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August 1, 2013
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Olympic Valley residents eye incorporation

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — In an effort to exercise some control over local issues such as the proposal to expand the Village of Squaw Valley, some Olympic Valley residents are looking at incorporation as an answer.

“We feel that residents should have a say over a number of things in this valley, and that’s something that should have happened long ago,” said Fred Ilfeld, a board member of Incorporate Olympic Valley. “(It) didn’t, and this particular incident woke us up to the fact that we really acutely need it.”

The “incident” is Squaw’s 101.5-acre capital improvement plan, which proposes the addition of 1,093 lodging units, 47,000 square feet in commercial space and new amenities at the west end of Squaw Valley.

A updated plan is in the works, according to previous reports.

“We’re incorporating so we have some say to keep it (the valley) in character,” Ilfeld said. “Not to stop change, but at least keep it in character and in line with the outdoor mountain site that this is.”

If Olympic Valley is successful in incorporating, it’s believed the new town — which would have identical boundaries to the Squaw Valley Public Service District — would have jurisdiction over plans to expand Squaw, said Peter Schweitzer, chair of Incorporate Olympic Valley.

Yet the motivation to incorporate extends beyond Squaw’s expansion proposal.

“The purpose is local control — it’s over revenue generated here, determining what services we provide and the quality of those services, and over land use and development,” Ilfeld explained.

Snow removal, road maintenance, land use planning and regulation, and other services would be provided by the town of Olympic Valley, post-incorporation.

Other services such as animal control and fire protection would be supplied by current providers Placer County and Squaw Valley Public Service District, respectively.

INCORPORATION MOVEMENT

The original idea to incorporate included Alpine Meadows, yet several discussions and a poll among registered voters determined many were not in favor of joining the effort.

“A majority couldn’t see an advantage,” said Glenn Spiller, an Alpine Meadows resident and board member of Incorporate Olympic Valley, which was formally known as the Squaw Alpine Association.

Reasons include concerns a town council would be mostly composed of Olympic Valley residents and the notion that Squaw Valley would take water from Alpine Meadows for development purposes, Spiller said.

At the end of June, it was decided Olympic Valley would pursue incorporation on its own.

“At the end of the day, we wanted to move forward,” Schweitzer said. “We didn’t need their votes to make this happen.”

To become a town in California, a minimum of 500 registered voters must live within the proposed town limits. As of April, the proposed town of Olympic Valley had about 538 registered voters.

Incorporation is initiated by a petition signed by 25 percent or more of registered voters in a proposed town within a six-month period. Within a month, Incorporate Olympic Valley collected signatures from a little more than 50 percent of valley registered voters.

“I am very heartened by that,” Ilfeld said.

Those who signed the petition won’t necessarily vote in favor of incorporation, Schweitzer said. It just means they support starting the state-mandated process by LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) to determine its feasibility.

Incorporate Olympic Valley hopes to file a finished application, including the petition, a map of proposed town limits and a plan for public services, in two weeks with LAFCO, Schweitzer said.

WHAT’S NEXT?

If LAFCO accepts the application, Incorporate Olympic Valley can begin negotiations with Placer County on a revenue agreement to ensure incorporation does not harm the county financially.

In conjunction, LAFCO will commission a fiscal analysis to determine if the town would be viable.

According to Incorporate Olympic Valley, the proposed town would be financially solvent. It would generate an annual revenue of $4.3 million, with expenses falling short of that figure.

A public meeting would follow completion of the analysis, with a recommendation report from LAFCO’s executive officer prepared beforehand. LAFCO then has the authority to approve, deny or conditionally approve the incorporation proposal.

If approved, an election would follow in which a simple majority vote — more than 50 percent — must be in favor of incorporation in order for it to take effect.

UPCOMING MEETING

The effort to incorporate Olympic Valley will be discussed at Good Morning Truckee on Tuesday, Aug. 13. Incorporate Olympic Valley board members Fred Ilfeld and Peter Schweitzer will speak at the forum.

Further, Chevis Hosea, vice president of development for Squaw Valley, will also provide the latest details on the proposed development at Squaw.

Good Morning Truckee is from 7 to 8:30 a.m. on the second Tuesday of every month at the Truckee Tahoe Airport. It is open to the public.

Price at the door for general public is $10, and $8 for Truckee Donner Chamber members. Price includes a continental breakfast.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Aug 2, 2013 02:08PM Published Aug 4, 2013 04:16PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.