Truckee Grocery Outlet project appealed by local residents
March 8, 2018
When Bud and Sharon Arnold learned of a proposal to build a Grocery Outlet adjacent to their Gateway Park neighborhood, the longtime residents wanted more information on the project.
So they attended a neighborhood gathering in January about the proposed grocery store, studied the details associated with the project, and then showed up at a Town of Truckee Planning Commission meeting in February to voice their displeasure.
Their concerns about the project largely centered around commercial and customer traffic being routed through their Vista Avenue community where Sharon Arnold's father built a home 60 years ago.
But after the planning commission approved the project, following a more than four-hour meeting on the issue, the couple decided to challenge the decision because of the impact it could have on their residential community.
“Rather than consider this little residential neighborhood they want to think about the store and putting all that traffic on the street … I don’t get it,” Bud Arnold said.
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That meant paying a $951 fee to file an appeal of the proposed 17,568-square-foot grocery store, in hopes of convincing the Town Council to overturn the planning commission's decision.
The council could address the appeal at a meeting in April, at which Bud and Sharon Arnold said they would be given about 15 minutes to plead their case.
TRAFFIC A TOP PRIORITY
Bud Arnold indicated that he would talk about what bugs him most about the grocery store, which is earmarked for a 1.54-acre parcel on Donner Pass Road at Vista Avenue.
"This is a residential street (Vista Avenue). OK. That's a commercial lot on Donner Pass Road. Now you don't put all of their trucks and traffic onto a residential street," he said.
"To me, I would think that would be the first priority that the planning commission would consider when they even start something."
The traffic he referenced would come in the form of roughly five, 18-wheeler deliveries per week and miscellaneous box truck deliveries in the daytime, according to project documents filed with the Town of Truckee Planning Division.
"Rather than consider this little residential neighborhood they want to think about the store and putting all that traffic on the street … I don't get it," Bud Arnold said.
He also feels the proposed Grocery Outlet is too big, and that there is potential for vagrants and panhandlers to hang out on Vista Avenue much like they do at entries and exits at other grocery stores around town.
"The architect designed a beautiful building. Looks nice, but it's so damn big they had to open up Vista Avenue," he added.
His wife, Sharon Arnold, said she would likely talk about the history of their Gateway Park residential area, which was developed by Dick Joseph. He established the Gateway Motel and gas station in 1938.
Joseph was also a businessman and philanthropist, who donated land that paved the way for the construction of Tahoe Forest Hospital on Donner Pass Road.
The Truckee-Donner Historical Society has documented Joseph's contributions to the Truckee area, and also named its research library after him. The Joseph Research Library is located at Meadow Park off Donner Trail Road.
"They need to know the history of Gateway," Sharon Arnold said. "It's not a slum area."
APPROVAL NOT YET 'OFFICIAL'
Capitol Avenue Development in West Sacramento is the applicant team behind the Grocery Outlet project. Brad Hays, who represented the development group at the planning commission meeting, could not be reached for comment.
But he said at the planning commission meeting that the project has come a long way. He also thanked the neighbors, community, and town staffers for their input on the project.
The project also features two residential components — one 530-square-foot, one-bedroom unit and one 788-square-foot, two-bedroom unit.
The Grocery Outlet is also designed differently than the standard blueprint, such as the store location in Carson City, Nevada. The Grocery Outlet in Truckee has been designed to town standards, which means the exterior will have a more rustic, mountain feel and look.
"We are very proud of how far we've come," said Hays at the planning commission meeting.
Protect CEQA of Sacramento has also appealed the Grocery Outlet project, said Kirk Skierski, assistant planner for the Town of Truckee.
"The Planning Commission approved the project, and then two appeals were filed. So the project will not be officially approved or denied until it is reviewed by the Town Council," Skierski said.
Protect CEQA cited numerous issues for appealing the project in a filing that dwarfed the three-page appeal registered by Bud and Sharon Arnold. The Protect CEQA appeal weighs in at a single page with more than 100 pages of attached documents.
The issues include a claim that the approval of the project by the planning commission is "at variance with the Town's General Plan policies to protect and enhance the vitality of the Town of Truckee."
The group also stated the town must comply with the California Environmental Quality Act "and reconsider the planning commission's approval of the application."
Protect CEQA Executive Director Andrew Grundman could not be reached for comment.
Staff writer Wyatt Haupt Jr. can be reached at 530-550-2652 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.