Opinion: NIMBY mentality with Martis Valley West not ideal
August 18, 2016
The Martis Valley West Project (MVWP) represents the last project to be proposed under the Martis Valley Community Plan. The MVWP transfers development from land to the east of State Route 267 (SR 267) in Martis Valley to an area to the west of SR 267 and adjacent to Northstar Resort.
The transfer of development will shift 760 of the 1,360 residential units zoned on the east parcel to the west parcel, and permanently retire the remaining 600 residential units. The entire east parcel, representing 25% of the total land in the Martis Valley, will then be placed into permanent conservation.
The Martis Valley Community Plan (MVCP) is the guiding document for allowable development in Martis Valley. The MVCP envisioned development of up to 8,600 residential units in various communities in Martis Valley.
Since the 2003 Martis Valley Community Plan Update, the number of residential units that will actually be developed in Martis Valley has been reduced by 3,912 units. The Martis Valley West Project as proposed will eliminate an additional 600 residential units, resulting in total density reduction of 4,512 residential units as compared to what was originally outlined and approved in the MVCP. This translates to an overall 52% reduction in development from the MVCP.
“The ‘not in my backyard’ mentality does not serve communities well, especially since so many residents of the north shore communities are Bay Area commuters coming to second homes, and retirees with visiting families and friends, all of whom are the most constant users of SR 267.”
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With over 4,500 fewer homes to be built, the traffic generated by the communities in the Martis Valley will be substantially reduced as compared to what was anticipated. Meanwhile, this smaller set of units will contribute its fair share to the improvements planned by Placer County, the Town of Truckee and Caltrans for SR 267.
Traffic is an important regional issue, and a fact of life for those who live in Tahoe. You cannot avoid that this beautiful basin is a worldwide attraction.
However, a plan that substantially reduces the traffic component for the future as compared to what could be, and creates unprecedented new protected open space areas, should be welcomed by any rational homeowner in the area.
The "not in my backyard" mentality does not serve communities well, especially since so many residents of the north shore communities are Bay Area commuters coming to second homes, and retirees with visiting families and friends, all of whom are the most constant users of SR 267.
Indeed, the traffic studies prepared for the MVWP indicate that at full build-out and during average peak travel periods, the incremental additional travel time to cover the 13 miles from Kings Beach to I-80 is 36 seconds.
One might reasonably conclude that an additional 36 seconds will not create an undue hardship. In the end, good projects are about compromise. The present project as planned commits a vast amount of property as open space (great for the community) and reduces the total amount of potential units (great for the community).
This seems like a proper win, win.
Thomas G. Trost is a Rocklin, Calif., resident who owns a condo on Tahoe's North Shore. He is an attorney with the Roseville, Calif., firm Sproul Trost LLP, which specializes in environmental/regulatory compliance law, among others. Visit sproullaw.com to learn more.