Opinion: After Martis vote, it’s time to incorporate North Lake Tahoe
September 20, 2016
The Martis Valley West project (gated sprawl on our ridges) was tentatively approved, 4-1, by the Placer County Board of Supervisors last week. That just means they are going back to staff for justification to back up their approval.
The supervisors didn't listen to the hundred-plus people who showed up once again asking them to deny the Martis Valley West project. The Supervisors didn't listen to their own planning commission, who recommended denial 5-2.
The supervisors didn't listen to our own area representative, Jennifer Montgomery, the lone supervisor who recommended denial because the project isn't next to any existing development … no smart growth there.
Placer County didn't listen to the California Attorney General Kamala Harris when she requested project impacts to Lake Tahoe be analyzed.
Supervisors didn't listen to the environmental groups that requested denial of the project: Tahoe Area Sierra Club, Mountain Area Preservation, Sierra Watch, North Tahoe Preservation Alliance, Friends of the West Shore and the League to Save Lake Tahoe. They just didn't listen.
The supervisors did listen to the developer, Mountainside Partners (formerly East/West) and the owner, Sierra Pacific Industries. Funny how that works.
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The supervisors claimed building 760 homes on 660 acres on our iconic ridgelines (classic sprawl) was all about saving 6,000 acres in Truckee above the airport. Really?
It's all about money under the guise of conservation.
In fact, people, don't support funding for the Trust for Public Lands or the Truckee Donner Land Trust in their effort to buy the land above the airport. What they are really doing is promoting Martis Valley West gated sprawl on our ridgeline. Make it clear to these two groups that we don't ruin one cathedral by harming another.
What's the solution? We need local government, and we can't continue to allow Placer County to ruin our area. Currently, there are 16 projects and over 6,000 units approved or in the pipeline now between Lake Tahoe's North Shore and Truckee (some of which our outside Placer County's jurisdiction). That is just shy of half of all the housing units in the town of Truckee (13,700).
The Martis Valley Community Plan will allow another 4,142 units. Do the math: that's 10,000-plus more units, and we are in gridlock now.
In addition, the Placer Tahoe Area Plan approval process has begun promoting even more development and density with no ridgeline protections.
Let's work toward incorporation of the Placer side of Lake Tahoe. It will require money, but we can do it.
Ann Nichols is president of the North Tahoe Preservation Alliance. Email here at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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