Inyo County Looks at Housing Issue

Plenty of land; no availability

Living in Inyo County may be paradise to some but finding a place to live in paradise is an exceptionally tough nut to crack. With grant funding, County Planner Catherine Richards and consultants accepted the challenge and brought the results to the Board of Supervisors last week.

Surrounded by open land owned and managed by federal agencies or Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the task was to put together a vacant lands inventory. There’s plenty of it; availability is the issue.

The goal of the Senate Bill 2 funding is identifying land appropriate for affordable, or workforce, housing. Another issue is the gap between “affordable” and what the “workforce” can really afford in a tourist economy.

Inyo Mono Advocates for Communication Action worked with the City of Bishop on the purchase of land from LADWP for the Silver Peaks affordable housing project. Bishop was the official purchaser of the land and had to give up water rights as part of the arrangement. That procedure worked since the land had access to the Bishop water system.

Multi-plex and other solutions for higher density housing.

Richards presentation to the Board included further snags: infrastructure and services availability, “little interest from builders to provide affordable housing choices” and State regulations that prohibit subdivision outside local fire service boundaries. All this pretty much limits vacant lands inventory available for affordable housing to existing, developed communities, most of which are pretty much built-out.

The conclusions reached by Richards were similar to the house issue solutions proposed by the city of Bishop: zone changes to allow for multiple-uses in areas currently zoned commercial with the hope multi-housing units could be used as fill-in and encouraging Accessory Dwelling Units in residential zones.

So, what would easing up on the sticky requirements for ADUs look like? Some of the ideas included allowing two per parcel with requirements they would be used as short-term rentals, changing set back requirements, more mobile home parks, providing larger septic tanks for multi-dwelling set-ups and removing the need for Conditional Use Permits and the Planning Commission process CUPs require.

Board discussion focused on off-street parking, drive-way width and garage conversions. Supervisor Jeff Griffiths’ observation: “Every regulation makes this more difficult,” he said. “Less challenging is better.”

County Administrative Officer Clint Quilter hit the nail on the head. “We need to know where the community’s at or we’ll get blow back.”

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BobM
BobM
8 months ago

All the immigrants Biden has invited here are going to need somewhere to live

David Dennison
David Dennison
8 months ago
Reply to  BobM

BobM

And working the jobs these lazies in this Country either think they’re too good to do, too lazy to do, don’t pay them enough, think they’re above doing and/or might cut-into their smart-phone video game playing day and night…

Eamon
Eamon
8 months ago

I agree with “Sugarmags,” the 40 (?) acres just east of Hanby, west of the canal, south of East Yaney, and north of East Line was supposed to be annexed by the City of Bishop from LADWP almost 20 years ago and they even surveyed the area for utilities and access roads yet absolutely NOTHING has happened- will the Sierrawave follow up with the City and LADWP to determine the disposition of that land transfer that was to occur decades ago? Also what happened to the Pacifica/Rovana redevelopment that was supposed to happen back in 2005? That was going to add an additional 40 housing units. Please find out and report back to the public.

Charles James
8 months ago
Reply to  Eamon

Sierra Wave will forward this request to Bishop’s city manager and their planning department. Thanks.

Eamon McNamara
Eamon McNamara
5 months ago
Reply to  Charles James

Thanks for forwarding this concern to Ron Philips at the city, but I see over a year later we haven’t received a response from the city, can we get ANOTHER follow up to this inquiry?

Charles James
4 months ago
Reply to  Eamon McNamara

Eamon, if you are asking about the specific topic related to the Silver Peaks Housing project, you might want to read Deb Murphy’s article, SILVER PEAKS HOUSING PROJECT UPDATE from last year. There is a brief reference to Silver Peaks in another of Deb’s article’s, “Inyo supervisors revisit homelessness..” posted this week, which references that project. If you are referring more generally the housing situation, you should contact the City of Bishop’s Planning Department. Thanks for your comment and interest.
.

Tom Gurney
Tom Gurney
8 months ago

“I never did make it to Los Angeles, but one day, perhaps it will come to me, as it will all of us.”

-Edward Abbey

Rosie Gilmour
Rosie Gilmour
8 months ago

My rent has doubled. The Foothill Mobile home park the owners are never here. There in South California. The Lone Pine Drug store is Closing their Doors Permanently. We need to find a Pharmacist to work here in town . I love our town a lot.
Spring Forward March 14 2021.

sugarmags
sugarmags
8 months ago

What happened to the land LADWP owns east of Hanby that was supposed to be put back into private hands almost 20 years ago??? As I recall, DWP was going to auction it off, get it out of their ownership and into the hands of developers/land owners who could develop it. This was 2004. City of Bishop asked them to delay the auction for a year while they updated their general plan. 17 years later, this land is still owned by LADWP and not available for development. Sierra Wave, please investigate this and put the City on the hot seat. How could they ignore the housing crisis and delay and possibly kill, this land transfer? We need some answers, and more importantly, some action.

Tinner
Tinner
8 months ago

I hope I’m wrong but nothing will ever happen, nothing will ever change.
With the exception of a very few people who are in a position to do something about it and those struggling to find a place live, nobody cares as much as they say they do.
But in all fairness, I think I understand why, some people don’t want to help themselves or their neighborhood or their community, they just take and take and never give and then complain when they’ve worn out their welcome.
Sad part is most of those struggling to find housing ARE willing to give a little, work hard and take pride in themselves and their neighborhood.
Rich people, poor people and everything in between, the few ruin it for the rest, always have and always will.

desco
desco
8 months ago

My rent has almost doubled in three years while my income remains far below the poverty level. When is it going to stop?

Jenifer Castaneda
Jenifer Castaneda
8 months ago

I am in favor of allowing a second Accessory Dwelling Unit on residential parcels as long as they can meet the set-back requirements, including garage conversions as long as the additional units were not being used as vacation rentals. I am also in favor of spot re-zoning some larger parcels to allow for multi-unit structures. Lastly, I encourage the County to obtain the large parcel on Lakeview St in Lone Pine from LADWP and then offer it to builders, with building incentives , less fees, less red tape, to build work force housing. I believe a few small changes will have a big impact on the number of available units. Thank you Cathrene and team for your efforts!

Poor In Inyo
Poor In Inyo
8 months ago

Short Term Rentals will only benefit tourism, not residents. When AirBnBs were allowed, investors drove up the housing prices which I. Term drive up the rental prices. Didn’t the county notice that? By allowing non hosted short term rentals, you put a larger wedge between the haves and the have nots. Into County was not always a tourist driven economy but now that it is, how do the people running the economy afford to live here at tourist pricing? Time to quit lining the pockets of the haves and remember the have nots are what make this county run. Stop selling us up the river for the tourist buck. Food and gas are tourist priced but we don’t get a tourist stipen. Housing is out of reach but some benefit from the tourist short term rentals. Businesses are leaving and now we have to mail order or go out of town which costs us more (re: Kmart). This county will be one large tourist playground with no one to run it cause they can’t afford to live here.