My Turn: Deal with facts and logic, not Summit spin
This column is in response to the My Turn guest column Just say no harms environmental and community groups.Lets deal with facts and logic, not PR spin.1. Just say no harms environmental and community groupsThe community is not saying no to having a dialogue. Fact, we would like to have a dialogue to discuss basic community concerns, which they refuse to answer. Where are they going to get the water? How are they going to increase sewer capacity? With only one road access and exit, how do we evacuate, e.g. in the event of a fire? The list goes on. If their plans are so great and accepted with open arms, why did they recently hire a lobbyist to change the existing laws to preserve our environment?2. Mountain Area Preservation Foundation approached us with the idea of participating in a dialogue with Sierra and Donner Summit environmental and community groups. We said yesAs for the above statement, this is truly a spin. MAPF signed a letter along with the South Yuba River Citizens League, Sierra Watch, Serene Lakes Property Owners Association (SLPOA), et.al. that a facilitated dialogue is not needed just yet and requesting that Royal Gorge hold off development plans pending the development of a community plan. We think this is a more responsible, and productive, and invited them to be part of the process. Logically speaking though, Royal Gorge would never sign something that would be binding in this type of dialogue.3. The leading homeowners organization on the Summit, for example, established its legal fund before we even purchased the Royal Gorge landIt was to monitor the California Environmental Quality Act process related to the projection of the Van Norden meadows. The former Royal Gorge owner planned to build 18 homes, a lodge, parking, maintenance facilities and employee housing and recreational facilities. Interestingly, when Messrs. Foster and Syme bought Royal Gorge, they were asked if they intended to continue with the Van Norden project. They said they had no choice.However, the Van Norden project is in addition to the current Royal Gorge project and is left out of their current project maps. This is now a white space?4. there are reasonable Donner Summit residents who have started to wonder whether these groups purporting to represent their interests are really doing soTheir idea of reasonable is anyone who supports their plan. Based on all the polls, such as the Sierra Sun poll, and SLPOA poll, as well as newspaper articles from various groups and individuals; fact, their support is the minority. You dont have to go far to see support to Save Donner Summit. Look at all the cars sporting Save Donner Summit bumper stickers throughout Northern California and beyond. See the numerous lawn signs at the Summit, and the many T-shirts and generous monetary donations to fight this egregious development.5. The conceptual plan that we shared with the public in March reflected what we heard from, eliminate a golf course from our plan and to propose far fewer unitsFacts: 1. A golf course at the Summit would not be feasible because our snow levels are purported to be the highest level for any residential area in North America. 2. We were told Van Norden Meadow would be left alone. Has this changed? 3. You say there are fewer units then the original plan, your proposed development is almost three times the size of Northstar or Squaw Valley.6. The rejection of a dialogue by the organized groups does not spell the end of our desire or our ability to work with individual Donner Summit residents.The SLPOA president met with them and tried to get them to commit to a dialogue with a list of important community issues. They said they’d think about it, subsequently followed-up with a refusal, stating theyd prefer to plan alone and then maybe talk. Theyve made it quite clear that unless you’re an investor you have no right to try and influence their development, its their land.7. Royal Gorge lands will be much enriched as a result of their involvementLogically speaking, how does creating condos, timeshares, traffic, crime etc., enrich our lives? It makes no sense.If Royal Gorge is telling the press that we do not want to communicate, then I would like to see any documentation that supports their statements. Deal with facts and logic, not PR spin.Documents supporting the above statements can be found on http://www.saveserenelakes.orgRod Day is a Serene Lakes resident.
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