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.
- Power substation moved, (probably not going to happen, that irreversible thing Wayne was talking about).
- The property at the entrance cleaned up to present a more appealing invitation to the resort and our community.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I would like to see the tired maintenance building get a facelift.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?)
- I want the Mountain Adventure Center dropped from the development plan. I have an affinity for honest mountain adventure.
- 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.
- 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.
- More investment in snowmaking and infrastructure. Improved lifts, improved sewer lines, and more indigenous landscaping throughout the village area.
- 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.
- 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.
- Squaw Valley will have fewer and fewer local businesses and fewer full time residents, losing local color and character.
- 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.