Welcome to the Frontpage
Dyer EIR not to be complete for 30 days
At the end of a six hour public hearing on Tuesday, July 31, in which the board overturned almost all the recommendations the county planning commission made at its public hearing the week before, Assistant Community Development Director Joe Bertotti told the board about the delay.
After hearing 11 comments in favor of approving the tentative parcel map and the development agreement that will guide development of the resort, and certifying the final EIR, all five board members voiced their desire to vote in favor of the documents. Three people spoke against approving the documents and two made comments not saying whether they were in favor or opposed.
“We probably need 30 days, round figure, for the creation of the documentation for the certification of the EIR,” Bertotti said. “And that of course needs to be done first.”
Board approval would pave the way for the developer, Dyer Mountain Associates, to finalize actual subdivision maps for the 7,000-acre resort adjacent to Westwood’s Walker Lake, also known as Mountain Meadows Reservoir.
DMA plans to build, or agree to have other developers build, three golf courses, ski runs, more than 4,000 houses and condos and commercial and retail projects. The large-lot parcel map, to divide 7,000 acres into 13 parcels ranging in size from 40 to 1,118 acres, does not refer to specific projects. Developers of the individual parcels will have to do EIRs and hold public hearings on each proposal to build the golf courses, ski runs, houses and condos, commercial and retail projects.
In the future, the planning commission will review development plans, tentative subdivision maps and improvement plans over the 25-30 year build out envisioned in the development concept plan.
The development agreement, a contract between the county and DMA, ensures the developer will meet county building standards and take the steps necessary to mitigate environmental impacts.
One of the most difficult items for the board to agree on was road standards.
Dyer Mountain Associates CEO Doug Clyde said DMA’s engineer Fehr and Peers recommended a minimum road size to limit environmental impacts and county staff agreed.
“If you build big, fat, wide roads you get a lot of asphalt, get a lot of cut and fill, you get a lot of environmental impacts and you get a lot of fast traffic,” he said. “So, narrow roads are superior in that regard. They allow for traffic calming, which, of course, is an important thing in a resort environment.”
After a long discussion about whether to set road standards for the entire resort in the development agreement or to set them for each specific development proposal, the board agreed to have county staff come back with additional information about alternatives to setting road standards.
The county’s subdivision law, ordinance 475, allows adoption of road standards “according to how a subdivider’s engineer develops them,” said County Administrative Officer John Ketelsen. He added the board could apply roads standards set for the first phase of development to the rest of the resort’s roads.
The development agreement calls for DMA to build no less than three chairlifts and an 18-hole golf course once it constructs 400 dwelling units, or four years after the county records the first subdivision map for phase one of the development, whichever is later. The board overturned the commission’s recommendation to take out the developer’s proposal to exclude lodging and time share units in the 400 total.
Clyde said DMA officials wanted to encourage lodging units and time shares, even though they don’t bring in the money needed to build ski hills and golf courses.
The commission also recommended 60-foot maximum building heights. The board changed the maximum height to 90 feet. Clyde said, “the big iconic buildings … the hotels essential for the success of this resort” typically range from 90 to more than 100 feet.”
Board members said no local fire departments have experience rescuing people from burning buildings more than a couple stories tall. Bertotti said he will negotiate with DMA and may come back with a requirement for fire sprinklers in all structures at the resort.
He also repeated his previous statement that no projects will be approved unless the developer has at least two access roads in and out of the development. The board agreed the developer must build roads to the county’s minimum road standard for each entrance and exit road and have dedicated easements from adjacent landowners allowing the roads to cross their land.
It also reversed the commission’s recommendation for a maximum three-year extension of the 20-year term of the development agreement if lawsuits delay development. Clyde said DMA officials felt the limit only strengthened the hand of anyone who wants to sue DMA. The board set no limit on extensions for lawsuit delays.
The commission recommended the developer pay to survey the project boundary with PG&E in Walker Lake. Clyde said DMA officials had no objection and the board incorporated the survey recommendation into the development agreement.
The agreement calls for the developer to pay fees for future road improvements, such as widening roads and adding traffic signal, necessary because of increased traffic to the resort. Most of those improvements are in Chester.
Bertotti said the EIR requires the developer to pay fees toward construction of the improvements, even though legally the county can’t guarantee construction of projects outside the county.
“That said, the EIR requires the mitigation, anyhow,” Bertotti said.
District 2 Supervisor Jim Chapman said most of the traffic mitigation fees won’t be spent in five years. The mitigation fee act, enacted into law by Assembly Bill 1600, requires the county to return unspent fees to the developer after five years, unless it can prove there is still a need for the money and the county has plans to spend it.
Chapman also questioned why DMA hasn’t paid its property taxes since January. Sara Duryea, one of three DMA mangers said changes in the management team structure delayed the payment, which will be made by today, Tuesday, Aug. 7, at the latest.
“You either make findings saying we still have a good use of this money and we’re going to spend it, or you return it to the developer,” said attorney Rick Crabtree, the county’s special counsel for Dyer Mountain.
“We have specifically in the EIR, agreed to and as part of the mitigation for the EIR said, ‘We promise we won’t take this money back. Your county can take the money and allocate it whatever way you want to do,’ and that’s perfectly legal,” said Kate Hart, of Abbott and Kindermann, attorneys for DMA.
Equipment from Westwood mill part of home decor
Page 770 of 861
Lassen High wrestling hosts Purple and Gold Scrimmage
The Lassen High School wrestling team held its annual Purple and Gold Scrimmage on Wednesday, Dec. 4 in the Lassen High gym. The wrestling team broke up into two teams, purple and gold, and faced off in a night of wrestling that gave fans a taste of what they can expect in the coming season. Lassen...Read More...
Cougars face tough teams to prepare for a victorious season
TJ McCauley attempts to keep the ball away from a Fresno City College player during the championship basketball game of the El Camino Tournament on Sunday, Nov. 24. The Lassen Community College Cougars have been competing in pre-season tournaments and have earned several wins. Photo by Scott Nordstrom Dec....Read More...
Susanville native to play in college bowl with Boise State
Darren Lee, a Lassen High School graduate and former Lassen High football player, now plays football for Boise State and will be going with the team to a college bowl game in late December. Photo by Boise State Media Relations Dec. 6 — A Susanville native is making strides in his football career...Read More...