Peace in the Valley: Place County and Conservation Groups Reach Martis Valley Settlement Sweeping Agreement Ends Tahoe Area Litigation

Press Release from

Sierra Watch and

Mountain Areas Preservation Foundation

September 20, 2006

Martis Valley, California

Sierra conservation groups announced a landmark legal settlement with Placer County and Martis Valley landowners, ending two and a half years of litigation over the future of Tahoe’s Martis Valley.

“This agreement is great news for Martis Valley, Lake Tahoe, and the entire Sierra Nevada,” said Tom Mooers, Executive of Sierra Watch. “It’s an historic achievement for everyone who is committed to a better blueprint for the Tahoe-Truckee Region.”

The sweeping settlement took effect with Placer County Superior Court Judge James D. Garbolino dismissing the litigation on September 6. The settlement caps a series of individual agreements between landowners and conservationists, and it effectively closes the chapter on the contentious legal disputes over one of California’s most high-profile development conflicts.

In January 2004, Sierra Watch, Mountain Area Preservation Foundation (MAPF), League to Save Lake Tahoe, Planning and Conservation League, and Sierra Club joined in a legal challenge to the Martis Valley Community Plan, which called for significant development between the Town of Truckee and Lake Tahoe.

Over the next two years, developers proposed individual projects under the umbrella community plan. Conservationists challenged the projects, seeking to secure an alternative Martis Valley plan. As litigation made its way through the courts, Placer County effectively pulled conservationists and landowners together to resolve their differences.

Those discussions led to a series of historic agreements, each providing an important piece to the Martis Valley planning puzzle. The agreements allow for growth where development makes the most sense, cap total build out of individual projects, protect watershed resources, and raise a projected $100 million for conservation – and workforce housing – in Martis Valley.

“By working together, we’ve shown that we can achieve both conservation of our local natural heritage and, also, construction of workforce housing,” said John Eaton, President of Truckee-based MAPF.

Parties to the agreement include Placer County and all major landowners in Martis Valley, as well as the individual conservation groups. By settling litigation over the Martis Valley Community Plan itself, they hope to focus on following through on habitat restoration, land conservation, and workforce housing goals.

For more information, contact Tom Mooers, Executive Director, Sierra Watch,, (530) 265-2849; or Stefanie Olivieri, MAPF; (530) 587-3161. Learn more by visiting the Sierra Watch website at