Ice Rink, NDP, Tax, DIF Reduction and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Written by Lara Kirkner

After a special announcement from the Towns Community Relations Manager Stuart Brown that the Mammoth Lakes Ice Rink would be opening Dec. 4 on a limited basis with public skate sessions seven days a week between 3-6 p.m. and 6:30-9:30 p.m., Council moved the Dec. 3 meeting forward and approved several items. The ice rink will change to full operations starting Dec. 20.

The Snowcreek VIII Neighborhood District Plan (NDP) was approved 5-0 by Council and the applicant can now move forward with their Master Plan. A clarification was made before the Council took their vote regarding the height of the hotel that is expected to be a part of Snowcreek VIII. The maximum height written into the NDP is 120 feet. Members of the public commented on how unreasonable it would be to put a building out in the meadow at that height. Owner of the property, Chuck Lande, reminded everyone that the number had come from the maximum height the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department had set on buildings due to their equipment.

We had to make it the maximum envelope, but we are not planning on making it [the hotel] 120 feet, Lande explained.

Finance Director Brad Koehn came back to Council with a revised version of the Business Tax ordinance. The ordinance had been questioned by artists and musicians at Councils Nov. 5 meeting. The way it had previously been written stated that all artists and musicians, in town or visiting, had to pay a tax. Since most artists dont make their living with their art or music, the ordinance would have discouraged arts and culture.

Koehn explained that the new ordinance clears up the confusion and hopefully encourages arts and culture. The new ordinance will go into effect in February 2009 and states that only artists making over $5,000 need to pay the tax. Councilwoman Jo Bacon pointed out that business licenses are considered delinquent after Jan. 31 and asked how Koehn expected to deal with the interim between the 31st and when the new ordinance became effective in February. In a roundabout way Koehn explained that basically the Finance Department would simply look the other way as long as the artists and musicians called his office and let them know they would be exempt under the new ordinance.

Council approved 5-0 a reduction in Developer Impact Fees for the Parish Hall at St. Josephs Catholic Church in the amount of $96,162. Assistant Town Manager Karen Johnston explained that this was possible because the Parish Hall will not be open during the same hours as the church, therefore there will be no additional impacts to the community because there will be no additional activities.

These conditions will be spelled out in the Use Permit and if they ever operate both facilities at the same time then they would have to pay the fees, Johnston explained.

The next Council meeting is scheduled for Dec. 17.

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