PlumpJack reconsiders re-design | SierraSun.com

PlumpJack reconsiders re-design

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun

The PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn boasts a new president and new plans for an expansion that differ from those most recently submitted to Placer County.

Several years ago PlumpJack proposed a six-story building design, a project the company then pulled just before a Placer County planning commission hearing, said Placer supervising planner Mike Wells.

The Squaw Valley community was up in arms about the visual and traffic impacts.

“They had some real issues about the massing of the project on the site,” Wells said. “… [The expansion plans] went away for a while and came back with a new development proposal.”

Since then, the hotel’s most recent proposal included a building incorporating both hotel rooms and condominiums. But since bringing the new PlumpJack Group president and chief executive officer Rick Reiss on board, those designs have also been tossed out.

“It just looked too massive and too intrusive,” Reiss said.

The company is again looking at a new, less disruptive design and is in the process of hiring a new architect.

PlumpJack and Placer County representatives do not yet have a concrete plan to share with the public but intend to return with initial elevations and designs, said Hilary Newsom, vice president of PlumpJack Group.

But the next round of plans will include combination hotel-condominium facilities, a new restaurant and underground parking, said PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn general manager Mike Murphy.

“We took very seriously those comments we received,” Newsom said. “… We’re not going to make the same mistake twice.”

The Squaw Valley Municipal Advisory Council hosted a meeting Thursday to review the expansion plans for the inn. The 30-plus people in attendance were surprised to learn that the most recent renderings were no longer applicable and asked that PlumpJack strongly consider view impacts as they go forward with their next design.

Reiss agreed with the concerns and promised that the new design would better blend with community desires.

“That shows that deep commitment to Squaw Valley … and to the alpine environment,” said Russell Poulsen, longtime Squaw Valley resident and council chairman.

But the issue of water continues to be at the forefront of public worry with development in the valley.

“Water is and always will be an issue here, and certainly something we’ll address,” Murphy said.

PlumpJack is working with both the utility district and the county to address water supply issues.

Studies show that in the existing well field 70 acre-feet of water is available annually, said General Manager Rick Lierman of the Squaw Valley Public Service District .

Water is available on a first-come, first-served basis, Lierman said.

The new environmental review documents will likely be completed about eight months after Placer receives the project description and will be available for public comment, said Wells.