Alpine, Northstar projects approved by Placer County | SierraSun.com
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Alpine, Northstar projects approved by Placer County

Scott Hess

Two major developments got one step closer to approval last Thursday.

Alpine Knolls and the Northstar Village, both of which are proposed for Placer County and are near Truckee borders, were approved unanimously by the Placer County Board of Supervisors.

Alpine Knolls, proposed for the Alpine Meadows area near Upper Bench Road, would be a 27-acre subdivision with 19 residential parcels and 12 acres of open space in the proposed plan.

Northstar Village, a redevelopment project proposed for the base of Northstar-at-Tahoe, is a mixed-use development. The plan calls for 213 condominium units, 173,000 square feet of commercial and retail space, new and upgraded skier services, a spa and an outdoor ice rink.

Northstar Village

The redevelopment of the Northstar Village at Northstar-at-Tahoe was approved by the planning commission, but will most likely be appealed and sent to the board of supervisors.

While project director David Tirman from East West Partners said “the vast majority of people” at the planning commission meeting supported the project, more than 100 conditions of approval were added, and at least one environmental group does not want the project built yet.

Sierra Watch Executive Director Tom Mooers said the project should not be approved until the highly controversial Martis Valley Community plan’s fate is decided.

Although Mooers said he feels the Northstar Village would provide smart growth for the Martis Valley, nothing should be approved for that area until the community plan is either approved or denied by Placer County.

In a statement to the county, Mooers wrote, “Approving an individual proposal before establishing the Martis Valley Community Plan is premature. It jeopardizes ongoing efforts to reach a compromise on Martis Valley issues. It disregards public participation in the Martis Valley Planning process. And, as stated in the comments below, it is inconsistent with state planning law.”

However, Tirman and Placer County staff feel the Northstar Village redevelopment complies with the original and proposed Martis Valley Community Plans, as well as the proposed alternatives.

Tirman added, “We certainly respect [Mooers’] point of view he represents. With the Northstar Village, however, we just don’t agree.”

Of the triple-digit conditions, Tirman said most were “mainly aimed at mitigation of potential environmental impacts.” He said most of the issues came directly from the environmental impact report.

Other big issues discussed dealt with construction, specifically with hours of construction and dust and noise because of construction.

Assuming Sierra Watch does appeal the project, it will be sent to the board of supervisors. Tirman still kept hope, though. “We’re hopeful that the planning commission decision stands,” he said.

He mentioned that if the project is approved as planned, construction on the first phase would begin next year and the entire project would finish in 2007 or 2008.

Alpine Knolls

According to Alpine Knolls owner Rick Sylvester, most of the standing-room-only crowd was there for the Northstar Village project. However, the project did gather conditions with its approval.

Sylvester said the biggest concern about the project was with sensitive environmental areas. “You can’t [build] anything 100 feet from a stream, even a small one,” he said. Also, there is a mandated 50-foot setback from wetland and riparian areas, he mentioned.

The area has been proposed for development two other times, Sylvester said, but the environmentally sensitive areas have caused the delays. “When one looks at Alpine Meadows…it looks like a jigsaw puzzle with Alpine Knolls missing,” he said.

Now that the project is approved, Sylvester can begin construction and fill in the missing puzzle piece.

For more information on either the Alpine Knolls or Northstar Village projects, visit http://www.placer.ca.gov.


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