Truckee Town Council talks economics, approves econ study for Joerger Ranch
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; The word and#8220;economicsand#8221; dominated Thursday’s town council meeting, with discussions centering on plans to help the local economy and to judge the effects of future development.
Like the Railyard and other big projects before it, Joerger Ranch, a development planned near Truckee Tahoe Airport, will have an economic impact analysis and#8212; looking at what kinds of commercial and industrial uses it could bring to the town and how they would impact existing businesses.
and#8220;In the past, planned communities one and two had economic studies kind of come at the end; what we would like to do is to get that economic study up front and use it as a tool to craft the project to the needs that are out there,and#8221; said Dale Creighton, with SCO Planning and Engineering, representing Joerger Ranch and#8212;-also known as and#8220;Planned Community Three.and#8221;
A big concern, especially in the current recession, is if much more commercial space is needed in town, how would it compete with districts like downtown, said Jenna Endres, associate planner with the town. This study could help answer that, she said.
Creighton said the developers are already considering this issue, picturing more office park and light industrial use than retail in the potential 485,000 square feet of non-residential space.
John Eaton of the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation said his organization is happy to see an economic study being used to define the project, but is concerned about it running parallel to the environmental review, which would need a defined project to start analyzing its economic impacts.
Council member Barbara Green echoed that concern, but Endres said the economic study should be completed while the environmental review was still gathering initial information.
In the end, council voted 4-0 (Joan Jones was absent) in favor of awarding the $43,100 contract to Bay Area Economics for completing the economic study of the project.
Redevelopment and Housing Coordinator David Griffith also updated the council on the town’s Economic Development Work Plan, outlining ongoing and planned efforts to shore up tourism and bring in new business.
The town’s plan includes seven points: regulatory and opportunity-based economic development, a new Truckee business website, working with Sierra College, tapping business experts and entrepreneurs, developing tourism infrastructure, developing public facilities and attractions and redeveloping the old county corporation yard on West River Street.
and#8220;The new economic development website will be marketing Truckee to the public, and more importantly, businesses,and#8221; Griffith said.
Truckee resident Denny Dickenson wanted to see more effort, and the inclusion of the library in future plans.
and#8220;I read the document and it seemed to me like a lot of talk and not enough action,and#8221; Dickenson said. and#8220;It seems like the thing the town needs is jobs, jobs, jobs.and#8221;
Town Manager Tony Lashbrook cautioned against doing everything to bring in new jobs at the expense of the town’s character and financial base.
and#8220;You have to remember what our economy is based on. You need to make sure we don’t grow to the detriment of that base,and#8221; Lashbrook said.
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