Truckee Green Team: Tahoe Forest Hospital parking lots outside General Plan
On Aug. 18, the Town Planning Commission reviewed Tahoe Forest Hospital District’s plan to develop three, new, paved parking lots in the Gateway area of Donner Pass Road.
We believe Town Planning staff’s recommendation that the Commission approve this proposal is in direct conflict with several elements of the current General Plan, particularly the guidelines for development and preservation of the Gateway neighborhood. The parking lot proposal also runs counter to “Envision Donner Pass Road,” the $1.5 million dollar highway safety grant that is in process to improve Donner Pass Road for walkability/ bike-ability, traffic flow and neighborhood enjoyment.
Further, we are concerned with impacts of these lots to our scenic corridor and to our climate action goals by increasing spans of impermeable asphalt, by removing 192 trees, and by cutting into our green hillsides. Additionally, Tahoe Forest Hospital states these parking lots may only be interim as there is potential for a parking structure within the campus.
Tahoe Forest Hospital is a great asset to our community’s health and economy. However, the hodge-podge nature of growth and expansion into residential and commercial neighborhoods is having an increasingly negative impact. Donner Pass Road and side streets are currently walls of cars, the residential area is shrinking and neighborhood-friendly mixed uses on Donner Pass Road are turning into mainly hospital uses as evidenced by the Tahoe Forest Hospital’s takeover of the block that recently included Start Haus and others. While Truckee is involved in a General Plan Update to the year 2040, the future plans for Tahoe Forest Hospital’s continuing development in the center of Town remain unknown. We urge Tahoe Forest Hospital to engage the community in their long-range plans as well as sharing these plans with the General Plan Update Committee.
We need to know
What is Tahoe Forest Hospital’s Master Plan? How much of the Gateway residential and commercial area does Tahoe Forest Hospital plan to absorb? Rather than crush the character of an historic and charming neighborhood filled with trees and families, is it not time for Tahoe Forest Hospital to consider developing a second, permanent, offsite campus?
At the Aug. 18 planning meeting, we appreciated the level of detail, attention and excellent questioning expressed by the Planning Commission and those who offered public comment. At the conclusion, the Commission did not approve nor deny the project. It is being continued to a future date.
We encourage the Commission to deny the parking lots and encourage Tahoe Forest Hospital to build a parking structure off Donner Pass Road on its current campus. We encourage the community to engage with current development as well as the 2040 General Plan. Check the Town website for notifications of Town Planning and Town Council agendas as well as info on the Truckee 2040 General Plan.
Submitted by Ruth Jackson Hall on behalf of members of the Truckee Green Team, a civic discussion and advocacy group: Barbara Green, Barbara Czerwinski, Ed Czerwinski, Kathy Echols, Rolf Godon, Sarah Green, Ellie Hyatt, Patty Lomanto, Stefani Olivieri, Carol Ann Pauli and Jacqui Zink.
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