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Commissioners gather in grand sit-down. 'Resort Investment' plan on the table

July 29, 2011

The Mammoth Lakes government tribes gathered Wednesday evening in a Woodstock moment.

If they had held hands and sung “Kumbaya,” no one would have been much surprised.

The sit-down was to approve a “Resort Investment Element” – basically an amendment to the town’s 2007 General Plan.

Its importance could not be overstated:

“Let’s build a Big Top,” said community development director Mark Wardlaw to the assembled commissioners.

The gathering, under the aegis of a workshop in advance of the regular Planning Commission meeting, featured members of the Planning, Airport, Mobility, Public Art and Recreation commissions.

Sixteen commissioners showed up, with the opportunity to offer observations on a document that lays out an agreed-upon work plan dealing with resort investment.

“There are many wonderful ideas out there (among the commissions), but they are in an ad hoc, disjointed way,” Wardlaw said in an interview after the session.

“This is a focused strategy of planning, design, development, and economic development. It integrates all the work we’ve been doing with recreation, mobility and transportation and transit, which includes the airport program.

“Its purpose is in attracting development and stimulating the economy. We have to look at all of it at once and have manageable work programs.”

Briefly, councilman Matthew Lehman dropped in but sat in the audience.

Lehman has raised the grain on economic development this past month by presenting what is essentially a manifesto on a stimulus package.

The document that the Tribe of Commissions sent along to the Town Council contains enough specificity to warrant a discussion by the council, but falls short of bullet-point action items.

Rather, it shows how the Public Works Department, for example, can plan ahead and still meet the goals of the various commissions.

A first draft of the document arrived before the recreation commissioners on June 7 and the Planning Commission on June 8. Both added tweaks and changes, and that brought about the mass meeting on Wednesday.

It promises to add a vision to what is known as a “triple-bottom line of social, natural and economic capital; increased visitation.

After the council reviews the document, it would be brought back to the Planning Commission and council for adoption.

The document is available on the town’s website.

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