Anyone who thinks that Park City, Utah has the exclusive on ski town drama needs to check out what's happening in North Lake Tahoe. We've been following the multi-year process of redeveloping Squaw Valley's base village for a while now, and things are heating up. In response to KSL Capital Partner's large-scale expansion plans last year, locals rallied to incorporate Olympic Valley into a town. Now, Squaw Valley's CEO Andy Wirth is against the incorporation and Squaw Valley Ski Holdings has helped launch an anti-incorporation effort called Save Olympic Valley. Curbed Ski breaks down both sides of the issue and then turns it over to you: should the future of Squaw include the newly incorporated town of Olympic Valley?
Current plans for the Squaw Valley base are a downgraded version of a widely criticized 2011 proposal that called for an enormous 101.5 acre, 1000 residence, 132,000-square foot aquatic park. And while the water park is gone (and some famous faces have recently endorsed the revised plans), many still see KSL's plans as too much for Squaw Valley. You can check out full coverage of the base area redevelopment, over here.
Incorporate Olympic Valley (IOV):
The organization Incorporate Olympic Valley (IOV) aims for increased autonomy from Placer County in order to have greater say in Squaw Valley's future. They recently launched a crowdfunding campaign and have plenty of local support. Representatives of IOV say they aren't anti-development. Instead, their goal is smart development with greater local participation and self-determination.
In a letter from April 7th, Squaw CEO Andy Wirth detailed what he saw as the negative impacts of creating a new town, arguing that Olympic Valley would not have enough tax revenue to sustain itself without raising local taxes. Since Wirth's letter, the ski resort has gone on the offensive against IOV, taking out full-page ads in local papers questioning the non-profit's proposal. Squaw Valley Ski Resort is also bankrolling the efforts to stop incorporation, giving Save Olympic Valley a reported $121,163. Finally, Squaw Valley ski area has said that if there was a newly incorporated town, they would want to be excluded from the town's boundaries. But IOV organizers need the ski area for incorporation. IOV has said that excluding Squaw Valley would be illogical and disastrous to the new town's finances.
The Main Issues:
1. Money: Save Olympic Valley believes that the new town will not be fiscally viable. Those who support incorporation believe that it will be. Currently, the Placer County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) has awarded a bid to Citygate Associates to conduct a comprehensive fiscal analysis.
2. Who Gets to Decide: If plans for incorporation move forward, only registered voters within the new town will get to vote, leaving out second homeowners. IOV says that timeshare owners who are in the valley one week a year should not get to decide the town's future. Instead, they believe that those who live in Squaw Valley full time will have the area's best interests in mind.
3. Services: Save Olympic Valley questions whether a new town would be able to provide the same level of services currently provided in Squaw Valley and whether the town could handle natural disasters, like wildfires. Incorporate Olympic Valley has a comprehensive plan for how public services would be divided between various public agencies, available here.
So what happens next?
Earlier this month, LAFCO awarded a bid to conduct a comprehensive fiscal analysis of the proposed town. An environmental impact report may also be necessary. Once these reports are finished, there will be public hearings and LAFCO will issue a decision on incorporation. If LAFCO says that incorporation can proceed, incorporation will be decided by a simple majority of registered voters in the boundaries of the new town voting on a ballot measure.
So there you have it, an overly simplified breakdown of what's going on. So now, Curbediverse, you tell us:
· The Struggle Over Squaw Valley's Future [Moonshine Ink]
· Incorporate Olympic Valley [Official Site]
· Save Olympic Valley [Official Site]
· Squaw Valley CEO Comes Out Against Olympic Valley [Curbed Ski]
· All Coverage of the Fight Over Olympic Valley [Curbed Ski Archives]
· All Squaw Valley Base Village Coverage [Curbed Ski Archives]