Group pulling plug on Olympic Valley incorporation effort; Squaw says move is ‘step in the right direction’
3 p.m. TUESDAY UPDATE:
OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — The drive from a group of locals to attempt to incorporate Olympic Valley into a California town has stalled.
Incorporate Olympic Valley, the grassroots organization that’s spearheaded the incorporation effort since 2013, announced Tuesday it is withdrawing its petition, according to a press release published on the group’s website.
IOV Board Chairman Fred Ilfeld confirmed the news late Tuesday morning by phone while riding a ski lift at Alpine Meadows.
According to the news release, the group made the decision due to Placer County Local Agency Formation Commission staff remaining “unyielding in its view” that the proposed town would not be financially viable, despite IOV alleging otherwise.
“IOV has decided not to expend more effort into a process that shows no pathway toward success, and has decided to withdraw its Petition for Incorporation,” according to the press release.
Meanwhile, a news release issued to media at about 2:50 p.m. Tuesday by Save Olympic Valley — a coalition of valley residents, business owners, property owners and workers that has been critical of incorporation — reiterated the group’s stance that IOV is wrong in its financial analysis.
“Although IOV has suggested that the proposed town of Olympic Valley would be financially viable, the facts simply did not support that conclusion,” Matthew Newman, co-founder of Blue Sky Consulting Group, a consultant for Save Olympic Valley and Squaw Valley Ski Holdings (which owns Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows), said in the news release. “In their effort to show that the town could work financially, IOV proposed to capture all of the benefits of development in the form of higher tax revenues while simultaneously seeking to avoid the increased costs that new development would bring in the form of increased law enforcement services and more work for planners and the community development department.”
In its announcement earlier Tuesday, IOV pointed to opposition from Squaw Valley Ski Holdings as another reason for the decision.
“All eight members of our Board voted unanimously to withdraw our petition,” Ilfeld said in the release. “Given the impasse with LAFCO combined with opposition by Placer County, plus stiff and heavily funded opposition from Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, we saw no way to continue moving forward.
“We owe it to our community to give them the facts about this journey. Our supporters in Squaw Valley deserve to know what really happened.”
In the SOV news release, Squaw Valley Ski Holdings CEO Andy Wirth said IOV’s decision is a “step in the right direction for the future of Olympic Valley.”
“The detailed and informed work that went into the draft (fiscal analysis), and the expert review by the State Controller’s Office, has (led) everyone, with the exception of a few of the IOV proponents, to the rational and logical conclusion that the proposed town is fiscally infeasible,” he said. “… Creating a new town would have been a risky proposition, not just for the people and businesses of Olympic Valley, but for the community of North Lake Tahoe. We now have the opportunity to move forward in a positive way, and to work together as a cohesive community to maintain our mountain culture and have a dialogue on how we can join together in tackling some of the challenges and concerns that prompted this initiative.”
Look for more to this story later this week at SierraSun.com.