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Lawsuit Filed Over Lake Tahoe Ski Resort Expansion

January 9. 2012

A controversial expansion of Lake Tahoe's Homewood ski resort may be put on hold. The Sierra Club and Friends of the West Shore are suing the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) and Placer County for approving what they call "an ill-conceived and environmentally disruptive development." Their attorney, Wendy Park, with Earthjustice, says the $250 million project would increase traffic, worsen air pollution and spew runoff into the lake.

"Tahoe itself is a really fragile area. There are special standards the Agency has to achieve to ensure that the lake is protected in the long run."

Homewood wants to turn 1,200-acre property into a destination resort that includes a four-story hotel, condos, two lodges and retail space. If allowed, it would be the biggest hotel built on the west shore of the lake since 1901. Local residents challenged the plan when it was first proposed, but TRPA approved the project in December.

Park says they are not against development in Lake Tahoe, as long as it is done responsibly. She says the current project is simply too large.

"The issue is that this project is so out of scale with the local community. Our clients would be happy with something that was smaller, and that didn't have the same kinds of impacts on traffic and air quality that this project does."

The lawsuit claims the agency further weakened the existing Tahoe Regional Plan by passing special amendments for Homewood that will waive or weaken restrictions on building height, residential density and commercial development.

More information about the case is available at http://earthjustice.org.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA