Housing Doldrums in Mono County

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Mono County Housing Authority, statistics indicated the housing doldrums have not let up, as Authority members moved to begin work on a potential affordable housing project in Lee Vining.

According to information from the Building Department, in all of Mono County outside of Mammoth, only 8 permits have been issued for stick-built single family residences in 2008. Another 5 permits have been issued for manufactured homes, for a total of 13. Mono County Community Development Assistant Director Larry Johnston estimates the year total will be around 25. Last year, there were 39. In 2005, 81.

Sales data indicates a similar slowdown. Information from the Assessor’s Department shows only 20 sales of single family residences so far this year. In 2007, there were 64. In 2005, 109. In regards to values, obtaining figures is nearly impossible as many of the various communities throughout the county do not have a single sale to compare to last year’s average.

Johnston suggested last year that activity had simply returned to traditional Mono County norms after a few years of frenetic activity, but this year is proving to be “the lowest in a long time,” Johnston said.

Authority member Hazard disagreed. He pointed out that roughly “200 lots are being developed” in his district, which “could turn things around overnight.” Hazard acknowledged that all of the projects were on hold, however, “waiting for finances, and the economy to turn around.” None of the other members joined Hazard in his upbeat assessment.

The uninspiring statistics did not keep the Housing Authority from making an inspired move to begin work on an affordable housing project in Lee Vining. Agreeing that all of the components are in place, the Authority directed staff to ramp up discussions with the Lee Vining RPAC to determine a suitable locale so they might begin considering the Housing Authority’s first affordable housing project. Members hopes that a good project in Lee Vining could serve as a showcase for other communities throughout the county.

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