Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2005 • Days not months before Dyer Mountain environmental report comes out

Publisher’s note: This story originally published in the Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2005 issue of the Lassen County Times.

Dyer Mountain.

With people from all over the world calling to ask when environmental work for the Dyer Mountain Four Season Resort will be done, Lassen County planners can only say “days, not months.”

Assistant Community Development Director Joe Bertotti said last week that’s the only response he can give about the administrative draft of the environmental impact report for the project approved by two-thirds of Westwood voters. Almost 63 percent county-wide voted for a November 2000 ballot initiative that asked if the General Plan, Zoning Ordinance and Westwood Area Plan should be amended to provide for development of the four-season resort.

Dyer Mountain Associates delivered the five-inch-thick administrative draft of the Dyer Mountain Four Season Resort environmental impact report to the Lassen County Planning Department in July 2004. Dyer Mountain Community Relations Director Nick Ceaglio said he anticipated a roughly six-week internal staff review of the draft EIR.

Ceaglio told the Lassen County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, July 26, 2004, the administrative draft would be available to the public by mid-August last year.

Bertotti said Ceaglio told him last week he’s learned not to make any predictions of the date when the report will be made public.

“A couple of weeks … it could be that soon. But that’s just a maybe,” Bertotti said.

About four months ago DMA had to hire a consultant to do some supplemental traffic studies for Caltrans. Bertotti said the traffic analysis was the last piece of data needed and planners have it. Now the county and its consultant, hired to peer review and fact check DMA’s environmental analysis, must make sure the data is accurate.

Fact checking includes some site work, where planners and consultants go out to examine environmental conditions on the ground and suggest specific ways to lessen any negative impacts.

“A lot of data has gone through our process,” Bertotti said, adding the county staff is putting the finishing touches on the report because it’s much easier to make corrections before it’s made public.

“That’s a clue that we’re getting very close to having it done,” Bertotti said.

He said it’s the planning staff’s job to make sure the report gives full disclosure to the public and the decision makers and planners take that job very seriously.

He added work on the environmental review continues all day every workday by at least one member of the county staff.

At the annual Lassen County Chamber of Commerce dinner on Friday, Jan. 28 at Diamond Mountain Casino Guyette Pharr, DMA’s office manager, said the environmental impact statement for the four-season resort near Westwood will be out soon and public meetings on the document will follow.

If all goes according to schedule, she said the developers will break ground on the resort in the spring.