Our View: Not exempt from doing it right
We are heartened to learn that something of a power struggle over the construction of the Sierra College campus on McIver Hill has been short-circuited.
In February the Sierra Sun reported that a difference of opinion between the Town of Truckee and the Sierra Joint Community College District over permitting, design and construction of the campus threatened to turn into a bureaucratic chest-thumping match.
The district’s position was that state statute allowed it to bypass local planning regulations. The town, however, argued the district had to comply with its standards, pull permits and receive approval just like any other development proposal.
The problem with that scenario was that it would take about eight months to complete, but probably ” and optimistically ” less because the town supports the campus.
Nonetheless, that timeline would have kept the district from breaking ground this construction season.
But instead of a back and forth that could have seen the town having no control at all or the district not breaking ground this year, the powers that be have compromised on a solution.
The district will be exempt from the town’s planning process but will follow our local design and architecture guidelines.
Questions do remain, though, regarding the Highway 89 south-Deerfield Drive entrance to the campus and the impacts that will have on the flow of traffic in that area. Likewise, the town is concerned about how the hilltop site slated to house the campus’ structures will be cleared of trees and graded.
And we agree. Placement of the main entrance to the campus will be important for the flow ” or lack thereof ” of traffic on Highway 89. While the district may get a pass on certain aspects of developing its campus, its plan should be thoroughly vetted as far as traffic impacts. And that means paying the pertinent fees to make sure its done correctly.
And since McIver Hill is smack dab in the middle of town, grading plans and ensuing tree removal should also be carefully studied.
While 70 percent of the voters in the region approved the $35 million bond to fund the campus aimed at increasing local access to higher levels of academia, we’d bet those same folks don’t want to see a self-indulgent ivory tower from every corner of town.