Opinion: Martis Valley West a terrible project for Lake Tahoe
September 27, 2016
The Placer County Board of Supervisors recently decided to tentatively approve a major development neighboring our community, known as Martis Valley West. We must prevent this rezoning to allow a sprawling gated community on the iconic ridgelines overlooking Lake Tahoe and Truckee.
For several months, local environmental organizations have asked Placer County to deny the project. Individuals have signed petitions, written letters and spoken at public meetings. Yet this outpouring failed to persuade Placer County, whose Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on September 13 to approve this very large subdivision off of Highway 267.
Amazingly, the Board ignored a recommendation from their own Planning Commission that in July voted 5-2 to recommend denial of the project. Sierra Pacific Industries and Mountainside Partners appear to be attempting to mute opposition by offering, on September 7, 2016, the proposed Brockway Campground parcel as open space — but only if the land sale with the U.S. Forest Service can be negotiated within a specified period of time.
As far as I can determine, those responsible for preserving Lake Tahoe have tacitly agreed that since the proposed development lies adjacent to, rather than within, the Tahoe Basin, the decision about whether to allow this development is properly the purview of Placer County. But five counties in two states touch Lake Tahoe's shoreline.
Our region is in the midst of a severe drought, yet developers insist that the water supply from the Northstar Community Service District will be adequate to support the 760 luxury homes and planned commercial development, perhaps supplemented by permits to dig wells.
Our already overburdened roads will not be able to handle the increased traffic, not to mention emergency vehicles in the event of fire evacuation or another disaster.
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Martis Valley West is a terrible project for the environment of lake Tahoe and it will impact all facets of the lake from increased greenhouse gasses to crippled emergency access.
Approval flies in the face of ideas clearly expressed at the 20th annual Lake Tahoe Summit August 31, 2016. We cannot allow the decision by the Placer County Board of Supervisors to stand.
Judith Michaels Simon is an Incline Village resident.
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