Tomorrow: Decision Time for North Tahoe Development
The Placer County Planning Commission will meet in Kings Beach tomorrow to make a recommendation on the proposed Martis West project.
What: Placer County Planning Commission
Where: North Tahoe Event Center; 8318 North Lake Boulevard
Kings Beach, CA
When: 2:00 p.m.
If the members of the Commission need a reminder of what’s stake, all they’ll have to do is look out the window at the lake itself.
Pictured: View from the Event Center
The Commission is re-opening its hearing on the “Martis Valley West Parcel Specific Plan”. The project is part of a two-step plan to develop the ridge dividing the Tahoe Basin and North Lake Tahoe, west of Brockway Summit.The Martis Valley West project proposes a gated development of 760 new dwelling units on the Martis Valley side of the ridge. The Brockway Campground resort development would include 550 sites and commercial facilities on the Tahoe Basin side of the ridge.
Together, they would transform Brockway and North Tahoe into a sprawling tangle of new roads and rooftops.
For Thursday’s meeting, the Planning Commission is focusing on how the Martis West project would impact three extremely important issues – traffic, fire safety, and Tahoe.
Here’s some of what Sierra Watch and our allies think they should know:
Anyone who has travelled in Tahoe this summer already knows: traffic is a mess. The proposed project, according to Placer County’s environmental review, would make it much worse – guaranteeing gridlock and threatening public safety.
New development would add 4,000 cars to North Tahoe roads everyday. And it would require a dangerous new intersection just below Brockway Summit; Caltrans opposes a new traffic signal, so drivers would be forced to exit and enter Highway 267 at full speed.
2. Fire Safety
Yesterday’s fire north of Squaw Valley was a reminder: wildfire in North Tahoe is not a question of if but of when.
Pictured: Yesterday’s Fire
Yet the project’s location and the nature of proposed development create a recipe for wildfire and disaster. The project is proposed for a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone.
If this project were built, what would happen when there is a fire? The lack of transportation infrastructure would exacerbate the tragedy. Limited and narrow roadways would mean it would take over an hour just to leave the property.
Then what? Evacuation would be a matter of out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire as residents find themselves trying to escape on Highway 267, which is gridlocked under normal conditions.
This is not planning for disaster; it’s planning a disaster.
Because the project would be so big, and its effects so far-reaching, it is difficult to summarize what the project would mean to the lake.
The most obvious impacts would come from traffic in the Tahoe Basin.
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) calculates that the new development would add 1,395 cars into the Basin daily. That traffic leads to an increase in Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT), which, in turn, leads to further loss in the lake’s famous clarity – arguably the region’s most fundamental asset.
Sierra Watch will be there for the hearing – and beyond. Regardless of the outcome tomorrow, we’ll remain committed to the timeless values of our Tahoe Sierra.
As always, we’ll keep you up to date!