Squaw village plans OK’d
OLYMPIC VALLEY – In approximately seven years from now, expect a 747,000-square-foot village to be blooming and bustling at the base of Squaw Valley.
The Intrawest Village project was approved last Thursday by the Placer County Planning Commission. Although the project will take five to seven years to complete, construction could begin as early as next summer, said Bill Combs with the Placer County Planning Department.
“The commission approved the project unanimously,” Combs said. “If there’s no appeal, then they’ve got a long list of county conditions they have to meet and work toward construction permits.”
Because there’s a 10 day limit to appeal, the commission will know by Monday whether an appeal was filed against approval of the project.
A Town of Truckee council meeting will be held tonight at 6 to discuss whether to appeal the commission’s decision to approve the Intrawest project.
The biggest concern the town has with the project revolves around the lack of affordable housing in the area for the new employees migrating into Squaw Valley.
“Intrawest is not directly providing any type of affordable housing at all,” said Tony Lashbrook, the community development director for the Town of
Truckee. “Sure, there’s money put into a fund, but that’s no guarantee. Our issue is not that we don’t like the project, it’s that we want affordable housing to go along with it.”
One of the county’s conditions on the project, however, does include the aspect of housing to accommodate the estimated 450 new employees and their families moving to the area.
“Intrawest is responsible for paying $2.2 million in fees to a housing fund,” Combs said. “The money has to be used toward the development of housing in the region of the project.”
Lashbrook, however, is not only concerned over whether the housing development will actually get built, he’s also worried that even if it does get built, it simply won’t offer enough housing for the rash of new employees Intrawest will bring to the community.
“They’re looking at providing 75 housing units. Based on research of other resort areas with Intrawest projects, we’re looking at 800 to over 1,000 new employees in the area,” Lashbrook said. “Their estimated 450 new employees is way low.”
Regardless, unless an appeal is filed by Monday, Intrawest will be on their way to developing their project. The $2.2 million in housing fees, however, has to be given upfront and both the county and Intrawest have been working together to explore potential sites for the housing project.
“We’ve looked into areas near the east end of Squaw Valley, in Martis Valley and in Kings Beach,” Combs said. “The building will take the form of apartments or detached, single family units.”
Although the conditions on the project do not require that a housing unit is built prior to Intrawest starting construction, Combs said he does aim to have it developed by the time new employees are ready to arrive and begin work.
The Intrawest Village, which is set to be built on half of Squaw Valley’s parking lot (the side closest to the mountain), will resemble an Alpine village with its own unique style and architecture. It will be a pedestrian village with 80 retail shops and restaurants on the first level and 640 residential condominiums on the second, third and fourth levels. The village will also house two levels of underground parking.
The first phase of the project includes the underground parking area with an additional 1,000 parking spaces that will be accessible to both village users and day skiers. Phase two consists of the commercial space area and phase three encompasses the studios and apartments.
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