Opinion: What lies ahead for Martis Valley West Project? | SierraSun.com

Opinion: What lies ahead for Martis Valley West Project?

Blake Riva
Special to the Sun-Bonanza

Preservation of open space in the heart of Martis Valley is closer to becoming a reality. A diverse group of stakeholders has been working together for nearly a decade to protect 6,376 acres of private land as permanent open space.

Mountainside Partners, Sierra Pacific Industries, Mountain Area Preservation, Sierra Watch, Trust For Public Land and Truckee Donner Land Trust have been pursuing a shared vision for the Martis Valley.

Originally referred to as the Martis Valley Opportunity, the Martis Valley West Project is a combined conservation and development plan that provides the final piece of the conservation puzzle linking 50,000 acres of contiguous open space.

50,000 Acres of Contiguous Open Space

The 50,000 acres of open space from the floor of Martis Valley through the Mount Rose Wilderness Area achieves the large landscape conservation objective coveted for environmental, biological and wildlife purposes.

While the Martis Valley West Project is located entirely outside the Tahoe Basin, almost one half, 24,000 of the 50,000 acres, of the open space is within the Tahoe Basin.

The preservation of the 6,376 acres also enhances public recreation opportunities in the region. There are more than 40 miles of existing trails on what is now private land. Conservation efforts will serve to ensure public access to these trails for current and future generations to enjoy.

600 Unit Density Reduction/No Tahoe Basin Development

The Martis Valley West Project transfers 760 of the 1,360 residential units zoned for development in the heart of Martis Valley to land adjacent to the Northstar Resort.

The proposed development area is 100 percent outside the Tahoe Basin. The transfer accomplishes locating future development adjacent to an existing resort and makes the entire 6,376 acres available for conservation.

The transfer also results in the permanent retirement of 600 units of potential development in Martis Valley which has significant environmental benefits.

No Significant Visual, Traffic or Water Impacts

Placer County has completed the requisite studies to be included in the Martis Valley West Project Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).

The various studies analyze the potential impacts of the project, as well as cumulative impacts to the region.

Based on feedback from the community, there are a few key topics of particular interest in the DEIR.

Extensive visual studies performed from both the Martis Valley and Tahoe Basin perspectives conclude there are no significant visual impacts associated with the project.

In terms of traffic implications, the permanent retirement of 600 units of potential development results in far less traffic being generated from the project than was contemplated in the Martis Valley Community Plan.

And with water being such an important issue for the region, it is good to know that the water studies conclude there is an adequate source of water on-site to meet the needs of the project.

Stay Informed

As with any proposed project, the Martis Valley West Project will be subject to a thorough public review process.

The DEIR as prepared by Placer County is now available for review and comment. We encourage people to participate in the public process and understand the facts related to this unique combined conservation and development plan.

We look forward to continued collaboration with key stakeholders and community members as we take the next steps toward making this conservation legacy a reality.

For Additional Information:

Placer County DEIR: http://www.placer.ca.gov/departments/communitydevelopment/envcoordsvcs/eir/martisvalleywestparcel

Martis Valley West Project Information: http://www.MVWPFacts.com

The opinion column, written by Blake Riva, was submitted by Tracy Owen Chapman of TOC Consulting. Riva is Managing Partner of Mountainside Partners. Mountainside Partners and Sierra Pacific Industries are working together on the Martis Valley West Project.