Squaw resort looks toward phase II | SierraSun.com

Squaw resort looks toward phase II

Andrew Cristancho
Sierra Sun

The glossy black resort near Squaw Creek is looking to expand 18 years after it was built.

Building permits for the Resort at Squaw Creek were approved by Placer County in March 2007, and all that is left to do in order to begin the resort’s 460-room addition is to complete a water and sewer agreement between resort officials and Olympic Valley’s water provider, according to the principals at the resort.

Last year the Squaw Valley Public Service District ordered resort officials to conduct a supplemental environmental impact report before moving forward with it expansion plans. The study will be prepared by Pacific Municipal Consultants, an environmental engineering firm hired by the service district, and could cost the resort up to $200,000, resort officials said.

District approval of the new report and issuance of a water and sewer permit would allow the resort to expand by 221 units and utilize new water sources for irrigation.

In addition, the agreement would require the resort to dedicate to the service district a previously unused well that produces 150 gallons of potable water per minute.

The service district would incorporate the water produced by well 18-3R for use in their municipal operations, said Cam Kicklighter of Lowe Destination Development at the Resort at Squaw Creek.

At a presentation to the district’s board last week, Kicklighter offered a timetable for the report’s completion and approval. He is hoping it will be finalized by October so Lowe Destination Development and the service district can enter into an agreement by November.

Many, if not all, who attended the March 20 presentation were familiar with the Olympic Valley’s water issues.

Kicklighter explained that several aspects of the project will help avoid any draw-down of the valley’s aquifer and interruption of the natural flows of the much-studied Squaw Creek. Two new irrigation wells are located further away from the creek than the old irrigation well. Two other wells will continue to be operated for golf course watering but their use will be “dialed down.” Those wells have been perceived as possible borderline threats to creek water levels because of their proximity to it, Kicklighter said.

In addition, kicklighter explained at Thursday’s meeting that the golf course’s irrigation system would be revamped to be more efficient with possible new moisture monitoring systems installed and sprinkler heads adjusted to only water where necessary.

Also, as part of the agreement, he explained a “cap” would be instituted on the use of irrigation watering, so if greens keepers went over their limit the service district could effectively turn off the tap. The watering limit for May through October was set at 47,392,123 gallons.

At the meeting, Kicklighter outlined a schedule for the completion and approval.

So far that schedule is over three weeks behind, according to Lierman.

But both Lierman an Kicklighter said in separate phone conversations that all agencies involved are working hard to expedite the process.

If the principals can catch up to the proposed time table and the resort receives their water and sewer permit on time, construction may not start for another two more years, according to Kicklighter.

“I don’t think we can gear up until 2010,” he said, explaining architects and engineers and cost estimates may take the planning stages beyond the May

through October building season of 2009.

A community benefit fund will be established that could generate $1 million in funds, dedicated to special projects in Squaw Valley like “creek enhancement” or a community center , Kicklighter said. The funds would be administered by a local non-profit. The money would be generated by imposing a quarter percent fee on all residential transfers, he said.