Letters to the Editor
How’s your wiring?
Tyrolean Village II recently completed pigtailing of aluminum wire to copper wire. Our Board decided to investigate after being alerted to the hazards of aluminum wiring a few years ago.
About 2 million US homes are believed to be built with aluminum branch circuit wiring. Branch circuit wires are those that distribute electricity to each room from the service panel.
Recently Americans are loading up on high tech appliances and products that draw more current. This is exacerbating the basic problem of overloaded circuits which can result in overheated plugs and outlets that could catch fire. Aluminum wiring was prevalent on condominiums and homes built or renovated from 1965 to 1973. Many of these are rented, and the owners are probably unaware of potential overloaded circuits.
The primary problem associated with aluminum wiring, is that it has a different thermal expansion that copper. When they are connected together using a typical wire nut, the connection loosens itself over time due to the heat generated by the electrical current. This causes electrical arching which generates more heat and an obvious fire hazard.
We also discovered that major insurers are taking a harder look at aluminum wired homes, especially if red flags pop up during inspection. Several insurance companies are declining to issue policies until the home is rewired.
Signs of trouble in aluminum wire systems include warm-to-the-touch faceplates on outlets or switches, flickering lights, circuits that don’t work, or the smell of burning plastic at outlets or switches.
A practical approximation of wiring can be achieved by a method known as “pigtailing”; wiring a specially selected connector and installation method to splice a short length of solid copper wire to each aluminum wire end. The copper wire, or “pigtail” is then connected to the circuit breaker, light fixture, receptacle, switch, dishwasher, or other termination.
Our decision to “pigtail” the electrical circuits in all of our condominiums was a five year process. If you are interested in a comprehensive report on our investigation and research, I would be glad to send you a copy. Simply e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tyrolean Village II
Once a newspaperman …
I have been following The Sheet for some years. Congratulations on producing a fine editorial product and garnering community support to make the paper financially viable.
Your success is reminiscent of our start-up with the Lakes district review in 1972. My wife CJ and I sold to the Santa Monica Outlook in 1986. During our time in mammoth, we also had a clothing store (The Haberdashery), a printing company and a small sailboat brokerage. Hard work but it was a labor of love. My family and I lived in Mammoth for 20 years and have been regular visitors since then for close to 30 years. We love Mammoth. Our son and his family own a cabin and are part-time residents.
Mammoth has grown exponentially since we lived in the Knolls … mostly for the better. The Mountain is one of the best ski complexes in the world, and I believe the best, most consistent skiing experience for framilies in North America. The town has evolved as well. Golf courses, a community college, the North Village, a proliferation of summer events and other amenities all represent positive impacts. Dave McCoy had a vision, as well as others that soon followed (Tom Dempsey, Andrea Mead Lawrence and Sam Walker to name a few).
However, the current landscape is changing rapidly. The ski market is not growing. According to the NSAA (National Ski Areas Association): “Baby Boomers, a generation that helped build the industry into what it is today, continue to age. They will begin dropping out of the sport at an alarming rate. Without an industry-wide effort focused on attracting new, younger participants and cponverting them into loyal skiers and riders, ski areas will face dramatic declines in visitation in the not-so-distant future.” A short-term saving grace is that today, even though there are fewer skiers, they are skiing more frequently. Competition for fewer skiers amongst resorts is increasing dramatically. It is not just about the Mountain. It is equally important to have a town that offers the infrastructure, amenities and a quality apres-ski experience that skiers are demanding. This is also true for summer visitors.
Mammoth’s local landscape has already changed. Technically, the town avoided bankruptcy by settling the airport lawsuit. However, the town is bankrupt in a practical sense – just with none of the benefits of actual bankruptcy. This financial obligation as a result of the settlement will impact the community for many years, and will need to be mitigated if it is to retain its position as a premier resort.
The big question is how to manage the situation. Certainly, a large sum of money from a capital investment firm would be a solution. So far that is not on the horizon, Vail rumors aside. Mammoth needs money to market the resort, money to improve the Village and money to compete with similar resorts. Everyone must participate.
The proposal to legalize single family home rentals and collect T.O.T. (Transient Occupancy Tax) from those rentals would generate income for Mammoth and be a catalyst for growth in visitation. The negaqtive impacts that some allude to [destruction of neighborhoods, et. al.] are simply not valid or can be easily mitigated. Single family home rentals are legal in virtually all major ski resorts in the West. The issue was addressed in the ski area town meetings/survey conducted in 2011-2012. A few results:
1.) “The availability of short-term lodging is a key goal of the Town of Vail. Early on the town recognized the need to provide a wide range of lodging opportunities to our guests and visitors. Short-term rentals fill a unique niche in the market that cannot be filled by hotel rooms alone.” … Town of Vail, Colorado Association of Ski Towns Survey (2011).
2) “The formulation of a strategy that replenishes the lodging base and favors a diverse lodging inventory is important to the long-term sustainability of a visitor-based economy that purposefully seeks to attract a diverse visitor base.” … Aspen/Snowmass Lodging Inventory Study (2012).
3) “The short-term rental of single-family homes is legal, regulated and subject to taxation in peer resorts across the west, including Squaw Valley, Tahoe City, South Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Aspen, Vail, Avon (CO), Estes Park (CO), Winter Park (CO), Grand Lake (CO), Silverthorne (CO), Basalt (CO), Glenwood Springs (CO), Steamboat Springs, Telluride, Breckenridge, Crested Butte, Park City, Sun Valley (ID), Big Sky (MT), Taos (NM), Whistler (BC), Napa, St. Helena, Wawona (Yosemite), Yosemite West, Kirkwood, Indian Wells, Sausalito and Big Bear.”
4) “Both Park City and Lake Tahoe had restrictions on nightly SFR rentals. When Park City changed its ordinance allowing SFR nightly rentals and the collection of TOT from it they received an increase in TOT receipts of 9.95% and increase in tourism spending of 4.7%. Lake Tahoe’s TOT receipts increased by 13.4% and tourism spending increased by 8.9%. Interestingly, Lake Tahoe found the average days stayed by a transient renter in a hotel/motel at 3.4 days, condos at 3.5 days and private single-family homes at 10.4 days. It seems apparent that the increase in overall tourism revenue could be tied to dramatic increase in days stayed.”
5) “10.4% of Park City’s winter visitors come from California, which means 180,000 California skiers not coming to Mammoth.”
6) Property values in these western resorts increased significantly after short-term rentals became legal. The increase was partially attributed to the short-term rentals of single-family homes.”
If all these Western resorts have had a successful and profitable experience with single-family home rentals, it is hard to imagine that Mammoth would be any different. We have skied through North America, and overseas as well. We have frequently stayed in single-family cabins and found the experience rewarding for friends and us.
1) Single family home rentals have proven to be a positive revenue source for ski resorts and ski towns. Negatives are minor and can be easily mitigated.
2) Everyone needs to participate in the future and growth of Mammoth.
Best to all who live, love, work and play in Mammoth.
Jay Cole Sr.
Former Mammoth Lakes resident