Squaw Valley committee OKs development design standards | SierraSun.com

Squaw Valley committee OKs development design standards

This rendering of the proposed development project at the Village at Squaw Valley shows another view of the East Parcel.
Courtesy Placer County |

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Visit bit.ly/1FjJfrm — under the section Appendix B — to view the village design standards that were reviewed.

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — While a committee tasked with reviewing designs for Squaw Valley’s multi-acre development stands behind its approval, others say they don’t go far enough.

In a 3-0 vote Sept. 3, the Squaw Valley Design Review Committee adopted modified design standard recommendations for the Village at Squaw Valley Specific Plan that focus on the proposed village’s character.

“Our objective when starting was when you walk from the current IntraWest Village and into the new village, you don’t experience any change in what you feel,” said David Stepner, committee chair. “It has to be at least as open, if not more open, than the IntraWest Village, so it’s a pleasurable experience to walk through.”

To achieve that, the committee made recommendations on items such as pedestrian walkway widths, separation between buildings and building shape.

Stepner emphasized that SVDRC did not make any recommendation on the size of the village — including the number of rooms — as the committee did not see that within its purview.

Speaking of size, members of the public and groups such as Sierra Watch are calling for the current scaled-down village proposal to be further reduced, citing various environmental concerns.

“The SVRDC’s recommendations, and the minor changes (the developer) has proposed in response, do not fix, or even address the fundamental flaws with (the) proposal,” said Isaac Silverman, a staff lawyer for Sierra Watch, which opposes the project. “… They do absolutely nothing to address the traffic congestion, water demand, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, 25 years of construction, noise, and more that (the developer’s) ill-conceived proposal would impose on Squaw Valley and North Lake Tahoe.” 

Chevis Hosea, vice president of development for Squaw Valley Ski Holdings and Squaw Valley Real Estate, said previously: “The most sensitive thing that we’ve done in terms of the environment for this project is reduce it by 50 percent over the last three years,”

Further significant reduction in the project’s density would cause the development to not meet goals, he said, which include creating a four-season resort.

Design standard recommendations made by the SVDRC — on which project applicant Squaw Valley Real Estate reviewed and supplied feedback — is being written into a formal report.

It’s anticipated the report will be completed next week, Stepner said. Afterward, it will be posted on the county’s website.

The report will be submitted to the Placer County Planning Commission — which SVDRC works under — with the commission having the authority to accept, reject or modify the recommended design standards as part of its project input.

The final decision regarding the village proposal will rest with the Placer County Board of Supervisors, which will take recommendations and feedback into consideration when voting.

The Squaw Valley Design Review Committee was created in 1983, per the Squaw Valley General Plan, Stepner said, and aids the county’s planning commission and department regarding design for commercial property in Squaw Valley and residential property along Squaw Valley Road.

According to Placer County, the committee normally consists of five individuals that reside in the Squaw Valley General Plan area who are appointed by the Placer County Board of Supervisors.

At the time of SVDRC’s vote on Sept. 3, the committee only had four members — Stepner, Peter Werbel, Kevin Strange and Jon Shanser — with Strange absent for the vote.

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