Mammoth Town Council may dump DIF

With some reluctance, members of the Mammoth Town Council gave a tentative nod to the elimination of DIF, Developer Impact Fees, for a year on smaller projects with the hope that this move would


Mammoth Lakes Contractors Association head, Tim Flynn, pointed to Mono County's elimination of DIF and said he hoped Mammoth would follow.

jump start construction in Town.  This item will come up for approval at a special meeting of the Council on Wednesday.

If the Council does throw out these fees for a year, it could potentially cost the General Fund $92,000.  Councilman Rick Wood expressed concern about a cut in revenue as the Town talks with Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition about payment of the $41 million debt.  Local contractors stood up to say elimination of DIF would definitely encourage people o build.  Long-time, outspoken local, Gordon Alper, said DIF was a bad idea in the first place and should be revoked.

Local designer Craig Tapley told the Council about a triplex project in limbo with building permit fees of $14,000 and Developer Impact Fees of $39,000. “It won’t happen with DIF,” said Tapley.  Councilman Rick Wood, who sat on the Council in 2005 when DIF was voted in, had not taken part in the vote because he had a project going at the time.  He said, “The Town had a pretty greedy hand.”   Wood called the fee a “bad, irresponsible bet.”  Howevr, Wood said he’s concerned about the bigger picture – the $41 million debt and, as he calculates it, the $7,000 in interest adding up daily.

Councilman Matthew Lehman said he was not focusing on the big debt.  He called for leadership for the economy and relief for smaller projects. Wood argued that the Town lives on Transient Occupancy Tax not construction.  Mayor Jo Bacon said she agreed with Wood and was “not ready to subsidize a section of our economy.”

After a couple of hours of talk, the Council voted 3 to 1 with John Eastman the no vote, to draft a resolution for a vote this Wednesday.  The resolution would defer DIF for one year for smaller projects including single family homes, maintain Affordable Housing, Building ad Planning fees, and include pending projects.

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9 Responses to Mammoth Town Council may dump DIF

  1. J.H. August 8, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    Ken – I kind of like your conclusion, but the rest is a blur!

  2. Bemused August 8, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    Won’t make any real difference either way…

  3. Ken Warner August 8, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    Eliminating the DIF for private property owners trying to improve their property is a good idea if done carefully so as to prevent big money speculators from buying out small properties and redeveloping.

    If a private home owner is remodeling his home into a duplex or triplex to get some rental units so he can keep his property or increase it’s value — then bare minimum inspection costs to keep the contractors honest and in code is all that should be charged.

    If a corporation wants to scrape an apartment complex and stack and pack a bunch of bird houses — then apply heavy DIF fees.

    The community should not sacrifice quality of life in order to provide jobs for construction workers from out of the area.

    But one thing I’ve not heard in any discussion about DIF is what is the actual financial impact on the town of a project like any of the Snowcreek developments or the Village or the Westin Monache. What’s the actual cost to provide services to that class of development over their lifespan?

    The Village is going to be there for decades. It could be there a hundred years. What is the cost to provide services to the Village for that length of time. Nobody knows. Nobody seems to care to study the issue and come up with a reasonable estimate. Until that’s done, nobody can say what a fair DIF is. The Town Council is just pulling numbers out it’s butt. And then they cut them in half or double the number and say, “…that’s fair….”

    And nobody really knows what’s a fair DIF.

    Analyze the costs of a development over the lifetime of that development and then calculate the DIF. That’s not only sensible — that’s the fair way to do it.

  4. HH August 8, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    well of course Lameman wants more building to occur…so he can appraise it (he is a real estate appraiser, is he not?) an put a dollar in his pocket. Just as long as it’s not affordable housing, which he attributes as a factor in the downturn in real estate here in Mammoth Lakes…not like the entire housing industry and global economy isn’t in the toilet.
    Putting Lameman aside for a moment though, Mayor Jo Bacon said she agreed with Wood and was “not ready to subsidize a section of our economy.” Wait,…what?
    Uhm, isn’t that what they’re doing with air service?

  5. upthecreek August 7, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    boom boom

  6. J.H. August 7, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    I say we have a town council sale. Starting bid 41 million!

  7. bobbie lee swagger August 6, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    and in today’s other results , it was real estate developers 1 and taxpayers 0

    REDUCING your revenue in the face of a $41 million liability staring u right in the kisser .

    now that’s novel .

    • longtimesierralocal August 7, 2011 at 10:20 am #

      I bet it would help the local people in construction ,I bet the town council isn’t wondering about their next paycheck !

  8. Rob August 6, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    It won’t help start projects, but it did help stifle projects.


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