Workforce housing leads General Plan update review |

Workforce housing leads General Plan update review

Affordable housing dominated the Truckee Town Council’s first review of the housing and land use elements of the General Plan on Tuesday.

Two General Plan affordable housing requirements, inclusionary zoning and jobs/housing linkage, will ensure that each new development includes a percentage of affordable units and also supplies housing for the workers it attracts. While no numbers were decided on at the meeting, 15 percent and 50 percent were mentioned, meaning 15 percent of new homes would be required to be affordable and housing for 50 percent of workers attracted to the new development would be required.

Two other measures that the council supported were land banking for affordable housing and creating a regional affordable housing organization. While the region already has a such an organization in Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe, WHATT is a nonprofit organization. A more strongly funded, ramped-up housing organization was outlined by the council, and indications at the meeting suggested that WHATT may grow to fill that need.

The council left the fate of the Alder Drive site up in the air, recommending its suitability for affordable housing be explored at a public meeting. That meeting will likely include a site visit, as the planning department noted that information on features of the site have been lacking.

The Alder Drive recommendation came after strong urging from WHATT to jump-start the solution to the affordable housing problem by zoning the parcel high-density residential.

“We think that this is an ideal site to start the [land banking],” said WHATT president Breeze Cross. “To assume that just zoning the land will solve the problem is not appropriate.”

The emphasis on the Alder Drive site is indicative of WHATT’s broader message that governmental agencies must take a more active role in attacking the affordable housing problem. Setting aside land specifically for affordable housing (land banking) is one of the active approaches that WHATT supports.

Maximum development numbers for individual sites such as the Ponderosa Golf Course, Planned Community 1 were also discussed for traffic study purposes. The council set the Ponderosa Golf Course maximum development number at 150 units, with Planned Community 1, south of Interstate 80 bordering Donner Memorial State Park land, at a maximum 300 units.

The council emphasized that these numbers were only the ceiling for development and did not represent a projection of what should actually be built on the land.

The vision statement for the updated General Plan was revised, and the council decided to add language that said the town would balance community needs with the individual rights of citizens.

Circulation and community character are the next parts of the General Plan to be discussed. The meeting dates have yet to be determined.

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