Our View: Compromise is a fine line
Developers and conservationists have walked the fine line between private property rights and doing the right thing in the Martis Valley.
More than a few people would have loved to see the Siller Ranch subdivision scuttled completely, while others would have liked the original 726 homes and 27 holes of golf built.
Not that a private developer is incapable of doing right by the surrounding community. But in this case the community set to absorb most of the negative impacts ” traffic, building affordable housing, etc. ” had little say in the decision-making process absent legal action.
So conservation groups sued. And that’s why we have a compromise.
The fact that Truckee will have another 653 homes on its boundaries and another 18-hole golf course the majority of us will never set foot on is tempered by knowing that the woods and meadows southwest of Highway 267 will be somewhat less crowded with homes.
A large part of the compromise is that another development ” Hopkins Ranch ” was essentially scuttled. So instead of yet another 65 homes and yet another 18-hole private golf course just over the town limits in Placer County, 280 acres off Schaffer Mill Road and Highway 267 will remain open space and hold some configuration of affordable housing in the future. Before the settlement, getting the developer to pony up for an adequate number of workforce housing units was a Herculean task.
So it is probably safe to say that the decision on the developer’s part to forego Hopkins Ranch didn’t come easy. In the long run they probably lost millions of dollars.
But just as doing the right thing for the greater good isn’t always a given ” it’s also not easy or cheap.
But the burden of the agreement’s projected $72 million contribution for open space, affordable housing and habitat restoration over the next 25 years does not fall entirely to the Siller Ranch developers. And that’s the beauty of these Martis Valley agreements.
With each homeowner who chooses to move into a mansion behind the gates of Siller Ranch, 1 percent of their purchase price will go toward important community causes.
While some future Siller Ranch homeowners may never become true additions to Truckee’s community, when they pull out their pocketbooks to buy their second or third home ” this one in the Sierra we all love ” they will also be putting money down for a better community.
It’s a compromise that helps blur the line dividing ultra-rich vacation homeowners and locals.
Because despite differences, nobody wants to see the local community or our beautiful surroundings overly developed. That’s something we can agree on.
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Kelley R. Carroll, a certified specialist, handles estate planning and will contests in our office with the help of our firm’s litigation department. I do not handle any, be forewarned.