In August, a Placer County judge ruled in favor of Squaw Valley over the nonprofit group, the Sierra Watch, to approve a major expansion project at the resort. The proposed development project includes a series of condominiums, hotels, and a gigantic 90,000-square foot water park.
The Sierra Watch opposes the action, citing major environmental concerns. The group believes the environmental analysis behind the development project is flimsy at best. In addition, the Tahoe-Truckee area is congested during ski season and the project will only infuse more vehicles, traffic, and greenhouse gasses into the area.
The Sierra Watch has been a thorn in the side of Squaw Valley through every step of the process. As a result of all that legal back and forth, the resort filed a motion to recover $226,893 in attorney fees for the long-running court battle reports the Reno Gazette-Journal.
On October 6, a Placer County judge shot down Squaw Valley’s attempt to recover those legal fees. The judge cites the fact that the Sierra Watch’s case was not “totally meritless” or “clearly frivolous” as the Alterra’s Ron Cohen suggested. Despite ruling in Squaw Valley’s favor back in August, the nonprofit’s case was substantial said the judge.
‘“Based upon a careful review of the pleadings in support of and in opposition to the current motion, the entire file in this action, and its observations at trial, the court cannot conclude that petitioner’s action was clearly frivolous or totally meritless.”
While this ruling isn’t what most would consider a victory for Sierra Watch’s main mission, it does show that the courts are considering both sides of this argument and it’s not completely one-sided as some might argue.
Find the entire Reno Gazette Journal article here: Judge won’t punish conservationists in Tahoe ski resort suit