Kingsbury Summit project
Nestled in a 66-acre hollow, a panoramic view of Minden and the Carson Valley stretching far into the distance, a ritzy resort bustles with hundreds of guests eating expensive food, gambling, playing sports and shopping. Bay Area developer Angelo Morales is proposing this self-contained $700 million project, and he hopes to bring it before the Douglas County Planning Commission in December for preliminary approval.
“We’re just trying to make an area on top of the mountain that people would love to stay at. A four-star, season-round resort that would have every possible sport and activity you could imagine,” Morales said. “My idea is to get more business while deleting the toxic (traffic) situation in Lake Tahoe.”
The clincher that would make the project environmentally friendly, and thus desirable for the Tahoe Basin, according to Morales, is the proposed $30 million gondola linking Genoa, the Kingsbury Summit Development, Heavenly Ski Resort’s Boulder Lodge and the Stateline gaming area.
Although Morales claims the gondola would significantly reduce traffic into the basin, the Nevada Department of Transportation would disagree.
“I would have to say, on first reaction, that the impacts of such a project on traffic will be a very big concern,” said public information officer, Scott Magruder. “Clearly, NDOT’s major concern would have to be the increase in traffic. People want their cars, they want to drive around the lake and explore – even if you tell them to leave their cars behind and take the gondola – they will drive.”
Magruder said approximately 4,500 cars per day drive up Kingsbury Grade from the Carson Valley. Building a year-round resort at the top of the grade would increase those numbers significantly and the narrow, two-lane road would suffer major congestion without viable solutions.
“Widening the road would cost a huge amount and have immense environmental impacts – I doubt that is ever going to happen,” Magruder said.
Water and sewage treatment would be provided independently, Morales said, since Kingsbury General Improvement District would have difficulty meeting the needs of such a large resort.
Also, the project, which falls outside the Lake Tahoe Basin and therefore outside Tahoe Regional Planning Agency jurisdiction, would require major changes and amendments to the Douglas County Master Plan.
“Certainly the project would have to satisfy the full spectrum of environmental concerns before there would be any chance of getting (Douglas County) master plan changes,” said Douglas County Commissioner Don Miner. “We’re not looking for a project that would impose hardship on landowners, but one that will improve the overall area and property values, keep taxes low and bring in a new potential for tourism.”
Miner said the developer’s next step would be public outreach to the communities potentially affected by the project, gathering concerns and addressing them in his plan proposal to the building commission.
“This project would add greatly to making Heavenly more than it already is, it would be a benefit to the region as well as Douglas County,” Miner said. “I encourage him to go forward, it’s exciting stuff and he has a very impressive list of potential partners.”
Kingsbury Summit Development includes:
– $30 million gondola linking Genoa, Kingsbury Summit Development, Heavenly Ski Resort’s Boulder Lodge and the Stateline casino area.
– 500-room hotel
– 300-unit time-share complex
– Employee housing for 200
– Casino with a full-size auditorium
-100,000-square-foot shopping center with numerous restaurants, retail stores and movie theaters
– Year-round sports complex
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