The closure of the Village parking lot was announced last week in typical, classy Mammoth fashion. It was slated to reopen this past Thursday evening. (Photo: Kirkner)
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, Measure S did pass by a wide margin on Tuesday, garnering just shy of 74% of the vote and winning me one bet from a doubter who shall remain nameless.
Though Measure S supporters made a heroic attempt to become just as annoying as Jean Harris in the closing moments, they were unable to persuade me to go against my own interests (as my daughter attends MES).
About six months ago, I urged Superintendent Boccia to ask for even more money in this round ($69 to $79 a parcel), but Boccia felt that a bird in hand was worth two in the rabbitbrush.
Maybe that’s why I was sneezing through the entire fall.
The Village parking issue was resolved on Thursday according to Attorney Mark Carney, who represented property manager Intrawest in the negotiation with former Intrawester Doug Ogilvy, who acted on behalf of the surface lot’s owner, Credit Suisse. Ogilvy now works for Replay Resorts, which serves as an asset manager for Credit Suisse.
Ogilvy said the lot closed last week because Credit Suisse received clear direction from its insurance company that it either needed a signed lease or the lot had to close.
He indicated a signed copy of the lease had been on CNL’s desk for a week but not acted upon.
At the present time, Ogilvy acknowledged that Village merchants bear the brunt of the cost of the parking lot.
“My understanding is that tenants have been paying for the lot the past 18 months and that whatever deal is signed will have no additional impact [on what they’re already paying],” he added.
Ogilvy said he is not party to discussions between CNL and the Village merchants as to how costs are passed through.
Mark Carney said, “As I understand it, and I’m not CNL’s attorney, but the [merchant] leases include a pass-through of costs of parking into the CAMS [Common Area Maintenance fees].”
The issue, said Carney, is that the parking lot is not intended for use of those outside the Village. “That’s not Toomey’s parking,” said Carney, referring to a new eatery which is slated to go into the ground floor of 80|50. “His customers shouldn’t use that.”
“The lot is for retail customers of the Village. It’s not intended for day-use parking for skiers.”
Carney is now working towards a longer-term agreement which he hopes will incentivize all parties to come up with a parking management and enforcement plan.
*If whatever “pooled parking” Mammoth Community Development Director Mark Wardlaw referred to regarding Toomey’s does not include the Village surface lot, one is left to wonder what that pooled parking is, exactly.
Ogilvy said it’s crucial that the Town begin to work on a public-private partnership on Village parking, but “I’m concerned that there’s no urgency on the Town’s part to move this forward,” he said.
“There’s a standoff as to who’s gonna pay,” he went on. “Everybody who benefits should pay.”
“Realistically, we have three years to figure this out,” he concluded (estimation as to when development may begin again in earnest).
When asked his impression of Mammoth’s current leadership, Ogilvy said he has noticed a change in town philosophy towards being more pro-business. “Managed, good development has value,” he said.
“I’m very optimistic Mammoth is a world class destination … I’m cautiously optimistic Mammoth will be able to capitalize on that.”
The Urdi bird gets the bill
Forgive Mammoth Lakes Tourism Exec. Director John Urdi if he sees a Bad Moon Rising.
The Town’s share of the commercial air service subsidy for this summer came in approximately 70% higher than expected – this despite a significant increase in passenger enplanements.
For example, passenger enplanements were up 30% year-over-year for September and October, but increased fuel and ground costs at LAX have tacked on about $2,000 per roundtrip.
Urdi also said fares this summer were lower than they needed to be. Prices were generally about $59 to $79 for a one-way ticket.
The air service subsidy is being paid entirely out of Urdi’s budget, as is the Sprung Structure (the new auxillary terminal at Mammoth/Yosemite).
As Urdi said in as diplomatic a way as he could, “It’s unfortunate to take dollars away [from marketing] for things that don’t bring people here [Sprung Structure] … I don’t want to see Measure A dollars siphoned off because of shortfalls in different areas.”
Overall, Mammoth Lakes Tourism has taken a 10% hit this year in what Urdi characterizes as unbudgeted expenses (and this despite a better-than-expected year for T.O.T, generation).
What is Urdi excited about these days? Well, one program he’s enthusiastic about is a partnership with American Express.
For about $10,000 a year, AMEX will give MLT details about every transaction made in Mammoth Lakes, broken down by division (lodging, rentals, services, food and beverage).
It will also give MLT vital information about domestic and international markets.
For example, Urdi says the reports help compare top visitor markets versus top spend markets. What does that mean? Well, when Urdi was working in Colorado, he said reports showed that New Yorkers ranked #7 in visits to the state, but #1 in spending while in-state.
Conclusion: It’s good to have New Yorkers around … except when you’re watching sports.