Board of Directors Meeting

Monday, January 4, 2016
6:00 p.m.

Mammoth Lakes Housing Conference Room
587 Old Mammoth Rd.


I.    Call to Order

II.    Roll Call
Members Present: Colin Fernie, Jiselle Kenny, Kirk Stapp, and Bill Taylor
Member Absent: Lindsay Barksdale, Larry Johnston
Staff: Jennifer Halferty and Patricia Robertson
Public: Ruth Traxler, Town of Mammoth Lakes Planning Department and Rich Boccia, Mammoth Lakes Recreation

III.    Public Comments
There were no comments from the public.

IV.    Approval of Minutes from the December 10, 2015 regular BOD Meeting
Bill Taylor made a motion to approve the minutes as amended. Kirk Stapp seconded the motion. The motion passed 3-0. Colin Fernie abstained.

V.    Board Member reports
Kirk Stapp noted that this was the best Christmas in 5 years.

Bill Taylor stated that over the holidays he had been approached about housing and noted that there seems to be some concern within the community regarding availability.

Ruth Traxler stated that there have not been many complaints regarding illegal rentals but that complaints regarding compliance with the Town’s new Quality of Life Ordinance were more frequent at this point.

She also explained that Mark Carney is working with the owners of the Shady Rest site on an application to change the zoning and Master Plan; however that he called today to say that they would wait until the Hart Howerton planning process initiated by Mammoth Mountain Ski Area (MMSA) was complete to submit their proposal.

Colin Fernie explained that the Hart Howerton planning process was a goal of MMSA to do a strategic visioning of where they would like to see the town going. This process is partially tied to their land and development projects and the investment requirement of Guggenheim. He stated that this process will help MMSA decide how to develop in the future and work with the town on amenities, etc. MMSA has hired Hart Howerton and committed the first $500,000 to the process. On Tuesday, January 5, 2016, MMSA and Hart Howerton are meeting with all of the Council members, Town staff, and NGO representatives. This will be the preliminary stage one, where discussions regarding the scope, the cost, the stakeholders, etc. will be fleshed out.

Jennifer Halferty noted that Smart Growth America recently published “(Re)Building Downtown: A Guidebook to Revitalization” which explains that stakeholders should be involved from the very beginning, in the designing of the process, in order to create real community investment and longevity of the plan.

Bill Taylor asked if MMSA would seek entitlements for the Main Lodge redevelopment before or after the land exchange was completed, since the NEPA process is not expected to be completed until September 2018. The planning process, without entitlements for this project, leaves that large piece of the puzzle unknown.

Ruth Traxler noted that she thought they would wait to pursue entitlements until the land exchange was complete. Colin Fernie agreed, but noted he would ask at their meeting.

Kirk Stapp mentioned that his connections to the Hispanic community have said that potential employees are able to seek higher paying jobs, due to the number of jobs available in town. The business community has also expressed that there is an employee shortage.

Jiselle Kenny noted that there are multiple restaurants that are understaffed and that she knows people working extra shifts to keep the businesses afloat.

Jennifer Halferty reported that Lindsay Barksdale’s employee that was living out of their car has found housing at Meridian Court, where four adults are sharing a two bedroom unit.

Kirk Stapp explained that he has gone through a couple of these planning processes initiated by MMSA and that there are some obstacles and red flags to be aware of such as responsibility of Main Street (State Road 203).

Ruth Traxler noted that the Town met with CalTrans this morning and that they may relinquish all or part of Highway 203 to the Town for a one-time payment that would cover maintenance for a period of time.

Kirk Stapp explained that another red flag is that many of the business owners on Main Street are not on the same page in terms of parking, frontage, etc. Another issue involves the creation of more commercial space, when there are many empty commercial properties today. These are the things Council should be looking at. Why didn’t these plans succeed in the past?

Bill Taylor agreed that hopefully projected commercial demand, workforce housing needs, etc. were things that Hart Howerton will address.

Colin Fernie noted that this is an effort to tie everything together.

Kirk Stapp replied that there has been a history of not involving the community. This creates roadblocks. In the past it has not been handled well. It needs to be transparent and choreographed to include the community. The process needs to be advertised to invite the community in. The process should deal with the issues raised, not just push them aside.

VI.    MLH monthly status report
Jennifer Halferty reported new year-end median sales prices:

  • Single family homes – $815,000
  • Condominiums – $307,500

Colin Fernie asked if staff had any information regarding MMSA’s waitlist for employee housing. Jennifer Halferty stated that as far as she knows they have had a waitlist for their units for the past 3 winters.

Bill Taylor asked for an update regarding the Market Study of the Shady Rest parcel. Jennifer Halferty confirmed that it would be complete by the end of January.

VII.    Review and possibly adopt the draft MLH 2015 Strategic Plan
Kirk Stapp made a motion to approve the draft MLH 2015 Strategic Plan. Jiselle Kenny seconded the motion. The motion passed 4-0.

VIII.    Review the Town Council Strategic Priorities and 2025 Major Goals
Jennifer Halferty gave the Board an overview of the document and the status of the process. The next step is to fill in the work items that link the Town Council’s Strategic Priorities with the 2025 goals. This will take place within smaller working groups. The Board is asked to review the document and provide any comments back to the Town Council.

Bill Taylor noted that the last meeting of the group went much smoother and was more geared toward productive outcomes. He noted that it will be up to the working groups to identify resources to achieve the housing outcomes desired.

Jennifer Halferty explained that a former Executive Director of MLH produced a report in 2005 regarding the difficulty of acquiring individual condo units for workforce housing. At the time, due to the lack of grant funding available, it was decided to allow the purchase and rehabilitation of off-site units by developers to meet the inclusionary requirements. In July 2015, the Town Council adopted a new fee schedule which eliminated inclusionary requirements.

Colin Fernie asked if there were metrics for housing goals that seemed achievable. Bill Taylor stated that it depends on the community. Patricia Robertson noted that in peer resort communities there was a large range of what each community wanted to achieve. Bill Taylor noted that indicators such as over-crowding and over-spending on housing were important factors.

Patricia Robertson asked what the term “sell” meant in Goal 6. Colin Fernie explained that it meant to get everyone on board. Kirk Stapp suggested the term “promote” instead.

Kirk Stapp asked about the feasibility of Town Council Strategic Priority 2.c. The livability of existing condo units for full-time residents and the high monthly HOA dues make it difficult to house the workforce in these units. This is not a viable direction. Especially considering that the Fee Nexus Study states that 90% of future employees are going to be low income and not ready for homeownership.

Colin Fernie explained that the Council would like for the idea to be discussed at the small working group level and not shut down right out of the gate.

Bill Taylor noted that it appeared with the limited resources available, only a small percentage of the goal can be achieved. How do we get that information back to Council?

Colin Fernie noted that the small working group would bring the data back to Council along with feasible outcomes, steps to take, and direction.

Jennifer Halferty explained that without an inclusionary policy, the working group will need to identify new resources.

Bill Taylor stated that we know now that the resources we have are not enough to meet the current, not to mention the future, needs.

IX.    Council Member recap for the Town Council meeting
The Board recapped the meeting and highlighted items for Colin Fernie to report out to Town Council.

  1. MLH adopted the revised 2015 Strategic Plan.
  2. The Board reviewed the Town Council Priorities worksheet and is looking forward to participating in the working groups.
  3. 2015 year-end median home sale prices:
    a. Single Family Homes – $815,000
    b. Condominiums – $307,500

X.    Adjourn 

Mammoth Lakes Housing Strategic Plan