Placer County Unanimously Votes to Rescind Approval of Olympic Valley Development

Photo by Cee

The Placer County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to rescind its approval of a development proposed for Tahoe’s Olympic Valley at a public hearing on Nov. 8.

Conservation nonprofit Sierra Watch had secured a court order commanding the county to “vacate and set aside its approval” of Alterra Mountain Company’s large development proposal. 

Would-be developers Alterra Mountain Company, then acting as KSL Capital Partners, purchased the Tahoe ski resort formerly known as Squaw Valley in 2010. Within a year, the company applied to Placer County for development entitlements for a series of high-rise condo hotels, a rollercoaster, and a 90,000 square-foot indoor waterpark. 

Sierra Watch responded by building a grassroots movement under a banner of Keep Squaw True. Thousands of volunteers got involved. 

In November of 2016,the Placer County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to approve the project. Sierra Watch challenged those approvals in court, arguing that Placer County violated state planning laws. 

Pictured: 2013 Scale Model of Proposed Development in Tahoe’s Olympic Valley

In August of 2021, the Third District Court of Appeals agreed with Sierra Watch that Placer County ignored the proposed development’s impacts on Lake Tahoe, fire danger, noise, and traffic. 

“Judgment in this case is therefore entered in favor of Petitioner Sierra Watch,” the court declared in its unanimous decision. “The county shall vacate and set aside its approval of the project, including the specific plan, the development agreement, the large-lot vesting tentative subdivision map, amendments to the Squaw Valley General Plan and Land Use Ordinance, zoning change, development standards, and related resolutions and ordinances … adoption of related findings of fact, statement of overriding considerations, and mitigation monitoring reporting program; and certification of the EIR.”

At the Nov. 8 hearing, County Planner Patrick Dobbs said Alterra still plans to remove forward with the project.

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