Getting everything – and some housing
Something is better than nothing, and that is largely the case when it comes to the Town of Truckee and Placer County’s headbutting over affordable housing in the Siller Ranch subdivision.After several flip-flops by Placer and an appeal by the Town of Truckee over the number of employees to be housed by the Siller project, the parties agreed on a number – 245.That is nearly the figure town officials and area affordable housing advocates had thrown on the wall at the beginning of the process months ago. Then Placer planners, urged by the developer and contrary to Placer’s own draft ordinance, called for about half as many units.That’s when Truckee appealed, vented and clucked enough to force Placer supervisors to come to the table. Staffers on both sides rolled up their sleeves and hashed out the issue and came back to the 245 units. And while an argument could be made that a loophole exists regarding the construction of the units, town officials did their best to tighten wording so that worker housing is built before any other part of the Siller project.Score one for affordable housing.As the beginning of this editorial states, however, Truckee got some things but not everything it wanted. Thanks to some overly broad bureaucratese, the worker units are to be built somewhere in “eastern Placer County.” Town officials would have rather seen the units built in the Siller project itself, but apparently Siller’s developer doesn’t want to sully the gated community of 726 homes, a clubhouse and ski lodge with peasant quarters. But the developer sure will need workers close by to keep the 27 holes of golf nicely manicured.The greatest good that may come out of this confrontation over affordable housing in the Martis Valley is joint affordable housing guidelines that cross town and county lines. Truckee and Placer planners have already discussed joining forces to assure that the two jurisdictions adopt the same affordable housing guidelines. Truckee would likely borrow from the work that Placer has already done to formulate an employee housing ordinance.If Truckee gets an employee housing ordinance out of the deal and Placer County comes away with an understanding of the town’s recent successes in getting affordable housing on the ground, we will all be better off.It’s a regional problem, so why not work together to get everything rather than fight and get just a bit of something.