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Case Study - Overcoming Barriers to Infill

Community Transformation
From 2000 to 2015 Truckee made strategic investments in planning and infrastructure to dramatically transform their downtown and community.  They started with an Infill Score of 25 and worked systematically and strategically to implement new policies and create new partnerships and access new funding sources.  Today they have an Infill Score of 85 while transforming their Downtown creating local jobs, improving tax revenue and creating new affordable housing opportunities.  They have also been voted one of the top mountain communities by Outside Magazine.  
Infill Score 2000 Truckee Dinsmore
The Infill Score above shows the completed strategies in green, and in progress strategies in yellow.  
Barriers to infill in Truckee in 2000
"Our incentives for infill are not yet strong enough to overcome the simplicity of developing readily available greenfield sites in Town that are not in infill locations.  In 2000 the market for residential development in infill locations in the Sierra is untested and unproven."  
Tony Lashbrook, Town Manager
Challenges to Infill
  1. Adequate Infrastructure to Serve Infill Development
  2. Designing a Development Impact Fee System that Facilitates an Infill Strategy
  3. Connecting investment opportunities to a global real estate Marketplace
SMART Infill Town of Truckee Tony Lashbrook
Truckee SMART incremental infill by Tony Lashbrook
How are you building support for infill?

Through broad community engagement, Truckee developed and adopted the Downtown Specific Plan in 1997. In addition, the Town's general plan and development code identified other infill areas outside of downtown and specifically provided increased floor area.

Infill strategies available in California

Almost right after the incorporation of the Town of Truckee we began work on the General Plan and Downtown Specific Plan. We prepared an EIR for the downtown specific plan which provides for streamlined environmental review of residential (and certain other project types) under California law.

Infill Score 2015 Truckee Dinsmore

How did you build support for infill between 2000 & 2015?

Ensuring quality design, investing in public infrastructure in infill locations, providing meaningful opportunities for public engagement (Downtown Design Center, Charrettes, Events).

Infill strategies available in California.

Use of specific plans with master EIRs to streamline subsequent entitlements, use of master plans and program level environmental review to exempt entitlements from further review or at least focus review on specific issues.

What innovative approaches have you used to overcome obstacles to infill?

Upfront planning encouraging density/intensity and providing flexibility in use and standards in infill location. Use of redevelopment and other financing mechanisms to support infill. Prioritization of capital improvements in infill areas.

Truckee Railyard Project Dinsmore
What are the barriers to infill in Town of Truckee- 2015 ?

The economy is still a barrier. "Urban" infill in a rural mountain resort community is still relatively untested from a market standpoint. The cost of addressing infrastructure in infill locations is higher than many green field sites.

Truckee Railyard Partnership Darin Dinsmore
Truckee Railyard Partnership by Darin Dinsmore
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