Town presents terms of lawsuit deal
Litigation, libraries and the town’s planning process are among the hot topics to be discussed tonight during the regularly scheduled Truckee Town Council meeting.
In compliance with a law requiring public disclosure of litigation results, the town of Truckee will present tonight at town council the terms of a “time-out” agreement in the Peoria Sunnyside, LLC versus Town of Truckee dispute.
The litigation has to date cost taxpayers more than $250,000 in legal fees and, if continued, could conceivably cost millions more. The alternate agreement could cost Truckee the terms of its downtown specific plan, Town Attorney J. Dennis Crabb wrote in a letter to council.
The long-standing dispute involves the town’s planning decisions concerning a 13.5-acre property located at the southwest intersection of Interstate 80 and Highway 267. The property has long been called the Barsell Property after Richard Barsell, an officer with Peoria Sunnyside, LLC.
To avoid the cost of going to trial, estimated at no less than another $250,000, the town of Truckee entered into a memorandum of understanding with Peoria Sunnyside, LLC, on Feb. 1, Crabb wrote.
The MOU states that the town will accept in good faith an application for amendment of the downtown specific plan and visitor lodging zoning for the Barsell property. The application is subject to the same environmental review and public hearing process as any other application for such entitlements in the town, the MOU states.
“The town entered the MOU because council felt that the proposed deal points in the agreement allowing for public process would preclude further litigation and potentially resolve the land use issues on this particular process,” Town Manager Steve Wright said.
In addition to requesting modification of setbacks and modification of the requirement that Jibboom Street be extended through the property, the MOU lists the proposed uses for the property, including:
— A 120-unit lodge, in some ways similar to Truckee’s Holiday Inn Express.
— A total of 10,000 square feet of restaurant space.
— As much as 26,000 square feet of retail space to be occupied by more than one business.
— Up to 16,000 square feet of office space that would allow a Post Office.
— Peoria Sunnyside will reserve a portion of the property for an additional 80 lodging rooms adjacent to the 120-unit lodge.
— 2.4 acres of the property will be rezoned to multifamily residential, allowing the construction of more than 35 units.
— Any remaining land would be zoned as market-rate housing.
Peoria Sunnyside has agreed to secure a developer with the financial backing for the lodge component of the project before any retail, restaurant or office construction begins.
The town of Truckee has agreed to help finance the cost of public infrastructure construction, such as water and sewer, for the first five years after the lodge opens. The funds will be generated by the lodge itself: 50 percent of the transient occupancy tax generated by the lodge would be the source of the town’s contribution to this construction.
A provision for dispute resolution is included in the MOU. If Truckee doesn’t approve the Barsell property application by Sept. 1, the MOU is void and Peoria Sunnyside, LLC, may continue litigation.
That’s a bridge to be crossed later.
In other business, town council will consider how town planning staff should process downtown property applications while the Historic Resources Inventory is being updated.
Dave Taylor and Dave Giacomini, the owners of downtown property predating 1940, recently applied for a building demolition permit. The downtown building is currently protected by the demolition standards of the downtown specific plan. Before the building can be demolished, either a certificate of economic hardship must be granted or it must be determined the building is not historically significant and is therefore exempt from the demolition standards.
The building in question might not contribute to Truckee’s inclusion in a National Register District, a planning department memo stated, but the building might contribute to the character of Truckee’s historic district. The Jibboom Street building reputedly contributed to Truckee’s colorful past.
Town planning wants to know how to proceed in the immediate future.
The draft Historic Resources Inventory Update states that older buildings of local interest and importance to the community should be protected, preserved and rehabilitated. Taylor and Giacomini say they want to tear down the old house to construct a new office building.
The planning department will soon approach town council with a request for more staff because the workload is greater than the work force, the memo stated, and current staff require direction now in deciding to devote resources to completing the inventory or processing individual applications.
A public hearing will also be held at town council tonight to consider the appeal of a zoning administrator action denying a variance application to Donner Lake resident Larry Ferral.
The application by Ferral proposed the construction of a covered stairway connecting his South Shore Drive residence to a parking pad located in the town right-of-way. Ferral wrote to town officials that he is physically unable to shovel snow and the covered walkway would enable him safe access to his home.
The physical limitations of an individual cannot, by local and state law, be a basis for granting approval of a variance application, town planners wrote in a document to the Zoning Administrator, and the physical characteristics of the property and the plan, upon review, did not warrant granting approval of the application.
Town council is also scheduled to:
— Proclaim the importance of Proposition 14 to the mission of acquiring funds for construction of a new Truckee library. Measure B funds cannot be used for capital improvements.
— Agendize a March 2 date for public review of a draft franchise agreement with Sierra Pacific Power Company. The current agreement was forged by Nevada County.
— Consider approving and signing the final map of the River Village subdivision (formerly known as Riverview Homes), an affordable housing project which will be located off Estates Drive behind the rodeo grounds and was approved April 24, 1994.
— Declare Feb. 20 through Feb., 26 as “Engineers Week” in Truckee, to concur with national and county proclamations.
— Consider adopting a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program in order to maintain eligibility for federal aid highway funding.
Truckee Town Council meetings are held at 6 p.m. in the Truckee-Donner Public Utility District board room located in the PUD building on Donner Pass Road.
Town council meetings are aired by Tahoe-Truckee Community Television and can be viewed on Truckee’s cable channel 6.
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