Placer planners OK two Martis Valley subdivisions

TRUCKEE - While the Placer County Planning Commission didn't allow public comment on the proposed Siller Ranch subdivision in Martis Valley, its members couldn't shut out the boos that showered the North Tahoe Conference Center upon approval of the 726-unit, 2177-acre project.

The commission's approval Thursday of two subdivisions, Siller Ranch and Eaglewood, sets the stage for the development of 1,188 residential units and 45 holes of golf in the northwestern portion of the contested mountain valley near Truckee.

The projects will almost certainly encounter several more hurdles, as the environmental group Sierra Watch vowed to appeal both projects to the Placer County Board of Supervisors. Sierra Watch also promised to sue Siller Ranch if Placer supervisors uphold the planning commission's approval.

The commission "rubber-stamped two projects (Thursday), and Sierra Watch will meet them at every step," vowed Sierra Watch Executive Director Tom Mooers. "They continue to do what the developer wants, and not what is best for the Tahoe Truckee region."

The difference between the Eaglewood and Siller subdivisions was evident early on when representatives of the Town of Truckee and the Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe spoke in favor of Eaglewood, especially the 56 affordable units proposed in the plan.

Some neighbors of the Eaglewood parcel said the planners had been thorough in evaluating their concerns, taking steps to mitigate any negative effects. Sierra Watch President David Welch even noted that Eaglewood was an example of a developer's ability to include a mix of housing types and costs in a project and still make money.

Truckee Councilman Ted Owens was the only member of the public allowed to speak on the Siller proposal. He urged the commission to allow public comment on remarks the developer of Siller Ranch made earlier.

"I thought that was flat-out wrong," Owens said after the meeting. "The developer made some comments here that should have been opened up to the public. There were some things that I wanted to say, and I will say them to the Board of Supervisors."

The gates proposed at the entrances to both subdivisions prompted the most discussion by the commission. It included a condition that would make Eaglewood keep its gates open during the day, but allowed Siller Ranch to keep a "hard gate" entrance that would allow access to only residents and guests.

Siller Ranch and Eaglewood were approved under the 2003 Martis Valley Community Plan, which is under legal challenge.


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