Palisades Tahoe development back on table after revised environmental report
OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — Following a court order requiring approvals to further develop areas within Olympic Valley, Placer County has released a revised environmental impact report for the Village at Palisades Tahoe Specific Plan.
The announcement makes official the resort’s intent to seek entitlements to revitalize and complete the Village at Palisades Tahoe.
Under the California Environmental Quality Act, Placer County will reassess impacts regarding traffic and transit mitigation, potential water and air quality effects on Lake Tahoe, wildfire evacuation and construction noise.
“Our Village Specific Plan is one of the most thoroughly studied in the county’s history and was reduced by 50% from its original design based on community input,” said Dee Byrne, Palisades Tahoe president and COO. “We remain confident in the plan previously approved. It has been resubmitted with the additional environmental work as requested by the appellate court and county.”
The development proposes up to 1,493 bedrooms in up to 850 units, including a mixture of hotel, condo hotel, fractional ownership and timeshare units. It also includes new, dedicated onsite workforce housing that will be built first and will house 300 employees.
A 90,000-square-foot Mountain Adventure Camp is also proposed and includes family activities and athlete training facilities in an indoor and outdoor environment. The Mountain Adventure Camp includes for an indoor pool system, including water slides and other water-based recreation. The facility could also feature an indoor rock wall, movie theater, bowling alley, and arcade, however the types of programming that could be included have not yet been decided, according to officials from Palisades Tahoe. The facility would also house other guest and employee services such as employee offices and convention services.
“The project will benefit the greater Tahoe region along with Olympic Valley by building on-site workforce housing and contributing an additional $500,000 toward affordable housing initiatives as determined by the county for the Tahoe region,” added Byrne. “It will also generate approximately $7 million in additional TOT (transient occupancy tax) revenue, $97,500 in annual funding for TART, provide funding for significant environmental improvements to Washeshu Creek, an additional fire station and personnel in Olympic Valley, and ongoing funding through the Palisades Valley Foundation for important infrastructure and community-based initiatives in the valley and adjacent lands.”
In total, the plan area encompasses approximately 93.33 acres, most of which consists of the 85-acre resort village located at the west end of the valley within the existing Palisades Ski Resort base area. In addition, an approximately 8.8-acre area referred to as the East Parcel, which is the proposed site for employee housing, is located roughly 1.3 miles east of the main village area and 0.3 miles west of the intersection of Highway 89 and Olympic Valley Road.
A conservation corridor is proposed for the length of Washeshu Creek through the plan area to support improvement of terrestrial and aquatic habitat conditions, improved water quality and sediment management, and increased flood conveyance capacity. Other improvements include new and improved trailheads, a dog park, new fire station, 4,000-square-foot, a new grocery store, a transit center and upgrades to emergency vehicle access routes, bicycle facilities. The specific plan would be developed over an estimated 25-year build-out period, which, according to Palisades Tahoe officials is not a continuous construction timeframe.
The project was originally approved of by the board in 2016. Soon after, Sierra Watch, a nonprofit environmental organization, filed a California Environmental Quality Act lawsuit challenging claims related to adequately describing the environmental setting of the Tahoe Basin, impacts on emergency evacuations, impacts on traffic, noise impacts, and issues surrounding water sources.
In August 2018, the Placer County Superior Court ruled in favor of the county’s decision, resulting in Sierra Watch filing an appeal of that ruling. In August 2021, the court of appeals ruled that the environmental review analysis was deficient and that further analysis was needed regarding Lake Tahoe water quality impacts, evacuation times during emergencies, further discussion of noise impacts, and traffic impact mitigation.
Last August, the court issued a peremptory writ of mandate, requiring the county to rescind its approvals of the project.
“Alterra’s relentless effort to force its reckless development on the Sierra is an insult to anyone who lives, skis, or plays in Tahoe,” said Tom Mooers, Executive Director of Sierra Watch, following the release of Placer County’s revised environmental impact report. “Our community and our mountains deserve better.”
Alterra Mountain Co. owns and operates Palisades Tahoe and is proposing the development.
A public meeting will be held Jan. 19, to receive comments on the revised environmental impact report. Public comment will be offered in-person and virtually through Zoom. The meeting will take place at the North Tahoe Event Center at 8318 North Lake Boulevard in Kings Beach at 10 a.m.
A link to the meeting and the draft environmental impact report can be viewed at http://www.placer.ca.gov/2747/Village-at-Palisades-Tahoe-Specific-Plan.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun, a sister publication of the Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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