Truckee developer, homeowners appeal subdivision decision
January 20, 2006
The Sierra Bluff subdivision, approved by the planning commission on Jan. 11 after some changes, has been appealed to the Truckee Town Council by the project’s developer and the Glenshire/Devonshire Residents Association.Tom Grossman, Sierra Bluff developer, said that changes made to the 31-lot subdivision by the commission made the project a poorer plan.The largest change the commission made was to move a lot from the northern side of the project, which borders a mine, to the southern side of the project. The move put the lot in a spot where Grossman had promised neighbors open space.”We spent a year negotiating the boundary of the open space,” said Grossman of his talks with nearby residents. “[The neighbors] didn’t want a lot right there.”Commissioners said they were concerned about the level of noise coming from the nearby mine in their decision to move the lot.Geoff Stephens, general manager of the homeowners association, said the relocation of the lot was the prime reason his group joined the appeal.”The main issue was the relocation of one of the lots,” Stephens said. “The area where the commission relocated the lot is where we left them out.”Stephens and nearby homeowners held several meetings negotiating an agreement over the proposal, which initially was controversial.”It was very frustrating because we spent months and months negotiating this,” said Paquita Bath, a nearby homeowner who is part of the group called Friends of the Bluff.In addition, Bath was concerned about the relocation of the lot because the area is where water collects during rains or when the snow melts, she said.Grossman paid $25,000 for a study to look at the amount of noise that would come from the mine. He said the study put noise levels within town standards. A representative from Teichert Aggregates also said the company would build a berm to block noise if it ever moves mining operations to the border of their property that abuts the Sierra Bluff subdivision.”They made me pay $25,000 for a mine compatibility study and then they ignored it,” Grossman said.The planning commission, however, decided to move the lot because of single noise events, such as blasting, that registered at loud levels in the study. The town standards on noise average the periods of noise and silence to see whether the noise levels are compatible with surrounding uses over a 24-hour period. Sounds are weighted heavier against the average if they occur in the evening or at night.