The following letter by Christy Madden was forwarded to The Sheet by Andy Ott, who sits on the Viewpoint Condominium Board, in regards to the Viewpoint/Mammoth View benefit assessment district.
Viewpoint on assessment
Dear Mayor and Council,
Together with my husband Joe, we own two units at Viewpoint Condominiums. Along with other owners, we enjoy the peace and tranquility of our little paradise and have no intention of expanding our development. This is significant because we were grandfathered in and are under no obligation to provide for emergency access to our project. It is our understanding that the developer at Mammoth View cannot begin construction unless and until fire access is demonstrated. Therefore it appears that this assessment is being foisted upon us so this project can proceed. Because ballots re-weighted in favor of the developer who votes as a block on behalf of 2/3 if the special benefit points, we are appealing to the Council’s sense of fairness and equity.
As reiterated by our Board of Directors, when conversations began between Viewpoint and the developers of Mammoth View and Town staff, discussion only included maintaining the reconstruction of Viewpoint Road. At that time it was estimated the assessment would be about $50/year per parcel – something we were comfortable with.
In reviewing the amended Engineer’s report, the scope and scale has expanded exponentially to include a plethora of improvements we never anticipated nor do we believe are of ‘special benefit’ to us in Viewpoint. Specifically:
Visitors and residents of Viewpoint choose this location due to its proximity to the Village. Rarely, if ever do we find ourselves walking down Main Street or Alipine Circle. Why then, are we being included in assessments for improvements, albeit only .25 benefit assessment points. I challenge the methodology used by the consultant to allocate pedestrian benefits – pages 5-5 through 5-6 present an elaborate formula with no local observation of travel patterns. We assert that there is no special benefit from sidewalks, street lights, and landscaping along Main Street. It is recommended that time be taken to observe actual travel patterns to support or refute the conclusions in the report.
The amended engineer’s report suggests ‘reduced liability’ as justification for maintaining improvements – if there are injuries anywhere outside of the Viewpoint property, we currently have no liability. Per the engineer’s report (see page 5-3) “however there may be … pedestrian traffic that utilizes the emergency access area to pass through the District for recreational purposes or to access property outside of the District.” It would appear, therefore, that the installation of this emergency access might actually increase our liability.
The construction at Mammoth View is anticipated to begin in May 2015 – what if that construction schedule is delayed, or doesn’t happen at all? You’ll begin collecting assessments from us in Viewpoint with our December 2014 tax bill to maintain what, exactly? We believe that there’s ample time for mutual consultation regarding the design of the improvements we are being asked to maintain.
As a property owner I am not opposed to either the proposed Mammoth View project or to the maintenance/snow removal along Viewpoint Road. While I concur that the construction of a secondary access in the event of emergencies may be a good idea … it seems unfair that we are being asked to contribute to a fund immediately while nearly 2/3 of the beneficiaries may not exist for several years, if ever.
Finally, the only direct formal communication we received from the Town was the ballot – as individual property owners, we were never asked for input to, nor to comment on the Engineer’s Report. The first official communication I received was when we received our ballots. I checked the Council’s website to listen to your April and May agenda items on this topic, but because the items were presented on the consent agenda there was no discussion. I also see from your agenda packet that the Engineer’s Report has been amended since our ballots were received; no explanation of changes was provided, and some ballots were likely cast upon the earlier report.
In closing, I ask what the rush is – let’s take the time to do this in a manner that addresses concerns of existing property owners and taxpayers. If Mammoth View needs emergency access to start construction, I’m sure that’s something we can negotiate in the short-term so that they can proceed. This item needs to be sent back to staff to address the concerns of Viewpoint’s tax paying residents.
Vomit on the rocks
I almost puked, reading your article about “waterslides” on Tenaya Creek in Yosemite (6/28/2014).
Waterslides are human-built structures in amusement parks such as Six Flags, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Raging Waters.
This article concentrated solely on inner tubes, yoga mats, and sartorial fashions — wear sandals and board shorts, not your bikini, however unfashionable. Then we jump to a restaurant review of a food truck.
Not one word about the stunning landscape and flora, the geologic history of the gorge, the headwaters of the stream, the climate change that has throttled the flow so early.
We are told that people “camp out” in Tenaya Canyon, although that place is strictly day-use only, according to federal law.
Hiker “safety” was mentioned, in that you must not scrape your ass or forget your mosquito repellant. What was omitted was the crucial warning about the approach: DO NOT follow the stream where it runs around the west side of the granite dome before falling into the gorge, because this route requires rock climbing shoes, perfect balance, and experienced footwork.
This disgustingly stupid and immoral tourist guide appeared in the same issue of The Sheet that discussed the 1964 Wilderness Act. That Wilderness Act article included these words: nature, untrammeled, primeval, solitude, solace, peace, air quality, and water quality.
I think that The Sheet ought to reconsider its meaning and mission.
Valerie P. Cohen