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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…)

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 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…)

Tioga Inn likely to go before Mono County Board of Supervisors in June

Friday, May 1st, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

No date has yet been set for the Mono County Board of Supervisors to take up the Tioga Inn project, but it is likely to happen in June.

The Mono County Board of Supervisors is likely to address the Tioga Inn project in June. In September last year, the Planning Commissioners and members of the public visited the project site. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Following the disappointing Mono County Planning Commission meeting of April 16, at which the commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the project despite hundreds of public comments in opposition, the Supervisors discussed options for a Tioga Inn meeting at their April 21 regularly scheduled meeting. They expressed interest in (more…)

Mono County Planning Commission disappoints; Board of Supervisors to vote soon on Tioga Inn project

Saturday, April 18th, 2020 by Geoff, Executive Director

Despite overwhelming opposition from the public, on Thursday the Mono County Planning Commission voted 4-0 to approve the Tioga Inn project with few modifications to the final plan and design.

Over 200 written and spoken comments were voiced to the Planning Commission regarding the Tioga Inn project and over 150 people attended the seven-hour-long meeting via Zoom video conference. Virtually every comment was in opposition to the permanent, damaging impacts of the project. Speakers ranged from local business owners and residents to the fire department and longtime visitors. After the large number of strong, clear, and respectful comments in opposition to the project—among the most the commission has ever seen—the commission deliberation and vote was a disappointment.

The Tioga Inn project now goes to the Mono County Board of Supervisors, which will make the final determination of whether the numerous adverse impacts of the project justify turning it down. The date of that meeting is yet to be confirmed, but is tentatively scheduled for May 19. Stay tuned here on the Mono-logue and in your email for more information regarding how to participate in this final round of public comment.

If you wrote in or spoke to express your concerns about the project—thank you! The outpouring of thoughtful, sincere comments was incredible to witness. A better result is still possible and public engagement will be critical to the final outcome.

Tioga Inn project goes before Planning Commission for decision on April 16, 2020

Saturday, April 11th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, the Mono County Planning Commission is moving forward with a public hearing and vote on the Tioga Inn Specific Plan Amendment & Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR).

A view of the site where the proposed Tioga Inn housing project would go, overlooking Mono Lake. Photo courtesy of Lynn Boulton.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, April 16 at 9:00am. (more…)

March Planning Commission meeting regarding the Tioga Inn is canceled

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

The March 23 Mono County Special Planning Commission meeting regarding the Tioga Inn is canceled.

The meeting has been rescheduled for April 16 at 9:00am. According to the Mono County Community Development Department, the meeting will be accessible remotely in a Zoom meeting online here and by telephone at 669-900-6833 (meeting ID# 760-924-1815), where members of the public shall have the right to observe and offer public comment.

As of the date of this post, the Mono County website has not yet been updated with the latest meeting information; the meeting will be re-noticed prior to April 16 along with a meeting agenda.

The Mono Lake Committee is concerned, given the background COVID-19 disruption affecting everyone’s lives, that (more…)

Efforts to rid Mono Lake’s islets of Bassia continue

Thursday, March 12th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Since mid-February’s successful prescribed burn on Twain Islet to clear breeding habitat for California Gulls, the Mono Lake Committee has been working with the Inyo National Forest and Point Blue Conservation Science to schedule another burn before the gulls return to nest for the season.

Mono Lake Committee and State Parks staff returned to Twain Islet in late February to continue efforts to restore California Gull nesting habitat. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

However, a combination of windy and rainy weather, the complex logistics of getting all parties out to the islands, and Point Blue biologists’ observations of gulls already returning to Mono Lake means that the burn window has closed for this spring.

Even though (more…)

Revised water license for DWP on the horizon: State Water Board expects finalization in 2020

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020 by Geoff, Executive Director

Over the past year, the California State Water Resources Control Board has been effectively advancing the long-running project of revising the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s (DWP) water license to include a set of next-generation stream restoration requirements agreed to in the Mono Basin Stream Restoration Agreement with the Mono Lake Committee.

Mono Lake’s tributaries will get streamflows that better mimic natural runoff patterns when DWP’s water license is amended to reflect the 2013 Mono Basin Stream Restoration Agreement. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Signed in fall 2013, following 15 years of stream studies and three years of intensive legal negotiations, the Agreement was a significant milestone for Mono Lake. It marked the completion of a major area of study required by the State Water Board and the launch of a new period of restoration at Mono Lake in which the Los Angeles Aqueduct serves the new additional purpose of healing streams. In this new era, the important ecological, wildlife, scenic, and economic values of Mono Lake and its tributary streams will be recognized equally alongside the water needs of Los Angeles.

Persistence pays off

In the years since signing the Agreement, the Committee has maintained constant pressure on (more…)

Tioga Inn public workshop introduces final plan

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The Mono Lake Committee is delving into the Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR) for the Tioga Inn project (released just last Friday night) to understand the changes made from the draft document that was released last summer. While some changes have been made to the project thanks to public comments, five original significant unavoidable impacts remain, including adverse impacts to the scenic resources of the Mono Basin.

Last night about 45 community members attended the Mono County Planning Department’s public workshop about the project, which provided an opportunity for people to hear more about the project as described in the FSEIR and ask clarifying questions. The project proponent (more…)

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