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Tioga Inn Resort proposal – Mono Basin / Lee Vining impact – Planning Commission virtual meeting this Thursday at 9am

(courtesy Mono Lake Committee)

Background:

The owner of the Tioga Gas Mart (the Mobil station/Whoa Nellie Deli at the foot of Tioga Pass, where CA120 meets US395) is planning to expand the operation to include a 100-room hotel, plus workforce housing for a further 150 people. These structures will be up to two stories tall and will be perched on the moraines overlooking Mono Lake. They’ll be visible from 395, South Tufa and many other highly-visited portions of the Mono Basin Scenic Area.

Lee Vining’s population in the 2010 census was 110 people. This development, if approved, could more than triple the population of the town. Light pollution and visual impact will be significant. CalTrans has stated it has no plans for traffic mitigation (for instance, a stoplight at 120 and 395). There are myriad other implications listed in the FEIR (link below).

The Mono Lake Committee and an apparent majority of citizens in Lee Vining — as well as hundreds of return visitors to the area — are opposing this development.

This is going to be a tough fight, and additional articulate, informed, and passionate voices are needed to speak out regarding the proposed development.

There is at least one upcoming Mono County virtual meeting* are two Mono County virtual meetings that will decide whether this development happens.

The first is the most urgent: this Thursday at 9am, the Planning Commission will decide whether to sent the project to the Board of Supervisors for approval.

** Details on joining the Planning Commission meeting this Thursday at 9am:

Accessible remotely by livecast at: https://zoom.us/join and by telephone at: 669-900-6833 (Meeting ID# for both is 634 770 837) where members of the public shall have the right to observe and offer public comment.

The Mono Lake Committee provides further details and suggestions for input here.

Mono Lake Committee Eastern Sierra Policy Director, Bartshé Miller, spells out MLC’s concerns about the proposed project here.

If the Planning Commission approves and sends the project to the Supervisors (and this seems likely)*, I’ll post the dates for the Supervisors’ public hearing — where the final decision will be made — on this blog.

Project Description and final subsequent EIR can be found here.

Thank you for your engagement on this manner of great importance to Lee Vining, Mono Lake, and the Eastern Sierra.

— Paul Ashby

* UPDATE April 14 9:45 pm: I’ve since learned that the Planning Commission’s yea or nay vote on the matter is non-binding. Meaning a majority voting ‘no’ still means there will be a Board of Supervisors meeting, where the latter will have the final say.

* UPDATE April 18: The Mono County Planning Commission voted 4-0 to approve the proposal and send it to the Board of Supervisors. More info can be found on Mono Lake Committee’s website.

* UPDATE April 27: The full 7-hour 30-minute stream of the planning commission meeting (including all public comment) has been posted.