Dyer Mountain property to be sold Feb. 4
“We are very optimistic that there will be no sale,” Sedgewick said on Thursday, Jan. 17. “We have new financing we’re working on. It’s close to complete. We hope to have it finished by the end of the month. I don’t think California Mortgage Realty will have to sell the property.”
He said the new financing package will provide enough money to pay off the loan DMA took out to buy the resort property and provide funds to go forward with the development.
The trustees notice stated California Mortgage Realty, DMA’s mortgage lender, will sell the Dyer Mountain Resort property and all fixtures and equipment located on the property at 2 p.m. on Feb. 4, at public auction, to the highest bidder.
The proceeds of the public auction, to take place at the main entrance to the Lassen County Courthouse, will pay the remaining unpaid balance on a Deed of Trust executed on Nov. 18, 2005, when DMA purchased the property.
According to the trustee sale notice, the total amount of the unpaid balance is estimated to be $15,810,084.31. Premiums and interest may increase the amount prior to sale.
DMA also owes Lassen County $69,300 in unpaid taxes and penalties. It paid taxes on all but the three largest parcels of the property in December, according to Nancy Cardenas, in the county tax collector’s office. DMA was late paying 2007 taxes, as well, but paid them before the Lassen County Board of Supervisors approved the Dyer Mountain Associates environmental impact report, development agreement and tentative parcel map in the fall of 2007.
A notice of default and election to sell under deed of trust was recorded with the Lassen County Clerk on Aug. 27, 2007. It warned DMA it must repay more than $3.59 million in past due payments plus permitted costs and expenses.
DMA managers said they were negotiating with a number of entities interested in refinancing the project. The managers’ plan was to conclude those negotiations by the end of the year and get a better refinancing deal after the county certified the resort’s EIR.
The project has been in the works at least since voters approved a voter-approved initiative in 2000, which zoned as mountain resort the area around Dyer Mountain and Walker Lake, also known as Mountain Meadows Reservoir.
In September, the board of supervisors approved the EIR and a large-lot parcel map dividing the resort property into 13 parcels ranging in size from 40 to 1,118 acres. The board approved the development agreement in October.
DMA plans to build, or have other developers build, three golf courses, ski runs, more than 4,000 houses and condos, and commercial and retail projects.
It will probably be another 30 days before Lassen County files a response to the lawsuit Mountain Meadows Conservancy, Sierra Watch and the Chico-based Yahi Group of the Sierra Club filed in October, according to Rick Crabtree, the county’s special counsel for the Dyer Mountain project.
The suit claimed Lassen County did not follow California environmental law in certifying the EIR, development agreement and tentative parcel map for the resort. An amendment, filed on Tuesday, Jan. 8, alleges the development agreement violates the voter-approved 2000 initiative, which zoned as mountain resort the area around Dyer Mountain and Walker Lake.
The three groups allege the initiative gave the county the option of changing the land use designation on the project site if construction of ski facilities had not commenced within seven years.
Crabtree claims the initiative does not require the land use designation to be changed.
“It only allows the county to make changes if it chooses to do so,” he wrote in an email to the newspaper. “Through the development agreement and recent approvals, the county has obviously elected not to change the mountain resort land use designation adopted by the voters when the initiative was approved. This is a proper use of discretion by the county and does not violate the initiative.”
The suit initially asked the Lassen County Superior Court to set aside the board of supervisors’ certification of the EIR, development agreement and parcel map.
The three groups also seek an order directing the county to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, a temporary stay and restraining order, and preliminary and permanent injunctions stopping the county and its agents from taking any action to implement the project until full compliance with CEQA.
The suit claims the county failed to provide sufficiently detailed analysis of the resort’s impacts. It “failed to fully account for the resort’s cumulative and growth-inducing impacts,” improperly deferred mitigation measures, failed to analyze an adequate range of alternatives and its analyses of cultural, traffic and air quality impacts were legally flawed.
The suit, which also seeks court costs and attorney’s fees, claims the discussion of the effect on global warming was inadequate and necessitated recirculation of the EIR.
Calling the four-season resort southwest of Westwood a huge new development, the suit said the 6,741-acre ski area and golf resort on undeveloped land on the flanks of Dyer Mountain “would house at least 17,382 people, making it in essence a brand-new city, just miles from Westwood, a small community of about 2,000 people.”
The large new population and unprecedented degree of construction in an undeveloped and sparsely populated area will lead to “a wide array of significant environmental impacts,” it said.
The EIR analyzes the impacts “only in the most general terms, leaving the public and decision makers in the dark about the details of the real impacts,” the lawsuit claims.
The county is not expected to file a response until sometime in January, at the soonest, according to Rick Crabtree, the county’s special counsel for the Dyer Mountain project.
The first step in the county’s response will be preparing the administrative record and that will take a few months, Crabtree said. The county’s first filing with the court will occur sometime after that record is complete.
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