With a legislative bill in place for an Off Highway Vehicle pilot project, Inyo officials and citizens have gone public with information and opinions. Tuesday night the Bishop City Council hosted public comment on what’s called the Adventure Trails System.
Assembly Bill 628 establishes a pilot project for Inyo County roads in all of the towns to be used for regular vehicles and Off Highway Vehicles. Local government is now in the process of environmental reviews of the proposed dual-use roads. Bishop Public Works Director Dave Grah said local roads from near the White Mountains would come into town and arrive at Golden State Cycle, the Fairgrounds, Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Pizza Factory.
Maps will be available showing routes around Inyo towns as part of the environmental review. All motor vehicle codes apply to the OHV use on local roads. Tuesday night, most members of the public who spoke up favored the project, but some expressed concerns.
Darla Hile lives on Hanby St., which is an included route. She said while she is not against the OHV project, she is opposed to channeling of OHVs on to Hanby which is already a very busy street with lots of residents. Nils Davis and Lani Lahigh said yes to the project and pointed to economic gain. So did Greg Smith, who said Bishop Police could get grant money for extra patrolling of the OHVs.
Sam Blum called the pilot project an opportunity that could be huge. He said he would like to see more city streets opened to OHVs. Andrew Sherrit called the project important economically but said grants for police could dry up. He said the project could be 100% feasible without directing more traffic through heavily populated areas. Sherritt said routes should be more heavily scrutinized to end up at actual services.
Alan Pietrasanta, a frequently vocal supporter of economic development, said this aspect of the OHV project is important, but he asked the City to do some research and find out the pluses and minuses of similar projects in other states.
Inyo County is the lead agency for environmental review of this pilot project. The County issued a Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report. The County’s initial study indicates the potential for significant adverse environmental impacts or requirement of mitigation.
The Inyo Planning Department will accept comments on the Notice of Preparation through November 12th. The Initial Study is available at all Inyo libraries or on the Planning Department website -www.inyoplanning.org.
Scoping meetings are set for Thursday, October 24th at the Board of Supervisors Room in Independence at 6pm and Wednesday, October 30th at the Bishop City Council Chambers at 6pm. The purpose of the meetings is for presentation of views on what environmental information should be addressed in the EIR.