My Turn: Homewood development is too massive
The “Community Workshop” by North Tahoe Citizen Action Alliance in Tahoe City on Oct. 27 was concerning the Homewood Mountain Resort in Homewood.
We focused on some key issues, which includes water. Water is needed for drinking and cleansing. Water is essential for fire fighting. So where is this water coming from? And with the present plans for the massive Homewood resort, water for twice the number of people, is one of the major problems.
Sewers are a large concern. Traffic as we all known due to their massive amounts of proposed development will overwhelm our community.
It is interesting to us that in Lassen County, a lawsuit of similar conditions to our own Homewood resort. A suit was filed by the Westwood-based Mountain Meadows Conservancy, Sierra Watch and the Sierra Club against Lassen County. The county has an obligation to look before it leaps into approving a development that threatens everything they love about Lassen, or Homewood if you’d like. The lawsuit was founded on the county’s environmental review, which failed to assess the impacts ranging from local traffic patterns to global climate change in their environmental impact report.
This is correct; the EIR must take into consideration, especially since AB 32: Global Climate Change of 2006 and the laws that are now enforceable. If you don’t believe in global climate change, you need to be more informed. Evidently, Westwood, a community around 2,000 on Dyer Mountain, has a developer willing to pay $35 million for an all inclusive, four-season resort project that includes a ski resort. This development calls for 4,000 residents units in a town of 2,000 people, a terrible human insult. This would overwhelm existing communities dwarfing Westwood and stressing county services.
This massive housing design in Lassen is much larger, poses questions similar to Homewood resort. The first question: Where is the water? What about the traffic impacts? Or even appropriateness considering this community can and will replace with tourists? Who has ever heard of a tourist that needed a hardware store?
This describes precisely describes the dire situation with Homewood resort. Definitely Homewood Mountain Resort is more of a real estate venture than skiing adventure. It will overwhelm the town of rural Homewood and its services. It brings 355 tourist accommodation units, or their residential equivalent.
Some condos, the inn, and some in single family residence; however all increasing density and changing the character of Homewood. Why? Traffic from Tahoe City and along the West Shore will be devastating.
John Singlaub, executive director of Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, is using smart growth concepts; high density and multi-modal transit for people to go to schools, shopping and live close to work. This idea is from the Sierra Business Council philosophy and has applicability in Tahoe that must be qualified.
Due to unique cumulative impacts on the Lake Tahoe environment, and the very complex weighting of net gains, this philosophy is highly questionable here. John serves as a board member of SBC, but this affiliation should not cloud his judgment. This works only in an urban setting, not rural. Increase the density in a rural area and you have only the much detested sprawl.
Homewood is not a city. It is rural setting within forest areas surrounding the peacefulness; with the Granite Chief Wilderness, Desolation Wilderness and the Tahoe National Forest linking the two. This is a priceless wildlife refuge corridor. We have five state parks to the south. As, you leave Tahoe City, the density becomes more rural in feeling especially entering the quieter areas of small communities.
This is how Homewood has always existed and it should remain so. However, if some building is necessary it shouldn’t be dwarfing Homewood or changing the character of Homewood.
It is totally understandable, but unacceptable, unsatisfactory the way TRPA and Placer County are making decisions to continually support development. They are not listening to the public and their concerns. The staff, developers and the governing agencies seem to be resolving all their business between themselves with limited acknowledgement public’s opinions. There is total indifference to the citizens and this is the apathy of the agencies.
In the National Geographic Traveler in 2007 September, Lake Tahoe has been reviewed as only a ski and gambling area that has lost the heart and its history. This issue states Lake Tahoe Basin as a destination, which has fallen below average and easily replaced with others
The proposed development should be integrated with a Community Plan for Homewood, i.e. the entire community or TRPA Master Plan, but the TRPA voted it wasn’t necessary. The proposed expansion will create a community large enough to justify a Community Plan. The ski resort becomes a part of a much larger year round community of about 2,000 people; however most of those will be transient.
I am completely convinced that I stand with others in Homewood, and that this development is far too large. We need to hear each other for balance and appreciation of where Homewood people live.
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