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Ever since the formation of the Friends of Squaw Valley in 2012, we have sought a balanced development approach (aka “a goldilocks solution”…not too big and not too small) to protecting the environment and quality of life in Squaw Valley and acknowledging the legitimate economic interests of the developer. That was the challenge suggested by Supervisor Montgomery several years ago. We have stayed true to that goal up through and including our presentation to the Board of Supervisors at the November 15, 2016 meeting when the Board voted 4 to 1 to approve the Environmental Impact Report and the Specific Plan without change.
Since that decision, the focus of attention and action shifted to the legal process. As expected, the conservation group, Sierra Watch, has filed a lawsuit against the developer and Placer County. To quote from their press release, “Placer County failed …to adequately analyze or mitigate the Project’s numerous significant environmental impacts, including direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on water supply, hydrology and water quality, traffic and air quality, the Lake Tahoe Basin, fire and emergency hazards, climate change, biological resources, historic resources, night sky and scenic/visual resources, noise, and population and housing.”
Sierra Watch believes their position is “rock solid”. Their goal, as stated, “is not simply to prevail in court but, more importantly, to bring people to the table to come up with a blueprint for Squaw that we can all be proud of.”
As stated earlier, the Friends of Squaw Valley will not engage in an independent lawsuit to challenge the Board’s decision. However, many of our members will be financially and emotionally supporting the Sierra Watch action, as will scores of others who signed petitions, wrote comment letters and who are outraged by the decisions of the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. If you agree with the legal challenge, we suggest that you financially support Sierra Watch http://keepsquawtrue.org . We expect Sierra Watch’s legal battle against Placer County and Squaw Valley Ski Holdings to be contentious, expensive, and lengthy.
While this is going on, the Friends of Squaw Valley will use every opportunity it can to underscore our Mission Statement from 2012:
“The Friends of Squaw Valley is a forum whose mission is to advocate for environmentally sustainable, economically viable, and aesthetically compatible development in Squaw valley while preserving its community character.”
Our position with regard to the environmental impacts has been and remains the same:
- The problem of traffic, already often at gridlock, has not been solved by money.
- The permanent, increased noise issue is not solved by the speculative and questionable mitigation of applying Rubberized Hot Mix Asphalt to our main road.
- The entrance to Shirley Canyon would be adversely impacted by tree cutting and placing fractional homes in currently undeveloped, critical aquifer recharge zones.
- Squaw Creek would be permanently threatened by locating the heavy maintenance facility with its hazardous and toxic chemicals as well the “propane tank farm” next to the stream.
- The Mountain Adventure Center, a 96 foot high, 90,000 square foot indoor water park, runs contrary to our Squaw Valley ethos and culture.
- The requested 25-year timeline approval window is way too lengthy for this community (especially because this developer will likely be gone within 5 years). Recreational drivers change and certainly will be different in the next quarter century. And
- Climate change science is real and is not meaningfully addressed in this proposal, nor has the developer made any commitment to green and solar energy.