Shoreline of Mono Lake looking west towards the Sierra Nevada with tufa towers reflecting on the glassy lake and the sky is pink, purple, and blue.

Tioga Inn hearing outcome: FSEIR certified, project approval deferred  

In a late-in-the-day development, the Mono County Board of Supervisors certified the Tioga Inn Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR) with changes discussed at today’s meeting but deferred approval of the Tioga Inn project itself.

Supervisors Jennifer Kreitz, John Peters, Fred Stump voted to certify the FSEIR. Supervisor Bob Gardner voted against the certification after highlighting the community impacts that remain unresolved. The Tioga Inn project is located in Supervisor Gardner’s district. Supervisor Stacy Corless was recused.

The Board held off on final project approval until the developer consults further with the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe and Caltrans on the project.

After another day and a half of hearings, we wanted to pass along this news to the dedicated Mono Lake Committee members and friends who have followed this issue, written countless comment letters, and commented before the Board on multiple occasions over multiple years. While many important issues were left unaddressed, some visual impact reductions have been incorporated, and today’s hearing made it very clear that your input has made a positive difference.

Unfortunately, by approving the FSEIR despite extensive community, public, and agency input and concern, the Supervisors essentially chose not to include provisions fixing the “significant, unavoidable impacts” of the project, including fire safety concerns and requests of the Lee Vining Fire Department.

We will post a thorough analysis soon on the hearing developments and clarification of what the decision means for issues of visual impacts, fire safety, pedestrian safety, community connectivity, and project phasing.

For context on this project please read more here.

Top photo courtesy of Jeff Sullivan: The Tioga Inn, if approved as currently proposed, would be visible from South Tufa in this world-class view looking toward the Sierra Nevada.