Town’s river plan adopted, but still will be refined
Truckee’s Downtown River Revitalization Plan sets out an ambitious strategy to relocate industrial businesses away from the Truckee River and encourage widespread redevelopment along the stretch of river that flows through town.
The plan, adopted June 7 by the town council and planning commission, will go back to Truckee’s governing bodies for fine tuning after concerns were raised over traffic and the scale of development.
But the overall ideas of the redevelopment strategy ” which envisions public parks, plazas, pedestrian bridges and a hotel along the river ” was endorsed by Truckee council members and commissioners.
The anchor of the plan will be the old Nevada County Corporation Yard, which is now owned by the Town of Truckee. The yard’s central location and visibility makes it the prime redevelopment parcel, said Tony Lashbrook, Truckee town manager.
“It is in the center of the plan area and it has that close connection to Commercial Row,” Lashbrook said. “That may be the jumpstart for this overall effort.”
Planners envision a public plaza and commercial buildings on the 1.5-acre corporation yard parcel.
“Commercial uses would line the street and frame the plaza,” reads the plan. “A new pedestrian bridge would connect it with improvements on the south side of the river.”
It is unclear whether the town would retain ownership of the land when it is developed, said Lashbrook.
Across a proposed pedestrian bridge from the corporation yard, the plan suggests a hotel or multi-family housing be built on what is known as the Bright Parcel.
While planners agree that the corporation yard is the highest priority and will serve as a hub of activity, two other “nodes” of public access are planned to the east near the future Railyard development and to the west near the confluence of Donner Creek.
But the plan does not focus solely on development. Habitat restoration areas are identified and strategies to reduce sediment in the river are touched on. After urging by the Truckee River Watershed Council, the town also agreed to pursue funding for environmental studies of the river as part of the plan. The Truckee River is currently federally listed as a impaired river because of its sediment loads.
Public parks and river access points are also scattered along the river banks in the river plan maps.
The traffic generated by the redevelopment outlined in the plan was probably the biggest concern voiced by residents.
“I think that we are going to see a huge increase in traffic,” said Breeze Cross, a resident of South River Street.
But other residents asked that development along the river be brought into balance with open space and habitat preservation.
“This plan has an implicit and inherent bias toward development,” said Truckee resident Steve Ramos.
Lashbrook, however, noted that only the downtown portion of the river was being planned for development, while the rest of the river corridor in town is slated to be mostly left in its natural state.
Other neighbors and property owners applauded the plan and noted that redevelopment of the river corridor will expand redevelopment funding for public amenities.
“The private property owners are going to pay for all the open space, public access and all the other niceties,” said Al Pombo a river front property owner.
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