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Proposed Tahoe Resort Back in Court

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PHOTO: Itís back to federal court today for the proposed Homewood Ski Resort at Lake Tahoe.
PHOTO: Itís back to federal court today for the proposed Homewood Ski Resort at Lake Tahoe.
 By Mike Clifford/Diane Ronayne, Contact
February 25, 2013

LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - It's back to federal court today for the proposed Homewood Ski Resort at Lake Tahoe. At issue is the public's right to have a say.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Authority and Placer County joined developer JMA Ventures in filing the petition, which argues the court got it wrong when it said new studies and public comment are needed to remedy significant flaws in the resort's Environmental Impact Statement.

Trent Orr, a staff attorney with Earthjustice, will argue that Judge William Shubb should stick by his Jan. 4 ruling.

"Our argument is he got it right," he said. "The public does deserve another chance to look at this - not just with the correct information, but with the full picture about the feasibility of this alternative before them."

The developers have claimed earlier flaws can simply be corrected by new paperwork, but Orr said they left out major details that would have made a smaller project economically feasible.

Laurel Ames, conservation committee co-chair for the Tahoe Area Sierra Club, said locals have been trying for three years to get developers to consider a smaller project, but in the end, out of several hundred units, they only agreed to eliminate 24 condos.

"It overbuilds the area substantially," she warned. "When this thing is built, people who live along the West Shore won't recognize the place they used to have, and they'll have huge traffic jams."

Ames said she hopes the judge stands firm. The developers seem to believe the laws don't apply to them, she added.

"They have to give notice, they have to circulate their documents, and they have to hold hearings," she said. "That's what the law says. They just want to get around it; they don't wait for other people - and they don't wait for the law."

Today's hearing takes place at 2 p.m. in the U.S. District Court, Courtroom 5, 14th Floor, 501 I Street, Sacramento.

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