A reader recently sent me the following note:
“I was enjoying a spa service at a small local establishment and the owner told me that Mammoth Mountain has instructed their employees to refer their lodging guests who request spa services to Snowcreek/Double Eagle exclusively. They are not to mention any other businesses. The owner said that for years she has gotten multiple bookings from the Mountain and has enjoyed a good relationship with the concierges.
While Rusty Gregory has the right to do whatever he wants with his business, this just sounds like a case of the 800-pound gorilla.
This type of practice continues to reinforce the ‘them’ and ‘us’ mentality between the Mountain and the rest of the small businesses in town whose numbers continue to dwindle. It seems especially heinous during these economic times when many of the town’s business owners are barely hanging on.”
The Sheet contacted MMSA for a response. Indeed, the letter writer appears accurate in that MMSA has entered into an agreement with Snowcreek to sell its products and services … for a small fee, of course.
Communications Manager Joani Lynch said MMSAs plans are not set in stone and that the contract does not necessarily connote an exclusive arrangement. She characterized the Mountain as “dipping a toe in the water” to determine whether or not it would continue inking such deals.
Looks like Steve Searles and LMNO Productions have a hit on their hands.
LMNO CEO and Bear Whisperer Exec. producer Eric Schotz told The Sheet this week that viewership doubled in the time slot in which the two-hour Bear Whisperer pilot aired last Thursday on Animal Planet.
“It did unbelievably well and we’re in negotiations to produce future episodes,” said Schotz. The program re-airs Jan. 24 at 2 p.m.
Auxiliary to help Haiti earthquake victims
News coming out of Haiti in the aftermath of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country is nothing short of horrific, with some officials estimating the death toll could reach into the hundreds of thousands. Meanwhile, the survivors need shelter, water, food and electricity. Helping hands can only go so far, but those here wondering how to help can send an additional item that will also be much-needed as the country rebuilds: money.
Don and Jan McPherson alerted us to one local effort already in the works. Mammoth Hospital Auxiliary has pledged all proceeds from The Cast Off for Saturday, Jan. 23, to go to Haitian earthquake relief efforts. In addition, the Auxiliary will match the total sales for the day, thereby doubling the amount going to the relief effort. The Cast Off will open at 10 AM on that Saturday only, giving shoppers an extra hour to find those one-of-a-kind treasures. You can help make the lives of numerous Haitian people a little easier … and your purchase may help save a life!
And from Geisel’s desk …
Continuing a discussion it started during its last meeting of 2009, Mammoth Lakes Planning Commission members tabled a time extension request for Ward Jones’ Golden Eagle Villas project. The topic and a larger discussion of time extensions in general were brought up during its first meeting of this year, however, leading to some interesting findings.
According to Senior Planner Sandra Moberly, during that last meeting the Commission requested additional information and any options as they relate to the state of California’s automatic time extensions, especially in light of new legislation recently signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Staff outlined two main issues with the requests: 1.) the Town’s current Subdivision Regulations and their inconsistency with the state’s Subdivision Map Act, and 2.) the state’s mandated time extensions.
Tentative Tract Maps become void 2 years following their original approval date. The Town’s regulations provide for an extension of 1 year or successive years, not to exceed 3 years. Originally, this period was in line with the parameters of the State’s Subdivision Map Act, which has since been amended to allow a 5-year extension. Town regulations haven’t followed suit.
Staff’s report goes on to point out that previous court decisions have found that the act takes precedence, therefore allowing for an additonal 2 years. (An amendment to the Town’s Subdivision Ordinance is pending that will bring it in line with the state act.)
Meanwhile, Moberly said that in 2008 and 2009, Gov. Schwarzenegger approved approved two senate bills allowing for time extensions to maps that were valid as of July 15 of those years, respectively.
Answering the Planning Commission’s questions posed to staff in December, staff determined that the Commission can’t grant blanket time extensions. If you want one, you have to apply for it. And the Planning Commission can’t grant extensions for longer than state law allows.
The Commission can approve a request any time before the project approvals expire, and during their discussion concluded that the Commission can’t tell a developer or contractor when or when not to file for such an extension. That right to file for an extension must be left up to the applicant.
The Commission can deny an application if the conditions of and circumstances have changed such that it warrants a denial, for instance if a site was the subject of a significant policy change, say one involving zoning.
If granted, however, the original conditions of approval carry forward, along with any additional conditions added by the Planning Commission.
The Commission voted unanimously to process requests as they are submitted, and support development of a zoning code amendment to make time extension provisions for use permits, variances and design reviews the same as those for tentative parcel and tract maps.
The Commission also voted to approve the 5-year time extension request for Golden Eagle Villas.