A Sacramento federal judge has blocked a major expansion of a ski resort at Homewood on Lake Tahoe's west shore, ruling that Placer County and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency sidestepped laws governing the project by failing to consider a smaller facility.
U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb said a combined Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Impact Statement appears to skew the anticipated finances of the expanded resort by failing to consider all streams of income. Consequently, he did not buy the arguments of the resort's owner and a developer that a less ambitious expansion would make the venture fiscally unsound.
Shubb declared that construction cannot begin until a "legally adequate" EIR-EIS explores the viability of a scaled-down project and that document has been subjected to public comment and approved by the county and TRPA.
A coalition of conservationists and Homewood residents pushed throughout the planning process for a smaller project and ultimately sued the private interests behind the expansion and the government agencies that approved it. Coalition members hailed Shubb's ruling as a vindication of their efforts to protect the beauty and clarity of the scenic lake and the integrity of the basin in which it sits.