Truckee Town Council moves forward with Joerger Ranch plans | SierraSun.com

Truckee Town Council moves forward with Joerger Ranch plans

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Town council decided last week to get moving on the eco review for the Joerger Ranch development, though not without some dissent.

Plans for the 71-acre development have been bouncing around town in different iterations since 2001, said Associate Planner Jenna Endres. Up to 426 homes and 485,000 square feet of commercial and industrial space could be spread on the project site, quartered by the intersection of Highway 267 and Brockway Road/Joerger Drive.

With council member Joan Jones recused from the decision for conflicts, the vote was 3-1, with council member Barbara Green resistant to moving forward.

and#8220;I have some discomfort looking at all this project with all the vacancies in town, trying to figure out what the need is,and#8221; Green said.

She said she wanted to see a more detailed project plan and an economic analysis under way before the environmental review, and while other council members agreed those things are important, they voted to move forward and begin the environmental review process.

Project representative Dale Creighton said the environmental review is at a program level and#8212; not project-specific. These plans just create zoning for the property, and no specific construction projects are yet proposed.

Joerger family representative John Renwick said moving forward with the project could be good for the local economy.

and#8220;I think we can speculate that small developments, small successes culminate, and I think a project like this can aid that at least on a local level,and#8221; Renwick said.

John Eaton of the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation, however, echoed council member Greenand#8217;s concerns.

and#8220;This project represents the last chance to provide industrial space to clean up the river and#8212; we had that opportunity once before and blew it,and#8221; Eaton said. and#8220;The plan is very vague.and#8221;

A $212,000 contract with De Novo Planning starts the environmental review process, which would take five to six months to prepare, Endres said, with a draft ready for public review in the spring.

The Environmental Impact Report would be finalized in the summer, followed by public workshops and a decision on the project in the fall of 2010, Endres said, but per town counciland#8217;s guidance, town staff will bring back a more detailed public outreach plan at a December meeting.

An economic study of the project will also be contracted, likely with Bay Area Economics, a company that recently completed a similar studies for the town.

and#8220;Todayand#8217;s reality is certainly we have a lot of vacant space, and this project will have a lot of zoning and#8212; weand#8217;ll ask Bay Area Economics to take that into careful consideration,and#8221; said Town Manager Tony Lashbrook.