Public participation in Homewood Resort redevelopment discussion is robust. Placer County received 1800 comments on the draft EIR. JMA Ventures, the developer, is proposing plan changes based on comment.
August 13, 2011
by Michelle Sweeney
Public participation in the Homewood Resort redevelopment discussion is robust, as evidenced at the Placer County, North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council (NTRAC) meeting on August 11, 2011. About 60 people filled the Tahoe City Public Utility District meeting room articulating some of the 1800 comments Placer County received on the draft Environmental Impact Report.
Art Chapman with JMA Ventures opened the discussion with a summary of the comment the redevelopment team had received and its responses, “Comment fell into 2 categories” he said “1) issue with environmental thresholds from advocacy groups and 2) proximity of the parking structure and accommodation units to existing homes in the area from Homewood locals. The changes we have made in response to these comments can be summarized in terms of pervious material, North Base changes and South Base changes.”
He went on to explain, “Every bit of road or other surface that can be made pervious will be. We will deploy pervious paver technology on every square inch of land that does not have a structure underneath but that requires a road or other surface. At the North Base we propose location of the parking structure just off of highway 89, to be accessible with a right hand turn and with significant setback and landscaping. At the gravel parking area we propose single-family accommodation. At the South Base we are reducing the number of proposed units by five, reducing porposed built square footage by 9,000 square feet and reducing excavation. We anticipate that redevelopment will reduce winter traffic linked to the Resort. As there is currently no summer use of the Resort summer traffic will be added by the project.”Mr. Chapman added the note about traffic in response to much criticism of the redevelopment on the subject.
“The traffic from Tahoe City is already bad. I can’t imagine what you are going to do to mitigate that. I think the scale is large and you are also adding the daily support traffic – employees, deliveries, etc.”, said Barbara Brochard. Susan Gearhart reiterated this concern, “Traffic continues to be a huge concern. It is significant and unavoidable. Senate Bill 371 sates that there can’t be an increase in greenhouse gas emission in instances like this. What we are hoping to see is a development that fits, that speaks to families. 697 bedrooms is a lot of heads on beds. We want to see a development that fits.” Ruth Raleigh concurred, “This project is way too big. It is out of character for the West Shore and will have serious impacts to our community. A 77-foot hotel doesn’t seem to mix.” Additional concerns were expressed about the scenic impact of development of a mid-mountain lodge and the impact of additional night lighting. “I am appreciative that we had the opportunity to meet and go over the plans in close detail” said Hal Flynn, a neighbor of the project, “I still have concerns about density.”
Supporters of the Homewood Resort redevelopment proposal spoke in terms similar to those of Joe Lynch who said, “The Homewood resort is a great amenity. We want it to be beautiful and vibrant. Improving the Homewood ski resort is expensive. The only way to do it is to have a real estate element. I think that this proposed plan would likely be the finest. You need to change things over time or things start to die off. Homewood needs a makeover. We have a developer that has resources, that knows Tahoe and that cares and listens. This developer has these qualifications. I think we ought to give them an opportunity. I’m appreciative that they have been willing to listen and make changes.” Renton Keeling added, “The public monies are drying up. If we are going to continue to try to make environmental gains we need private investment. This is a great example of that investment.”
Kay Williams sees Homewood redevelopment as an opportunity for positive change, “Rentable units are disappearing on the West Shore. I feel like the proposed project has to be financially feasible. They need a revenue source that will sustain the improvements they are making to the area, better fire service and better snow removal. The West Shore is a small group of private homes. When we get something new it is a bigger house. That doesn’t bring with it health and wellbeing of the community. I’d like to have a community that can sustain local residents and support second homeowners and people that are a part of making the economy work. I think change is good. I believe we need change. I think that we have a group of people that are trying to make a good and sustainable project. Nothing is going to change without this project.”
Megan Chillemi, a member of the Advisory Council had this observation, “What I have seen in 26 years of life on the North Shore is that we are losing community. We are hearing the same issues with regard to all proposed projects – size and scale. We need a vision. Get involved in the West Shore Community Plan process. Get involved in NTRAC, otherwise we get this high quality public participation only in the context of projects. Absent redevelopment of the Homewood Resort, what you will have in that area in a decade or two is estate homes. It is time to plan your new community.” Lolly Kupec, also an Advisory Council member said, “I am observing a tremendous amount of creative energy in this project. I think there are still improvements that can be made. I think this is a good project. Improving, renovating, redeveloping Homewood is something that must happen. I applaud the people at JMA for having the fortitude to move this transparent process forward.”
The public process surrounding the Homewood Resort redevelopment application will accelerate in the remainder of 2011. It is important that the public speak to the County in writing. The final EIR process will likely start in 45 to 60 days. The next meeting of the North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council will be September 8, 2011 at the Kings Beach Event Center.
Tahoe Project encourages you to post comment on this article below. Postings about upcoming Homewood redevelopment discussions are encouraged. Thank you.
Friends of the West Shore
Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, CEP, Homewood