Update on North Sierra Strategic Plan

NORTH SIERRA STRATEGIC PLAN GETS RAVE REVIEWS,

BUT NEXT STEPS TAKE BIG BUCKS

By Deb Murphy

The North Sierra Strategic Plan received rave reviews at both the Bishop City Council and Inyo County Board of Supervisors this week. The only issues with the consultant’s assessment of five potential multi-use sites was money and market demand.

Working with CalTrans grant funding, the project started with a corridor plan focusing on a pedestrian friendlier stretch of US Highway 395 from the Wye to Brockman Lane. The expanded plan honed in on five sites most easily developed with a combination of retail, service businesses and housing.

The five sites identified by the consultants RRM Design Group are the meat of the plan.

The vision for Site A, Bishop Plaza, would repurpose the existing buildings in the short-term. The long-term goal would include multifamily housing at the rear of the 8.3 acre parcel.

Site B is a vacant site at the northwest corner of the highway and Cherry and See Vee lanes. RRM envisioned office space facing the highway with storage units at the rear of the 2.3-acre parcel.

Site C, across the highway from B, would provide office space in the front with apartment buildings in the rear, plus a landscaped corner plaza.

The biggest parcel at 22 acres, Site D, runs from west of the Fairgrounds, past the Bishop Veterinary Hospital to an existing multi-use trail. Potential build-out would include the Mule Days Museum and commercial buildings fronting the highway with apartments and residential lots on the north side.

The consultants envisioned trucking and motorist services at Site E at the northwest corner of State Route 6 and Wye Road.

With the exception of the existing Bishop Plaza, all the potential sites are owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. According to Planning Department Director Cathreen Richards, the department is not averse to selling the land, but the process will take some time.

While the Supervisors applauded the plan, the issue was providing enough groundwork, including environmental work, to encourage investors and developers. Economic development studies done by the City of Bishop have indicated the community pulls from a reasonable population of shoppers stretching from Mammoth to Tonopah and beyond. But, the valley is bleeding money to Ridgecrest, Carson City and Lancaster.

Inyo’s Planning Department, the lead agency on the project that also includes the City of Bishop and Eastern Sierra Transit, gave the Board three options. The Supervisors chose two—sort of. The direction was to provide estimates to fully implement all five sites and to pursue a multi-jurisdictional comprehensive Specific Plan with an environmental review. In other words, figure out how much plan implementation would cost.

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Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
4 years ago

“The only issues with the consultant’s assessment of five potential multi-use sites was money and market demand.”

This sentence pretty much sums it up.

Seriously
Seriously
4 years ago

Have our supervisors and council members ever been downtown. Empty lots, vacant buildings, pretty much abandoned. Before expanding, and wiping out some of the scenic meadows and pastures, let’s see if we can use what we already have. LADWP please take your time on this one. You manage the land… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
4 years ago
Reply to  Seriously

Downtown is looking down and out more than ever. Wish it was not happening , wish there was a solution. Retail all over is taking a big hit and that includes Bishop. This “Plan” is about creating a better,safer and more beautiful North 395 but how that will benefit the… Read more »

Corey Dore
Corey Dore
4 years ago
Reply to  Seriously

Well said Seriously!! How about our elected leaders work on what is actually needed – a simple bike/pedestrian path from north Bishop to downtown – before trying to plan for and attempt these complicated, unrealistic, and unfunded land-use schemes? Be afraid, fellow citizens, of land-use plans conjured up by “consultants”… Read more »

Bishop local
Bishop local
4 years ago
Reply to  Corey Dore

It is a plan for a bike and pedestrian path to downtown.

Bishop Local
Bishop Local
4 years ago

Great that’s all we need more empty commercial buildings in Bishop. Also multifamily housing “low income” by Meadow Creek? Sure their going to love their property values going down.

Almost Native
Almost Native
4 years ago

I have lost track, what is going on with the court house?