I attended the August 17 Mammoth Town Council meeting. Agenda item 15 directed the Council to discuss Hart/Howerton’s (planning consultant) larger “vision” and if there was a level of consensus amongst Council on thevision and direction presented, then there would be a number of discussion points to engage the Council.
Hart/Howerton’s vision focuses on Mammoth Mountain Ski Area’s five portals or access points and the south side of Main Street, or downtown.
The “direction presented,” at the end of the last (July 20) Council meeting by Hart/Howerton was as follows.
The Mountain: Responsible for on-mountain improvements, base facilities and real estate.
The Town: Responsible for mplementation strategy and funding for parking, streetscape, pedestrian bridges, narrowing Main Street, and location of the ice rink at the Shady Rest parcel.
Fast forward a month. At the August 20 meeting, Agenda Bill 15 asked Council: To what degree was there a commitment from the Council to move the broader vision forward? [I was confused—Whose broader vision—the Town’s General Plan vision or Hart/Howerton’s vision?]
At this point, they asked Council to take a 50,000-foot look at three broad areas to see if they feel we [as a town]are going to move in this direction.”
Personally, I am not so interested in what the Council ‘feels’ so much as I want to know how they’re going to reconcile the conflicts in the two visions.
Broad area 1) “Support for MMSA’s vision of the mountain portals and golf course amenities and access points.” [Good. It’s about time the Mountain moved forward.]
Broad area 2) asked for the Town’s “active role” in completion of the next phase of North Village development. [Okay, time for the Council to come down from its 50,000 perch and ask: Does “active role” mean that the Town assumes the burden for funding a parking structure and pedestrian bridges in the Village?]
Broad area 3) asked for a more defined and programmed downtown, with the Town serving as a “champion” and driver for change. [Great. “Champions” of change before we even know if we want to change!]
Before opening the meeting to public comments, the Mayor admonished that public comments should be limited to the 50,000 foot level. [Really! Mr. Mayor, you might want to ask the Town attorney if the Mayor can limit public comments, other than time at the podium. It’s called free speech.]
Framing a vision or two visions (the Town’s General Plan and Hart/Howerton’s vision) requires putting realistic borders around the “shared vision.” Borders are the facts or reality—financial, physical, political—that limit, inhibit, and inevitably shape the final vision.
At the end of the discussion of Agenda Bill 15, Council unanimously supported analyzing the Hart/Howerton vision in respect to the Town’s General Plan. [Good!] Their chosen method for “moving forward” with reconciling the two visions, from my interpretation, was to discuss parts of the two visions, or parts within parts. For example, the Mayor could limit discussion of the North Village node to the Town’s “active role” in accepting financial responsibility for parking and pedestrian bridges in the Village. [Unless, of course, the Mayor limits free speech, again.]
Or the Mayor could limit discussion to the “narrowing of Main Street” which would require that the Town accept the responsibility of maintenance, snowremoval, and asphalt overlays of 203 from the junction at 395 to Main Lodge, including the scenic loop … in perpetuity.