Truckee Donner Land Trust’s acquisition of Olympic Valley property on hold
The Truckee Donner Land Trust’s planned acquisition of a 30-acre plot in Olympic Valley is on hold, potentially until next year.
To purchase the property the trust was relying on funding from Measure E, a bond measure which was pulled from the November ballot last week by the Squaw Valley Public Utility District Board of Directors.
“We had a lot of support for the acquisition of the property,” said Jessica Asher, secretary to the Board of Directors. “We also heard legitimate concerns regarding overall cost and allocation of that cost.”
Asher said the process the board went through to work out details in the ballot before the deadline was “fairly rushed.”
In order for the measure to pass two-thirds of the 600 registered voters in Squaw Valley would have had to vote in favor of it. The Squaw Valley PUD hopes to bring back a revised measure to place on the November 2020 ballot and remains committed to helping fund the project, according to a staff report.
“The board spoke of how important it was that this project bring the community together,” said Asher. “They didn’t want to see this project to divide the community.”
In January, the Land Trust, along with the Squaw Valley Public Service District, began looking to acquire the property, a project for which they needed to raise $14.7 million by the end of the year. They anticipated half of the funds to come from the bond measure while the other half would come from private donations.
The bond would support $1.5 million annually for up to 30 years towards the initial acquisition and capital improvements on the property as well as the ongoing maintenance. Over the summer the Land Trust also secured $1 million in funding from Placer County Transient Occupancy Taxes for the project. Without the bond measure secured, the project cannot move forward.
According to Greyson Howard, communications director for the Land Trust, private funding efforts are still moving forward and they will still be pursuing the purchase of the property. However, it has yet to be determined whether the original purchase of sale agreement will remain between the Land Trust and the owners.
The property was once owned by Wayne and Sandy Poulsen, who had helped to stop the a large section of the meadow from getting paved during the 1960 Winter Olympics, according to the land trust. Acquiring the property would save the section of the meadow from further development in the valley and open up trails for public use.
In 2007, the trust acquired the Waddle Ranch property, followed by the Hopkins Ranch property in 2013 to prevent the development in the Martis Valley along Highway 267. In 2017, the land trust acquired Lower Carpenter Valley, a 1,320 acre meadow just north of Truckee that is home to various species of wildflowers.
Once properties are acquired the trust looks to develop trails and open them up to the community.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.