Opinion: After Martis Valley West vote, only solution is litigation | SierraSun.com

Opinion: After Martis Valley West vote, only solution is litigation

John Baker
Opinion

We are all aware of the debacle that happened last week at the Placer County Board of Supervisors meeting in Kings Beach when they voted 4-1 to tentatively approve the Martis Valley West project, even though their Planning Commission voted 5-2 against it.

It is painfully obvious the whole voting system is flawed. Our Supervisor, Jennifer Montgomery of District No. 5, who voted NO, knows our district better than they do, and the other four supervisors should have taken in consideration her knowledge of the Tahoe-Truckee area and reasons for voting NO.

For those of us who attended and spoke against the project at last week's meeting, it was obvious that the supervisors seemed to have already made up their minds how they were going to vote. Saving 6,000 acres sounds great, but not at the expense of throwing Lake Tahoe under the bus.

Unfortunately, their YES votes could put us on the North Shore in harm's way if a wildfire breaks out in or near the basin, causing a huge gridlock situation on Highway 267 due to the already impossible congestion in and out of the Tahoe Basin.

What is even more concerning is during the preparation phase of this project, according to the draft EIR, Mountainside Partners will be removing a minimum of 22,000 trees to make way for the condos.

Consider that a logging truck can carry an average of 10 logs per haul, that is perhaps 2,200 truck trips over a period of time entering in an out of the project, causing a huge log jam on highway 267 with the other crowded traffic.

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Remember, we only have 2 seasons in lake Tahoe — winter and construction — so during the construction months, the "Prepare to Stop — Flagman Ahead Sign" will become a permanent fixture.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago there was a big Lake Tahoe Summit about preserving the future of Lake Tahoe attended by President Obama, three senators and one governor who stressed that over-development and climate change could negatively impact Lake Tahoe's environment as well as the lake's clarity.

It seems the Board of Supervisors didn't take their warnings seriously. Even though Martis Valley West project is technically not in the basin property, it will still negatively affect our environment through increased green-house emissions from autos and heavy trucks.

We as individual residents cannot stop the board's decision — but we will go down fighting.

What is needed is the environmental groups such as League to Save Lake Tahoe, Sierra Club, Mountain Area Preservation, Sierra Watch, etc., joining together and force the developers into ongoing litigation, tying the project up for years.

It has been successful stopping other projects — so why not this one and the Squaw Valley development?

John Baker is a Carnelian Bay resident.