Coffee For Thought

10 January 2014

by Treas Manning

My 6am morning coffee ritual; sitting in my oversized chair breezing through facebook posts, checking out Moonshine Ink’s latest reads and between sips of the strong stuff I raise my eyes and gaze at Eagle’s Nest and the Tram Face.  This morning a couple of things caught my attention and impelled me to lay down my ipad, take a long look out the window and ask myself this question, what is it I want.

My husband and I have lived in Squaw Valley for 25 years and we had owned a Squaw business from 1976 to 2010.  Embroiled in community fighting over development and the drive to incorporate our town, this morning’s articles stopped me in my tracks.  I looked at my husband Herb and asked, what do we want to see and what are we willing to accept in the Squaw Valley plan?

Moonshine Ink’s morning article about a talk given by Wayne Poulsen Jr. to a small group of locals raised some interesting questions and threw out a challenge that I had yet to take.  In the mist of joining the fight to stop development I have never been asked or asked myself, what do I want.

Wayne Poulsen asked, where was the community when the power substation was built in plain view at the entrance of Squaw Valley, where was the community when Tower One was perched at the crest of the iconic rock face, now known as the Tram Face?

Well, I was around when some of these things happened and not when others took place.  But the important fact is that I never took an active stand on any of these issues, other than small talk with the neighbors. Just for the record, I hate the location of the power substation and I love the tram and Tower One at the Pinnacle of the rock face.

Wayne is right on, the changes facing our community are irreversible.  Going beyond the rally to stop events from  happening it is important to ask ourselves the hard questions.  Are there changes I would like to see?  What are my concerns and what am I strongly against when it come to changes in my community?

After reading Moonshine Ink and pouring my second cup of coffee, I logged on to facebook and read a post of a poll taken by the Sierra Sun.  4,693 people chimed into the question, “what’s your reaction to the new scaled-down proposal to develop Squaw Valley”.

A whopping 94.10% hate the revised plan and still think it is too big.  But an even greater question might be, what do those 4,416 individuals want to see happen in Squaw Valley.

So here I go, this is what I would like to see happen in the valley.  Let’s start at the entrance and work our way up Squaw Valley Road.

  1. Power substation moved, (probably not going to happen, that irreversible thing Wayne was talking about).
  2. The property at the entrance cleaned up to present a more appealing invitation to the resort and our community.
  3. Love the walking/bike path and I want county funding to continue.  I would like to see a couple of nice benches along the route donated by local friends and families to honor important community activist and colorful, longtime Squaw Valley characters.
  4. Squaw Valley is known around the world, I would like to see our valley show more concern regarding overly cluttered signage and junked up yards throughout Squaw but especially along the main road.
  5. I’d like to see the barren mud lots at the triangle and across from the theater building free of litter, paved or brought back to their natural landscape.
  6. I would like to see the tired maintenance building get a facelift.
  7. The Olympic Village Inn at one time had a nice restaurant and bar with awesome views of the Tram Face. I would love to see that again and the surrounding raunchy structures remolded or torn down.
  8. While I am all for the Squaw Valley Charter school, I hate seeing one more temporary building constructed that will most likely be around for years to come.
  9. I don’t want to see the trails up Shirley Canyon widen and tamed. Yes trail maintenance is mandatory, but let’s keep the canyon less tame and a bit more wild.
  10. I am not for building a cluster of single family homes on the hillside behind OVI encroaching on Shirley Canyon. (or is now called OVL?)
  11. I want the Mountain Adventure Center dropped from the development plan. I have an affinity for honest mountain adventure.
  12. I am okay with finishing the original Intrawest village plan with buildings no taller then they are now.  Though I need to review the bed count and village footprint before I totally commit to that plan. I do think Squaw needs more beds and the village expanded. In  my opinion the current revision is still too large.
  13. I would like to see controls on noise from resort music and event announcing go back down to the levels they were before KSL moved in.
  14. More investment in snowmaking and infrastructure. Improved lifts, improved sewer lines, and more indigenous landscaping throughout the village area.
  15. I’m reluctant to gang up on and try to stop a local property owner from tearing down current structures to rebuild, but I am concerned with a plan that petitions rezoning to build 8 new homes on that land for speculation.
  1. KSL will develop and build out the property and turn-it to the highest bidder. I fear the magnitude of the added bed count will not be filled with patrons and Squaw will have new owners with a new and improved vision every 5 or 6 years. I do not want to live through 10 or 15 years of construction and umpteen battles with developers and investment companies as they come and go.
  2. Squaw Valley will have fewer and fewer local businesses and fewer full time residents, losing local color and character.
  3. If all of these new homes, condominiums, and large hotels are built and the village continues to struggle with drought, and marginal snowmaking, will the value of existing properties decline?

The point is not that you agree or disagree with my views for the future of Squaw Valley but that you stop and think about what you want and what you don’t want for Squaw Valley.  Wayne is right in saying we are not going to stop change in our community. So we may want to take a step back from the fight, take a long look around, do some research, and give some thought to what we do want.


  1. MRLyell

    1. Substation. There will be 230 homes on the 14 acres over the Wells in 11 land titles around + 8 homes @ the Stables + KSL’s condos and homes + Phase 2 at the Resort at SC. There will be miles of new upgraded power lines all the way through 43,000 trees (that will be removed for powerlines and a bike path). So yes maybe the substation can be moved (and expanded for all those developments) while 43,000 trees are removed and a bike path goes in. Where would you put the new substation?

    2. A restaurant and bar at OVI: The running costs and the owners preference for self catering and use of the bbqs are better value. How are other places faring around the lake with the low tide season: why should OVI Owners carry the costs? Are you aware of the there is not enough parking: atm there are 45 spaces for 90 apartments so, once the homes go ‘in the back lot’, there is need for the private parking structure (with rooftop pool and gym) nearby that KSL has agreed to let OVI use. There are also set backs with old tall trees, roadworks, sewer/water upgrades and other perks.

    3. I like the employee housing idea with 2 levels of undercover parking for ~ 600 spaces. The site and modeling looks like the ideas seen on facebook. The interiors look spacious and nice.

    4. I like the limo idea instead of the buses that were costing Placer, Washoe, SV, Homewood and Incline up to $290.14 per occupant to run in the pilot program. The short term rent-a-car idea is also cheaper than spending $7.5m on buses in a climate where Washoe and incline Hyatt stopped subsidies recently. Toursist can arrive by bus and borrow a Squaw car for short trips. I think that is very clever. Again we saw that on facebook feeds.

    5. I like the bus-voucher deal for Tart users who stay at lodgings on the lake. It’s viable: unlike the pilot bus scheme that plunged off a fiscal cliff. Incidentally we read all about the huge costs on facebook feeds.

    6. I like the set back of the development that arises from keeping enough concrete for 3300 car spaces: enough for all but 4 of the busiest days a year. I think the new Wells in the carpark need thought though.

    7. I like the podium parking as we saw on facebook.

    8. I like the 8 mile pipe, but it needs a recycling plant to add snowmaking. Other hills make up to 5′ to 15′ bases at around 32F using UN-Award Winning modern technology. If the Water Board thinks extra wells and an 8 mile pipe are the Be All and End All, they should explain it.

    9. I like the water training facility idea mixed with a ‘normal pool’ – not the theme park idea we saw on facebook and the Wall Street Journal.

    10. I like the idea of a Marriott/Hilton style business model with sales/maintenance/rental concepts.

    11. I like some of the reforms to grow grass roots participation and newbies. The Lift lines are still a problem.

    12. I’d look at the Membership idea and see if the operation can be tax exempt too.

    13. The water recyclinf idea appeals to me: I can’t see how you can have ALL the various projects go ahead.

    14. I would like a town so we know what other agencies, and all their little subcommittees, are convincing the BoSupervisors and Water & Tourism Boards to do.

    15. I’d like the $697,000 of taxes that go from the Valley to advertise Tahoe around the world to go into advertising Valley businesses.

    16. I’d like to see town tax revenue stay in the town.

    17. Im glad towns can’t raise taxes without a vote, unlike HOAs and Water Boards. I am correct in that view aren’t I: I ask because some people tried to tell me, in effect, that water board lawyers are wrong.

    18. Where are the Sierra Sun voters coming from and why do they hate it. Are they just anti-KSL? Would they prefer paid parking, toll booths and $8000 memberships/season passes in an exclusive resort like a Club Med Model? There’s always a Plan B.

    19. I agree a bit of research is a really good idea. Thanks for the blog.

  2. admin

    Thanks for your input!! Looking forward to the meeting this Friday. You have given us lots to think about.

Post a comment

Allowed XHTML tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>