BISHOP CITY COUNCIL GETS A LOOK AT ITS GENERAL PLAN HOUSING ELEMENT

 

Downtown BishopHousing is Bishop’s Gordian knot, defined as “an extremely difficult or involved
problem.” The city is a two square mile dot that serves as the epicenter of Inyo County, the
second largest in square miles out of California’s 58 counties but the 52 nd in population. The
majority of those 18,000-plus folks live within sight of U.S. Hwy. 395. So, what’s the problem?
The source of those numbers, the 2010 census, doesn’t include the percentage of
publicly owned land in each county. Inyo is divided up into Los Angeles Department of Water
and Power, the Bureau of Land Management and the federal Forest Service. That landscape
makes Inyo an attractive place to live but a really hard area to find a place to live.
That was the problem addressed by Bishop’s Housing Element update, required by
California law. The City Council got a run-through of that update at this week’s meeting in
preparation for a final vote of approval August 23 to meet the State’s deadline. The possibility
of Los Angeles taking a second look at divesting some of its land holdings opens up a lot of
housing opportunities.
According to a summary from the California Department of Housing and Urban
Development, Bishop fell far short of the 65 housing units needed, spread out over three
income levels, with just 23 units made available from 2014-2019. The development of Silver
Peaks’ 72

Inyo Supe Jeff Griffiths

units, a partnership between the City and Inyo Mono Advocates for Community
Action, will help meet the needs of lower income residents through the next cycle.
A list of potential available sites within Bishop indicates room for 67 to 130 units
distributed across low-, moderate- and above moderate income levels. The majority resting in
the moderate income spectrum. Of the eight sites, not including Silver Peaks, five are publicly
owned with only the privately-owned Home Street nursery location pending.
Inyo’s First District Supervisor Jeff Griffiths added a new wrinkle to the conversation,
noting the possibility of an Eastern Sierra Council of Government’s regional housing forum.

“Our problem is Mammoth’s problem,” he said acknowledging the number of local residents
who work in Mammoth, “Mammoth has to be involved.”
Mayor Stephen Muchovej summed up what the city needs to meet Bishop’s housing
needs: a commitment from Los Angeles to divest lands, funding to buy and a development
Bishop Mayor Stephen Muchovejpartner.During Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s recent visit to Bishop, Muchovej had the
opportunity to have that LADWP discussion.
Here’s the description of that divestiture conversation from Los Angeles: “On a recent
visit to the Owens Valley, Mayor Garcetti had conversations with local leaders and business
owners about ways that the City of L.A. could divest land …. The Mayor's staff is working with
DWP to determine the most effective path forward — a review that includes careful
examination of DWP divestiture policies in Inyo and Mono Counties, the City Charter and other
applicable laws. Bishop's economic well-being is important to Mayor Garcetti, and the City of LA
is enthusiastically supporting initiatives to create more job and housing opportunities for local
residents — including the Power System Training Center and Silver Peaks Affordable Housing
Center.”
LA Mayor Eric GarcettiIn other words, Garcetti didn’t say “no.”

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sugarmags
sugarmags
3 months ago

No mention of the land DWP already, back in 2004, agreed to divest immediately adjacent to the City of Bishop. It’s the land west of the canal, but east of Hanby. Imagine what could have been done with that land if the City of Bishop hadn’t of stopped DWP from… Read more »

Rob
Rob
3 months ago
Reply to  sugarmags

won’t lead to to unwanted growth? Growth being wanted or unwanted is a matter of personal opinion. I would bet most folks don’t want growth and all the issues that come along with it.

Masked Locals
Masked Locals
3 months ago

Hard to believe Bishop’s ‘well being’ is important to Garcetti and L.A. I would think he would prefer everybody gone so L.A. can get more water. Now I would believe that Mammoth would be glad to move it’s poor working class down here so they don’t have to deal with… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
3 months ago

We certainly do not want unrestricted development in the Eastern Sierra. Many of us living here have seen and experienced that very thing in So Cal in our lives. DWP is required in the Long Term Water Agreement to divest some of it’s property in the Owens Valley and to… Read more »

sugarmags
sugarmags
3 months ago
Reply to  Philip Anaya

Yes, we don’t need unfettered growth, but that’s not what’s being talked about. You’ve been around awhile, you surely know about the lands LADWP identified around the year 2000 for divestiture. They are parcels near towns only. These will not lead to unfettered growth, only to much needed development on… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
3 months ago
Reply to  sugarmags

The City of Bishop has a difficult relationship with the DWP. They are lease holders of DWP land like Bishop Park and and have concerns for the businesses who are commercial leaseholders from DWP in the City of Bishop. I think I heard that there will be some City of… Read more »

Darlene
Darlene
3 months ago

After reading the above article I have a few questions. Are the units being built for Mammoth work force, as this reads to be part of the need for more units. Also what is moderate income based on. According to demographics on Bishop, there is low income and high income,… Read more »

Bishop Local
Bishop Local
3 months ago

Yeah let’s have DWP give up a bunch of their land and before you know it we’ll be the new Lancaster.

Rob
Rob
3 months ago

With increased population density comes social problems regardless if it’s a big city or a housing project.