Homewood resort’s makeover delayed — again

By Kathryn Reed

A court decision this month most likely will delay for a year the ground breaking of Homewood Mountain Resort’s slopeside hotel. Owners were slated to begin construction in summer 2016 on the hotel that is almost a replica of the old Tahoe Tavern.

San Francisco-based JMA Ventures owns the West Shore ski area. For years it has wanted to turn the area into a destination that would welcome guests year round.

When the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency approved the project in 2011, JMA expected to spend about $500 million to build a boutique hotel, condos, townhomes, grocery store, restaurant, retail spa and pool. The latter being on-mountain and open to the public.

Ongoing litigation keeps stalling the project.

Homewood owners remain committed to developing the West Shore resort.

Homewood owners remain committed to developing the West Shore resort.

“What surprised us, quite candidly, is the court focused on this particular issue. It’s not a straightforward issue. The question is what impact does Homewood have on an evacuation by adding a couple hundred units,” Art Chapman, principal of JMA, told Lake Tahoe News. “You would think on the surface it would be easy to analyze, but there are so many variables.”

Among other things the factors to consider include the size of the wildfire, if it occurs on a weekday in shoulder season or a holiday, and which way the wind is blowing.

In the next few weeks Chapman expects his team to decide whether to comply with the court order or to appeal it.

It was California Clean Energy Committee that appealed the decision allowing Homewood to move forward. The Third District Court of Appeals on Dec. 22 ruled in favor of Homewood in five of the six issues. Most had something to do with energy consumption. The evacuation challenge was a couple sentences in the appeal.

This energy committee is based in Davis. Attorney Eugene Wilson appears to be the sole member of the committee.

The three judges sent the case back to Placer County Superior Court. If JMA wants to comply with the appellate court, it would mean getting Placer County to create an addendum to the environment impact report regarding evacuation plans, there would be a 30-day comment period and then the court would need to sign off on it. This would likely be a faster course of action than appealing the decision.

The evacuation issue involves CEQA, which would not affect any of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency permits. However, until the current matter is resolved it is impossible for Placer County to issue building permits.

Chapman called the decision ironic because he said the project has components in it to make the area safer in regards to fire. Those don’t happen until the project is built. They include facilities at the base that would allow people to shelter in place, snowmaking guns turned into fire hoses, and water shuttles at the West Shore Café (which JMA owns) to get people to safety.

A different lawsuit was settled a while ago that reduced the number of units by 13 to a total of just less than 300. The overall square footage, though, on the 1,200-acre parcel will remain the same. That settlement also calls for monitoring traffic for 20 years – twice as long as originally proposed, and notifying neighbors when snowmaking will occur because of the sound involved.

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    Comments (28)
    1. Lou Pierini says - Posted: December 30, 2015

      Gridlock now, even worse with this project. What was the TRPA thinking?

    2. Dogula says - Posted: December 30, 2015

      Funny how it’s always shadowy lawyer groups from the cities below, backed by lakefront mansion-owners, usually, that prevent progress that would provide work for the people who actually live here. They don’t like the riff-raff, don’t like them recreating in THEIR playgrounds, and they use environmental correctness and the court system to keep us down and underemployed.
      And you applaud.

    3. Atomic says - Posted: December 30, 2015

      Dogs right, all of these stall tactics are ridiculous. This is oversight run amock and is a pathetic waste of time. Homewood is currently an eyesore, developed in a time when pavement was considered landscaping. Enough is enough.

    4. Robin Smith says - Posted: December 30, 2015

      ‘They’re’ probably waiting to see if the Keys dry up.

    5. Lou Pierini says - Posted: December 30, 2015

      Ya they will kick in for Fanny Bridge, the loop road, and the ridgetop and squaw development , (apx.500 million)or maybe we don’t need those.

    6. Lou pierini says - Posted: December 30, 2015

      Traffic will get better,with these projects, right?

    7. Tahoebluewire says - Posted: December 30, 2015

      Lou p, you don’t know what gridlock is.

    8. sunriser2 says - Posted: December 30, 2015

      I think when it takes over two hours to get from Sunnyside to Tahoe City it counts as gridlock.

    9. Cautious and Skeptical says - Posted: December 30, 2015

      Traffic cannot be mitigated by just paying fees into a black hole in hopes that air quality and gridlock will magically get better. Too many cars on a two lane road concentrated on the West Shore is the result of no real carrying capacity studies and evacuation process. Add the proposed Squaw expansion, Tahoe City Lodge (120 units) Northstar buildout, proposed Martis Valley West development-760 units, re-opening of the Cal-Neva Stateline and possibility of Boulder Bay getting built and then funneling all those people during a wildfire event to Hwy 89, SR 267, Hwy 28 and if lucky enough to Mt Rose Hwy or Hwy 50 to Carson to get out of the basin. Sheltering in place is one option but if you are in the vicinity of the wildfire you will be evacuated. Two lanes cannot accommodate a mass evac!

    10. TeaTotal says - Posted: December 30, 2015

      Once the developers have developed all these multi-million dollar projects they have made their money-they could not care less about whether the transportation infrastructure can handle the load of every day traffic and forget about fire evac that has nothing to do with their ‘projects’, they couldn’t give a fig about environmental degradation or the local’s quality of life issues-They’re long gone and that’s for the local taxpayers to worry about and good luck-this is the cesspool that is the current state of American capitalism-internalize all the corp. profits while externalizing all the societal consequences-Greed is Good

    11. ann nichols says - Posted: December 30, 2015

      The Homewood project was just too big. 10 lbs in a 2 lb bag. Unfortunately, the developer initially paid an unbelievable amount for this supposed opportunity. At least the Judge is as concerned about our fire evacuation options as we are,
      All this new development is additive-300 units here, 760 there, 800 more, 550 etc, etc…yet there is no comprehensive transportation plan or additional infrastructure.
      Which begs the question: When will TRPA discuss Tahoe’s capacity?
      Yesterday it was 2 hrs by car from Northstar to Schaffers Mill Rd…..approx. 2 miles.

    12. Carl Ribaudo says - Posted: December 30, 2015

      Northstar to Schaffers Mill road is outside the basin. There is traffic in every community its what happens when you have 39 million people in a state that’s not designed for that amount of residents. Traffic and crowding in this state is only going to get worse as the population increases. We are lucky here in that it’s not everyday. TRPA can’t stop it, the County can’t stop it not as long as the state can’t stop it.

    13. Lou Pierini says - Posted: December 30, 2015

      Wrong, we can stop it.

    14. rock4tahoe says - Posted: December 30, 2015

      Humm… looks like the Homewood project is over three stories tall, how did that happen.

    15. Carl Ribaudo says - Posted: December 30, 2015

      The growth in traffic never has been stopped and it never will never be stopped by legislation. The federal government can’t even deal with traffic in a controlled environment like a national park. Better to spend time figuring out how to deal with it.

    16. Cautious and Skeptical says - Posted: December 31, 2015

      Deal with it is not a solution. South Shore has 4-6 lanes. The North Shore has a fixed infrastructure of 2 lanes but keeps adding more development. That said, Placer County has ordinances they continue to violate on level of service now at F (F for failing to control traffic)in the Martis Valley where Northstar and Schaffers Mill is located. The failure to control out side the basin results in failure inside the basin and environmental impact consequences that go unchecked and worsened with time as more development is pushed. Lake Tahoe was a summer destination until the 1960 Olympics. The Bi-State Compact was drafted and legislation approved to monitor growth patterns and protect the environment. Our National Treasure is degrading daily. Lake Tahoe doesn’t owe anyone a living.

    17. TeaTotal says - Posted: December 31, 2015

      You can always count on the the wealthy developer’s toadies having their lips firmly planted on their posteriors-some people think the development steamroller rape of our unique Tahoe area is inevitable so we should just lie back and enjoy it-I say we fight back because more growth is not sustainable

    18. rock4tahoe says - Posted: January 2, 2016

      Um Tea, hate to break the news to you, but Lake Tahoe was so over developed by the 1920’s & 1930’s that the a National Park Service review for status said it was not National Park material.

    19. Robin Smith says - Posted: January 2, 2016

      “The Last Of The Dogmen” a Tom Berenger movie:

      “What happened was inevitable, how it happened unconscionable.”

      Some of us are here about the “unconscionable part”

    20. nature bats last says - Posted: January 2, 2016

      Just drove in from Lodi, came over 88, no traffic until I hit hwy 50. Damn glad I wasnt turning west or towards north upper truckee rd. It would have taken an hour just tp get to that road from hwy 88. Going towards town at least traffic was moving until I got to pioneer trail. Seems some one was so pissed missing his green light to turn onto 50 in his big ol truck he decided to block the intersection. So there we sat for 3 cycles of the light until the cars in the front moved Inches so the truck could move forward a few feet to let traffic continue down hwy 50. The sign in meyers said 150 minutes to strawberry. Why dosent the powers that be publish something that they can give to visitors giving them the details about the worst time to head home. No one turned onto 88 in the 5 minutes I sat there waiting to get into traffic on 50. Im surprised people arent commiting road rage, maybe they are…

    21. Steven says - Posted: January 2, 2016

      The traffic can be stopped. Without lodging the tourists won’t come and there will be less traffic. STOP BUILDING ! No more resorts, no more illegal motels in our neighborhoods, no widening roads. Focus on what people want that make Tahoe their home, and make tourist fit in, if they want to come.

    22. Kits Carson says - Posted: January 2, 2016

      We have a serious invasion of idiots this year. It seems more of the stupid, no common sense people are clogging our hwy and over parking ANY turnout. They want to sled with kids onto the hwy….idiot decision #2. These fools deserve what they get. If you haven’t a lick of common sense…PLEASE GO AWAY. If you choose to sled onto a hwy, I have no compassion for the results of your moronic decision and lack of concern for OUR roads…..and common sense safety. Oh, that’s right, they left all common sense in the bay area. God, I hope these idiots go away tomorrow.

    23. Robin Smith says - Posted: January 2, 2016

      bats…too bad the loop road hasn’t been finished!!!

      Would have solved your problem right? Give those ’eminent’ domain people you trust so much a call and tell them to get with it.

      There a few of those original ‘hole’ people still in town.

      Steven purports to KNOW what people want…maybe he knows some of the same people I know!

    24. nature bats last says - Posted: January 2, 2016

      Geeze robin, out of pills?

    25. Lou pierini says - Posted: January 2, 2016

      Carl gets paid by the heavy hitters (developers).

    26. Robin Smith says - Posted: January 2, 2016

      bats……that was totally uncalled for:(

    27. Carl Ribaudo says - Posted: January 2, 2016

      Lou wrong again I dont work for any developers. I simply have an opinion that is different from yours. You might do better arguing your point then then who my clients are.

    28. nature bats last says - Posted: January 3, 2016

      And your reply to my comment made no sense. Guess its a wash…