Open Space Threatens to Sink Mammoth General Plan

Just say yes. After four and a half years of contention, Mammoth Planning Commission Chairman Roy Saari and many others urged the Town Council to sign off on the General Plan this week.

 

The Planning Commission has already approved a General Plan Update that they believe everyone can agree on, but one issue clearly still gets everybodys blood up; the Bell Shaped Parcel.

 

Leave it natural, build a park or even condos, what to do with this one chunk of land has been hashed out over countless meetings. In the end the only thing that the various interest groups could agree on was to leave the Bell Shaped Parcel as open space, until the council meeting this week that is.

 

The council has the final say in the matter and they were saying its worth more money if the parcel is not open space.

 

While Skip Harvey was relatively silent on the issue, the other four council members appeared to resist the idea to leave the land as open space. Financial responsibility was the reason cited.

 

If there was anyone in the audience Wednesday night that didnt want to leave the Bell Shaped Parcel as open space, they held their tongues. Support for open space appeared unanimous.

 

Mammoth CEO Rusty Gregory urged the council not to hold up the completion of the General Plan because of this one issue. He said that their constituents would go bananas and there would be no general plan if the council didnt keep the Parcel open space.

 

Councilmember John Eastman explained that the property could be worth $30 million, but if it remains open space it would only be worth $5 million. How can we give up that value? he asked.

 

Rusty Gregory said that the land isnt as valuable as some council members may think, unless there was a real intention to develop there.

 

Gregory told the council to adopt the General Plan as agreed to by the planning commission, with the Bell Shaped Parcel as open space, and they could always come back and change it later.

 

Councilmember Wendy Sugimura wanted to look into a conservation easement on the land which would result in some money for the town and keep the parcel open space, but would also require the threat of development in order to get the grant money to buy the land.

 

With such a contentious issue threatening to hold up the general plan process, further discussions were put off until the council meeting on July 31. Judging by the meeting this week, expect to see a room packed with people urging the council to adopt the general plan that the Planning Commission approved at that next meeting as well.

 
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