Mono Basin

  1. Residents express conflicting sentiments about additional growth. The concept of a sustainable, successful economy is supported, but the fear is that communities will need to become too big or “citified” to achieve this, sacrificing the rural characteristics and healthy natural environment valued by residents. The challenge is to appropriately balance economic development goals with the desired rural community characteristics and protection of the natural, scenic, historical and recreational values of the area. Growth does not necessarily mean becoming bigger; it could also mean improving what already exists within the current development footprint.
  2. In cases where additional land is needed, the extremely limited private land base throughout the Mono Basin, and especially in Lee Vining, limits the potential for community expansion. Adjacent to Lee Vining, there is some potential for land exchanges or purchases either with the USFS or the LADWP. Policies and procedures are identified in the Landownership Adjustment Project Final Report (see Appendix).
  3. Residents of Mono City are concerned about the expansion of their community beyond the current limits of the subdivision. They are concerned about possible impacts to visual quality and to the deer herd in the area. The impacts from increased traffic levels are also a concern.
  4. Workforce housing opportunities, both to rent and buy, are needed to sustain the existing community and enable people to live where they work.
  5. Residents are concerned about the visual appearance of Lee Vining, including vacant commercial properties, unattractive storage on residential lots, and the design of the built environment. High-quality design of the built environment that reflects the natural environment and protects open space and scenic values, along with green building practices, is supported.
  6. Residents support public-service providers and the availability of services for all segments of the community, and also want to ensure infrastructure and facility development are compatible with the rural, natural and scenic qualities of the Mono Basin. Mono City is concerned in particular about the adequacy of infrastructure to deliver water, and Lee Vining is particularly concerned about the sewage infrastructure.
  7. Federal resource management agencies and LADWP own and manage much of the land in the Mono Basin. Residents expressed conflicting sentiments about protecting the natural environment and sensitive habitats versus the ability to use, access and enjoy the land without overly restrictive regulations and/or fees. The challenge is to work with other agencies and within regulations to ensure the ability to use and enjoy the land while protecting its health.
  8. Agriculture and grazing, including cows and sheep, was common in the Mono Basin at one time and is greatly reduced or does not exist now. The pastoral nature of agriculture and grazing, sheep grazing in particular, was part of the character of the Basin, a basis for an historical way of life, and is highly valued by some. Possibilities exist to adapt sheep-grazing practices to be compatible with resource protection and even used to enhance management of the natural landscape.
  9. Residents are deeply concerned about vacant commercial properties in Lee Vining. The desire is to improve both the visual appearance and economic health of the community by addressing these properties through efforts such as commercial revitalization and investment, Main Street revitalization, the creation of a more business-friendly environment, and the protection of local economic assets and opportunities.
  10. The physical layout of Lee Vining’s Main Street area, where a five-lane highway under the authority of Caltrans bisects the corridor, creates challenges for establishing a vibrant, walkable commercial area, ensuring safe and convenient pedestrian crossings, and creating physical connectivity between the east and west sides of the highway.
  11. Residents are concerned about the lack of jobs that enable people to live in the community. An increase in employment opportunities and diversity, along with a sustainable and diversified economy, is generally supported.
  12. Residents are deeply concerned about bringing the community together in order to overcome prejudice, support equal opportunity, reach across cultural barriers, and build social capacity. Residents would like to increase the social capacity and vitality of their communities by encouraging citizens to contribute to community life. A concern is that increasing second-home ownership results in residents who do not participate in the community.
  13. Residents are interested in Conway Ranch operations, and generally support sheep grazing, aquaculture and other historic agricultural uses and infrastructure. Water availability is a concern, with apparent support for Conway Ranch to receive its full allotment of water. Opportunities for expanding the agricultural operations are also of interest.
  14. Residents are interested in upland water management in the north. Identified issues include general water distribution and flows, the de-watering of historically green ranches and meadows, riparian habitat and stream health, maximizing water delivery to Mono Lake, and water for Conway Ranch operations.