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April 25, 2013
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My Turn: A Squaw Valley resident's perspective

I read with interest the article by Andy Wirth in the 4/10 Sierra Sun, and felt the need to respectfully comment on several of his points.

He is correct that the community of Squaw Valley is something special, but he apparently fails to recognize that we neighbors who actually live and participate in the workings of this community have a vested interest in preserving many of the “values” described in the 1983 SV General Plan.

To refer to KSL’s plans of “restoring Squaw Valley’s proud position as a world-class destination” misses the point entirely. It is a misuse of the word “restore” as Squaw has never been a destination resort(despite the efforts of prior developers), though it certainly has been described by many as a world-class mountain.

I would also point out that while KSL claims to intend to make improvements to Squaw Creek as part of the village development project, those plans clearly would not restore the creek to anything close to its original state. Those improvements would simply beautify and hopefully reverse some of the damage to it.

I know that Mr. Wirth and KSL claim to use sound environmental principles and sustainable practices, and that the US Alpine Championships were claimed to be a “carbon-neutral event,” but purchasing carbon credits, while commendable, is a far cry from actually reducing one’s carbon footprint in their on site daily business practices.

We commend them for their concerns about the local environment, and would certainly welcome more green (and less concrete) in their village expansion plans, since all ski resort development inevitably leads to environmental degradation.

While on the surface, the Community Advisory Council would appear to be a valuable forum, the members of our community do not know who these “independent” voices are.

Moreover, we do not know what community or interests they represent(e.g. are they all residents of SV?), nor how the so-called “community-based decision making” will be used to advance KSL’s agenda and development plans, which would forever alter the landscape and character of this unique and beautiful valley in which we live.

I would hope as we get closer to the release of the dEIR, that both Mr. Wirth and Mr. Hosea strongly reconsider not only decreasing the building heights that exceed those of the current village, but also increasing view corridors and gathering plazas(open space).

These changes would diminish the overall density and improve the aesthetics of the proposed village expansion. I believe that a majority of interested folks want a more vibrant and active village, just not a “city” of shadows, walls and buildings.

Jon Shanser is an Olympic Valley resident.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Apr 25, 2013 06:16PM Published Apr 25, 2013 12:18PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.