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Olympic Valley residents seek town incorporation to counter resort plans
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OLYMPIC VALLEY  (AP) — Local residents concerned about the planned expansion of the Squaw Valley ski resort have launched an effort to incorporate the Olympic Valley village into a California town so they'll have more control over future development at the mountain resort north of Lake Tahoe that hosted the 1960 Olympics.

Leaders of Incorporate Olympic Valley submitted a formal application for incorporation late last month and put down a $25,000 deposit with the Placer County Local Agency Formation Committee.

Fred Ilfeld, a board member of the nonprofit group, said more than 600 area residents signed a petition in support of incorporation after Squaw Valley Real Estate LLC announced its plans to build hundreds of new condo units and add more than 1,000 hotel bedrooms.

"That woke us up," Ilfeld told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "Somebody else is going to take over Squaw Valley and change what we love."

About 1,000 people live in the community at the foot of Squaw Valley that is currently under the management of Placer County.

Chevis Hosea, vice president of development for Squaw Valley Real Estate, said developers recently scaled back their previous plans for new condo units from 1,093 to 750 and hotel bedrooms from 2,184 to 1,493 in response to residents' concerns.

"We envisioned and adjusted the plan to better suit the community's wishes," Hosea said.

The proposed town would have the same boundaries as the area covered by the fire department for the Squaw Valley Public Service District

Wildan Financial Services of Temecula, Calif., concluded in a study financed by the residential group that incorporation would be financially viable. Wildan estimates the town would generate an annual surplus of $484,000 based on $4.74 million in annual revenue — mainly from transient occupant tax and property taxes — and $4.26 million in expenses.

The Placer County Local Agency Formation Committee now will conduct a formal analysis of the fiscal viability of incorporation.

Negotiations on a revenue agreement between Incorporate Olympic Valley and Placer County must also take place to ensure incorporation doesn't harm the county financially.

LAFCO likely will hold public hearings before eventually voting to approve, deny or conditionally approve incorporation.

If approved, an election would follow in which a simple majority — more than 50 percent of Olympic Valley registered voters — must vote in favor for incorporation to take effect. A separate election would be held to determine a five-member town council.

"I am optimistic that we will become a town," Ilfeld told the Sierra Sun of Truckee.