A few small houses sit in a dry green and yellow sagebrush field with a blue lake, dark mountains and a cloudy sky in the background.

December 15: Final Tioga Inn hearing & decision

There will be yet another, and final, Mono County Board of Supervisors special meeting on the Tioga Inn project, and it has been scheduled for Tuesday, December 15 at 12:30pm.

Two months ago, at an October 14 hearing, the Board certified the Tioga Inn Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report despite the extensive concerns of the local community, Mono Lake supporters, and the objection of the Kutzadika’a Tribe. But the Board delayed their final project approval vote and requested that efforts be made to resolve two issues:

  1. Resolution of concerns raised by the Kutzadika’a Tribe about the project, including project mitigations the developer can implement to remedy impacts to the Tribe’s cultural heritage resources.
  2. Exploration of solutions to the significant public safety problem posed by the project’s failure to develop a safe route between the project site and the town of Lee Vining for pedestrian and bicycle use. Conversations with Caltrans were specifically mentioned.

The Tribe’s concerns have not been addressed, and meetings to resolve those concerns, as directed by the Board, have not yet occurred. Currently there is no available public information to consider regarding either of these efforts, yet the Board appears to be moving toward a final decision on the project before the holidays. This week the Tribe formally requested that final consideration be postponed until they have met with the project proponent, and the Mono Lake Committee wrote a letter in support of the Tribe’s request. The Board plans to consider the Tribe’s deferral request at the start of the December 15 hearing.

December 15 meeting should be postponed

Read the Kutzadika’a Tribe’s letter requesting postponement of the meeting

Read the Mono Lake Committee’s letter of support

At this hearing, which will be held by video conference, the most important thing the public can do is to voice support for the Board continuing to explore solutions to these crucial community and Tribal concerns. It has been a long haul, and the Board was right to grant more time in October for these specific issues. They sent the developer back to the community to resolve unanswered questions—and now is the time for the Board to get the answers they seek.

If you have written letters and spoken before the Board in the past, your voice continues to be important. Please urge the Board to postpone the hearing until they have agreements in front of them about safe pedestrian connectivity from Caltrans, fire safety from the Lee Vining Volunteer Fire Department, and the concerns of the Kutzadika’a Tribe.

Please urge the Board to:

  • Follow through and honor their commitment to the Tribe by deferring the hearing until the Tribe can meet with the developer to explore ways to resolve their concerns.
  • Ensure that the project has a mandated plan to create a safe pedestrian and bicycle route between the project site and Lee Vining.
  • Require the project be safer in the event of extreme, wind-driven wildfires by requiring an emergency evacuation route to Highway 395 and addressing the concerns of the Lee Vining Volunteer Fire Department.

How to comment

Written comments

For greatest impact we suggest submitting comments by noon on Monday, December 14, but they will be accepted until 12:30pm on December 15.

Email: Submit comments by email to the Mono County Community Development Department

Letters can be sent to:
Community Development Department
Attn: Michael Draper
PO Box 347
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546

Verbal comments

To speak at the Board meeting, tune in at 12:30pm on Tuesday, December 15 via Zoom videoconference. Participants will be allowed to comment during the public comment portion of the agenda item.

If you have questions about this long and winding process you can find more information on our Tioga Inn web page or call Eastern Sierra Policy Director Bartshe Miller at (760) 647-6595 x121.

Top photo by Lynn Boulton.