Gray clouds hang over the snowy mountains behind still, dark, tufa filled lake water.

Board of Supervisors postpones final decision on Tioga Inn

Today the Mono County Board of Supervisors considered final approval of the Tioga Inn project and deliberated the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe’s request to delay.

The Tribe had made a formal request to postpone final consideration until they have had an opportunity to meet with the developer and consult with Mono County regarding impacts to tribal heritage. Despite a strong statement in support of postponing the hearing from Supervisor Bob Gardner, who represents the project district, the Board launched into the hearing anyway.

Members of the Tribe spoke thoughtfully, and the community, Lee Vining Fire Department, and Mono Lake Committee all shared comments of concern. The tenor of the meeting changed abruptly when a representative from the Attorney General’s Bureau of Environmental Justice spoke during public comment. The representative stated that the Attorney General’s office had recently been made aware of the issues raised by the Kutzadika’a Tribe and was in the process of evaluating the record for compliance with tribal consultation requirements.

The Board of Supervisors subsequently made a rapid decision to delay their decision—and indeed the rest of the public comment and hearing. The Mono Lake Committee strongly supported the Kutzadika’a Tribe and their request for consultation and analysis of impacts on tribal heritage. The Board should be presented with a project that addresses these important concerns. In addition, the postponement provides time for the project to be improved to include clear and direct resolution of the continuing significant pedestrian safety and fire safety concerns.

A future meeting date will be set in 2021 and there will be important work in advance to ensure that consultation and project revision take place.

You can read the comment letters submitted to the Board for this meeting, and see the staff presentation. For the full background on the Tioga Inn project see our summary page, and for specific information on this hearing please see this post.

Top photo courtesy of Richard Erb.