A controversial $1 billion, 25-year development plan for Squaw Valley cleared a major hurdle after the Placer County Planning Commission approved the plan in a 4-2 vote last week. Now, the plan moves on to the Placer County Board of Supervisors for the final verdict.
If the board approves the plan, developers would have the green light to add about 850 residential units and nearly 300,000 square feet of commercial space consisting mostly of a hotel and retail over the next 25 years. Plans also call for construction of a 90,000-square-foot indoor adventure center and water park at the resort.
The development plan has several opponents, including California Attorney General Kamala Harris and a conservation group called Sierra Watch. Primary concerns that have been raised by critics include increased pollution, traffic issues, water supply, and noise—in addition to the 94-acre project affecting the area’s aesthetic.
Squaw Valley says the redevelopment is necessary to reinvigorate the resort and create a world-renowned destination on a par with companies such as Vail Resorts. A vast majority of the redevelopment would occur on existing parking lots already zoned for development. Squaw says that studies have shown resulting traffic would increase by just one percent.
Resort officials have also pointed to other components of the project, including public transportation, parks, trails, and public works benefits required by the county for a development of this size.