Last week the Nevada Legislature—usually not an entity with much to say on California land use—issued a decision that would make King Solomon blush.
After 31 years as a supposedly equal party in the Bi-State Compact governing the Lake Tahoe basin, Nevada has taken its first steps towards pulling out of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and thereby negating the agreement under which the two states have governed and managed Lake Tahoe and the surrounding basin.
Even though the recession has brought construction in the Central Valley nearly to a standstill, one of the world's largest suppliers of building materials appears bullish on the region. Cemex Construction Materials, LP, has proposed an aggregate mine on a 2,036-acre site in Fresno County,inciting protest from both environmentalists and local Native American tribes.
The Town of Mammoth Lakes has been ordered to pay more than $32 million for violating a development agreement.
In upholding a jury's award of damages to the developer, the Third District Court of Appeal made clear that local government agencies are treated like any other private contracting party when it comes to development agreements and can be held liable for damages if the agency breaches the agreement.
Plans to build the first new, large-scale ski resort in California in four decades — and the largest project in Lassen County history — appear to be in serious jeopardy.
The developers of the proposed Dyer Mountain Resort, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains west of Susanville, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late March. News of the filing has caused environmentalists to celebrate, and Lassen County officials to wait even longer on what supporters have called an important economic development opportunity.
The forests of the Sierra Nevada have long been a landscape of controversy, a battleground for conflict over logging, wildlife protection, water diversion, and the accelerating encroachment of vacation homes and subdivisions into flammable scenery.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Forest Service officially deemed the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment unworkable and unveiled a new version. Critics say the amended management plan is a barely disguised gift to the timber industry.
Development pressure in the Martis Valley, just north of Lake Tahoe, is as great as anywhere in the high Sierra. Straddling the Placer and Nevada county line about 20 miles southwest of Reno, the area appears to be evolving into a high-end resort destination. Several thousand homes and vacation units are proposed in unincorporated Placer County and the Town of Truckee, as are at least half a dozen golf courses.
A few lines tucked into the 1993 federal budget bill funding the Department of Interior granted the agency $150,000 to launch a "scientific review of the remaining old-growth in the national forests of the Sierra Nevada in California, and for a study of the entire Sierra Nevada ecosystem by an independent panel of scientists." That deceptively modest directive gave birth to a mammoth undertaking.