Mammoth Lakes Town Council teed itself up for yet another round of lively discourse surrounding the temporary closure of Snowcreek Resort’s golf course.
Inviting public comment, Mayor John Wentworth acknowledged the fifty letters sent to Councilmembers in advance of Wednesday’s meeting.
Philip Bettencourt, a 2nd homeowner with a Solstice unit, took to the podium on behalf of himself and his wife.
In describing the impact that the course’s closure has had on his wife’s game, particularly, Bettencourt amended that it “was not decimated,” but it “was wounded.”
He and others believe Snowcreek golf course should remain a golf course for the long-term.
Snowcreek developer, Chuck Lande, got up to the microphone and laid the score straight:
“Although I appreciate all the creative writing and gossip,” Lande said, referencing the public outcry regarding his resort, “I thought it best to put the facts on the table.”
Lande conceded that the course did not open this year. He explained that the decision was made given a number of maintenance obstacles.
“[We] had running water on 3 of the 9 fairways until a couple weeks ago,” said Lande.
But, according to the developer, the resort looks forward to opening the course for next year.
With that, Lande exited the council chambers. All but one of the interested parties followed suit.
Greg Newbry then took to the podium to formally request that the Tourism department complete an impact report on golf courses within resort communities such as Mammoth Lakes.
“I don’t golf. I’m not old enough,” joked the longtime resident of Snowcreek.
“Listen, my desires are not what’s important,” Newbry confessed, “nor are Chuck’s desires important. What’s important is what is best for the public as a whole. This should necessitate an in-depth study.”
“It should be noted that the environmental impact will be intense. [There are] about two decades required for the sod to return to the environment. For that to become a natural space, it will probably cost millions to convert it back.”
Newbry maintained that the health and safety of surrounding waterways are a chief concern.
“As much as I hate to say it—for those of you who know my history—I believe [the space] is probably best maintained as a golf course.”
Environmental and community impact ruled the day, as a representative of the grassroots organization No Hot Creek Mine spoke out against exploratory drilling and core mining at the geologic site.
Citing detrimental impacts to “not only [the] local environment, but to our tourist economy” the representative pointed out the necessity of maintaining what she called “pristine beauty” in order to support the community at large.
While the representative acknowledged that the town is not in a position to stop the project, she concluded by heralding the importance of allyship and community.
“I believe you have the power and the tools necessary to keep our community informed,” said the representative, before abdicating the podium.
Staff Presentations followed, with one such quarterly review by the Airport Core Management Team.
According to Deputy Airport Manager, Sierra Shultz, a successful visit from the Federal Aviation Administration, or the FAA, buoyed the quarter.
Mammoth Yosemite Airport Finance Director, Rob Patterson, emphasized the importance of a positive relationship with the FAA, and described the organization’s visit as “a really good meeting.”
Because there’s nothing that makes a taxeater happier than communing with a fellow taxeater.
Following an efficient and unanimously approved consent agenda, the council addressed policy matters—notably, the consideration of increased parking citation fees.
Dan Casabian, Interim Chief of Police, noted that at $45 a pop, residents who are apt to spend thousands on a vacation in Mammoth Lakes consider the typical parking fine to be a drop in the bucket.
“They essentially use it as a parking pass,” Casabian explained.
Casabian is calling for an increase in ticketing fines for all violations, most notably those committed in handicapped spots.
Casabian explained that at a $330 fine, Mammoth Lakes reprimands parking violators at below the state average. This, combined with the shortage of handicapped parking spaces in town, demands a call for action according to Casabian.
Of note, too, was town manager Daniel Holler’s report on the progression for the New Town Office Facility, scheduled for completion by September 2026.
Seeking to secure a permanent Town Office—rather than renting space—Holler recounted several lessons learned in researching similar facilities in light of the project’s progression.
Among these were accounting for adequate sound-proofing engineering, constructing sufficient collaborative spaces, and, said Holler, “don’t make it too small.”