Squaw Valley is proposing its largest expansion in the resort’s history. This expansion has received mixed feedback from the Tahoe community, many of whom condemn the efforts of Squaw Valley to expand its village into environmentally sensitive areas. Just published, the Environmental Impact Report for the proposed development lays out the environmental impacts that can be expected from construction, demolition, and rezoning efforts. Here is what you need to know.
Proposed Plan Objectives, Environmental Impacts, and Areas of Controvers as taken from the Executive Summary of the EIR, provided by Ascent Environmental Inc.
Main Village Area:
- Resort Residential: Up to 1,493 bedrooms provided in up to 850 units, including a mixture of hotel, condo hotel, fractional ownership, and timeshare units.
- Commercial: Approximately 297,733 square feet of tourist-serving commercial space, including hotel common areas, conference rooms, retail, restaurant, and similar commercial uses, all of which are included in this square footage total.
- Commercial (Removed): Approximately 91,522 square feet of existing commercial space would be removed.
- Employee Housing (Removed): Two existing structures (Courtside and Hostel) that currently provide seasonal employee housing for up to 99 staff would be removed.
- Mountain Adventure Camp: The 90,000-square-foot Mountain Adventure Camp would offer an extensive indoor/outdoor pool system including water slides and other water based recreation. The facility would provide additional entertainment options that could include indoor rock climbing, a movie theater (maximum 300 seats), a bowling alley (maximum 30 lanes), and a multi-generational arcade.
- Parking: 3,297 parking spaces would be provided in separate parking structures at full project buildout. Up to approximately 1,800 additional spaces would be provided in podium parking under new buildings in the plan area.
- Restoration of Squaw Creek: A 150- to 200-foot-wide conservation corridor would be provided for the length of the creek through the plan area. The creek restoration program would support improvement of terrestrial and aquatic habitat conditions, improved water quality and sediment management, and increased flood conveyance capacity.
- Up to 50 employee housing units (dormitory and studio units), accommodating a maximum of 300 employees;
- Employee recreational facilities (e.g., barbeque areas, picnic tables, a passive park setting, and/or horseshoe pits);
- Employee parking; and
- Approximately 20,000 square feet of commercial space, including a 15,000-square-foot shipping and receiving facility and a 5,000-square-foot market.
So what are the environmental impacts from a development of this significance? Ascent Environmental group point out in their findings in these “Significant and Unavoidable Environmental Impacts.”
- Demolition of historically significant buildings Visual Resources
- Adverse effect on a scenic vista (construction and operations as experienced by long-term residents)
- Substantially degrade the existing visual character or quality of the site and its surroundings (construction)
- Substantially damage scenic resources, including, but not limited to, trees, rock outcroppings, and historic buildings within a scenic highway (construction)
- Create a new source of substantial light or glare that would adversely affect day or nighttime views in the area (operations)
Transportation and Circulation:
- Impacts to Placer County intersections
- Impacts to Caltrans intersections
- Impacts caused by vehicular queuing at Caltrans intersections
- Impacts to Caltrans highways
- Construction noise impacts
- Exposure of new and existing sensitive receptors to operational project-generated transportation noise sources (potentially significant for existing sensitive receptors)
Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change:
- Operational greenhouse gas emissions (potentially significant after 2020)
The document in question, which can be found on the Placer County website, has raised areas of concern for Tahoe residents, who see the expansion as compromising cultural and environmental aspects to the valley. According to Placer officials these Areas of Controversy are as follows.
- water supply availability,
- effects on Squaw Creek,
- visual effects of tall buildings on existing views,
- changes in the character of Olympic Valley, and
- traffic impacts along Squaw Valley Road and SR 89.
The Draft EIR can be found at:
The document is available for comment till July 17, 2015.
Comments Can Be Sent To:
Attention: Maywan Krach;
Placer County Community Development Resource Agency, Environmental Coordination Services,
3091 County Center Drive, Suite 190, Auburn, CA 95603,
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 5:00 pm on July 17, 2015.