TRUCKEE " Truckee's Railyard development cleared the planning commission Wednesday, leaving just the town council to make a final decision later in June " but that may not be the end of it.
The planning commission on May 27 unanimously voted to recommend approval of the Environmental Impact Report and master plan for the 75-acre Railyard development that would add a movie theater, hotel, residential and commercial space to the eastern end of downtown Truckee. That leaves the final decision to the town council " scheduled for June 17.
But a group called the Friends of Truckee is now set on litigation to stall the project, taking issue with the re-routing of Donner Pass Road from the east that currently curves into downtown, which would move inside the new project and create a T intersection.
"They (the town) are willing to go through with it at our expense, and we are willing to stop it at their expense," said Siobhan Smart, president of the group.
The move could cost the project millions of dollars in California Prop 1C funding the developers are going after for infrastructure work like roads, utilities and relocating the railroad balloon track.
"We scored really high for the state funding, and we've got a lot of political support from McClintock and Feinstein," said Rick Holliday, owner of the project. "With the level of support I have had I'll hang in as long as it takes in the legal system, but it will be a shame."
If the project is approved by the town council and is able to go forward unimpeded by a lawsuit, Holliday said site cleanup could begin in the fall, some infrastructure started next summer, and the hotel constructed shortly after that.
The whole thing, built out in phases, would likely take about 15 years, Holliday said.
While the Truckee Fire Protection District doesn't take issue with the Railyard project itself, Chief Bryce Keller said he and the board wants to see extra funds to help the district keep up with growth as part of the project's required mitigations " something not in the town's documents.
"We are in dialogue with Holliday and we believe there are some workable solutions," Keller said. "We think we can sit down with them and work out the remaining issues."
At a previous meeting, Town Manager Tony Lashbrook said the fire district would either need to create their own Mello Roos district, or come to the town council to create new policy that would apply to all new development.
At Wednesday's meeting the Truckee Planning Commission added some recommendations to the Railyard project, addressing the mass and scale of building in the project, and the use of commercial space.
They recommended reducing some building heights along Trout Creek, and suggested that ground-floor commercial spaces allow up to 50 percent office space for the first five years of the project.
To learn more about the Railyard, go to http://www.truckeerailyard.com, or http://www.townoftruckee.com/index.aspx?page=466.