Court Denies Sierra Watch Lawsuits, Upholds Squaw Valley Village Approval
Placer County Superior Court Judge Michael W. Jones ruled in favor of Squaw Valley Real Estate and Placer County on Aug. 15 in the second of two lawsuits filed by Sierra Watch against Placer County’s approval of the Village at Squaw Valley Specific Plan. The court rejected Sierra Watch’s claim that the project’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was inadequate and violated eight areas of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The CEQA ruling follows the court’s recent ruling against Sierra Watch’s separate allegation that Placer County’s approval of the project violated the Brown Act. Sierra Watch has indicated preparing to take the case to the California Court of Appeals.

945-Acre Northstar-Area Property Sold to Developer Mountainside Builders

Mountainside Builders, a subsidiary company of Taylor Builders, LLC has purchased the property assets of Mountainside Partners, comprising a portfolio of more than 940 acres in six separate development projects around the Northstar resort community. The properties were sold for an undisclosed amount. The projects are all in various stages of development. Mountainside at Northstar, adjacent to The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, includes three on-mountain and slope-side communities ranging from homes and townhomes in the Stellar Collection and The Boulders, to M25, a collection of 25 large, custom lots. Collectively, the six projects represent entitlements for a mixture of residential units, including 309 within Mountainside, along with current and planned amenities for homeowners.

Parasol Foundation Funds Final Two AlertTahoe Cameras

A grant of $42,500 will install two final AlertTahoe cameras at DL Bliss/Emerald Bay and Fallen Leaf Lake. AlertTahoe, a project of the University of Nevada, Reno, combines innovative technology with on-the-ground firefighting efforts to protect Lake Tahoe’s communities. It is a system of networked sensors designed to protect the Lake Tahoe Basin from catastrophic wildfires, earthquakes, and other natural hazards. Recently, Sen. Dean Heller (NV) announced $226,000 in federal funding for AlertTahoe for needed upgrades, camera system repairs, network connections, and software and hardware improvements. The matching grant funding by the Parasol Foundation will help improve the existing 4-year-old system. 

$13 Million from CAL FIRE for Forest Health and Restoration Projects

The National Forest Foundation (NFF) announced Aug. 9 it has received a major grant from the California Climate Investments Forest Health Grant Program to conduct important forest health work on the Tahoe National Forest, the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, and State Responsibility Area lands in the Truckee/Tahoe region. The NFF will work with multiple local partners, including youth and tribal conservation crews, to perform fuels reduction work on nearly 12,000 acres of forests in the region. With this matching funding, the total project value is roughly $18 million. The work is expected to include roughly 7,900 acres of forest thinning/fuels reduction work, 3,600 acres of prescribed fire, and 240 acres of reforestation. In addition, the project anticipates producing nearly 70,000 green tons of biomass for local biomass plants, which will boost local economies and support the emerging biomass industry. The NFF has until April 30, 2022 to complete the work.

Placer County to Explore Third Roundabout 

A new roundabout could be in the works for a high-traffic interchange in Kings Beach, with the Placer County Board of Supervisors approving a $900,000 contract agreement on Aug. 28 with Omni-Means to begin the safety and congestion improvement project. Currently, traffic at the interchange is controlled by traffic signals, slowing the flow of traffic at the intersection of state Route 267 and state Route 28. A partnership with Caltrans, the estimated $7 million project is expected to be funded from several sources, with a majority coming from federal programs. If the project is approved, construction is expected to begin in 2022.

Over 200 Bike Racks Coming to Basin

Thanks to a grant from the Tahoe Fund, the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition is distributing 215 free bicycle racks throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin through September, creating secure parking for 430 bicycles at key public destinations. The Tahoe Fund contributed $35,000 in grant funding for the bike rack effort along with $10,000 from the Nevada Commission on Tourism. Each of the two types of racks being distributed can park two bicycles. The racks are being installed at bike paths, parks, trailheads, beaches, and other community gathering places and recreation hotspots. Volunteers with the Bike Coalition assisted Sacramento-based Ground Control Systems with delivery of the racks on Aug. 16 and 17. Along with the racks, the Bike Coalition is also distributing four public “fix-it” stations, where people riding bikes can use tools and a pump to address minor bicycle repair issues for free.

Cannabis Delivery Service Licenses Now Available

In response to the passage of Proposition 64 in the November 2016 state election (legalizing recreational marijuana use) the Truckee Town Council held a series of workshops to discuss the town’s approach to marijuana regulations. At the June 12, 2018 town council meeting, the council adopted permanent land use regulations in Truckee to allow the establishment of cannabis delivery service businesses (adult-use and medicinal), which can obtain a use permit and cannabis delivery service license from the town if they meet certain eligibility criteria, effective July 24, 2018. The Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) requires a state “M-Retailer” or “A-Retailer” license (Type 9) issued by the Bureau of Cannabis Control for any retail activities involving marijuana. Following approval of a use permit by the planning commission to allow operation of a cannabis delivery service, the community development department will issue the delivery license to the delivery service operator. Info:

Caltrans Improves Bridges in El Dorado, Nevada, and Placer Counties 

Caltrans is making improvements on eight bridges in three counties, due to the funds from Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. Five bridges are located on Interstate 80 west of Donner Summit where pavement is highly impacted by nearly 30,000 vehicles and more than 6,000 trucks per day, and the use of snow chains during the winter months contributes to road deterioration. Motorists traveling throughout the Reno and Lake Tahoe areas as well as other Sierra locations on these routes will benefit from a smoother ride as will the truckers transporting $4.7 million worth of freight every hour over I-80’s Donner Pass. The $3.6 million project was awarded to Golden State Bridge, Inc. Travelers through these areas are advised to prepare for delays in the work zones, including lane restrictions.

New State Park: Walker River State Recreation Area

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced Aug. 19 that Nevada’s newest state park, the Walker River State Recreation Area, will officially open to the public at the Pitchfork Ranch on Sept. 22. The park is comprised of four units: the Pitchfork Ranch, Rafter 7 Ranch, Flying M Ranch and the Nine Mile Ranch. The century-old Pitchfork Ranch, located near Yerington, Nevada, is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, with 7 miles of the celebrated East Walker River open for exploration. Visitors are invited to experience camping, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, kayaking, fishing, or simply relaxing in an idyllic country setting. 

Town Receives Sustainability Award

Town of Truckee was awarded a Silver Level Award in Sustainability Best Practices from the Institute for Local Government Beacon Program. The award will be conferred to the mayor on Sept. 13 at the League of California Cities Annual Conference. Many town staff, decision-makers, and partners have worked extensively on all of the various efforts that led to this award. Some of the elements that led Town of Truckee to receiving this award are: energy efficiency upgrades to its facilities, its 2017/18 100 percent renewables commitment, storm water program, updated waste and recycling services, a long-range transit plan, and the Railyard Master Plan.

Locals Rally on Labor Day to Keep Tahoe’s Beaches Clean

Early on the morning of Sept. 3, over 70 Keep Tahoe Blue volunteers arrived at Commons Beach in Tahoe City to comb the sands along 6 miles of shoreline in search of items left behind by those enjoying the previous night’s festivities. Of the 224 pounds of litter removed by volunteers organized by the League to Save Lake Tahoe, some of the most damaging to Lake Tahoe are the smallest and most obscure items that may not be seen at first glance. Micro-trash in the form of 2,064 cigarette butts and 1,520 plastic pieces were picked-up, sorted, and even recycled. League staff ship the cigarette butts to a company on the East Coast that upcycles them into new plastic products. As for the rest of the plastic pieces, those unfortunately will end up in landfills.