By Deb Murphy
Now that the Town of Mammoth Lakes’ purchase of Shady Rest is official, what are the next steps to develop the 25-acre parcel for affordable housing?
That was the question on the Town Council’s agenda, right after they had to reject bids for the Multi-Use Facility. The MUF started in controversy from neighboring condo owners and ended with bids twice what staff had estimated.
Mayor John Wentworth asked staff to come back “and tell us what went wrong.” Then the Council had to go to the next item—another, more vital but equally ambitious project.
The end game is a development of 172, or more, affordable housing units. The first steps presented by Public Works Director Grady Dutton: start on the preliminary work—getting the lay of the land on paper—and coming up with a name, other than Shady Rest.
Town Manager Dan Holler explained there is funding set aside to identify adjacent land uses, wetlands review, boundaries and topographic mapping, site conditions and the removal of hazardous trees. The Council agreed.
Compilation of the information leads into a scope that can be used for environmental review, Holler explained in an e-mail. The timing for actual development is undefined, he stated. “The overall goal is to move quickly and have the initial work commencing on at least the first phase within three years.”
The Council had a tougher time coming up with a name to avoid confusion with Shady Rest Park. Dutton’s suggestion, not necessarily the final name, was Muir Village. That did not go over well.
Council member Cleland Hoff thought people would be confused about the spelling, probably those folks who’ve never heard of the John Muir Trail or the John Muir Wilderness. Shields Richardson suggested “The Parcel.” Colin Fernie remarked the name was not a “hill to die on.” That turned into a name suggestion. Wentworth tried for “Community Parcel,” but Richardson’s simple approach won out.
The Council did agree any final name would involve community input.