Palisades Development to pay $1.65 million to Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — Palisades Development, LLC will have to pay $1.65 million in fines to the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board for violations regarding storm water prevention, submitting annual reports, and installing and maintaining best management practices at its development in Olympic Valley.

The water quality control board’s prosecution team alleged Palisades Development violated 11 requirements of a Construction General Permit for its 19.9-acre residential development that includes 63 single family homes, associated infrastructure, roads and landscaping off Creeks End Court in Olympic Valley.

Palisades Development first enrolled the project under the Construction General Permit in March 2017. Among other things, the permit requires Palisades Development to prepare a storm water prevention plan, the hiring of a Qualified Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan Practitioner to conduct weekly inspection to ensure best management practices are installed and maintained, preparation and implementation of a rain event action plan for each forecasted rain event and inspection of sites prior to, during, and after rain events.

The purpose of the Construction General Permit is to reduce potential for storm water pollution during construction periods. Palisades Development, LLC has developed luxury properties in Olympic Valley. The company has no affiliation with Palisades Tahoe or Alterra Mountain Company.

Work to begin grading the site began in June 2017 and vertical construction began May 2018. A complaint to Lahontan Water Board staff and subsequent inspection in 2021 revealed Palisades Development didn’t update its documents to reflect vertical construction, didn’t have a Qualified Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan Practitioner under contract, and had not installed or maintained numerous best management practices across the construction site.

“The (best management practices) were a disaster,” said Wendy Wyels, State Water Board Office of Enforcement, of the April 2021 inspection. “They were not in place. They were not maintained. They were not installed properly. It was just a really, really bad sight.”

The prosecution team also alleged there were 25 rain events from July 1, 2020 through May 10, 2021 equaling a total of 25 days of violations. Storms during this time resulted in 54 inspections Palisades Development allegedly failed to perform.

Further inspections were conducted in the following months and in March 2022, Palisades Development was notified of an upcoming enforcement action, and agreed to enter into confidential settlement negotiations. In June of this year the proposed settlement was signed by both sides and posted for public comment.

At its Aug. 30 meeting and following hours of presentation, comments, and questions, the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board voted unanimously to approve the $1.65 million settlement with Palisades Development.

So far, sixty of the homes at the location have been purchased, according to Wyels, with anticipation from Palisades Development that all homes will be sold by the end of the year. Homes in the development range in price from $1.4 million to $2.7 million, and more than $4 million for the three largest homes.

“We are pleased this permit violations case settled with a penalty amount comparable to the potential impact to high quality streams and rivers,” said Ben Letton, assistant executive officer for the Lahontan Water Board, in a news release. “We are confident this case will encourage future compliance with the Construction General Permit in our region, particularly in the Truckee watershed.”

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