Appeal of proposed Northstar development denied
The Northstar-at-Tahoe Village, an aging center of the ski resort, will finally get an upgrade.
In a redevelopment project that was approved in late August and subsequently appealed by local environmental group Sierra Watch, the Northstar Village project was quickly approved by the Placer County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
Sierra Watch appealed the decision of the planning commission based on what it says were insufficiencies in the project’s environmental impact report, emergency access, and changes made without re-circulating the EIR.
Project applicant East West Partners and county staff quickly put those issues to rest, saying they were satisfactorily dealt with. Plus, East West Project Manager David Tirman pointed out the project had been in planning since Northstar’s 1971 Master Plan.
The Village was never built – a good thing, he said, because there were components like a 12-story hotel – and it has now undergone a complete transformation to cater to the Northstar community.
What helped the board make its decision so easily was the overwhelming support of Northstar residents and officials.
None of the people who spoke during the public comment portion of the hearing had anything bad to say about the project; in fact, every one of the speakers said they supported the plan.
Joe Guzm+n, a Northstar property owner, applauded East West for the project, and said he is “very, very supportive of the concept of the redevelopment.”
To put things into perspective about the age of the Village, Northstar General Manager and Sierraville-resident Tim Silva said, “The newest condominiums were built in 1979. If you like shag carpets and avocado appliances, this is the place to go.”
Truckee-resident Breeze Cross added, “It’s a product that not only benefits the developer, but also improves the region.”
The project will take out part of the current Village and will redevelop the area with 213 residences (apartments and condominiums). The plan includes employee housing and approximately 100,000 square feet of commercial space. There will also be an outdoor ice rink and more guest services, like ski, snowboard and bicycle rentals.
While they are adding more parking, it will all be underground and almost none of the existing parking will be changed. An improvement for the roadway, however, will be a special place for drop-offs, which Tirman said should help traffic circulation and minimize delays.
The redevelopment project will also be a “sustainable development,” Tirman said, which will include measures to create the least amount of environmental impact. One part of this is that when the current main building is demolished, it will be done by hand, and each piece – mainly the crossbeams and glass – will be reused in the new Village buildings.
In addition, East West established the Tahoe Mountain Environmental Fund three or four months ago, which will receive a one-quarter of 1 percent transfer fee for each residential transaction in the Northstar Village. The fund will be used for local environmental initiatives like wetland restoration, planting seeds along the river, and the annual Truckee River Day. In addition, Tirman said the fund is in perpetuity, which means the transfer fee will apply to all sales, even after the initial sale of the residences.
Tirman said Northstar would like to become a year-round resort, and these upgrades could propel them into the year-round, high-end resort market.
“This project will be moving Northstar into the 21st Century,” said Pat Davison, field director for California Association of Business, Property and Resource owners.
The project will be started next year, and will be constructed in four phases. The first phase will include the construction of two buildings, which will house 72 residences.
For more information on the Northstar Village redevelopment, visit http://www.villageatnorthstar.com.
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