Mammoth Town Council Rundown

Embattled Assessor Jim Lovett appeared to be the main event at the Mammoth Town Council meeting, but a number of other issues came up as well.

With the recent dust up over the aesthetics of a large concrete wall at 8050, one Mammoth resident brought up a larger concrete wall at the Aspen Village Workforce housing project. SnowCreek IV resident Phil Benefel says that the bare concrete wall at Aspen Village is 13 feet high and about a thousand feet long. In a town where the planning commission puts every project through the design review ringer, Benefel asked how the wall met the aesthetic standards in Mammoth.

Pam Hennarty with Mammoth Lakes Housing, the non profit partnered with the town to build workforce housing, explained that the plan is have the landscaping soften the appearance, of the wall by spring.

Sierra Valley Sites resident Leigh Gaasch, asked the council for help watching the neighborhood this winter. More people in town for the season, many of whom spend the winter in the Sierra Valley Sites, Gaasch explained. She said that more people meant more drugs, more drunk drivers, more trespassers and more people urinating on private property.

Bear issues continue as both Council members Wendy Sugimura and Skip Harvey discussed recent activities of the Bear Management Committee. Sugimura went to Yosemite to learn about the Park Service Bear Management program where the rangers emphasize public education and proper food storage. Skip Harvey pointed out that in Yosemite, education of both employees and guests was key to the effectiveness of the bear program. If this sounds familiar, Mammoth Bear Man Steve Searles was hired by the park service as a consultant on the Yosemite Bear Management program there.

Harvey said that the Bear Management Committee would contact the volunteer Tahoe Bear League to see how that group deals with bears in their community. Searles has also consulted on Bear Management in the Tahoe region and has trained their police force.

Both council trips beg the question, if Searles trained these people why isn’t Mammoth using him?

With the lights from the newly opened Westin Hotel reportedly shining into nearby homes at night, there was also talk of tightening up the Mammoth Dark Skies, lighting ordinance.

Dale Comontofski, with Preferred Disposal wanted to know why the Town and Mammoth Disposal needed an extension on contract negotiations after two years of work on the contract. Comontofski wants the town to allow competition in the garbage hauling business rather than grant one franchise. Buying a piece of land to build a recycling facility was one of the cited reasons for the delay. With the price of land for the facility and new state rules on how much waste has to be diverted from the landfill, Comontofski guaranteed that Mammoth garbage removal rates would go up significantly in the future.

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