MYTH Ski areas can build what they like by running roughshod over public agencies.

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FACT Whether a resort is on public or private land is immaterial; there is always a rigorous approval process for any new development. Apart from the phalanx of federal and state agencies that may be involved in reviewing plans, local government agencies have a big voice-frequently the biggest-in determining a project's fate. These agencies, which include city or county planning commissions and councils, can be sympathetic to NIMBY ("not in my backyard") property owners who often have the wealth and influence to successfully oppose development. Without support, a ski area can't expand.