TRUCKEE, Calif. — Division versus inclusion. Those were the opposing themes weighed by the Truckee Planning Commission in recommending a Coldstream development project that opts to connect Deerfield Drive.
Option A (which the commission approved) would allow Deerfield Drive traffic to travel through the project area located between Donner Memorial State Park and the Boulders, where as Option B does not.
“This is not an issue of ‘wouldn’t it be nice if Deerfield Drive was a through street,’” Mark Wirth, a Deerfield resident, said at the planning commission’s June 17 meeting. “The fact is that it would be downright unsafe and unlivable for the Deerfield residents. Please, on the health and wellbeing of my family and the Deerfield residents, do not make Deerfield a through street.”
The Truckee Police Department and Truckee Fire Protection District both prefer Option A in an emergency or evacuation scenario. While Option B provides a Deerfield emergency access connection, a buffer would be put in place to prevent through traffic.
Deerfield Drive is separated near the Taco Bell restaurant by a few hundred yards of land that includes Cold Creek. Connecting it would allow direct access to Coldstream Road from Highway 89 to the east. Currently, motorists must take Donner Pass Road or Interstate 80 to reach the other side.
A traffic study found that Deerfield would experience 950 additional vehicles per day as a result of Option A. Despite that, no changes to Deerfield Drive are recommended.
“I have six grandchildren under the age of 7,” said Deerfield resident Diana Monte. “They won’t be able to play out in the front. It’s going to be too dangerous between the noise and the danger of all those cars and people cutting through. … So I’m asking you, I’m begging for Option B.”
While commissioners acknowledged and thanked the public for their comments, they unanimously approved recommending Option A to Truckee Town Council, determining that it is more consistent with 2025 General Plan, a long-term vision for Truckee development.
“I’m afraid that the Deerfield community members, with all due respect, are looking to the past and looking to preserve the past,” said commissioner Stephen Ramos. “I respect that and I understand why you want to keep it that way. But, unfortunately, sitting in this chair that’s not the only thing I’m required to consider.
“I can look to the future and see 20 years from now there could be real benefits to the Deerfield community from being connected. … I just believe that a community that’s bound together is stronger and better and gains from that diversity and not from segregating ourselves.”
To discourage cut-through traffic in the project area, a winding road with traffic calming measures such as landscape islands between travel lanes is proposed, which will connect Deerfield Drive and Coldstream Road.
“This road connection doesn’t happen on Day 1,” said Mike Vaughan, a senior engineer for the town of Truckee. “... It’s not as if this project would get approved and all of a sudden the traffic numbers we’re talking about on Deerfield Drive are going to arrive at someone’s door. This is going to happen over time.”
The project is broken into five phases, with no year projections at this time, said Mike Isle, project manager for StoneBridge Properties, the project applicant, which is a subsidiary of Teichert Land Company. Road construction is proposed during Phase 5a.
“The vision of this project is to take this former mining area and transform it,” he explained. “Use some of those features at the project site that had been created as a result of the mining and use those as the key building blocks for building a new community that’s really focused on conservation and open spaces as its central amenity.”
Both project options propose up to 300 residential units, including affordable housing; up to 30,000 square feet of commercial space; roughly 109 acres of open space/wetlands; about 4.5 miles of trails; and a public park — located adjacent to Cold Creek in Option A and adjacent to Deerfield in Option B.
The 178-acre property was the site of gravel and sand mining from the mid-1950s to mid-80s, Isle said. According to Teichert, it’s committed to converting previously mined lands into open space, nature preserves, agricultural land and other uses compatible with neighboring communities.
If approved by town council, the earliest the project could break ground is spring 2015, Isle said. As of Monday, a date for council review has yet to be determined.
To learn more about the Coldstream Specific Plan, visit www.townoftruckee.com.