After initial public hearing, many in favor of Boulder Bay project in North Tahoe | SierraSun.com

After initial public hearing, many in favor of Boulder Bay project in North Tahoe

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. and#8212; Of the varying opinions expressed this week at the first public hearing of Boulder Bay’s draft eco study, perhaps the most important words were those of Tahoe Vista resident Ellie Waller.

and#8220;I don’t know how anyone can commit today … until I’ve read the entire document, I don’t have a view one way or the other,and#8221; she told the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board. and#8220;I encourage everyone and all of you to read the entire document. Let’s not just make a global position on this.and#8221;

Waller was among about 100 residents, business owners and local figureheads who attended Wednesday’s meeting to observe the first public presentation of the 1,589-page Draft Environmental Impact Study that dissects the ecological and economic impact of Boulder Bay, the proposed project in Crystal Bay and Brockway aiming to redevelop the Tahoe Biltmore and Tahoe Mariner sites.

After hearing a project synopsis from project gurus David Landry (TRPA senior planner), Rob Brueck (with Hauge Brueck Associates, the company that prepared the environmental study) and Lew Feldman (the project’s land use counsel) the board heard roughly 40 comments from the public.

While most backed the project and Boulder Bay’s preferred option and#8212; alternative C, which boasts a 300-room hotel with a 10,000 square-foot casino, 59 whole-ownership units, a spa and other amenities while promising significant water quality benefits and#8212; a few voiced concern, namely about height and traffic concerns.

Below are some comments presented at Wednesday’s meeting:

Crystal Bay resident Ron Code: and#8220;No projects turn out as good as they look on paper. Iand#8217;m not sure if this dense development is the prudent way to go. If it is built, and then it does not succeed … it is a very risky move. Whatever maximums you set for this project become de facto minimums … moving forward.and#8221;

Dave Paulson, Transportation Director at Northstar-at-Tahoe: and#8220;Alternative C gives us a golden opportunity for long-term environmental stewardship … for all of Lake Tahoe.and#8221;

Incline resident Margaret Martini: and#8220;This project is not going to be the job bonanza that everyone thinks itand#8217;s going to be. The economic problems are that people donand#8217;t have money or jobs in their own town; they arenand#8217;t going to travel here. Also … amending (TRPA) code for this project sets a precedent … for the rest of the Lake Tahoe Basin.and#8221;

Emilio Vaca, with the North Tahoe Family Resource Center: and#8220;I support Boulder Bay. We need work. We need visitors to come out and support us. We need to give our struggling communities a boost.and#8221;

Pam Hobday, with the Cancer Advisory Council of Tahoe Forest Health System: and#8220;Iand#8217;m very supportive of the Boulder Bay project; it creates an opportunity for a vision … for a very unique wellness center … for Lake Tahoe.and#8221;

Bob Maxson, Sierra Nevada College president: and#8220;This will help all the communities around the lake.and#8221;

Paul Reynolds, Crystal Bay resident: The Marriner site … is a blight to our community, and it needs to be revitalized.and#8221;

Alex Mourelatos, owner of Mourelatos Lakeshore Resort in Tahoe Vista: and#8220;People are leaving the area because they no longer can afford to live here. There are not too many people trying to invest in our dying communities. We need to support … ideas like Boulder Bay that are technically sound.and#8221;

Ron Grassi, president of the Tahoe Area Sierra Club: and#8220;Generally speaking, this looks to be a terrific improvement … to that area. But we are in the position to ask questions … about water, about traffic. We feel traffic is going to go up, not down, as proposed in the project.and#8221;

Steve Teshara, executive director of North lake Tahoe Resort Association: and#8220;That area is no longer economically sustainable … and to apply a Band-Aid approach would be the worst alternative. Alternative C has the most Community Enhancement Project benefits.and#8221;

Cheri Sprenger, president of the North Tahoe Business Association: and#8220;This project is critical for our overall health.and#8221;

Ann Nichols, president of the North Tahoe Preservation alliance: and#8220;We support the project, but some of the community is troubled … by the alternatives. and#8220;This is a demonstration project for the (TRPA) Regional Plan, so letand#8217;s do it right.and#8221;

Maya Schneider, former Truckee mayor: and#8220;Iand#8217;m in support of Boulder Bay. It could … create as many as 200 jobs. Thatand#8217;s a significant number in any economy and#8212; itand#8217;s a godsend in this economy.and#8221;

Rochelle Nason, executive director of the League to Save Lake Tahoe: and#8220;I term this a community transformative project … with irrevocable commitments. What is the rest of the picture beyond this project?and#8221;

Jan Colyer, executive director of Truckee North Tahoe Transportation Management Association: and#8220;Iand#8217;m really excited about the Boulder Bay program.and#8221;

Chris Ryman, owner of Booth Creek resorts, among six people representing Northstar-at-Tahoe in favor of Alternative C: and#8220;This is a flagship project for Lake Tahoe. Itand#8217;s a project so rich with all the right things … it will make a huge contribution to this community.and#8221;

Margaret Eadington, Crystal Bay resident: and#8220;Crystal Bay is not an urban node or a diverse community center. This project will overwhelm this small community and forever change its character.and#8221;

Read more commentary from residents, businesses and environmental groups from Wednesday’s TRPA meeting at http://www.sierrasun.com, or read Friday’s print edition of the Sierra Sun.

View a full digital copy of the EIS online at http://www.sierrasun.com/boulderbaydocuments. Copies of the document will be available at the Incline Village Library and the Kings Beach Library.

Prior to the presentation, TRPA Executive Director Joanne Marchetta announced her decision to extended the draft environmental impact study public comment period an additional 30 days.

Members of the public can now submit comments and questions about the proposed project until Feb. 4, 2010. After that date, all commentary will be combined with TRPA advisory planning commission and governing board input for the final eco study.

Below is a list of additional public comment forums taking place on the proposed project:

and#8226; TRPA Advisory Planning Commission Meeting: Dec. 9 at TRPA’s Stateline offices.

and#8226; TRPA Governing Board: Dec. 16 at The Chateau.

and#8226; TRPA Open House: 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Tahoe Biltmore.