Planning Commission Meeting 8/11/16

The Placer County Planning Commission hearing of the proposed Village at Squaw Valley project will be held  August 11, 10:00 AM at the Kings Beach Event Center (8318 N Lake Blvd, Kings Beach, CA).

While the Planning Commission makes only recommendations on projects of this scope and impact to the Board of Supervisors, their decision is very, very important. This hearing follows closely on the heels of the Planning Commission’s voting 5-2 to reject the Final EIR on the Martis West Project and to recommend rejection of the project Specific Plan. (The Martis West project proposed 760 single family homes and additional commercial space in the land between Northstar and the highway 267 ridgeline). The rejection was based on the inadequacy of the EIR to address three items: traffic, pollution in the Lake Tahoe Basin, and issues with wild fire evacuation(the latter being very prominent in the final discussions).

Also significant for that outcome was the massive turnout of upwards of 300 people at the two meetings of community members opposed to the project, and the great number of people who took the microphone to publicly voice their opinions.

Clearly, the question in everyone’s mind is to what extent does the Martis West vote portend anything about the Squaw Valley vote. And to what extent will  the Planning Commission heed the recommendation of the Squaw Valley MAC which voted 3-1 (with 3 members having to recuse themselves from voting) to reject the proposed Village at Squaw Valley Specific Plan, and recommend analysis of a scaled back version like the Reduced Density Alternative in the draft EIR.

To refresh your memories, the position of the Friends of Squaw Valley is not one of anti-development. Rather it is one of opposition to the size of the proposed project and voicing support (as the MAC recommendation said) for analysis of a scaled back version like the Reduced Density Alternative in the draft EIR.

Briefly, our opposition to the Project is based on several key issues, including:

  1. The EIR traffic analysis flawed and with traffic is already at gridlock, this project will only worsen it. A key traffic intersection will have a LOS level at F. Public transportation is not the solution until 89 has a dedicated bus lane. Regionally, cumulative impacts have not been adequately addressed.
  2. There is a high danger of an environmental disaster with the maintenance facility (with oil, grease, propane tanks, heavy machinery) at the mouth of Shirley Canyon, immediately adjacent to Squaw Creek.
  3. The peak overnight population is already close to or above the stated limit of 12,000 stated in 1983 SVGPLUO. The County analysis of overnight population is flawed.
  4. There is severe visual obstruction and impact due to 96’ tall Mountain Activity Center front and center of the development. One would think that with the natural beauty of the Valley and its reputation for outdoor activity, that more creative ways to bring visitors here could be proposed.
  5. Wildland fire evacuation is a serious issue, especially with Placer County focusing on Tahoe City for future improvements. The Final EIR documents that the Village will add 50% (from 4 to 6 hours) to the Valley evacuation time, to say nothing about the chaos on 89 from Tahoe City and environs. There is no solution to this, just as there was no solution to the Martis West evacuation issue.

The link below is to a position paper from May of this year, describing the FoSV position in detail.

FoSV’s Position on the Proposed Village at Squaw Valley

It is clear that Squaw Valley Ski Holdings/Squaw Valley Real Estate has learned from their turnout debacle at the MAC meeting, and is pumping money and effort into public relations to generate turnout for the August 11 meeting. It is therefore vitally important that all concerned community members attend this meeting in order to voice their opinions on the Final EIR and the Specific Plan.