Village At Squaw Valley Draft EIR Released

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Even after several revisions to the plans for “new” Village at Squaw Valley, it’s still looks like a behemoth that is not needed for anything, except lining the pockets of KSL Capital investors. The draft Evironmental Impact Report, released today, is also a behemoth. Viewing the entire EIR would entail downloading 25 separate PDF files from Placer County. We have not done that yet. We did look at the Executive Summary section. While Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, Squaw Valley Real Estate and CEO Andy Wirth have painted themselves green, there’s an alarming number of impacts identified by the EIR preparation team, Ascent Environmental. Here’s a brief summary:

2.2.1 Significant and Unavoidable Environmental Impacts

Implementation of the proposed Specific Plan would result in the following significant unavoidable environmental impacts, following implementation of feasible mitigation measures:

Cultural Resources

  • Impact7-1: Demolition of historically significant buildings

Visual Resources

  • Impact 8-1: Adverse effect on a scenic vista (construction and operations as experienced by long-term residents)
  • Impact 8-2: Substantially degrade the existing visual character or quality of the site and its surroundings (construction)
  • Impact 8-3: Substantially damage scenic resources, including, but not limited to, trees, rock outcroppings, and historic buildings within a scenic highway (construction)
  • Impact 8-5: Create a new source of substantial light or glare that would adversely affect day or nighttime views in the area (operations)

Transportation & Circulation

  • Impact 9-2: Impacts to Placer County intersections
  • Impact 9-3: Impacts to Caltrans intersections
  • Impact 9-4: Impacts caused by vehicular queuing at Caltrans intersections
  • Impact 9-5: Impacts to Caltrans highways

Noise

  • Impact11-1:Construction noise impacts
  • Impact11-5:Exposure of new and existing sensitive receptors to operational project-generatedtransportation noise sources (potentially significant for existing sensitive receptors)

Greenhouses Gases & Climate Change

  • Impact 16-2: Operational greenhouse gas emissions (potentially significant after 2020)

Cumulative Impacts

  • Impact 18-12: Cumulative effect on historical resources
  • Impact18-14:Substantial adverse cumulative effecton a scenicvista
  • Impact 18-15: Substantial contribution to the cumulative degradation of the existing visual character or quality of the site and its surroundings
  • Impact 18-16: Substantial cumulative contribution to damage to scenic resources, including but not limited to trees, rock outcroppings, and historic buildings within a scenic highway
  • Impact 18-18: Contribute to cumulative light and glare or skyglow effects in the region
  • Impact 18-21: Cumulative impacts to Caltrans intersections
  • Impact 18-22: Cumulative impacts caused by vehicular queuing at Caltrans intersections
  • Impact18-23:Cumulative impacts to Caltranshighways
  • Impact18-31:Cumulativeshort-termconstruction-generatednoise
  • Impact18-32:Cumulativelong-termambientnoiselevels
  • Impact 18-43: Cumulative greenhouse gas emissions

Absolutely none of this is a mystery to anybody that has been following the progression of the project since KSL Capital and Squaw Valley Real Estate first proposed it in 2011. The latest revisions, completed in April of 2015 still call for:

  • Up to 1493 bedrooms contained within 850 housing units
  • Almost 300,000 square feet of commercial and retail space will be created, approximately triple the 100,000 square feet of commercial and retail space that will be removed.
  • Older employee housing will be removed and replaced by new employee housing for up to  300 staff on the East Parcel
  • Creation of the 90,000 square foot Mountain Adventure Center, which would include an indoor water park and other amenities designed to discourage visitors from leaving the resort
  • More than 3000 parking spaces would be created at full build out

It’s a project that would span an estimated 25 years of construction. That construction is not limited to just Olympic Valley. We have frequently talked about the Liberty Power project, the 8-Mile pipe and the need for significant expansion of the Highway 89 corridor to handle the needs of KSL’s proposed development. These projects will be costly to all of us: locals, part-time residents and visitors alike.

It’s not that we are against any redevelopment or expansion in the Lake Tahoe area. We’re just in favor of reasonable development that will support a healthy economy and a healthy environment for years to come.

The release of the draft Environmental Impact Report by Placer County means that the 60 day public commentary period opens soon. Public comments on the project will be received from May 18 through July 17, 2015. Comments may be emailed to cdraecs@placer.ca.gov or mailed directly to:

  • Maywan Krach, Community Development Technician
  • Environmental Coordination Services
  • Placer County Community Development Resource Agency
  • 3091 County Center Drive, Suite 190
  • Auburn, CA 95603

There is also a public hearing scheduled in Tahoe City on Thursday, June 25th at 10:05 am. The hearing will be held at the North Tahoe Event Center in Kings Beach. We encourage you to attend the hearing and also submit comments if you truly care about the future of Squaw Valley, Olympic Valley, the Tahoe region and most importantly, our world.

We expect that we will see more detailed analysis of the draft EIR by Sierra Watch and other groups in the coming days. We hope to share their thoughts with our readers.

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