TRUCKEE, Calif. - The much anticipated Draft Environmental Impact Report on the proposed Canyon Springs development has no release date as of yet, a town official said Wednesday.
Canyon Springs proposes to construct up to a 204-unit development near the Glenshire neighborhood in eastern Truckee. The development has garnered support in terms of influencing potential tax revenue and business growth, as well as concerns regarding the environment, perceived overcrowding and traffic, among other issues.
According to the development's design, Canyon Springs will have a clustered lot layout implementing guidelines recommended by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a green housing rating system), while featuring more than four miles of public trails containing interpretive signage with the message to "tread carefully."
As of June 2, 2011, the town had received 47 letters from both residents and organizations commenting on the scope of the project, all of which will be taken into consideration as the draft EIR is created, a process that began more than a year ago, said Denyelle Nishimori, senior planner for the town of Truckee.
There is no timeline for when the draft EIR will be completed, she added.
During a recent tour of the property, Truckee resident Christopher "Chip" Huck, project manager and one of the six property owners with Canyon Springs of Truckee, said he is "really looking forward to seeing this environmental impact report," repeatedly saying he and the other landowners - one of which is based in Truckee while the others are located in Oregon and Minnesota - are confident the draft EIR's findings will be favorable to the development.
"When we did buy this property, we knew a lot about the area, a lot about the property itself, so there wasn't a lot risk that we're going to be a major detriment to wildlife or we're going to create this major traffic issue or anything else," Huck said.
Others within the community aren't so sure, however.
In a letter submitted to the town, Glenshire resident Rebecca Reich wrote: "Most of my concern regarding the Canyon Springs Development is over the increase of traffic on Glenshire Drive. We already have too much traffic, traveling too fast on this road ... Small children walk and ride their bikes on this street."
The project proposes that Martis Peak Road, which connects to Glenshire Drive, be Canyon Springs' primary access point, with Edinburgh Drive serving as an emergency-only exit.
"The only entrance to our development, Martis Peak Road, would be shared as the only access to the new development," the 2011 Martis Peak Homeowners Association board of directors wrote to the town. "That concern is still a major one for us. While there are currently approximately 200 day trips per day on Martis Peak Road off Glenshire Drive, depending on the number of multi-family dwellings and secondary dwellings on the proposed 185 lots, this number will increase dramatically.
"We ask the town (to) consider the impact of the increasing density and limited access/exit options for residents in Glenshire, The Meadows, Martis Peak, Canyon Springs and adjacent areas in the case of an emergency such as a wildfire. We ask that careful study be given to the ability of residents to escape in the worst case scenario, as well as the ability of emergency personnel to gain access to the area."
Another issue of concern is for local wildlife, especially deer.
"The EIR should describe all the fish and wildlife resources that may occur in and around the project site," wrote Jeff Drongesen, environmental program manager for California Department of Fish and Game, in May 2011. "This description should include the extent, location and types of habitat, concentration areas, un-fragmented blocks of habitat, and wildlife movement corridors.
"The EIR should describe the project's direct and indirect impacts to these habitats and to specific fish and wildlife resources and provide the specific measures to be implemented to fully mitigate the impacts."
Other concerns include quality of life and noise.
"A major draw for many Glenshire residents is that they live at the edge of a wilderness open space area that leads to a national forest, part of the reason for living in the Truckee area in general," wrote Glenshire resident Alexander Heyman. " ... Currently, Glenshire, being a bedroom community, is a relatively quiet neighborhood. How would this development impact Glenshire and the surrounding communities in terms of noise pollution, excess light pollution at night, congestion and the like?"
"With a development you're trying to balance the economic side of it - it is a business - and you're balancing that with your neighbors concerns," Huck said during the site tour. "You're balancing that with their proximity to your development, you're balancing that with municipality requirements, balancing that with concerns for wildlife preservation, open space, etc.
"There's a lot you're trying to balance for a development overall, and there are a number of people that we can't make happy, so we try to take the most reasonable, rational approach we could."
Overall, Huck said the project's design accommodates the site and the nearby area.
"We believe we've created a worthwhile and balanced project consistent with the zoning and the general plan," he said. "The project incorporates the desire for maintained open space and trails for the public use as well as accommodating local wildlife."
Additional comment on the project will taken once the draft EIR is complete during a 60-day public review period, Nishimori said.
"We look forward to the continuation of this public process and the clarity the report can provide," Huck said. "Upon release of the EIR draft, our team will review the EIR draft, update our project website as necessary, address valid issues, and continue meetings with various members of the public."