Court blocks Lake Tahoe resort expansion over environmental issues

California appeals court orders new rules for compliance for Squaw Valley project, which would include 850 residential units and hotel rooms

National Weekend Edition /
Aug.August 28, 2021 02:00 PM
The original 1960 Winter Olympic rings in the Squaw Valley Ski Resort (Getty)

The original 1960 Winter Olympic rings in the Squaw Valley Ski Resort (Getty)

A California appeals court blocked a long-planned expansion of Squaw Valley Ski Resort over environmental concerns. The development would have 850 residential units and hotel rooms on the resort’s parking lot, and would include a 90,000-square-foot entertainment center and water park.

The three-judge panel granted parts of two appeals filed by Sierra Watch over developer and resort owner Alterra Mountain’s project, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The decision reverses a lower court ruling from 2018, and ordered that court to create new rules for the project to ensure compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, which is commonly used as grounds to appeal development projects.

The project at Squaw Valley, which hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics, was proposed a decade ago and has changed over the years.

Opponents claim that 40 percent of traffic generated by the expansion would travel into the Lake Tahoe basin, increasing the movement of sediment into the lake and raising nitrate emissions.

Alterra Mountain says the development “would not result in stormwater runoff or other pollutants draining into the lake.”

The appeals court found that the county admitted that increased traffic would pollute the lake, failed to include it in an environmental report and gave the public “little if any ability to evaluate the relevance of that change to Lake Tahoe.”

Dee Byrne, COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows resort, called the project “responsible development” in the Olympic Valley, bringing “higher-paying jobs, increased tax revenue [and] more affordable housing.”

[LAT] — Dennis Lynch 





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