Whitney Portal Subdivision Controversy

The ongoing court battle over the proposed Whitney Portal subdivision near Lone Pine wrapped up one chapter recently. More legal fights may continue. Over the past two years, developer Jim Walters and the Save the Round Valley Alliance have fought over a 74 acre subdivision off Whitney Portal road. mt._whitney.jpg

In this latest round, the California Court of Appeals agreed with the SRVA, saying that the environmental paperwork for the 27 homes sites failed to adequately look into possible land trades.

One of the goals of the SRVA is to encourage "smart growth," which can include facilitating land trades to bring development closer to the established towns. With most of the land around Owens Valley towns owned by the City of Los Angeles, this may be easier said than done.

A land trade with the Bureau of Land Management for land near Lone Pine has been discussed in the past. Jim Walters says that Larry Primosch with the BLM once told him that it would take many years and an Act of Congress for the BLM land in question to even be available for trade.

Walters reports that he is already at work on a supplemental EIR to meet the court's demands. After this is done, he explained that he plans to try to move forward with the project, though he does expect more lawsuits.

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