Tahoe Resort Development Approved

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Northstar-at-Tahoe can proceed with a major redevelopment project designed to make it a year-round resort, Placer County supervisors decided.

Supervisors last week denied an appeal that was filed by the Sierra Watch environmental group after the project was recommended for approval by the county planning commission in August.

Project applicant East-West Partners says redevelopment of the Village at Northstar, the aging center of the ski resort, could propel Northstar into the year-round, high-end market.

"This project will be moving Northstar into the 21st century," said Pat Davison of the California Association of Business, Property and Resources Owners, which supported the plan.

Plans call for removal of part of the current village and construction of 213 residences. The plan includes employee housing and about 100,000-square-feet of commercial space.

There also will be an outdoor ice rink and more guest services, such as ski, snowboard and bicycle rentals, the Sierra Sun newspaper reported.

Work on the project is expected to be in four phases beginning next year.

Sierra Watch appealed the planning commission's decision based on concerns over the adequacy of the project's environmental impact report and emergency access.

But supervisors approved the project after county staff said the concerns were satisfactorily addressed.

The plan also drew strong support from people speaking at a public hearing before the vote.

"It's a product that not only benefits the developer, but also improves the region," Breeze Cross of Truckee said.

David Tirman of East-West said the project will include measures to create the least amount of environmental impact.

The current main building will be torn down by hand, and crossbeams and glass will be reused in new village buildings, he said.

East-West also established the Tahoe Mountain Environmental Fund, which will receive a .25 percent transfer fee for each residential transaction in the village.

The fund will be used for local environmental initiatives such as wetlands restoration.