Since the early 1900s, the LADWP has owned a large share of the Owens Valley and Mono County. Recent reports that DWP might buy up more private land prompted one local woman to circulate an email and promote a petition to push DWP into releasing land for the public if they intend to take more land out of circulation.
Jennifer Castaneda, a southern Inyo resident and real estate agent, said that while it may not be public knowledge, she said DWP has plans to acquire two 56 acre parcels on Oak Creek. Castaneda said the parcels are zoned to accommodate up to 44 residential units.
A petition to the Mayor of Los Angeles and Inyo Supervisors spells out the DWP plan and points out that Los Angeles already owns over a quarter of a million acres in Inyo County. Put another way – 25% of the valley floor from Crowley Lake to Haiwee Reservoir. Castaneda says while most residents and visitors like the open space maintained by this condition, "it is apparent that the lack of developable, affordable property has a stranglehold on Owens Valley's economic independence ankd sustainability. The population of fewer than 20,000(in an area larger than New Jersey) has remained virtually unchanged for over 30 years but shifted increasingly toward Bishop, the only economically viable settlement in the Valley, and leaving Central to Southern Inyo to slowly decay."
The petition suggests doubling the current population for a healthy economic condition, unlike the current "ghetto" status with not nearly enough services and goods to take care of the current population. The petition points out that Oak Creek borders Independence, the county seat which has deteriorated in many respects. The petition puts out a call for action, and says, "The Owens Valley community is in a struggle for its livelihood and must not allow Los Angeles to acquire one more sq1uare foot of property in the County without releasing at least the same amount of similarly zoned property for development.
If you want to get a look at that petition, the address on the internet is www.petitiononline.com/InyovDWP.
We have placed calls to DWP and Inyo officials and anticipate their responses.