Green light for Hooper's Rock Creek subdivision

The much-debated, proposed subdivision in Lower Rock Creek Canyon was approved by the Mono County Board of Supervisors Dec. 21, but only after some extensive changes to the plan.

The subdivision, proposed by longtime Eastern Sierra developer John Hooper, is located at the old Paradise Restaurant and Resort site.

The 29-acre project, with proposed market-rate homes that will mostly replace the old rental cabins there, has been relatively controversial.

Residents have voiced concerns about everything from impacts to the Round Valley deer herd, to loss of the historic uses and look of the site.

But according to District 2 County Supervisor Hap Hazard, the 5-0 vote of the supervisors on Dec. 21 reflects enough changes to the county planning commission’s plan to at least begin to calm some of the concerns.

According to Hazard, the changes look like this:
• One historic cabin will remain on the site, as an information kiosk.
• The Paradise Restaurant sign will remain and will look much the same on the outside, although the building itself will become Hooper’s private residence.
• Concerns that Hooper’s plan would allow for an increase of “non-conforming uses,” such as building too close to the creek, have been mitigated by the supervisors’ version of the plan, which will not allow any net increase of these non-conforming uses.
• Impacts to the Round Valley deer herd will be further mitigated by the supervisors’ requirements that Hooper continues to work with the state Department of Fish and Game.

Hooper said in a previous interview that he intends to make the development as environmentally friendly as possible, including using the latest technologies to build energy efficient homes.

“I am going to live here, and this is the last project I intend to build in Mono County,” he said. “I want it to be the best.”