan without taking it to the voters died for lack of a second during a special town council meeting last week.
Councilman Josh Susman said the initiative process is a right of the voters in a democracy, and it eliminates perpetual smoke and mirrors that can emerge in the political realm.
“This is not a project initiative, it is a land use and planning initiative,” Susman said before making the motion. “I think as a council we must take an active role.”
As Mayor Bob Drake and Councilman Steve Carpenter were absent, acting-Mayor Don McCormack and Councilman Ron Florian let the motion fail.
With a quorum of three, however, councilmembers did opt to place the initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot, accepted the 9212 report, which outlines the town’s legal and fiscal impacts should the initiative pass, and decided to issue a summary version of the initiative in voter packets.
The three decisions were acted on as separate motions, each passing unanimously.
During the meeting Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook briefly outlined the conclusions drawn in the 9212 report, which he said is a disclosure document requested by the council under the state elections code.
If passed in November, the initiative would modify development at Planned Community 2, a 789-acre parcel located north of the Interstate 80-Highway 89 intersection.
Specifically, it would eliminate the site’s potential for a resort hotel, golf course or other commercial recreational facilities, as well as reducing the site’s commercial development space from 175,000-square-feet to 25,000.
The initiative also requires a minimum building setback of 300 feet along I-80, Highway 89 and the proposed Highway 267 bypass. Residential development remains unchanged – 600 units can be built on 175 acres.
Any other changes to the general plan regarding PC-2 would be subject to a public vote unless the change is required to avoid a takings issue. A public vote would also be required to change any open space or recreational land use designations. Both voting requirements would remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2020.
Fiscal impacts, which Lashbrook said are based on general plan buildout assumptions, result in the loss of $92,253 in property, $84,377 in sales and $821,250 in bed taxes if PC-2 is limited to the development constraints imposed by the initiative – no hotel rooms and 25,000 square feet of commercial space.
“(It) is a crude analysis of the potential fiscal impacts of the initiative,” Lashbrook said in the 9212 summary. “The initiative would only result in negative fiscal impacts to the town if the development assumed to occur within PC-2 does not occur somewhere else in the community.”
Lashbrook said the general plan outlines service costs per household at build out and the 9212 report confirmed they are fiscally positive. “But not much more than the cost to provide services to PC-2,” he said.
The report’s traffic analysis concluded that changes in land use designations at PC-2 would cause peak hour traffic on Donner Pass Road to increase by about 2 percent. The increase was attributed to potential development at PC-2 being assigned to other locations such as PC-1 (the Teichert property).
Lashbrook said the analysis did not take into account peak weekend summer and winter traffic. Finite traffic impacts depend on where development occurs and driver behavior over the next 20 years.
During public comment, Truckee resident Ron Hemig disagreed with the initiative process, saying it precludes public participation and lets special interest groups rule.
“The initiative process flies in the face of the outstanding work of town staff, council, planning commission and the public,” Hemig said. “It presumes that town government cannot be accountable to the people.”
Truckee architect Larry Young said he was involved in the general plan process and recognized the long hours put in by town staff and the public.
He said he believes the finished product represented a “diverse cut of the people.”
“I feel the general plan outcome is a balanced plan,” Young said. “I believe it will guide inevitable growth while maintaining our quality of life.”
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