Homewood, Environmentalists Settle Expansion Lawsuit; Work To Begin In 2015
A seven-year public and legal battle over transforming day-skier Homewood Mountain Resort into a major player among Lake Tahoe destination resorts has been settled.
Resort owners JMA Ventures joined Friends of the West Shore and Tahoe Area Sierra Club in announcing a settlement that scaled back housing development, emphasized traffic monitoring and reduced the footprint of expansion. JMA has investment interests around Lake Tahoe, including Constellation Residences at Northstar and the operating company that runs Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows.
“We’ll have 13 fewer (housing) units, but the same square footage which, in theory, will reduce traffic,” JMA’s Art Chapman told the Tahoe Daily Tribune. “We’ve been very candid with everyone about the economics of Homewood, and we needed a certain size — we couldn’t compromise on the square footage.”
The plan, which was held up by a federal judge seeking revision of the environmental impact statement, still must go through the Placer County Board of Supervisors and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency governing board before construction can begin.
Modifications in the settlement will be included in the submittal, resort officials said.
“The modified project will have a smaller impact on Lake Tahoe, which has already suffered so much from runaway development,” Wendy Park, an attorney with Earthjustice who represented the plaintiffs, told the Daily Tribune. “Any construction project this close to the shores of Lake Tahoe must be considered carefully and all environmental impacts examined closely.”
The original $500 million Homewood plan included a 5-star hotel with up to 75 rooms, 56 residential condominiums, 47 multi-family condominiums, 48 ski-in ski-out chalets, 16 townhomes, 13 workforce housing apartments and 15,000 square feet of retail space, along with an additional 40 individually owned condos and 30 individually owned penthouse units.
Currently, there is no overnight lodging at Homewood, which sits right on the western shore of Lake Tahoe along busy State Highway 89. Resort officials have said that the lack of on-site lodging has put the mountain’s 1,260 skiable acres with a vertical drop of 1,655 feet at a distinct disadvantage with larger Tahoe destination resorts.
Resort officials contend that the expansion will revitalize the base area, add jobs to the local economy and create a eco-conscious, green development.
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Rendering: Homewood Master Plan lodging (Homewood Resort)