Opinion: Just say no to Martis Valley West development | SierraSun.com

Opinion: Just say no to Martis Valley West development

The sophistry of downsizing as a concession from Tahoe developers to gain project approval is creating a broken system. Actually, downsizing is a backhanded acknowledgement that development at proposal scale is too much.

It has become a tool that is supposed to leave stakeholders feeling better that the smaller project could have been worse (that is to say larger).

Too often, the tactic is justified by system-wide environmental trade-offs that somehow ameliorate earlier or competing development activities. Ironically, saying no on those projects may have prevented the issues in the first place.

This broken system is arguably better than no system, and again we are supposed to be thankful. But meanwhile, Tahoe is being converted into something less special. Just because it is happening less quickly if projects are smaller is not really comforting.

The proposed project near the Tahoe ridge line (Martis Valley West Parcel Project) is particularly galling because it would develop one of the few relatively pristine features of the area. Oh sure, some might be taken in that it will be smaller than originally proposed, but over time the precedent of the project and inertia of the Tahoe region's culture of growth and development will regain.

The capacity and resilience of the area to absorb more projects with the people and culture they are designed to attract is not limitless. The signs of environmental stress due to development are already everywhere. Why convert an area that remains unstressed?

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I urge the Placer County Planning Commission to "just say no" to the Martis Valley West project. Preserve Lake Tahoe.

John Sell

Crystal Bay