Opinion: For Squaw redevelopment project, the Triple Bottom Line counts
May 10, 2016
Sometimes the best way to review a proposed redevelopment project is to filter its benefits through the Smart Growth principles of the Triple Bottom Line: What exactly are the benefits to our community, our economy and our environment?
Andregg Geomatics has been a member of Sierra Business Council since 1997 when the organization released the award-winning publication Planning for Prosperity: Building Successful Communities in the Sierra Nevada, 1997.
I have served on the Board of Directors of SBC since 2002 and continue to serve today.
In planning, we learned the 10 principles for sound development. Those principles hold true today, and can be an important guide when reviewing the proposed Village Redevelopment Plan for Squaw Valley.
Much has been said about the size and mass of the buildings, but we should keep in mind that "well-designed and sited structures enhance a town's beauty, increasing the value of neighboring properties as a whole." And, "the alternative to urban sprawl is more compact, town-based development."
The Village is going up, but with the incorporation of community feedback, it will do so modestly, with mid-rise buildings designed to showcase the views and provide gathering places for residents and resort visitors. It will be a lively and vibrant place to enjoy outdoor events, both active and passive.
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Smart planning principles remind us to "maintain a clear edge between town and country." Current plans call for there to be a clear edge to the Village, with vistas of the meadow and the revitalized Squaw Creek.
Planning further encourages developers to "maintain the health of natural systems." To align with this goal, the Village Redevelopment Plan includes approximately $2M to rehabilitate and revitalize Squaw Creek, reestablishing a more natural fish habitat and improving downstream water quality.
A real estate transfer fee will continue to fund maintenance of Squaw Creek, as well other environmental initiatives in perpetuity.
Another important element of smart planning is to "enhance the economic vitality of our small towns through ongoing reinvestment in the core."
The entitlements related to the Village will allow for redevelopment to occur with market cycles over many years. This will ensure that reinvestment continues in our community, and that we're not left with a partially built Village.
I urge readers to check out Planning for Prosperity at the following website — bit.ly/24IDgIE — and to visit Base Camp in the Village at Squaw Valley to learn more about the benefits the Village Redevelopment will bring to our community, our economy and our environment.
Dennis Meyer is CEO at Andregg Geomatics, which has offices in Auburn and Truckee. He is an Auburn resident who has surveyed Squaw Valley for decades. He also enjoys skiing there with his daughter, Haley. He first skied Squaw in 1959 and it is one of his favorite places in the world.