Opinion: Silent majority opposes Squaw village development
August 4, 2016
Recently, people have been speaking out in support of the proposed Squaw development. Notably, these individuals have been stakeholders — developers and athletes who have a sizable financial upside if the project moves forward.
We have also heard Squaw Valley Ski Holdings speak about the silent majority — those who support the project but do not, or cannot, have a voice in this process.
Today, I would like to talk about the other silent majority — and their deep opposition to the proposed development.
It is a silent majority that includes second homeowners, new residents and long-time community members. A silent majority that includes both my own grandparents, who purchased a home in Alpine Meadows in 1965, as well as my parents, who purchased a home in Squaw when their own family grew too big.
A silent majority that includes four generations of Bay Area residents who have come to Tahoe for over 55 years to escape the commercial, built environment of their daily lives. It is a silent majority that includes aunts and uncles who do not vote in Placer County, but pay property taxes and donate to local charities.
It is a silent majority that cannot attend planning commission meetings because of their professional and familial commitments. It is a silent majority who is concerned about the legacy they will leave for their children, grandchildren and now, great-grandchildren.
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After 25 years of construction, what will that legacy look like? Will Tahoe continue to be a place where people from California and around the world can come and witness the beauty of the Sierra?
Or will it become a built environment, where sustainable, community-appropriate growth is sacrificed for seasonal employment and the quick thrill of a water park?
What Tahoe needs — now more than ever — is a mindful approach to development in the Basin. The silent majority does not want to come to Tahoe and sit in the traffic they endure every day.
The silent majority wants the infrastructure of the basin fixed and tested before any new developments are brought to the planning commission. The silent majority does not want to change the character of Squaw, of Tahoe, of this stretch of the Sierra.
The silent majority wants considered growth that will cause minimal impact to the region and highlight, not eclipse, our greatest assets — the clean air, mountains, and blue lake we are lucky enough to call home.
If you don't believe that this is what the silent majority wants — I'm happy to put you in touch with my 92 year old grandfather, he'll give you an earful.
Katy Hover-Smoot is an Alpine Meadows resident.