OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — Several residents and organizations continue to criticize the latest Squaw Valley village expansion proposal that would add more lodging and amenities to the historic Olympic ski area.
“This is just the first step in the public process,” said Tom Mooers, executive director of Sierra Watch, in a statement. “But one thing is already clear: People love Squaw Valley and are willing to stand up and defend it.”
Roughly 50 comments were received by a March 24 deadline on the revised Notice of Preparation for the Village at Squaw Valley Specific Plan, many concerned with noise impacts during and after construction, available water supply, increased traffic into the valley and on nearby roads, and impacts to mountain views, among others.
“Keep Disneyland in southern California, please,” wrote Elizabeth Hale, a West Shore resident.
Last December, officials with the KSL Capital Partners-owned ski resort unveiled a smaller, third reworking of the project. Some highlights include:
Reduction in project footprint from 101.5 acres to approximately 94 acres (85 acres in the Main Village area and roughly 9 acres in the East Parcel.)
Reduction in proposed bedrooms from 2,184 to 1,493, a 33 percent decrease.
Reduction in lodging units from 1,093 to 750.
Preservation of the Member’s Locker Room and Olympic House, previously slated to be replaced by high-end hotels.
In his comment letter on behalf of Sierra Watch, Mooers said that comparing the current project to past proposals is misleading.
“The NOP misleads the public by consistently comparing the current project to KSL’s previous proposal, giving the false impression that the current project is somehow environmentally beneficial,” Mooers wrote. “But the failed 2012 proposal is irrelevant; the county must assess the new proposed project on its own merits.”
While some residents and agencies are critical, others are lauding the project as a much-needed improvement for Olympic Valley.
“... Now we have a viable, logical and thoughtful redevelopment plan for the base of the ski area,” several Olympic and regional athletes — including Squaw Valley’s Julia Mancuso and Travis Ganong — wrote in a Sierra Sun opinion column this week. “... We feel the leadership of the mountain is focused on the improvement of the mountain and that now, the redevelopment plans are very much in keeping with the soul and spirit of Squaw Valley.”
A draft EIR should be prepared by this fall or early winter and be circulated for public review before creation of a final EIR — the release date which is unknown, according to Placer County.
“As previously, we are now working with the county and the community in addressing these concerns to the extent feasible and possible,” said Chevis Hosea, vice president of development for Squaw.
Squaw’s goal is to begin project construction in 2016. It’s estimated to take 20 to 25 years to complete.
To view all the comments received on the revised Notice of Preparation for the Village at Squaw Valley Specific Plan, click here.