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Tioga Inn project hearing continues into day two

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

After nine hours of presentations and public comment yesterday, the Mono County Board of Supervisors decided to hold deliberations and their vote to approve, modify, or deny the Tioga Inn project on the planned second day of this special meeting.

Highlights and surprising moments from the meeting thus far include 51 in-person and by-Zoom two-minute-limited public comments, with 3 in support and 48 againstthe introduction of wholly new potential elements to the project from the developer, and wide-ranging questions from the Board.

In an effort to assess the effects of reflective surfaces at the proposed Tioga Inn project site, Mono Lake Committee staff brought a 2×3-foot mirror to the site and photographed the reflection from South Tufa. This photograph was presented to the Board. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Mono Lake Committee staff comments focused on the unmitigated significant negative impacts in the Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report—scenic impacts to South Tufa, the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area, and throughout the viewshed, impacts to the dark night sky, and issues in direct conflict with the Mono Basin Community Plan, including pedestrian safety, impacts to schools, feasibility of a trail to town, fire safety, and more.

By far, the most impressive part of the day was the wide array of thoughtful and heartfelt comments from the public.

You can follow the proceedings starting today, Tuesday, June 30th at 9:00am online by Zoom, telephone, or live stream (click here for instructions for each).

See you there.

Looking west towards Tioga Pass from South Tufa. Photo courtesy of Jeff Sullivan.

Tioga Inn project: Minimal modeling shows significant impacts to the Mono Basin’s scenic resources

Saturday, June 27th, 2020 by Robbie, Restoration Field Technician

The Draft Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (DSEIR) for the Tioga Inn project identified five significant and unavoidable adverse impacts. Despite a large and comprehensive public response voicing concerns over these impacts, the Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR) declared:

“The significant and unavoidable adverse impacts that were identified in the DSEIR will remain significant and unavoidable if the proposed Tioga [Inn] project is approved, even with modifications proposed in this FSEIR.”

Of these five impacts, impacts to scenic views were the hardest for me personally to fully comprehend since no 3-D models were provided to demonstrate what the project would look like after grading and construction were completed. Notably, the FSEIR acknowledged that project impacts to aesthetic resources were the most common and frequent concern from comment letters. To better understand what the final project as proposed in the FSEIR would look like I conducted a 3-D visualization and viewshed analysis using ArcGIS. (more…)

Deadline to send comments about the Tioga Inn extended

Friday, June 26th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The deadline to email comments to Mono County about the Tioga Inn project has been extended from 5:00pm tonight to 9:00am on Monday morning, which is when the hearing begins.

Please email your comment to cddcomments at mono dot ca dot gov and also to Bartshe Miller, the Committee’s Policy Director.

Helpful resources for writing your comment:

In addition to emailing your comments, you can attend the hearing online via Zoom and speak as well. Thank you for making your voice heard!

An example of one of the project’s significant adverse visual impacts: This reflection from a small piece of glass at the Tioga Inn project site is clearly visible at South Tufa, marring the dawn view. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Tioga Inn project threatens Mono Lake views and creates harmful impacts for the Lee Vining community, Mono County, and the gateway to Yosemite National Park

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

Next Monday, June 29, starting at 9:00am PDT, the Mono County Board of Supervisors will consider the Tioga Inn project and ultimately vote to approve, modify, or deny it.

The reflection from a small piece of glass at the Tioga Inn project site is clearly visible at South Tufa, marring the dawn view. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

 

This is a critical moment for public comment. The Tioga Inn project threatens to bring a host of significant adverse impacts to the community of Lee Vining, the scenic Mono Basin, and the gateway to Yosemite National Park.

Since the scoping process for the project began four years ago, over a thousand comment letters and hours of testimony from residents, agencies, and the public have offered suggestions about, mitigations for, and solutions to the project impacts. However, the developer has rejected meaningful changes to the project, and the significant adverse impacts remain.

As a result, the Supervisors now have to consider a project that damages the scenic nature of the Mono Basin, compromises the safety of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, stretches the capacity of local schools and the volunteer fire department, and saddles the Lee Vining community and Mono County taxpayers with impacts and financial burdens that should be the responsibility of the developer.

Monday’s meeting will be (more…)

Chautauqua weekend: Hear the Mono Basin’s birds from home

Thursday, June 18th, 2020 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

It’s strange to imagine that right now, in a typical year, the Mono Lake Committee office would be abuzz with activity in preparation for the arrival of hundreds of Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua attendees—assembling participant packets, finalizing schedules, and making the last Chautauqua buttons.

Although we won’t be able to gather in person this year, we have a few videos for you to enjoy from home. First, a short message from the Chautauqua organizers:

On Saturday, June 20, we will also be premiering two videos on Facebook and YouTube. Both videos will also be available to watch after they premiere. (more…)

2020 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship recipients

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020 by Rose, Education Director

Since 2008, the Mono Lake Committee has supported local students by awarding two $1,000 scholarships to Mono County high school seniors.

2020 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship recipients Keely Podosin of Mammoth High School and Ben Trefry of Lee Vining High School. Photos courtesy of each graduate.

We couldn’t think of a better time to continue our support than for the graduating class of 2020. We asked applicants to get close to the shoreline of Mono Lake without distractions and jot down what they saw, heard, smelled, and felt around them and then reflect on the question: Why do places like Mono Lake matter?

The essays we received this year were (more…)

Mono County Board of Supervisors will consider Tioga Inn project on June 29

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

At their regular meeting this morning, the Mono County Board of Supervisors confirmed that they will consider the Tioga Inn project on Monday, June 29.

The view over Mono Lake from the site of the proposed Tioga Inn project. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The meeting will take place in the Lee Vining High School gym, which can accommodate up to 100 people with proper social distancing protocols. It will also be available virtually on Zoom. The combined in-person and virtual meeting format will allow (more…)

Tioga Pass will open on Monday, June 15

Monday, June 8th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

As part of its phased reopening plan, Yosemite National Park has announced that the Tioga Road will open for the season on Monday, June 15.

Tioga Pass on June 3, 2019. This year it’s scheduled to open on Monday, June 15. Photo by Arya Harp.

Anyone planning to enter the park through the eastern entrance at Tioga Pass will need a day-use reservation—both people planning to recreate in the park and those who are just traveling through. The only exception (more…)

Black Lives Matter

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

Black Lives Matter. The Mono Lake Committee is outraged—we condemn police brutality, racially motivated murders, and all violence against Black lives. We stand in solidarity with the Black community. We all must take action against overt, institutionalized, and environmental racism. We recognize that we have a lot to learn and work to do. We are committed to becoming a more antiracist organization.

Tioga Inn project heads to Mono County Board of Supervisors for a late-June hearing date

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

The Mono County Board of Supervisors will consider the Tioga Inn project at the end of June. While the exact date is yet to be confirmed, the two possible dates are June 25–26 or June 29–30. The Board is considering possible two-day hearing dates to better accommodate expected public comment and to fully deliberate the project before making a final decision.

A view of the current Tioga Gas Mart, which is the site of the future proposed Tioga Inn development. Photo by Elin Ljung.

With to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in California and the Expanded Stage 2 phase of Mono County’s reopening plan, the Supervisors are hoping that a hybrid meeting format of a live, in-person meeting combined with (more…)

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