The Plan the Parcel design workshop opening presentation started off with the question, “How many people are not being paid to be here?” Out of the 20-25 people in the room, about 5 raised their hand. To be fair to the consultants, more community members trickled in as the night progressed.
The day involved nametags and a mapping activity wherein participants designed versions of the Parcel. Residents voiced strong opinions on the direction of the project. The 25 acre parcel is zoned for 172 units, with a maximum density of double that, 344 units.
Out of the four tables that participated in mapping activities, all four of them proposed building the maximum number of units, most hovering right around the 350 mark.
As Councilman Kirk Stapp put it ,“If we know we have 350 housing units from this project. We know we are going to need 250 more to reach our goal on the community housing action plan by 2022.”
There is the option to rezone, which would involve among other things, a change to the zoning code, and an environmental check, according to Stapp and Mammoth Lakes Housing Executive Director Patricia Robertson.
The rezoning “would take about a year to do,” Robertson explained.
A year on the timeline of this project might be a drop in the bucket. Town manager Daniel Holler was asked by Mammoth resident Brent Truax, “So when is this project going to be done?”
“Five years” replied Holler.
Truax burst out laughing, and Holler joined in.
“Ok, ten years” said Holler.
They laughed again
“Maybe fifteen years.”
Truax laughed, and Holler chuckled.
Though completion might take 15 years, the group at Plan the Parcel talked about phasing the project to have portions done sooner. This phasing could be between 4-5 groupings, maybe more. The number of phases depends on the feasibility of the project.
This stage of planning was heavily zoomed out. The conversation was often steered towards the ‘quality of life’, and what it would actually be like to live in these new neighborhoods. Amount of open space, a child center/daycare, and public parks were discussed.
Public comments were posted on the wall, highlights included, “Just build something already! dense and cheap”, “The project must move forward expeditiously…”, and “Please do not take too long to get this built.”
Councilman Stapp pointed out, “I didn’t see any representatives from Mammoth Mountain [at the meeting].” He questioned whether the Mountain shuttling employees from Bishop was a permanent solution. As the largest employer in the area, Mammoth Mountain is at least semi-responsible for the necessity and urgency of The Parcel’s completion.
Through the ‘Engage Mammoth Lakes’ website and the spanish community meetings hosted by The Parcel team, the development objectives desired by citizens became apparent. Both the website, and meetings yielded the same top three, in no particular order:
Serve moderate income households and below (<120% AMI).
Provide a mix of unit-types.
Integrate well-planned snow storage areas and accommodate efficient snow management operations.
The design workshop closes up on Friday with the closing presentation from 6 – 8 P.M. On display will be the three alternatives that will be presented as solutions to the parcel. They are all relatively similar, with varying ranges of density, street types, road designs (block vs. connecting the south and north entry points), and how much open space will be left alone. According to Lisa Wise consultant Jennifer Daugherty, “By the end we will have three different plans, that all have a different range of subsidies. This will be based on construction costs and amount of units.”
As Stapp put it, “By the end we will have the numbers we need to move forward with the project. I want to see the construction costs, the funding tools, how tax credits factor into it, and I really want to see how many people are going to live here, because then the Town will know if we need to put houses somewhere that isn’t the Parcel.”