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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Note: Information below was provided by the CEQA consultant, Ascent. Additional questions can be directed to the developer at


What are Specific Plans and Area Plans?

A Specific Plan is a tool for the systematic implementation of a General Plan. A Specific Plan essentially establishes a link between implementing policies of a General Plan and individual development proposals in a defined area. A Specific Plan must comply with Sections 65450 - 65457 of the Government Code. These provisions require that a Specific Plan be consistent with the adopted General Plan of the jurisdiction within which it is located. The Martis Valley West Parcel Specific Plan is located in Placer County and must therefore be consistent with the Placer County General Plan, the Martis Valley Community Plan (MVCP), and Section 17.58.200 of the Placer County Zoning Ordinance. Amendments to the General Plan and MVCP may be required to approve the Specific Plan. For example, the land use designations for the East and West Parcels in the Placer County General Plan and MVCP would be amended if the MVWPSP is approved.

An Area Plan is an instrument of the planning and permitting system within the Tahoe Basin, initially devised through adoption of the 2012 Regional Plan. An Area Plan is a TRPA planning document prepared pursuant to the TRPA Code of Ordinances, Chapter 13, and is a mechanism to address multiple regulatory requirements (TRPA, local, state, and federal) for a specific geographic area.

The proposed MVWPSP covers a 7,568 acre plan area, including the 6,376-acre East Parcel and the 1,192-acre West Parcel. Of the total acreage, 269.8 acres are located within the Tahoe Basin and within the jurisdiction of the TRPA, and a 112.8-acres subset of that (all of which is on the West Parcel) is proposed to be rezoned to Resort Recreation. The Area Plan is included as Appendix C to the MVWPSP.

What is the process to prepare and approve the Specific Plan and associated Area Plan?

Placer County is responsible for approval of the entire Specific Plan, and TRPA approval is required for the Area Plan, which addresses the portion of the Specific Plan area proposed for development within the Tahoe Basin. The Specific Plan (including the Area Plan) was prepared by the applicant, East West Partners, and submitted to Placer County for review for consistency with County policies and regulations. The Specific Plan was also circulated for public review and comment. Once approved as to content by Placer County, the Area Plan is submitted to TRPA for consideration. The Area Plan is a component of the Specific Plan, and is included as Appendix C of that document.

The Specific Plan will be the subject of an EIR prepared by Placer County pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (Public Resources Code [PRC] Section 21000 et seq.) and the State CEQA Guidelines, and an EIS prepared by TRPA pursuant to its Compact, Code of Ordinances, and Rules of Procedure. Ultimately, the Placer County Board of Supervisors will decide whether to certify the EIR and approve the Specific Plan and Area Plan. If approved, the TRPA Governing Board will consider certification of the EIS and approval of the Area Plan. If approved by both agencies, the Specific Plan becomes the County’s plan for the project site.

Please also see this flow chart of the process.

What are the opportunities for public input?

An initial study and notice of preparation (NOP) of an EIR/EIS for the MVWPSP were issued by Placer County and TRPA on March 28, 2014. The NOP was sent to the California and Nevada State Clearinghouses, federal, state, and local agencies, and members of the public. An NOP informs the reviewer of the lead agency’s intent to prepare an EIR or TRPA EIS. Four public scoping meetings were held to provide the public with the opportunity to learn more about the Specific Plan and Area Plan and to receive comments from the public and other interested parties and agencies regarding the issues that should be addressed in the EIR/EIS. The scoping meetings were held in April, 2014 as follows:

    April 24 - TRPA Governing Board

    April 16 - Cedar House Sport Hotel

    April 16 - North Tahoe Event Center

    April 9 - TRPA Advisory Planning Commission

At each of these meetings, Placer County and TRPA staff made presentations to describe the proposed MVWPSP for evaluation in the EIR/EIS and identify key environmental issues identified by the TRPA Initial Environmental Checklist and CEQA Initial Study and Checklist.

Interested parties were notified of the availability of the Preliminary Draft Specific Plan and Area Plan on the Placer County website, and that public comments on the preliminary draft plans would be accepted through August 1, 2014. A public workshop on the Preliminary Draft Specific Plan and Area Plan was held on July 17, 2014 in Kings Beach, CA.

Additional opportunities for public input will be available throughout the environmental review process.

Please also see this flow chart of the process.

Specific Plan Location and Acreage

How large is the MVWPSP area and what portion is proposed for development?

The MVWPSP site includes two parcels—the West Parcel and the East Parcel—which total approximately 7,568 acres. Both parcels are undeveloped and forested lands, located on either side of State Route 267 between the Town of Truckee and the north shore of Lake Tahoe within the Martis Valley Community Plan (MVCP) in Placer County. The approximately 1,192-acre West Parcel is located southeast of the Northstar California Resort, and uphill and east of Sawmill Reservoir. The proposed MVWPSP would allow for development on approximately 775 acres of the West Parcel. The approximately 6,376-acre East Parcel includes 670 acres designated for residential and commercial development by the Martis Valley Community Plan. The Specific Plan would transfer development potential from the East Parcel to the West Parcel (760 of the 1,360 allowable units), retire development rights for 600 units, and convey the entire 6,376- acre East Parcel to conservation groups for permanent open space preservation via either fee simple or a conservation easement. Maps are available on Pages 2, 5 and 6 in the September 23rd presentation.

How much of the Specific Plan area is in the Tahoe Basin and where are the boundaries?

A total of 269.8 acres of the MVWPSParea are within the Tahoe Basin: 130 acres of the East Parcel and 139.8 acres of the West Parcel. Of the West Parcel acreage within the Basin, 112.8 acres are proposed to be rezoned as Resort Recreation and are the subject of the proposed Area Plan. The remaining 27 acres of the West Parcel and 130 acres of the East Parcel within the Basin would retain existing zoning. A map of the MVWPSP area that identifies lands within the Tahoe Basin is provided on Page 5 in the September 23rd presentation.

Open Space/Trails/Recreation

How much open space would be preserved and how would that preservation be ensured?

The MVWPSP would preserve the 6,376-acre East Parcel as permanent open space. The property would be conveyed to conservation groups for fee simple ownership or placed in a conservation easement. The entire East Parcel would be designated Forest and remain undeveloped. In addition, 352 acres of the West Parcel would be preserved as open space, designated as Forest, and undeveloped; and, 65 acres in the northwest corner of the West Parcel would remain designated Forest and undeveloped except for utility infrastructure. A map of the MVWPSP proposed open space areas is provided on Page 7 in the September 23rd presentation.

Would trails in the East Parcel and West Parcel be public or private?

MVWP Specific Plan policies require that where access to public trails exists today, such access will be provided in the future. Whether or not private trails on the East Parcel become public will ultimately depend upon land ownership; trails are likely to become public if the land is owned by a land trust or conservation group and are likely to remain private if the land is owned by Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI).

Would Fibreboard Freeway remain open to public use?

Fibreboard Freeway is a paved roadway that extends approximately 9 miles through forested lands from Tahoe City to Brockway Summit at State Route 267. The roadway crosses public and private lands and is managed by the US Forest Service. Fibreboard Freeway at Brockway Summit is a key recreational access point and will remain open to the public. The Specific Plan proposes to designate Fibreboard Freeway, which lies immediately south of the proposed development area, as a seasonal emergency vehicle access route. This designation would not result in any change in ownership, nor would it preclude existing and future public use.

What recreational facilities would be provided?

Under the MVWPSP, there would be public and private hiking, biking, cross-country ski, and snow shoe trails on both the East Parcel and the West Parcel, as well as community swimming pool(s), tennis courts, fitness facilities for resident and visitor use on the West Parcel. No golf course or other major destination recreation facility would be developed under the Specific Plan.

Area Plan Components

Did the Regional Plan Update anticipate the use of the Resort Recreation designation at this location?

The Regional Plan Update included two locations for the Resort Recreation designation at Edgewood and the Heavenly Ski Resort. A potential third allowance of the Resort Recreation designation was included in the December 2012 Lake Tahoe Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP, or 208 Plan). Section 10.2 of the 208 Plan states the following: Prior to January 1, 2017, and absent a WQMP amendment, the “Resort Recreation” land use designation shall in addition to including the Heavenly and Edgewood parcels, allow for no more than one additional area of a comparable size to be added to that designation. If the subdivision amendment procedures of the WQMP do not sunset after January 1, 2017, pursuant to Section G below, at that time the States will caucus in a manner similar to Section G to further address the “Resort Recreation” designation. The MVWPSP proposes to locate the third Resort Recreation designation within the 112.8 acres covered by the Area Plan, subject to Placer County and TRPA approval.

Is the applicant proposing to transfer development rights from outside the Basin to satisfy the requirement for retiring tourist accommodation units (TAUs) within the Basin?

No. The proposed MVWPSP and associated Area Plan would not rely on a “transfer of development rights” from outside the Basin. Rather, the Area Plan would provide for development within the Basin, pursuant to TRPA Code of Regulations Chapter 13 (Area Plans) and Chapter 51 (Transfer of Development). Transfer of development for the 112.8 acres in the Basin would comply with Chapter 51 and would occur entirely within the Basin. In other words, units proposed for the 112.8 acres within the Basin would have to be transferred from other locations within the Basin.

For the Specific Plan as a whole, there is no formal transfer of units within Placer County. The discussion of retirement or “transfer” of development potential in Placer County is practical. That is, the East Parcel would be rezoned to non-developable designations, and the West Parcel would be rezoned to allow development. Because the East Parcel is zoned to allow up to 1,360 units, and the proposed rezone of the West Parcel would allow only 760 units, there would be a net reduction (600 units) in residential development potential within the Martis Valley Community Plan in Placer County.

What is clustered development and how would it be used for the MVWPSP?

Clustered development refers to locating residential and associated amenities in close proximity to ensure they share resources and minimize impacts (for example, the use of common roadways and infrastructure).

Scenic Quality and Views

How tall would buildings be?

In the Preliminary Draft MVWPSP the maximum building height varies and is dependent on unit type: Outside the Tahoe Basin: Single Family - 55 feet; Townhomes - 60 feet; Condominiums - 115 feet; Commercial Buildings - 60 feet. Outside of the Basin, building height would be measured pursuant to Section 17.54.020 of the County Zoning Ordinance. Within the Tahoe Basin: All buildings - 42 feet. Within the proposed Area Plan, the maximum building height would be measured in accordance with Chapter 37 of the TRPA Code of Ordinances.

Biological Resources/Forestry

Is there an active timber harvest permit on the East or West Parcel?

The East Parcel has an active timber harvest permit. There is no timber harvest permit on the West Parcel.

Public Services and Utilities

Where would the water needed to serve the Specific Plan development come from?

There are two options for water being studied. Water may be supplied by the Northstar Community Services District (NCSD) using existing or new facilities within the Martis Valley to serve the entire development area, or the applicant may drill on-site wells to serve the Specific Plan development area. No wells would be located within the Tahoe Basin, and no surface water would be obtained from the Basin.