Guest Column: Look out … East West Partners is back
April 24, 2014
East West Partners — you remember them, the Colorado developers that bought Truckee when no one was looking? Don't remember?Think Ritz-Carlton, Old Greenwood and the Gray's Crossing bankruptcies filed in 2010.
Just when you thought it was safe, now in partnership with Sierra Pacific Industries — which owns the land in the Martis Valley — East West is back.
An application has been filed with Placer County to begin the process to build clustered development (whatever that means) on top of the ridge on 112 acres inside the Lake Tahoe Basin. It's called the Martis Valley West project.
You know Highway 267 at the top of Brockway Summit? Take a left on Mt. Watson Rd. (aka Fiberboard Freeway) go in about a mile and you are there. The development will spill over the ridge into Martis Valley with a total of 760 units and 6.6 acres of commercial.
Currently the acreage is zoned "forest," but East West wants to change that zoning to allow residential development. They aren't saying how many units will be inside the basin — we've heard 200 — how much land will be covered, how many trees will be cut down, how much commercial will be located there or how tall the buildings will be.
East West says they will give us the details at a later date, but they want the zoning changed now. This is wrong — Tahoe deserves a standalone detailed application first.
This expansion of the urban boundary at Tahoe could be allowed thanks to TRPA's Regional Plan Update. Remember TRPA's no-growth guarantees? The justification is a conservation easement on 6,000 acres outside the Lake Tahoe basin on the east side of Highway 267.
I guess if you save land in New York City you get to build at Tahoe. Talk about a dangerous precedent.
In 2011, East West Partners announced a partnership with KSL Capital Partners, the owners of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. We can certainly look forward to more bad ideas in the future unless we stop this now.
We only have until April 28, 2014, to comment on the Notice of Preparation for the environmental report. There will be other opportunities to comment and save an important North Shore recreation area between Kings Beach and Tahoe City.
Save Mt. Watson Road. Let's get on it.
Check out the Martis Valley project at http://www.placer.ca.gov/departments/communitydevelopment/envcoordsvcs/eir/martisvalleywestparcel.
Ann Nichols is a 42-year resident of the North Shore, a Real Estate Broker, president of the North Tahoe Preservation Alliance and member of the Lake Tahoe Federal Advisory Committee. She can be reached at email@example.com.