Brockway Campground ‘just doesn’t smell right’ with Tahoe residents
KINGS BEACH, Calif. — Work is continuing on a proposal for a multi-acre campground within the Lake Tahoe Basin on the North Shore — despite a recent presentation informing the public otherwise.
At Tuesday’s Placer County Board of Supervisors meeting in Kings Beach, Paul Thompson, assistant director for the county’s Community Development Resource Agency, informed the board and public that work on the Brockway Campground is being put “on hold” due to a request by project applicant, Mountainside Partners, so its team can focus on the separate residential project its spearheading in adjacent Martis Valley.
After Thompson’s report, Placer County District 5 Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, whose region includes North Lake Tahoe, said: “I would love to follow-up on what ‘being placed on hold’ means specifically.”
Members of the public and representatives of conservation groups echoed Montgomery’s question.
In a follow-up interview, Thompson said stating that the Brockway Campground is “on hold” was not the best choice of words to describe the status of the 550-max campsite project proposed for a 104-acre parcel located near Brockway Summit, above Kings Beach. Only 17 percent of the 104-acre parcel would be developed, according to past reports.
Rather, while Mountainside Partners is primarily focused on its Martis Valley West Parcel project, it continues working with Placer County, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and selected consultant, Ascent Environmental, to define the scope of work for future environmental review of the Brockway Campground, he said.
Since four parties are involved in that process, as well as trying to finalize a contract that will execute the work, Thompson said it’s taking “some time to get that all together.”
It’s unknown when the scope of work and contract will be finalized, he said. Until it is, the environmental review for the proposed Brockway Campground can’t begin.
However, a joint Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared, Thompson said.
Initial concerns raised by the public and conservation groups regarding the project include traffic congestion, public safety in the event of a disaster and degradation of Lake Tahoe’s famed water clarity.
“Brockway Campground … for me it’s a concern about ingress and egress,” said Meera Beser, of Tahoe Vista. “(Highway) 267 can’t handle another car in any direction. … (The proposal is) also too big, and it looks to me like an area plan for a secondary Kings Beach, 20, 25 years down the road. I don’t know how many of you remember, but Kings Beach was built as a campground.
“ … It just doesn’t smell right.”
According to Mountainside Partners, Brockway Campground is the first new seasonal campground to be proposed in the Tahoe Basin in more than 20 years and would increase the limited supply of campsites on the North Shore.
Further, it would offer families access to a variety of outdoor recreational activities available in the region and range of camping experiences including traditional tents, campers and eco-shelters.
Martis Valley West Update
Meanwhile, a separate environmental review process for Martis Valley West, which proposes 760 residential units in Martis Valley, west of Highway 267 and outside the Tahoe Basin, continues to progress.
Recently, the comment period for its draft Environmental Impact Report ended, with roughly 150 comments received by the Dec. 22, 2015, deadline, Thompson said.
Several comments requested that the draft EIR prepared by Ascent Environmental be revised and recirculated to include cumulative impacts associated with the adjacent Brockway Campground proposal and potential impacts to the Lake Tahoe Basin.
As to the possibility of recirculating the document, Thompson said the following at Tuesday’s meeting: “We’re looking very closely at that. We’re allowing our environmental consultant to do the necessary analysis that would be required, and frankly at this time, … we don’t think it’s going to be required.”
In a follow-up interview, Thompson added it’s not a foregone conclusion a recirculation will not be needed, but at this time, nothing has triggered that action to occur.
“As supporters of the (TRPA) Regional Plan Update, we are extremely concerned with both the Martis West proposal and Brockway Campground,” said Shannon Eckmeyer, with the League to Save Lake Tahoe, during public comment at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting. “It is concerning to hear that Placer County and environmental consultants are leaning toward not recirculating the environmental review for (Martis West). The review did ignore basin impacts, and it also ignored the cumulative impacts of Brockway Campground.”
Alexis Ollar, executive director for Mountain Area Preservation, also expressed concern during Tuesday’s meeting that the draft EIR may not be recirculated.
FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL REPORT COMING THIS SPRING?
With the close of the draft EIR comment period, the county and the environmental consultants are working on responses to the comments received for the preparation of a final EIR, Thompson said.
It’s anticipated the final EIR will be circulated for public review sometime this spring, he said.
Afterward, the document will be circulated for 10 days, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act, before public hearings can occur.
The Placer County Planning Commission will review the environmental document and specific plan to provide a recommendation to the county’s Board of Supervisors, which will make the final ruling on the project.
The Martis Valley West Parcel project proposes shifting a development designation from a large parcel east of Highway 267 to the west for conservation purposes of 6,376 acres.
Currently, 670 acres on the 6,376-acre east parcel is zoned for residential and commercial development under the Martis Valley Community Plan, which allows for 1,360 residential units and 6.6 acres of commercial uses.
The project proposes retiring 600 of those units and transferring the remaining 760 units to the west parcel, a portion of which would need to be rezoned from timberland production to single-family residential, neighborhood commercial to occur.