Markleeville project goes back to drawing board |

Markleeville project goes back to drawing board

by Jo Rafferty

The developer of the Markleeville Village/Mahalee Lodge project hopes reducing the size of the project will also reduce the trouble he has had getting it approved.

Alpine County planning commissioners raised concerns with the developer of Markleeville Village/Mahalee Lodge on Thursday as preliminary work to prepare for possible zoning and general plan changes.

Tom Abdoo of High Mountain Properties and his associates presented a reduced plan for the project to the Alpine County Board of Supervisors at a Dec. 7 public hearing. Supervisors, who were supposed to have voted on the type of environmental study they felt was required for the project, then delayed their decision until they could see a new project description.

At Thursday’s planning commission meeting, Abdoo and his associates answered commissioners’ questions for a few hours before both groups decided to hold a new public hearing regarding zoning and general plan amendments 6 p.m. Dec. 29 in the Planning Department Building at Turtle Rock Park.

“The project description has been changed,” said Peters. “We’re at an in-between mode. We need to re-notice and hold a new public hearing on the project.”

Ed Williams, High Mountain Properties’ architect, explained to the commission the changes that had been presented to the supervisors that he said adds up to a 30-35 percent reduction in the plan, including:

— Reducing the lodge from 43 to 25 rooms

— Reducing the size of the lodge parking lot

— Eliminating the restaurant

— Moving the road leading to the lodge so it will not require moving the town ditch

— Eliminating 21 of the time-share cabins, making the count now 49 instead of 70 and eliminating the road they were to be located on

— Making the garages on the cabins attached instead of detached, which reduces the site coverage

“That latest change, I really applaud you guys for doing that,” said commissioner Gunter Kaiser.

Still left in the project are the 49 time-share cabins, a lodge with a spa and lots for 14 commercial buildings for lease behind the existing downtown in Markleeville. The resort is to wrap around the hillside directly behind the Alpine County Museum.

“Is this the last change?” commissioner Bill Morgan asked Abdoo.

“We’re very easy,” said Abdoo. “We can be manipulated. We’re just trying to listen to people and do what they requested.”

Peters said an amendment to the general plan is contingent on an adequate water supply.

Civil engineer on the project, Dennis Smith of Western Engineering & Surveying Services of Carson City, said he’s certain the water supply is there from a previous test he ran on an existing well on the property.

“The first thing we have to do is build a new well, for construction purposes and to prove there is adequate water,” said Smith. “We’re confident we can find new fractures.”

Even if zoning and general plan amendments are approved and the environmental issue is resolved, specific design issues could still stand in its way, according to Director of Public Works Leonard Turnbeaugh in a telephone interview prior to the meeting on Thursday.

Turnbeaugh said the current plan specifies a 60-foot vertical curve in uphill and downhill dips in the road and the state of California requires 100-foot vertical curves. The diameter of turnarounds on the cul-de-sacs are also less than the state required 100 feet. Another possible hitch could be the construction of two intersections with Highway 89, now included in the project’s plans, according to Turnbeaugh.

“They will have to go to Caltrans to get a permit to have an intersection with 89,” said Turnbeaugh. “If Caltrans says no – there’s no project. There are obvious things you need to know prior to construction.”

On Thursday, Williams said he had already received some comments from Caltrans regarding the intersections.

— Jo Rafferty can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 213.