Woman stands at a podium in a hearing room with socially distanced chairs and people sitting at computers with the United States and California flags.

Tioga Inn public hearing Tuesday, October 13

On Tuesday, October 13 at 2:00pm the Mono County Board of Supervisors will once again consider the Tioga Inn Specific Plan Amendment.

In addition to considering key issues surrounding safety impacts the project would produce, the Supervisors will review the new “Alternative 7–Hybrid Plan” with revisions that have occurred since the previous hearing on August 6. These revisions include more details on the Phase 1 site plan and a new Landscape Concept Plan, which includes a mix of native and non-native trees that offer some screening of project buildings.

The Mono Lake Committee encourages the interested public, and everyone who has closely followed and commented on the Tioga Inn project to tune in on Tuesday and comment again.

If you aren’t able to tune in to the meeting to comment, you can email your comments directly to Mono County by 2:00pm on Tuesday and they will be transmitted to the Supervisors before they begin their deliberation.

When you comment, please remind the Supervisors to consider the project’s critical safety issues and make further improvements to address pedestrian safety and fire safety and reduce visual impacts. While the Supervisors have directed the developer to make progress to mitigate the project’s visual impacts, now they must require him to make progress to reduce the threats to human safety.

Serious threats to human safety remain

The Supervisors have not yet had a chance to discuss the significant adverse impacts associated with pedestrian and cyclists at the previous hearing. The current plan does not provide safe pedestrian or bicycle access linking the future residential complex with Lee Vining. Mitigating this impact is possible and it should be achieved before the project is complete, not “studied” six months later, as the current project proposes.

Fire safety issues also have not been discussed. Even with a record year for California wildfires and accelerating statewide concern, including community evacuations in Mono County, the project does not provide an adequate wildfire evacuation route to Highway 395, away from the threat of prevailing winds, nor does it provide sufficient capacity to the Lee Vining Volunteer Fire Department to serve a new community of 100 units of housing.

The revised Alternative 7–Hybrid Plan

While a new Landscape Concept Plan takes steps to further screen buildings, the latest Hybrid Plan, revised after the August hearing, does not provide clear and measurable mitigation to guarantee that significant adverse impacts to aesthetics, light, and glare will be sufficiently reduced from high-value recreation sites in the Mono Basin. The Committee has proposed language for inclusion on this point.

The future of Mono County, the experience of countless future visitors to Mono Lake, and the safety of all of those who live, travel, and recreate in and around Lee Vining are impacted by the Tioga Inn project. Fixing the visual, trail, and fire safety impacts will help mitigate a poorly-planned development proposal. Mono County, Lee Vining, and Mono Lake deserve better than the current Hybrid Plan.

Top photo by Rose Nelson.