Tahoe’s Homewood Resort in danger of closing | TheUnion.com

Tahoe’s Homewood Resort in danger of closing

HOMEWOOD, Calif. – With skier numbers in a downward descent, Homewood Mountain Resort – known for its proximity to State Route 28 and its spectacular views of Lake Tahoe – is in danger of shutting down.

David Tirman thinks he has the master plan to avoid it.

The executive vice president of JMA Ventures recently unveiled an updated plan for the oft-discussed redevelopment project, one Tirman said creates a fresh business model that will attract more skiers to the west shore resort.

“The master plan and the ultimate approval of the plan are essential to keeping Homewood open and operating as a resort,” Tirman said. “Simply put, the resort cannot continue to operate in its present form.”

JMA’s plan to keep the resort open is new housing and hotel lodging, new skier facilities and up to 25,000 square feet of retail space, aimed at limiting peak skier visits and traffic, while also attracting visitors to stay during Homewood’s mid-week Monday through Thursday time period.

Currently, Tirman said the resort sees about 300 daily visitors who come mid-week; the plan is to attract 700 during the same time period.

While all might not be supportive, Tirman said the project will provide needed jobs to Tahoe.

“The Homewood Mountain Resort Ski Area master plan is projected to create nearly 200 full-time jobs at the resort in addition to providing much needed revenue to the local tax base, all helping to spur the local West Shore economy,” Tirman said.

Using input from TRPA and Placer County, Tirman said plans for a community center, resort workforce housing, on-site childcare and a new amphitheater to be a permanent facility for the Lake Tahoe Music Festival all surround the community theme.

A traffic management plan that includes an underground parking garage, bike trails and pedestrian pathways connected to surrounding neighborhoods should calm resident fears of overcrowding. Tentative plans for things like dial-a-ride programs, shuttle service, a water-borne taxi and incentives for carpooling.

Environmentally, Tirman said their resort is committed to establishing a greener low-impact resort, including stormwater treatment systems and continued land restoration project, and buildings will be gold LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

On the mountain’s north base, plans are to build a 75-room hotel, 40 condo hotel suites and 30 penthouse units, coupled with a lodge including a full-service restaurant, spa and fitness facility.

Other amenities include an eight-passenger high-speed gondola, on-site grocery store, hardware store, ice cream parlor and a base mountain facility designed for ski rentals and administrative offices. A luxury mid-mountain lodge and swimming pool for skiers on top of the mountain also are in the plans.

Approval from local entities such as the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Placer County is expected to be completed this year; and, pending approval, construction is anticipated to begin in 2012.

“The plan is not an overnight thing – it’s a 10-20 year long-term plan,” Tirman said.

Spokesman Dennis Oliver said a briefing of a draft Environmental Impact Study to the public and to the county board of supervisors is tentatively set for the May 26 TRPA governing board meeting.

Oliver said the report, developed by both Placer County and TRPA, offers a chance for all sides to be informed and weigh in on the proposed project.

“It gives us an opportunity to explain the project to our board and it gives the public the opportunity to voice any concerns they might have,” Oliver said.

After May, the timeline gets a bit hazy as officials from both Homewood and TRPA estimate a 60 to 90 day public comment period, with a Final EIS to be voted on by the board of supervisors in late August or September.

The last public meeting on the proposal took place held last summer, with more than 160 people in attendance. According to previous reports, homeowners in the area are opposed to the project due to unwanted noise and light, as well as other side effects of resort expansion.

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