If you’ve visited the downtown Truckee Post Office, you’ve seen it; if you’ve grabbed a drink at Coffeebar, you’ve seen it; it’s likely you’ve even parked in it once upon a time. The large dirt lot off Jibboom Street has been sitting unused since the summer of 2020, and whispers of a housing project have been around since 2017. Still, the lot remains empty, so we decided to ask why. The town and the property owners answer.
Why hasn’t the Residences at Jibboom housing project been built yet? Is it approved by the town? Where do things stand?
The Residences at Jibboom project was initially submitted in January 2018. Although several revisions to the project have subsequently been submitted by the applicant team, a complete application has not yet been received for processing by the town. The most recent submittal was received in December 2020, at which time town staff prepared a letter to the applicant identifying additional information required to begin processing the application. These included submittals for a development code amendment or request for a density bonus to comply with the allowed density for the project site; a right-of-way abandonment for the sale or transfer of town-owned property; a use permit application for slope disturbance; a minor use permit for a parking management plan; and a sign plan for proposed signage.
As with any proposed project, our staff needs to ensure that an application is consistent with the development code and complies with state environmental review requirements. Town staff communicated with the applicants and identified two possible paths forward for them to consider with this project. In spring 2021, the applicant team requested to put the application on hold pending the outcome of the Senate Bill 2 process, which looked at the potential rezone of a number of properties in Truckee, including the Residences at Jibboom site. In order to expedite the SB-2 review, the town council has since incorporated the SB-2 process into the general plan update, and potential rezones will be considered by the planning commission and town council. Town staff continues to work with the applicant team on designing a project that is compliant with the town’s general plan and development code.
~ Laura Dabe, Town of Truckee assistant planner
Our plan today with Residences at Jibboom is no different than it was in 2017, and that is to turn the blighted dirt infill lot into long-term housing for locals. We envision a mixed-use community with affordable workforce and market rate homes that is walkable and designed to be consistent with Truckee history.
We just had a productive meeting with our partners at the town and we continue to search for the best path forward in order to meet our community’s urgent need of housing for locals. Since 2017, we have set out to house locals and have continually worked to fit within the zoning set in Truckee’s 2025 general plan. Eventually, it became clear that a re-zone was required to increase maximum allowable housing density, and we pursued that notion upon recommendation from the town in 2018 and more recently by participating in the state-funded SB-2 process that became known as “housing first.” There have been considerable delays along the way, but we will continue to work tirelessly with our partners at the town planning department, town council, Mountain Housing Council, and the community to provide long-term housing solutions for locals. We have worked with MHC on ideas over the years and invited the High Street neighborhood and town staff to a working group with our architects on a year-long redesign.
We are committed to housing our community. In 2014, the former Cottage Hotel in Brickelltown was converted [by Sean Whelan] into 13 apartments to house locals. In 2020, another workforce housing project, Dollar Hill Apartments, was completed [by Whelan] in Tahoe City, housing about 30 long-term and locally employed tenants, including kids, ski coaches, and fire department, hospital, county, and food service workers.
~ Sean Whelan and Kevin Sloane, Residences at Jibboom owners