Town moves ahead with affordable housing plans | SierraSun.com

Town moves ahead with affordable housing plans

Scott Hess

A priority on Truckee’s list of things to do is to increase the amount of affordable housing and jobs for Targeted Income Groups, those people making 80 percent or less of the median income. The Railyard, just east of Downtown, has been chosen as a possible location, and the Town of Truckee has received the funding to begin evaluation of the area.

Truckee has been looking at the Railyard and trying to figure out a way to develop it, and it recently received a $350,000 grant to begin that process.

According to Truckee Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook, the Truckee Town Council approved use of the $350,000 to complete the Railyard Master Plan, but they will still need more funds to compensate for the estimated $600,000 bill.

The catch that comes with the funding, Lashbrook said, is that the money is allotted solely for the planning of jobs and/or housing for the Targeted Income Groups. This is good news for TIG residents, as they know that something will be planned.

In the council meeting June 19, the council approved two issues that dealt with affordable housing and jobs, and the development of the Truckee Railyard property.

The two items give Truckee the authorization to evaluate the land to see if development of the Railyard is feasible. The council gave approval to submit a “Railyard affordable housing opportunities analysis grant application,” and approval to submit a “Railyard grant application evaluating mixed-use development opportunities to create jobs and housing opportunities for Targeted Income Groups and reducing identified blight,” according to the meeting agenda.

“The site has been planned for significant development for some time,” Lashbrook said. Now that Truckee has received some funding, he said, it can begin the planning and design stages.

According to Lashbrook, the town has paid $60,000 with California’s $72,000 to begin Phase 1a, and has also paid $78,000 to the state’s $96,000 for Phase 1b. Lashbrook said the town will need “to come up with $280,000 someplace,” which it hopes will come from the grants they have applied for.

In the application to the California Department of Housing and Community Development for a technical assistance grant for a mixed-use affordable housing study, Truckee Town Manager Steve Wright wrote, “The ultimate goal of this study is to develop a plan to integrate a low-income housing proposal into a mixed use development plan for the Railyard adjacent to downtown Truckee.” He also wrote, “There is the potential for both rental and owned low-income housing in this area.”

In the application for the mixed-use economic development study, Wright wrote the study would be, “A study of the opportunities to create a significant number of new jobs in the Truckee Railyard area by converting it to a new mixed-use with several new businesses expanding of locating in this new commercial area.”

The Town of Truckee should know “in a couple months” if the application was approved for the grants and the contract to begin should be awarded by the first of the year, Lashbrook said.