My Turn: Scale down Homewood resort plans
The Homewood Ski area has recently been purchased by JMA Ventures to create a retail and lodging project but keep the mountains uncrowded, family-owned character. Some West Shore residents are concerned with the potential size and scope of this proposed development called the Homewood Mountain Resort. Plans are becoming more definitive with information provided by JMAs Volume 5 newsletter:North Base will include a 5-Star hotel of 50-60 rooms and 40 two-bedroom, two-bath condo/hotel suites to be sold to private owners and available for rent. Some of these suites can be configured as separate one-bedroom, one-bath units for short-term hotel stays. The top floor of the building will include 30 individually-owned penthouses. The hotel will include a restaurant and a spa facility. This totals 120-130 units in the hotel/lodge building with a conservative estimate of 230 bedrooms.The North Base also has another 42 residential condominiums, some units located above 25,000 square feet of retail space. A new 40,000 square foot base-mountain facility will house all skier services. All parking for the hotel and residential units will be underground. An above-ground parking lot of one to two levels will be for day skiers in the winter and boat trailers in the summer. There will be 12 on-site workforce housing apartments. This totals 54 units and an estimate of 108 bedrooms.South Base will have 120 multi-family condos (some will be fractional ownership) and 11 single-family residences. This totals 131 units and an estimated 273 bedrooms. This is mostly new development on currently vacant land. Although the plan is to cap the sale of daily ski tickets to around 3,300 skiers to reduce day-skier parking spaces and curtail traffic, this will probably reduce the number of tickets available to locals and general public to make room for new skiers from the hotel and condos.Some specific concerns regarding this development include:1. Density and Scale andamp; Character These approximately 315 units will conservatively total over 600 bedrooms and, assuming two people per bedroom, over 1,200 people, plus day visitors and about 100 employees. Homewood Mountain Resort would be a community in itself, with a significant increase in people and an estimated increase of 500 to 600 cars.This is not maintaining the scale and character of Homewood. We assume that Homewood Mountain Resorts goal is to maintain full occupancy of the hotel and rentable condos. So we can expect high usage during peak times of the year. The density of this project will overwhelm the Homewood community and impact the quiet enjoyment and quaint village quality of the neighborhood. 2. Traffic Impact The increased activity in Homewood, so close to Highway 89 and the lake, has the potential to cause traffic gridlock all along the West Shore, also affecting North Shore traffic coming into Tahoe City Y. Even with the proposed use of shuttle buses, it is unrealistic to assume that many people will not use their cars, especially in the summer. Also, there will be many more boats from these 1,200 plus people and boat trailers will increase traffic and parking congestion, especially with trailers maneuvering in and out of parking spaces.3. Environmental Impact This project will adversely impact the lake, due to extensive construction and the addition of over 1,200 people, requiring utilities and other infrastructure support near the lake. The urbanization run-off will cause the loss of air and water quality. These concerns, including water usage, sewage, garbage and noise, should be considered on a cumulative basis and have yet to be fully evaluated under an Environmental Impact Report. It seems likely that the impact to the environment from so many people would be significant.4. Fire Safety This is of the utmost concern. Will there be sufficient water, especially during the summer, to fight a major West Shore fire in such a high-density area? Will people have adequate exits/roads to get away from a fire? With the potential for 1,200 more people and their cars, in the event of a major fire, there will be much congestion and panic on narrow two-lane Highway 89. Many people may not be able to escape in their cars and they will not want to take a shuttle bus.Most people on the West Shore want to see improvement at Homewood Mountain Resort, but the current scope of this project is too massive and overwhelming for Homewood. It will be the largest development on the West Shore. We, therefore, hope that JMA will scale down Homewood Mountain Resort and the number of units to reduce the negative impacts on the community, traffic and the environment.Other homeowners/residents can make comments to the TRPA Governing Board at: TRPA, 128 Market St., Stateline, NV 89449. Phone (775) 588-4547, Web site: http://www.trpa.org, E-mail: email@example.com You can also e-mail a personal note to board members through this Web site. Judith Tornese and Jerry Winters are West Shore homeowners in McKinney Estates and members of the North Tahoe Citizen Action Alliance, http://www.ntcaa.org.
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