The Mammoth Town Council recently approved a zoning change that will turn the once controversial Bell Shaped Parcel, into park space.
The Bell Shaped Parcel is a roughly 17-acre piece of town-owned land bordered by Meridian and Minaret. While the name is plain, the Bell Shaped Parcel was one controversial piece of the puzzle during the years of meetings that produced the 2007 Town General Plan.
Whether to build on the property, sell it, or turn it into permanent park space has been at the core of the controversy. When the General Plan was finalized, the plan was to leave the land zoned Resort but to look for money to purchase a conservation easement for the property. In this way, the town would get some money for the land but also be able to keep it open space.
Council members Wendy Sugimura and Neil McCarroll worked to find someone willing to purchase a conservation easement, but were not successful so the question for the council at the recent meeting was whether or not to move forward with the zoning change to Open Space from Resort.
McCarroll said that it was his desire to have the Bell Shaped Parcel be Mammoths Central Park. Councilmember Wendy Sugimura said that she and McCarroll wanted to see this plan through before the ends of their terms.
Councilmember Skip Harvey explained that while the land would be zoned open space, the town could still develop the land as a venue for events such as Bluesapalooza.
Councilmember John Eastman did not support the zoning change to open space on financial grounds. He said that the land may be worth several million dollars and had other financial value by perhaps selling the density on the parcel. Its irresponsible not to look at that possibility in tough economic times, Eastman said.
In the end the council approved the zoning change from Resort to Open Space by a vote of 4-1. Councilmember Eastman was the lone dissenter.