Questioning SFR rentals
Councilmember Michael Raimondo has repeatedly expressed his opinion that the town of Mammoth Lakes needs to be ready for developers when the economy turns around. However, his recent comments on the single family home rengtal debate undermine his own aspiration.
Real estate investors look at a number of complex issues like supply and demand, construction and borrowing costs, projected revenue, etc. before committing to a project. It is a constantly evolving and dynamic analysis. However, in making a decision on whether to move forward, one issue must remain constant– that is the certainty of government regulations. Are the rules of the game, as laid out by the government, constant or will they change midstream?
Historically, the Town has prohibited the nightly rental of single family homes in its traditional neighborhoods. In the last dozen or so years, the town has sensibly carved out a large piece of its undeveloped land surrounding the Sierra Star golf course to be developed as single family homes that permit nightly rentals (“resort zoned”). The zoning and parcel map is such that the new development could accommodate a slew of new single family homes.
I believe only permitting nightly rentals in new neighborhoods specifically built for that purpose is smart for the town. (Don’t drive your families out of the neighborhoods, don’t provide your guests an inferior product, etc.) However, more importantly, it is my business opinion that if the goal is to encourage smart growth and development, that you don’t change the rules in the middle of the game, especially when that change undermines the very developers that you are hoping will help grow you out of your fiscal problems. From a business perspective, I am not interested in playing in that game.
It is insane to be asking investors and developers to enter the Mammoth Lakes real estate market, on the one hand, while on the other, telling every homeowner in town that they now have the right to undercut and undersell those same developers.
“Certainty” is a word that is often used when discussing economic growth and investment. The actions of your council members who are supporting the widespread expansion of single family home rentals, along with the CEO of your ski area, are doing the town a great disservice. It is easy for me to say I’m not interested in buying a second home in a neighborhood that has nightly rentals. That is a personal impact to me. But it is quite another for investors and developers to say I’m not willing to participate in your real estate market because of it.
The ski area has a cap on the number of visitors they are allowed by the Forest Service and they already have the third most skier visits in the country, so when the CEO talks about encouraging growth, he is really only talking about being able to raise lift ticket prices. Don’t be fooled, his idea of “growth” is not the same as yours. And if the rules of the game are changed, you will see a flight by not only your single family residents, but also by investors and developers who don’t want to play in that game.
The Golden Path
I would like to thank the city council for their outstanding bike path from the library to Von’s.
In the past a hiker would have had to cross the street for a path.
This 100 yard stretch of path compares to many memorable construction projects in California such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the new overpasses in Los Angeles spanning the 405 in West LA.
They have managed to not only provide Mammoth with a landmark bike path almost rivaling the beauty of our two new gateway signs, but also will probably get us listed among the top 100 municipal construction project’s in the State!
Additionally, with all the labor needed to complete this path they have surely helped solve the severe recession in Mammoth by creating so many jobs. Who said government is inefficient?
Furthermore, we’re doing all this while $50 million in debt on the lawsuit!
A sense of place
Wendell Berry’s maxim that “People are motivated to care for the land to the extent that their interest in it is direct, dependable, and permanent” seems to be extremely applicable for our town and age.
With each passing day it seems that we as a city are owned and ultimately operated by people and entities from afar – be it the second homeowner or the corporate share holder. One of the ways that I think this can be subtly reversed is by people coming to a deeper appreciation and understanding of where we live – and how it has historically developed. Thus, I thought the article by Mark Davis in last week’s edition (“Putting Mammoth Lakes on the Map” was brief, engaging and accessible (which topically can be difficult), yet pointing us towards such an understanding. Continually grateful for your presentation of topics that are relevant and challenging to our community.
Thanks for the clean
Another successful and community-wide Town Clean-Up Day was held on Saturday, May 18, 2013 in Mammoth.
Everyone’s help in cleaning up their home, street or neighborhood was greatly appreciated and does not go unnoticed by our residents and visitors.
Thanks to the community, approximately 53 tons of litter, green waste and HHW items were collected by Mammoth Disposal making for safer (defensible space) and cleaner neighborhoods.
Town Clean-Up Day is an immense undertaking that would not be possible without the generous support of our many businesses, non-profit organizations, and volunteers. We would like to recognize and personally thank:
The TCUP Day Organizing Committee: Johnny Goetz, Pat Fenton, Brian Robinette, John Connolly and Stuart Brown.
Station Coordinators: Mayor Matthew Lehman, Steve Searles, Bill Sauser, Greg Eckert, Derek Shea, John Connolly, Stephanie Daniel, Stuart Brown and the crew from Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra (DSES).
Mammoth Disposal General Manager Pat Fenton and the entire staff.
Brian Robinette and the Sierra Conservation Project.
The Chamber of Commerce and business community for collecting the raffle prizes and Andrea for awarding them (with help from Bryn and Jace Urdi).
Mammoth Brewing Company for providing their world-class root beer for thirsty volunteers.
Our generous Mammoth restaurants: Angel’s and Giovanni’s.
Mono County Board of Supervisors for waiving the tipping fees at the Benton Crossing Landfill.
Tony Dublino and county staff for hosting the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) station at the MHS Parking Lot and the Benton Crossing Landfill.
MLFD for staffing the chipping station at the Transfer Station.
MUSD and MMSA for donating parking lots for Clean-Up Day Stations.
Volunteer groups: Mammoth Lakes Lions, The Lighthouse, Kittredge Sports, Mammoth Hospital, the Westin Monache and the Mammoth Knoll’s Homeowners Association.
Town of Mammoth Lakes
(760) 934-8989 ext. 244