Truckee housing update looks at rezoning and funding sources | SierraSun.com

Truckee housing update looks at rezoning and funding sources

Hannah Jones
hjones@sierrasun.com

Truckee town staff presented new policies to the planning commission on Tuesday in the town’s housing element included in the general plan update.

Currently, the town is on a tight deadline as they must adopt a housing element by August or face penalties from the state.

“It’s mandated by state law but it also ensures future policy is relevant to community needs, challenges and opportunities,” said Yumie Dahn, associate planner for the town of Truckee. Once the town has a certified housing element they are eligible for grant funding from state and federal agencies.

Contrary to the previous housing element update, which was a four-year period, this update will last for eight years. Some changes include rezoning policies to allow for potential properties to be made available for housing projects, including the Gateway neighborhood Jibboom Street site downtown.

“Another component to housing that has been identified as something that we all know is necessary to construct housing is funding,” said Dahn.

To fund additional housing projects, the element looks at a potential increase in Transient Occupancy Tax and parcel tax while encouraging town council to annually review the budget to look for more funding.

The element also looks at allowing for more secondary residential units on existing properties. This could mean working with home owner associations that don’t allow for these units to lift those restrictions.

“A lot of these policies are exploratory at first then we’ll see what’s feasible in the long run,” said Dahn.

She said another way to use existing housing is by exploring a way to give vacation home owners an incentive to rent units out long term.

Hiring a new full-time housing coordinator to facilitate the creation of new housing is also part of the housing element as well as creating a new regional housing entity similar to the Mountain Housing Council.

Another update in the element would allow staff to explore how “achievable housing” fits within the town’s inclusionary housing ordinance. The term “achievable housing” is used by the Mountain Housing Council to include moderate and above-moderate income earners who are still unable to afford housing in the region.

The town has held two housing workshops, one in November and one in February, to gather community input on future housing. In April, Truckee town council took steps to dedicate more resources to the housing element in the general plan update. The planning commission will hear the new housing element at their next meeting. Town council is expected to hear it in July or August.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or hjones@sierrasun.com.