Truckee project promoting ‘locals-only’ housing too expensive for locals ?
While a new 138-unit locals-only housing project in Truckee has generated excitement over new housing opportunities, several area residents are wondering how locals can afford what they see as high costs of rent.
The Coburn Crossing apartments, part of the mixed-use project at 10470 East Jibboom St., will offer studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. According to the rental application, studio prices range from $1,395 to $1,700 monthly, one-bedroom apartments range from $1,545 to $1,800, two-bedroom apartments go from $1,845 to $2,000 and three-bedroom apartments from $2,350 to $2,700.
The posted prices do not include the cost of utilities.
The apartments can only be rented out to those who work more than 30 hours a week in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District boundaries, and tenants must sign a minimum six month lease, according to an agreement between the developer and the Town of Truckee.
“The theory is that if they can’t find locals to continue to fill it up they’re going to have to lower the rent,” said Truckee Town Manager Jeff Loux. “We’re going to wait and see, because this is a brand new experiment for us.”
AFFORDABLE FOR WHOM?
In August, a Facebook post in the Tahoe Truckee People page, posting the prices of the apartments received over 270 comments, most of which expressed concern over the affordability of the units. The median household income in Truckee for a household of four is $79,000, according to data collected by the Truckee Chamber of Commerce. For a three bedroom unit at $2,700 a month a family with that income would be paying over 40 percent of their income on rent.
Currently the developers have no plans to lower the prices of the units.
“Right now we haven’t started advertising or marketing, so there’s no discussion at all about dropping our prices,” said Mike Foster, a partner with Triumph Development, the company building the units. “Our prices are pretty firm.”
Truckee’s inclusionary housing ordinance requires all residential projects to designate 15 percent of units as affordable. However, developers can propose an “alternative equivalent” to that requirement including paying an in-lieu fee or deed restricting the unit to locals.
“In this case what we essentially traded off was 15 affordable for 100% local,” said Loux. “The council felt at the time that 100% local in perpetuity is well worth the 15% affordability.”
$3 MILLION INVESTMENT
With the new building complexes comes the need for new infrastructure, including the installation of a roundabout at Jibboom Street and Donner Pass Road, which the town is paying for. According to a town staff report, $3 million was allocated to support the infrastructure in the project.
The apartment buildings will have a total of 33 studios, 54 one-bedroom units, 42 two-bedroom units, nine three-bedroom units, with barbecue and picnic areas, a bocce ball court, a volleyball court, playground and rooftop decks. Of the 138 apartment units, six are proposed to be income-restricted workforce housing units for the hotel.
In addition to the residential units, the project will include a 114-room SpringHill Suites hotel on a 2.8 acre parcel. Triumph turned the hotel development over to Glacier House Hotels; it is expected to be done by September, according to their website. The hotel will include an exercise room, pool room, small market, prep kitchen with breakfast center and a meeting room and offices.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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