Breaking News: Squaw Valley Development Approved


Just moments ago, the Placer County Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 1 to approve the “Village At Squaw Valley Specific Plan“, a development proposal by KSL Capital Partners at Squaw Valley ski area.

KSL Capital Partners is the owner of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows ski areas near Lake Tahoe. They have proposed a development that includes timeshares on undeveloped land in Shirley Canyon, a series of condo hotels, a 90,000 square foot 96’ tall indoor park that could include amenities such as a water park with water slides, indoor waterskiing, arcades and a 30 lane bowling complex. The developer stated that the amenities in the indoor park will be decided as the project moves forward.

KSL Capital Partners has offices in Denver, Connecticut and London. The private equity firm owns a variety of recreation, leisure and golf resorts including Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, The Belfry (UK), Monarch Beach Resort, Miraval Resort and Spa and many others.

Several groups have spoken out against the development citing a scale that is too large, lack of renewable energy implementation, traffic concerns, open space encroachment, a 25 year construction plan and many other concerns.

Several hundred residents, business owners and interested parties showed up to voice their opinion to the Board of Supervisors. The opinions were overwhelmingly against the development with a majority asking the Board for a development on a smaller scale. “Reject this project as proposed” was echoed by many of the speakers. The cost of housing, climate change, traffic, particulate pollution, emergency response time and other concerns were voiced by those opposed. Those in favor of the development cited business opportunities, improved traffic infrastructure, year round tourism and increased employment opportunities in their support.

Tensions were high at times with one speaker being cut off when a county supervisor asked for the microphone to be shut off.

A spokesman for the developer pointed to Squaw Creek restoration efforts as “a profoundly great benefit” of the project. He also stated that smaller proposals would not be financially viable for the community or the developer, pointing out that the environmental impact would be the same with less revenue. Eighty percent of the development that is being proposed is being built on existing asphalt. The spokesman also stated that the 25 year construction phasing of the project is by design to coincide with infrastructure improvements to meet the needs of the community and the development.

The Board of Supervisors asked dozens of questions of the developer and county staff after the public comment period. Board members cited 5 years of public process, public comment, dozens of design review meetings and a “substantially changed” project as part of the decision making process.

Jennifer Montgomery motioned that the board deny the plan and go back to reconsider a smaller proposal. There was no second. Kirk Uhler motioned to approve the Squaw Valley Specific Plan, which was seconded and adopted, 4 to 1. All other motions were seconded and approved by the same margin with the same Supervisors in favor and opposed.

This is how the Board voted:

Jack Duran, District 1: YES
Robert Weygandt, District 2: YES
Jim Holmes, District 3: YES
Kirk Uhler, District 4: YES
Jennifer Montgomery, District 5: NO