Tahoe Basin development eliminated from plan
February 4, 2015
In response to community feedback, the Martis Valley project will no longer include building residential homes within the Lake Tahoe Basin.
The Martis Valley West Parcel Project, which aims to shift a development designation from a large parcel east of Highway 267 to the west for conservation purposes, will instead cluster all development in Martis Valley.
"Certain parties have made it clear that conservation in Martis Valley is not their priority," Blake Riva, senior partner with the project developer, Mountainside Partners, formerly East West Partners, said last week. "Their actions could jeopardize the successful completion of the conservation legacy. Therefore, in working with our key stakeholders, we decided to exclude the Tahoe Basin component from the plan."
Riva said Placer County and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency was informed of the change last Monday.
"This is good news for Tahoe because it removes the potential for misguided development in the basin, and it's good news for Martis Valley because it sets a clear path to preserve the Martis Peak property," said Tom Mooers, executive director of Sierra Watch.
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In 2013, conservation groups Sierra Watch and Mountain Area Preservation along with then-East West Partners and landowner Sierra Pacific Industries finalized an agreement to protect 6,376 acres east of Highway 267.
Originally, of the 760 residential units proposed for the west parcel, 112 were planned to be in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
Now all 760 units will be clustered on the Martis Valley west parcel, Riva said, joining the proposed east-to-west designation transfer of 6.6 acres of allowable commercial.
" … There is no part in our agreement that specifies a TRPA Area Plan approval, and we frankly feel that application to TRPA jeopardized the spirit of our agreement to create permanent conservation within the eastern watershed of Martis Valley," said Alexis Ollar, executive director of MAP. "We are appreciative that East West Partners and SPI have finally agreed to remove the housing proposal for the basin land."
In addition, the project will retain the proposed protection of 6,376 acres in the Martis Valley (the east parcel) into permanent conservation, creating more than 50,000 continuous acres of open space between the valley and the Mt. Rose Wilderness Area.
"… I am very pleased to present a compromise that creates a win-win-win outcome for all involved," Jennifer Montgomery, District 5 (which includes Tahoe) supervisor, said in a statement. "The conservation community benefits by protecting … acres of undeveloped land. The basin wins through everyone's adherence to its regional plan update, and the project proponents win by creating a development proposal consistent with planning and zoning in and out of the basin."
BASIN CAMPGROUND PROJECT
Despite axing development from the basin portion of the project, Riva said various scenarios for a campground there are being studied.
A campground is permissible under the TRPA Regional Plan Update, he said; a maximum of 832 campsites could be allowed on the 104-acre property.
"We think it's a very interesting opportunity based on the positive feedback we've received by the community," Riva said. "We're seriously considering moving forward with a proposed campground project."
However, not all are in favor of the idea.
"We remain concerned about future plans for the site," Darcie Goodman Collins, executive director of the League to Save Lake Tahoe, said in a statement. "A high-intensity campground idea has been floated that could possibly create greater environmental impacts for the Tahoe Basin than a traditional development. We will continue to keep a close watch on the issue."
More information on plans will be forthcoming, Riva said.
Any proposal for uses on such land will be processed through Placer County and TRPA, separate from the Martis Valley West Parcel project.
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