By Deb Murphy

Mammoth’s Mayor John Wentworth asked the question – how do you consume an elephant, or in the town’s case solve the housing issue – at last Wednesday’s meeting. The question: one bite at a time.

The Council took a few little bites out of its housing elephant when it accepted the Community Housing Action Plan and okayed financing for 25-acre Shady Rest property.

The only hesitation came from Councilmember Bill Sauser who wanted to vet the elements of the plan through the budget process. The plan, developed by WSW Consulting and paid for by Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, strongly recommended the town commit to a full time position to handle housing issues. That was Sauser’s reservation—could the town afford that commitment.

Wentworth’s solution was “to take an inventory of staff capacity” and report back at Council’s February 7 meeting.

To mix metaphors, the Council didn’t pull the trigger, but they did cock the gun.

The trigger has been pulled on the Shady Rest affordable housing project. According to Town Manager Dan Holler, a tentative purchase agreement had been sent to the owner of the 25-acre parcel three weeks ago. He anticipated the document will be signed and delivered by the Council’s December 20 meeting.

Holler ran through the funding sources. The bulk of the purchase, $6,545,000 including environmental report, title work and appraisals, will come from reserve accounts—to the tune of $5,226,815. The balance, from Transient Occupancy Tax moneys. Sixty three percent of the funds drawn from reserves will be repaid over a three-year period.

The current plan is to build 172 units on the 17 developable acres. 

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