Proponents for a “Town of Olympic Valley” in the Squaw Valley area of Placer County withdrew their petition for municipal incorporation last week, citing “hostility” to their proposal.
Teton Gravity Research, a company that produces ski, snowboard, and surf films and blogs about the ski industry, traced the start of the Olympic Valley incorporation battle back to 2011 when the new owner of the Squaw Valley proposed a large expansion project. “Incorporate Olympic Valley” supported incorporation for this community of 943 permanent residents, while “Save Olympic Valley” whose sole contributor is Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, LLC, operator of the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows ski resorts, was formed to oppose Olympic Valley incorporation.
As reported by Moonshine Ink, Save Olympic Valley “spent almost $800,000 on political efforts to defeat incorporation.” Incorporate Olympic Valley spent “approximately $75,000 on political expenses but around $500,000 on consultants, the fiscal analysis, and LAFCO costs, and faced another $160,000 in expenses for the environmental impact report.”
Each California county has a LAFCo, an independent government agency that reviews proposals for the formation of new Cities and Special Districts and for changes in the boundaries of existing Cities and Special Districts. The Placer County Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCo) found that Olympic Valley would not be a viable municipality in its fiscal analysis of Incorporate Olympic Valley’s incorporation proposals.
Incorporate Olympic Valley challenged the findings of the LAFCo analysis and sought a review from the State Controller. Incorporate Olympic Valley asserted the State Controller review supported its contention that Olympic Valley would be viable; however, as reported in the Sacramento Bee on Tuesday, the head of the Placer County LAFCo said that she “struggled” to understand the finding of the State Controller review, supported the original LAFCo conclusion that Olympic Valley would not be fiscally viable, and that members of the LAFCo had indicated they would oppose incorporation.
In its press release announcing the incorporation petition withdrawal, Incorporate Olympic Valley stated, “Although the petition withdrawal marks the end of the current chapter of the incorporation effort, it introduces the possibility of the next chapter of community building and regional self-governance. Hopes and expectations remain high that a broader community effort will compel Placer County to address the needs of North Tahoe region and respond to the call for more local input and autonomy.”
Why does this matter to Castro Valley?
One of the goals of Castro Valley Matters is to seek “democratic, representative, and accountable local governance for our unincorporated community.” We have researched and reported extensively about efforts by unincorporated communities throughout California to seek greater control of their local affairs, whether it is through incorporation, local planning councils, elected municipal advisory councils, or the recently proposed community service district for Isla Vista.