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Over 700 comment letters submitted about the proposed Tioga Inn project

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

We asked for help protecting the Mono Basin’s world-class scenic views and dark night skies, and you responded in a big way. Thank you to the more than 700 of you who sent a comment letter about the proposed Tioga Inn project!

Mock-up of the proposed Tioga Inn Project. (Map data: Google, Landsat/Copernicus)

You can read the Mono Lake Committee’s letter here, and the accompanying letter from our legal team at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger here.

It was such a pleasure to read your letters as they rolled in—they are detailed, heartfelt, and demonstrate your strong connections to Mono Lake, the Mono Basin, and the Eastern Sierra. Keep an eye on the Mono Lake action center—we plan to post excerpts from them there.

Though the legal deadline was yesterday at 5:00pm, you can still send a letter. The Mono County Community Development Department has encouraged additional comments, writing:

“The public is invited to comment until a final decision is made regardless of the closure date of the DSEIR comment period. Comments can be submitted after the close of the DSEIR comment period and County staff commits to providing a response, even though not required, through public hearings before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. Therefore, the public continues to have the opportunity to comment on and potentially affect the outcome of the project until the final decision.”

Thank you for your letters to Mono County, for your continuing interest in this project, and most of all, for your love for the Mono Basin. More to come—stay tuned.

Action alert: Threat to scenic Mono Basin, letters needed by August 21

Thursday, August 15th, 2019 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

August 22 update: Over 700 comment letters submitted about the proposed Tioga Inn project

The Mono Lake Committee is encouraging people who value the Mono Basin to submit a comment letter regarding the Draft SEIR for the Tioga Inn, which has “6 significant unavoidable adverse impacts”* from the proposed major addition to the gas station and restaurant known as the Mobil Mart.

The Draft SEIR for the Tioga Inn is a significant addition to the current development known as the Mobil Mart.

This is a critical moment for public input; the letter deadline is August 21, 2019 at 5:00pm.

The Draft Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) and Specific Plan for the Tioga Inn Project has studied a developer proposal to expand the approved site footprint onto a tall bluff that overlooks Highway 395 and Mono Lake. The proposed multi-unit, two-story construction of a 100-unit/150-bedroom Workforce Housing Village will, if approved as is, fundamentally change the experience of wild natural beauty of Mono Lake and the Mono Basin. Mono Lake, Mono County, and the scenic highway and gateway to Yosemite National Park deserve better.

As currently proposed, the project will be highly visible (more…)

A 100-unit workforce housing village proposed adjacent to Lee Vining near Mono Lake and Yosemite National Park

Thursday, July 25th, 2019 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

August 22 update: Over 700 comment letters submitted about the proposed Tioga Inn project

Tioga Inn public comment period open until August 13 August 21, workshop July 30

The Tioga Inn is the name for the full build-out plan for the project that is currently best known as the Mobil-mart/Whoa Nellie Deli and gas station above the intersection of Highway 120 and Highway 395 just south of Lee Vining. This project has the potential to significantly change the community of Lee Vining, and could double its population. During this open public comment period every opinion and concern matters—people who live in, visit, or know Lee Vining are all encouraged to submit a comment letter.

The existing Mobil gas station, Whoa Nellie Deli, and workforce housing that are part of the proposed Tioga Inn development project.

Project overview

Over twenty six years ago Mono County approved the Tioga Inn Specific Plan & Final Environmental Impact Report, which includes a two-story, 120-room hotel, full-service restaurant, convenience store, gas station, and ten workforce housing units. While the Mobil Mart/Whoa Nellie Deli, (more…)

Marina Fire update: 95% contained

Friday, July 1st, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

As of this morning, the Marina Fire is 654 acres and 95% contained.

This map of the Marina Fire from June 28 shows the extent of the burn along Highway 395. Map courtesy of SoCal Fire Team 1.

This map of the Marina Fire from June 28 shows the location and extent of the burn area. Map courtesy of SoCal Fire Team 1.

Since the fire burned on the steep slopes above Highway 395 along Mono Lake’s west shore, a team has been mapping the burn severity in order to estimate potential damage from erosion and debris flows in future storms. The next step is to propose solutions to minimize or prevent damage to Highway 395, the power line road, and structures near the highway.

The fire was determined to be human-caused, but the exact cause and origin are still under investigation. As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, please be extra fire-safe, and follow the Inyo National Forest fire restrictions that are in place.

Marina Fire update: Monday

Monday, June 27th, 2016 by Arya, Communications Director

The Marina Fire continues to smolder on the slopes above the west shore of Mono Lake, but residents are breathing a cautious sigh of relief as firefighters now have the 654-acre fire 46% contained. (The change in acreage is due to more precise GPS mapping.) Fire crews continue to work on the ground and with air operations, improving containment around the fire perimeter and mopping up along Highway 395. The weather forecast is for high temperatures and low humidity and local afternoon winds, so fire crews remain on high alert for the potential for the fire to spread.

2016-06-26 2017 - IMG_9113

A view of the Marina Fire area from Highway 395 taken this morning. Some people may recognize this area because of the aspen grove known for its beautiful colors in fall, or as the property involved in a Forest Service land trade to avoid development and subdivision around 2007. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.

As of 8am this morning Highway 395 is open in both directions. Caltrans, Southern California Edison, and fire crews are active along Highway 395—please keep your eye out and drive safely along the section of Highway 395 along Mono Lake adjacent to the fire. (more…)

Marina Fire update: Sunday 11:00am

Sunday, June 26th, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

This morning the Marina Fire continues to smolder on the slopes above the west shore of Mono Lake. An updated mapping effort put the acres burned at 758, with 30% containment.

Smoke from the Marina Fire was visible at South Tufa yesterday morning. There is much less smoke today. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Smoke from the Marina Fire was visible at South Tufa yesterday morning. There is much less smoke today. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Highway 395 is open to one-way escorted traffic between the town of Lee Vining and Highway 167; the wait time is approximately 20 minutes. Caltrans reports that the highway is estimated to reopen fully at noon today. (more…)

Marina Fire update: Saturday 4:30pm, escorted traffic along Highway 395

Saturday, June 25th, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

As of 4:30pm this afternoon cars are being escorted 50 at a time through the fire closure on Highway 395. If conditions become unsafe the highway will close completely once again.

A DC-10 bomber drops fire retardant along the north flank of the Marina Fire on Saturday, June 25. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

A very large air tanker drops fire retardant along the north flank of the Marina Fire on Saturday, June 25. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

The fire’s statistics have not been updated on Inciweb since this morning—819 acres burned, with 5% containment, and 300 personnel responding. However, it now says on Inciweb that containment of the fire is expected to take at least five more days, with full containment estimated for Thursday, June 30. (more…)

Marina Fire update: Saturday 10:30am

Saturday, June 25th, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

As of 10:30am this morning the Marina Fire is still burning just north of Lee Vining along Highway 395. According to Inciweb, the fire spread has been mapped at 819 acres and is 5% contained.

A view of the Marina Fire last night from Mono City. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.

A view of the Marina Fire last night from Mono City. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.

Highway 395 is closed in Lee Vining on the south, and closed at Highway 167 on the north. There is no estimated opening time right now; the highway is reported to be closed due to rockfall on the road. (more…)

Marina Fire 9:00pm Friday update

Friday, June 24th, 2016 by Arya, Communications Director

As of 9:00pm tonight (Friday, June 24) the Marina Fire is still burning just north of Lee Vining along Hwy 395. At this time an evacuation warning has been issued for Lee Vining and Mono City. The Tioga Lodge and the Mono Inn have been evacuated. At this time Hwy 395 is closed.

The Marina Fire as seen from the north at around 8pm.

The Marina Fire as seen from the north at around 8pm Friday, June 24, 2016. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

A press release from the Inyo National Forest reports that the fire has grown to about 600 acres. There are approximately 300 personnel on the fire, and the fire has been determined to be human-caused and remains under investigation at this time. (more…)

Marina Fire 4:30pm update

Friday, June 24th, 2016 by Arya, Communications Director

As of 4:30pm the Marina Fire is still burning. The US Forest Service is reporting that it has burned an estimated 350 acres. The Tioga Lodge has been evacuated, and Lee Vining is still under an evacuation advisory. Firefighters have made great progress, but winds seem to be shifting and stoking the fire along the north edge.

Marina Fire as seen from Lee Vining.

The Marina Fire as seen from Lee Vining around 4pm on Friday, June 24, 2016. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.

Firefighters continue to fight the fire both on the ground and with helicopters and air tankers. (more…)

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