Owners: Major Tahoe resort expansion on hold due to lawsuit



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HOMEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — The massive expansion of the Homewood Mountain Resort on Lake Tahoe's west shore is on hold again due to ongoing litigation, its owners said.

JMA Ventures Chairman Art Chapman said it's next to impossible to secure financing as long as the litigation remains unresolved.

Plans include construction of a 5-star hotel, a retail-oriented village, condominiums, townhouses, chalets and employee housing. The project also calls for rehabilitation of stream zones, an emphasis on renewable energy and alternative transportation aimed at lessening reliance on cars.

Last year, the company settled a lawsuit with Earthjustice, representing the Sierra Club and Friends of the West Shore.

But a separate suit filed in 2011 against the company and Placer County by the California Clean Energy Committee based in Davis is still pending before the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento. In 2012, the environmental nonprofit appealed a Placer County Superior Court ruling in favor of JMA Ventures and the county.

"We are trying to get a hearing on it ... and we are hopeful we can start the project in May 2016," Chapman told the Sierra Sun newspaper of Truckee (http://bit.ly/1RsU9y2 ).

Attorney Eugene Wilson, who represents the environmental group, said he thinks its case his strong. The county failed to consider the additional strain on roads the expansion would create, particularly in the event the public must quickly evacuate during a wildfire, he said.

"I think we could hear something in the next couple of months" from the appeals court, he said.

Deputy county counsel Karin Schwab said the county remains confident it will prevail on the merits of the case.

Homewood has operated as a tiny ski resort since 1962, and its owners say the expansion is needed to help it compete against larger Lake Tahoe resorts and stay in business.

The expansion project was approved in 2011 by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

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Information from: Sierra Sun.

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The Associated Press

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