More studies under way on potential Squaw development impacts
August 6, 2014
OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — With a water supply assessment nearing completion, officials are looking at other resources needed to support the proposed Squaw Valley village expansion.
"This project is so big it really prompts us to identify what the needs are to make sure that we are in the ability to provide the level of service that we currently provide," said Mike Geary, general manager for Squaw Valley Public Service District. "We don't want this project to put us on our heels and leave us short staffed, short of facilities or equipment."
Areas of study include capital and space needs for SVPSD's fire and utility departments; sewer and water infrastructure; and financial projections for the 1,493 bedroom-, 850 lodging unit-development.
The capital and space analyses will look at adequacy of fire and utility staffing; equipment; and indoor and outdoor facilities, Geary said.
In 2013, the 16-member fire department responded to 555 emergency calls, using its 10-vehicle fleet, according to the district. As for utilities that year, there were three water tanks, with a combined storage capacity of 1.78 million gallons; 74,636 feet of water mains; and 99,907 feet of sewer mains.
"If and when this all gets built out, does it mean we're going to need more staff?" Geary posed. "Does it mean we're going to need another pickup truck? Are we going to need another backhoe or a loader? Are we going to need more firemen, another fire truck?"
The capital and space analyses will answer those questions, he said. Both studies are under way, with Kings Beach-based PR Design & Engineering performing the utility analysis, and Folsom-based Citygate Associates doing the fire analysis.
Results are tentatively scheduled to be presented to the SVPSD board in September.
As for sewer and water, those analyses will identify pipe sizes and layout of pipes needed to support the project, Geary said. The water analysis will also identify size of water tanks needed.
Reno-based Farr West Engineering will conduct both infrastructure studies, with the sewer analysis possibly being completed as early as this week, and the water analysis by October.
The water analysis is separate from a draft water supply assessment released in June, which found that a "sufficient supply" of water exists in Olympic Valley to support the proposed expansion and other future demands.
On Tuesday, the board of directors reviewed the final WSA, with no action taken. The document will be forwarded to Placer County to be included in the draft Environmental Impact Report, which is being prepared.
The county, SVPSD and Squaw Valley Real Estate, the village project applicant, are interested in strengthening the WSA by running additional groundwater model scenarios with data from the state's ongoing drought, Geary said, but not if it slows down the county's project approval process/schedule.
Lastly, analysis by Truckee-based Hansford Economic Consulting will look at how the project will impact SVPSD's finances, by studying additional projected property taxes, connection fees, and user fees for the district, Geary said. Findings also could be presented to the SVPSD board in September.
"Those monies will help inform us how well we can improve and replace our infrastructure that's not needed as a result of the project itself," he said.
Regarding infrastructure and other needs from SVPSD to serve the project, Squaw Valley Real Estate would fund them, Geary said.
Terms will be outlined in a development agreement between SVPSD and Squaw Valley Real Estate, with negotiations under way. The agreement should be done in time for the project's draft EIR release in either late December 2014 or early January 2015.
"The development agreement is the developer's way to work out all the impacts to us and our ability to serve the project," Geary said. "These analyses help us determine what those impacts are and what those appropriate mitigations are going to be."
Squaw Valley Real Estate also is funding the studies, with the five totaling $74,758, he said.
"We want to be in a good position with our infrastructure, with our finances, our staff, our facilities, our fleet — that's really what we're trying to manage," Geary said. "… When it's all said and done and we're coming out of the tail end of it saying, 'OK, you guys, everyone that has been a customer for 50 years and, you, brand new customers, we're here to serve you at a very high level."