Village employees face fines for parking at work
It’s tough enough for visitors to find a spot in Mammoth’s Village on a busy weekend, but Village employees, some of whom are coming from second jobs or from outside Town limits, are finding it harder than ever.
“It’s the same thing with housing,” said Ashley Robertson, a manager at Campo. “There’s so much housing and there’s nowhere to live. In the Village, there’s so much space and nowhere to park. It’s not setting [employees] up for long term success.”
Robertson presented a petition, signed by over 160 Village employees, to Mammoth’s Town Council at its regular meeting on Wednesday, January 17, asking Council address the issue. “I got that many signatures with virtually no effort,” said Robertson, whose restaurant employs 66 people. She said she left a copy of the petition at Smokeyard and almost all of its 50-some employees signed it. Stu Need at Lakanuki (which employs around 40 people) also distributed a copy. Need’s business was the second place to open in the Village in May, 2003, he said, and the issue of parking is “like a thorn in your side that’s pretty painful in the beginning, and as the years go on, it’s just a dull pain that rises up every now and then.”
When the Village was being planned, the Town of Mammoth Lakes allowed its builder, Intrawest, to use a “formula” for calculating parking spaces, said Tom Smith, General Manager of the Village. Smith told The Sheet that one underground parking spot was allotted for each homeowner unit in the Village (277 spots total) and that a total of 298 spots are available in the parking structure—meaning that there are 21 spots available for all of the 30 businesses that operate in The Village. Whether businesses were allotted one or two spots for their employees (usually management) depends on the square footage of the business, Smith said.
He said that the overarching vision was for more mass transit and airline passengers to be patronizing the lodges. Juniper Lodge was built the same way, he said, with minimal parking. However, Smith said, “On the whole, California is still a drive market. And we have many guests show up who want two parking permits.”
The Town also accepted as part of the Village deal a 1-acre parcel of land below the Westin Monache, which was originally meant to become a multi-level parking structure. Last year, a 38-space parking lot was built for close to half a million dollars at that site. Those parking spots all have 2-hour limits enforced by the Mammoth Lakes Police Department.