(Disclosure: Katie is the step-mother of Julia Mancuso, owner of the proposed Performance Base Camp.)

An important public matter is coming before the Town of Truckee Planning Commission tonight and it’s crucial that we as a community be given all of the pertinent facts about the project and the decision-makers take into account the potentially very negative consequences to the surrounding area.

The proposal is from Jason Burd to build a High Altitude Fitness facility on the corner of Donner Pass Road and Northwoods Boulevard, adjacent to Dickson Realty. Town staff has recommended approval.

I have read through the proposed mitigated negative declaration and the traffic report for the project and I find it incredulous that the planning staff advises approval of the project with so many facts left out of the process. There are three main issues with this project that concern me greatly.

First, this project would make an already dangerous intersection more congested and hazardous. Northwoods is the main and most widely used access road to the Tahoe Donner community, the Tahoe Donner Recreation Center, golf course, and ski area. There have been scores of accidents as vehicles descend the steep road. The grade exceeds the standards required by the Town development code, which means that it would not be possible to build the road as it is under the current regulations. In fact, due to the hazards imposed by the road design, restrictions have been placed on use by school buses and large trucks.

The location of the proposed encroachment is far too close to the intersection with Donner Pass Road. One must think about the interference it would cause to the already overloaded intersection where vehicles are often stacked up in all directions, especially during winter weekends, holidays, and busy summer traffic.

Do they simply not understand how dangerous it is to descend Northwoods in winter driving conditions?

Should the commission make a hurried decision to approve a project proposal that does not address the significant impact of the west site access as proposed?

Should the decision of the commission potentially expose the users of Northwoods to additional dangers and risk because it did not ask for a more detailed traffic analysis that addresses the questions raised in this letter?

The other issue is the workforce housing proposal. The applicant proposes to dedicate land off of Edmunds Drive for some future housing construction. We need housing now. Not only does this project generate a further need, it’s an empty promise and does not provide any relief for a major deficiency in our community.

It would be very nice for Truckee to have a world-class climbing and gym facility. In fact, the planning commission approved such a facility last September. The Performance Base Camp by Julia Mancuso is a 21,000 square feet state-of-the-art fitness gym and indoor climbing facility schedule to be built this summer. Why would the Town encourage two facilities?

It would be imprudent for the Truckee planning commission to approve the High Altitude Fitness facility on the proposed site with the potential negative impacts it would have on Northwoods, existing businesses, and the community. If you have any interest or concern, be sure to voice your opinion at the planning commission public hearing at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17.

~ Katie Mancuso is a commercial real estate broker and property manager here in Truckee. She and her family are strong advocates and contributors in this community and will continue to be.