By Deb Murphy
Monday evening’s Bishop City Council meeting was relatively short and sweet, with a mix of presentations, explanations and a parking change to accommodate the new site of IMACA.
- Inyo County Planning Associate Elaine Kabala laid out the preliminary details of the County’s project to develop a Corridor Plan for North Sierra Highway, with the tentative plan to flow the plan into a Specific Plan extending beyond streetscapes, mobility and transportation issues. The County hopes to partner with the City, the Bishop Paiute Tribe and the Tri-County Fairgrounds in supplementing a $285,000 CalTrans grant for the Corridor Plan, which will run from Wye Road to the Paiute Palace. In addition to developing more extensive plans for the area, a Specific Plan requires environmental documents, which cost money. Hence the need for partners. According to Kabala, the County is looking for $5,000 a year from the City over the three-year planning period. County planners will be back in late-August with additional input from prospective partners, to ask for conceptual approval and to proceed with a Request for Proposal for the plan consultant. City Council members were receptive. “This is a great way to tie Bishop into the northern end of town,” said Councilmember Laura Smith.
- Police Chief Chris Carter updated the Council on a change in the county’s law enforcement investigation procedures. The Sheriff’s Department Inyo Narcotics Enforcement Team has morphed into a multi-jurisdictional, collaborative effort among the Sheriff’s Department, Bishop Police Department and California Highway Patrol and broadened into a major investigations in addition to narcotics. The new effort has already been put to use, according to Carter, following a car surfing wipeout resulting in injury to the wipe-outee and a suspect in custody.
- Rome Drive residents continued to question the Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration prepared by city staff on the Kingston Subdivision, 15-homes on 2.75 acre site now occupied by Bishop Nursery. City Attorney Ryan Jones explained that the City is in the middle of the process and that public comments will be incorporated into the final declaration or as mitigation. In response to a request to extend the public comment beyond August 15, Jones said that issue could be addressed at the next public comment period scheduled for the Council meeting on August 10. During his department report, Planning Director Gary Schley answered earlier questions including the definition of housing density. According to Schley, medium to low density, or R-1 zoning, is defined as 5.1 to 9.1 homes per acre. High density, R-3, is 22.1 to 35 units per acre. Schley also discussed regional housing needs in Bishop, as indicated by the State Department of Housing and Community Development. During the planning period of 2014 to 2015, Bishop’s housing needs are 65 new units. With the help of home upgrades (four upgrades equal one new unit), the equivalent of 14 new units were added in 2014.
- The Council responded to a request to designate two parking spaces at 137 East South Street, in front of the new location of the Inyo Mono Advocates for Community Action, as 24-minute limit spaces. The City is planning a parking workshop to assess parking needs in downtown Bishop, but because of the immediate need for drop-in parking spaces, approved the measure.