Big real estate plans stalled in Truckee |

Big real estate plans stalled in Truckee

Allen Best

TRUCKEE, Calif. – A district court judge in California has at least temporarily scuttled plans for massive Colorado-style resort development in the Martis Valley, located between Truckee and Lake Tahoe.The plan approved by Placer County in 2003 “builds in opportunities to create environmental mischief,” said Judge James. D. Garbolino. He faulted the plan on several counts, saying it failed to adequately consider new traffic, offered little afforded housing and strayed from the county’s principle to encourage growth in existing cities.The lawsuit had been filed by a coalition of environmental groups and aided by the Town of Truckee. On the other side was Placer County, aided by land owners and development firms, including Eat West Partners. Roger Lessman, managing partner for East West Partners Tahoe, told the Sacramento Bee that he expects the county and his projects will eventually prevail. The case ultimately could go to the California State Supreme Court.It’s not clear how the ruling might affect projects approved by the county but not built. Among those approvals was one just days prior to the ruling. In that case, Placer County gave the green light for the first 252 units of what East West Partners expects will ultimately be 1,450 condominiums and townhomes at Northstar-at-Tahoe, a resort owned by Booth Creek. Both Booth Creek and East West Partners are based in Colorado’s Vail Valley.Unless there are challenges, construction on that Northstar project, called Highlands, is set to go. No challenges are expected, says the Sierra Sun, because East West Partners has already worked out deals. First, as environmentalists wish, the company has agreed to levy real estate transfer taxes on the sales of properties, with the money to be allocated to buying open space. Second, East West has agreed to build 96 employee housing units, alleviating concerns in Truckee. And third, after the Washoe Indian Tribe worried about disturbance of prehistoric sites, East West agreed to avoid those sites when feasible during construction.The project is considered a key in shifting Northstar away from being a ski area that caters to only day skiers to one that competes for destination skiers.Vail Colorado

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