TRPA weighs in on Homewood deal | SierraSun.com

TRPA weighs in on Homewood deal

Amanda Fehd
Sun News Service

Private development on Lake Tahoe’s largest parcel of privately owned land would require considerable rezoning and special exceptions to existing rules, according to the agency that regulates building in the basin.

The 26 parcels at Homewood Mountain Resort, which was recently sold to a Bay Area developer, do not have development rights and have low scores for development capability, according to a Tahoe Regional Planning Agency memo.

The resort occupies 1,260 acres on Tahoe’s west shore.

The agency’s governing board will be briefed next week on ongoing negotiations by the U.S. Forest Service to acquire a portion of Homewood, despite a rider in a recent budget bill to block the move by Rep. John Doolittle, R-Roseville.

“Recent media coverage and associated comments from TRPA staff have sparked concern regarding TRPA’s perceived endorsement of the land acquisition,” reads a memo from TRPA staff to its governing board.

The memo goes on to say TRPA has long supported acquisition of land by state and federal agencies to support conservation.

“The infrastructure necessary to accommodate this type of development (single family residences at Homewood), such as utility installation, road construction, stream crossings, tree removal, etc., has potential to cause significant irreversible environmental impacts as assessed under TRPA environmental documentation standards,” the memo says.

Homewood recently sold to JMA Ventures, the company that built Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco.

JMA President Art Chapman, a longtime Truckee resident who skis at Homewood, said the company wants to keep the feel of the resort the same while upgrading the base of the mountain.

Chapman is still hoping for a deal with the Forest Service to preserve the property, and said the resort is seeking $22 million from the Santini-Burton Act. The act reaps money from surplus federal land sales around Las Vegas and uses it to buy environmentally sensitive properties in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The Forest Service is waiting to see how the Department of Interior spending bill progresses. If the House of Representatives’ version of the bill passes and is signed, then the Forest Service will be blocked from buying Homewood until a new budget cycle comes around, according to Forest Service spokesman Rex Norman.