Disconnect between audience and policy makers
The Mammoth Town Council Wednesday took on the issue of single-family home rentals, but ended up in a circular debate with audience members who did not seem quite clear about the issue at hand.
The issue before the council was whether or not to order the town staff to gather additional research to help move the debate forward.
The audience members, judging by the long line of speakers, apparently thought the council was going to set a policy, which it never intended to do in the first place.
“This,” declared councilman Rick Wood, “is like déjà vu. It’s exactly the discussion we had six or seven years ago, and the discussion was whether we were going to have a feasibility study. Instead, what we’ve had tonight was a public debate. I have not heard one new thing.
“I’m not suggesting that the comments are not important. There are a lot of different arguments; it’s a complex subject, and nobody here is in the middle. You’re either on one side or the other.
“However, it [the debate] is not yet fact-based. This is not uncharted territory. We know from experience what other communities have done.
“The only thing we’re discussing tonight is whether we move forward. So with respect to that issue, and not the issue of whether I’m supporting or not supporting, I’m in favor of moving it forward.”
As it was, the council voted to send the issue forward, but only by a 3-2 vote—a rare split decision that mirrored a similar Planning Commission vote last week.
Councilmember John Eastman declared any further work on the issue was “a waste of time,” and Councilmember Jo Bacon said it did not rank high on her priority list.
In favor of pushing the issue along to the town staff were Mayor Matthew Lehman and Councilmember’s Wood and Michael Raimondo.