Mono Basin

* Policy support from the previous area plan, community survey, or RPAC meetings are documented in the Mono Basin Community Plan published under separate cover.

GOAL 10. Maintain the spectacular natural values of the Mono Basin and rural, small-town character of communities by managing growth, ensuring high-quality aesthetics, and providing for community development needs to enhance the quality of life for residents.

Objective 10.A.

Provide for the orderly growth of Lee Vining in a manner that retains the small-town character by directing future development to occur in and adjacent to Lee Vining.

Policy 10.A.1. Prioritize infill and rehabilitation of the existing built environment over the addition of private property.

Action 10.A.1.a. Explore options for encouraging and facilitating the use of vacant commercial space for new businesses.

Action 10.A.1.b. Pursue brownfields grants to assist with rehabilitation.

Policy 10.A.2. Where infill or rehabilitation is not viable, obtain lands adjacent to the existing community for the orderly expansion of Lee Vining.

Action 10.A.2.a. Work with appropriate agencies to provide for developable lands adjacent to Lee Vining. The Landownership Adjustment Project Final Report (see Appendix) should be referenced for opportunities, policies and procedures.

Action 10.A.2.b. Designate lands adjacent to Lee Vining for community expansion in the Land Use Element.

Action 10.A.2.c. Work with service providers to ensure adequate infrastructure and service capacity for any expansions.

Policy 10.A.3. Support the acquisition of a land base for the Kutzadika Mono Lake Indian Community, consistent with Goal 3, Objective A, Policy 5, Action 5.1.

Objective 10.B.

Manage buildout of the Mono City subdivision to retain its rural character.

Policy 10.B.1. Limit the buildable area of Mono City to the existing subdivision footprint.

Action 10.B.1.a. Coordinate with the BLM to ensure the next update of the Bishop Resource Management Plan reflects the agreement to remove APN 019-110-010 from the BLM disposal list.

Objective 10.C.

Encourage building types and architectural design compatible with the scenic and natural attributes of the Mono Basin.

Policy 10.C.1. Maintain a clear edge between developed areas and open space by ensuring future development outside existing communities is compatible with the scenic and natural attributes of the area.

Action 10.C.1.a. Encourage the siting and design of buildings to complement the natural environment and preserve open space.

Action 10.C.1.b. Higher-intensity uses (e.g., limited commercial, industrial, and resource extraction) may be permitted if it can be demonstrated that the use cannot be accommodated in existing community areas, that the use is incompatible with existing community uses, or that the use directly relies on the availability of unique on-site resources. Higher-intensity uses should not adversely impact the area's scenic, recreational, historical, and natural resources.

Action 10.C.1.c. Require preparation of a Specific Plan and environmental review in compliance with CEQA for subdivisions of 10 parcels or more that are not within or adjacent to Lee Vining or Mono City.

Action 10.C.1.d. Require preparation of a Specific Plan for development projects proposed on federal exchange lands (parcel maps are exempt from this requirement).

Action 10.C.1.e. Periodically review the Tioga Inn Specific Plan and any other future specific plans in the Mono Basin.

Policy 10.C.2. Support design practices that protect scenic vistas, energy efficiency, and “green” building practices.

Action 10.C.2.a. Encourage the siting and design of buildings to preserve scenic vistas.

Action 10.C.2.b. Designate public view corridors that visually connect the community to the natural environment and establish development standards to avoid impacts.

Action 10.C.2.c. Explore potential incentives related to energy efficiency and “green” building practices.

Action 10.C.2.d. Support the expansion and promotion of recycling programs, and encourage the inclusion of recycling services in new commercial facilities.

Action 10.C.2.e. County-owned buildings should set an example by implementing “green” building technologies.

Policy 10.C.3. Preserve the dark night sky of the Mono Basin.

Action 10.C.3.a. Require compliance with and enforce Dark Sky Regulations.

Action 10.C.3.b. Retrofit existing lights on County-owned properties and public rights of way to conform to Dark Sky Regulations.

Action 10.C.3.c. Outreach to other public agencies operating facilities within the Mono Basin about the benefits of Dark Sky Regulations and to encourage the use of compliant light fixtures.

Policy 10.C.4. Support improving the visual appearance of Lee Vining.

Action 10.C.4.a. Use Mono County Design Guidelines to promote architecture, site planning, and uses compatible with the surrounding visual and scenic environment within the communities of Lee Vining and Mono City.

Policy 10.C.5. Consider applying residential standards to residential development on parcels with a Commercial land use designation within Lee Vining.

Action 10.C.5.a. Encourage applicants to meet residential standards to protect the character of residential areas in Lee Vining and facilitate compatible uses within the Commercial land use designation.

Policy 10.C.6. Recognize that the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Comprehensive Management Plan contains separate Scenic Area Guidelines that may impact development, and encourage developers within this area to consult with the Inyo National Forest in the planning phase.

Objective 10.D.

Maintain, protect and enhance the natural, historical and recreational attributes of the Mono Basin.

Policy 10.D.1. Coordinate with public agencies and other land-management organizations, such as the BLM, USFS, LADWP, CDFW, and US Fish and Wildlife Service, to understand local policies and engage locals in the management of their lands.

Action 10.D.1.a. Request resource agencies present information to and work with the Mono Basin RPAC and the community as public resource management issues arise.

Policy 10.D.2. Support existing General Plan policies in the Cultural Resources section of the Conservation/Open Space Element.

Action 10.D.2.a. Implement Objective B, Policy 1 and the associated actions to identify and inventory cultural and historic resources in the Mono Basin.

Action 10.D.2.b. Implement Objective C, Policy 1 and the associated actions to preserve, protect and restore (where appropriate) the cultural and historic resources of Mono County.

Action 10.D.2.c. Identify any cultural and historic resources that should be recognized and protected via registration with the State and/or National Register of Historic Places.

Action 10.D.2.d. Consult the Kutzadika Mono Lake Indian Community on potential impacts to cultural and historic resources as described in Government Code §65352.3, which outlines local government requirements for tribal consultation.

Policy 10.D.3. Support recreational activities and the ability to use and enjoy the land while also protecting the natural environment.

Action 10.D.3.a. Identify recreation activity and access priorities, and work toward implementation.

Action 10.D.3.b. Coordinate with land management and transportation agencies, such as the BLM, Caltrans, ESTA, YARTS, USFS and LADWP, to ensure adequate access and responsible use.

Action 10.D.3.c. Ensure new development does not impede, and preferentially enhances, existing recreation access and activities.       

Policy 10.D.4. Review and discuss Conway Ranch operations, including the history, allowable uses, current uses, and potential opportunities.

Action 10.D.4.a. Support aquaculture and other historic uses, such as sheep grazing and agriculture.

Action 10.D.4.b. Support facilities and infrastructure facilitating aquaculture and other historic uses, such as sheep grazing, agriculture, and the restoration of historic buildings.

Action 10.D.4.c. Support the full allotment of water to Conway Ranch.

Policy 10.D.5. Initiate a community conversation about upland water management.      

Action 10.D.5.a. Convene RPAC and community members to draft a proposal to the LADWP requesting the irrigation of Thompson Meadow and explaining the benefits to LADWP.      

Action 10.D.5.b. Support community conversations and planning efforts regarding issues such as Mill and Wilson creeks, and various ranches and meadows, for example Cain Ranch and Dechambeau Ranch.

Policy 10.D.6. Work with government and private property owners to create recreational trail segments connecting population centers with attractions and recreation access points.

Action 10.D.6.a. Identify desired trail segments that are supported by the community, and implement trail development.

Action 10.D.6.b. Identify and consider impacts to historic lifestyles and existing uses of any potential trail, and consult with the Kutzadika Tribe in particular.

Objective 10.E.

Promote well-planned and functional community uses that retain small-town character and increase quality of life.        

Policy 10.E.1. Increase the housing supply available to the workforce, including rental units.

Action 10.E.1.a. Establish tenant eligibility criteria, including a time requirement as a local resident and/or local employee, for workforce housing units, and identify the entity that applies, manages and enforces the criteria.

Action 10.E.1.b. Explore siting workforce housing next to the Community Center (LADWP land), on the Lee Vining High School parcel, at the County yard, and/or at the Caltrans yard, including an evaluation of the suitability of each site and other potential opportunities.

Action 10.E.1.c. Consider the acquisition and rehabilitation of existing housing for workforce housing, as consistent with Housing Authority policy.

Action 10.E.1.d. Promote workforce housing opportunities that connect the community with housing programs.

Policy 10.E.2. If the need is identified, provide a site for limited and/or cottage industrial uses, including road yards, heavy-equipment storage, auto repair, and similar uses, proximate to Lee Vining.

Action 10.E.2.a. If the need exists, identify a new location for limited/cottage industrial uses, potentially at the airport/pumice plant area or other appropriate locations, and develop necessary partnerships, conduct feasibility analyses for developing the site, and secure financing.

Action 10.E.2.b. Limit the footprint of the new industrial location to previously disturbed areas and consider impacts to viewsheds.

Policy 10.E.3. Continue community discussions and exploring potential solutions for the location of the County and/or Caltrans yards with the intent of meeting the following interests:

  • Maintain a high level of related services, such as snow removal.
  • Retain the authenticity of a working community.
  • Navigate the challenges of cost, timeline, environmental issues, agency coordination and the location of a new site to ensure project feasibility. Brownfields grants could assist with some of these issues.
  • Provide more appropriate Main Street uses, such as workforce/residential housing, commercial, and/or mixed use.
  • Improve connectivity between the high school, park, community center, USFS Visitor Center and the community.
  • Increase available commercial space to open new businesses, and improve the vibrancy and aesthetics of Main Street.
  • Recognize the junction of Highways 395 and 120 as an important viewshed for the community and its visitors, and therefore, a project should avoid potential impacts to that viewshed.

Policy 10.E.4. Support agricultural and grazing uses, such as sheep and cows, in historic locations, locations compatible with resource sensitivity and availability, and where consistent with scenic and natural resources.

Action 10.E.4.a. Research incentives and other tools to support small-scale, local agriculture.

Action 10.E.4.b. Support guidelines for sound grazing management practices on public lands to maintain environmental resource values while supporting agricultural uses.

Action 10.E.4.c. Support community and agency discussions to revitalize agricultural and grazing uses, such as sheep grazing, and the irrigation associated with historic grazing; and creatively explore and implement sound grazing practices that may benefit the landscape, such as utilizing sheep for wildfire fuels management rather than controlled burns or mechanical thinning.

Policy 10.E.5. Parking standards should contribute to business viability and residential livability.

Action 10.E.5.a. Support Objective C in the Mono Basin Policies of the Circulation Element of the General Plan to improve parking opportunities in Lee Vining, with Action 2.2 as a priority: “Consider amendments to the Mono County parking requirements … for commercial uses in Lee Vining, such as reducing the number of required parking spaces and relaxing paving requirements.”

Action 10.E.5.b. Review residential parking needs and consider modifications to parking requirements.

Policy 10.E.6. Provide safe and convenient pedestrian and biking facilities, working with Caltrans when applicable, to reduce vehicular traffic, increase local livability, and encourage visitors to explore town.

Action 10.E.6.a. Prioritize pedestrian safety facilities and improvements on US 395 over other facility improvements and as consistent with goals and policies in the Circulation Element of the General Plan, with an emphasis on the Livable Communities section, and Objectives A and D in the Mono Basin Policies.

Action 10.E.6.b. Emphasize safe travel for pedestrians to community and activity centers, such as schools, parks, library, museums and visitor centers.

Action 10.E.6.c. Support transit connections in Mono City and Lee Vining that provide local and regional connections for residents and visitors consistent with the Circulation Element of the General Plan.

Action 10.E.6.d. Initiate community discussions to consider pedestrian and street lighting in appropriate locations for safety, connectivity, and comfort and ensure compliance with Dark Sky Regulations.

Action 10.E.6.e. Pursue the Livable Communities goals and policies in the Circulation Element of the General Plan.

Action 10.E.6.f. Pursue Objective D of the Mono Basin Policies in the Circulation Element of the General Plan to make progress toward a comprehensive streetscape plan for the Lee Vining Main Street area that enhances pedestrian safety, connectivity (including trails), and makes Lee Vining a more attractive place to walk, live and work.

Action 10.E.6.g. Support installation of a bus stop in front of the County Yard in Lee Vining that is accessible to pedestrians.

Objective 10.F.

Provide appropriate public infrastructure and service capability expansion to support development, public safety, and quality of life.

Policy 10.F.1. Future development should coincide with infrastructure and service capability expansion.

Action 10.F.1.a. Require development projects to obtain “will-serve” letters from applicable service agencies.

Policy 10.F.2. Support improvements to local service infrastructure, such as water, sewer, telecommunications, and electricity, that are compatible with the small-town character, aesthetic values, and the health and safety of the community.

Action 10.F.2.a. Inventory local infrastructure needs and provide support to service providers as appropriate.

Action 10.F.2.b. Require utility line upgrades and replacements to be undergrounded subject to the findings and analysis required for new utility lines in Chapter 11 – Utilities of the Land Use Element.

Action 10.F.2.c. Where feasible, require local utility providers to underground, relocate or visually screen power lines and other facilities in areas of high visual quality.

Action 10.F.2.d. Encourage utility providers to develop an overall plan for the underground installation of all utilities within the Mono Basin.

Action 10.F.2.e. Work with utility providers to ensure siting, screening and design of facility upgrades, expansions or renovations are compatible with the scenic and natural attributes of the Mono Basin and public health and safety.

Policy 10.F.3. Provide for adequate emergency services, facilities, and access, and support emergency providers.

Action 10.F.3.a. Identify local hazards, such as dangerous wind areas on US 395, defensible space to reduce wildfire risk, lack of cell phone coverage, and work with the appropriate entities to mitigate those hazards.

Action 10.F.3.b. Continue working with BLM to monitor and maintain the Mono City Emergency Access Road.

Policy 10.F.4. Prioritize maintaining and programming existing County facilities, especially the Community Center, over building new facilities.

Policy 10.F.5. Encourage the provision of local health services for the community.

Policy 10.F.6. Support access to necessary life services such as those provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Social Security Administration.

Action 10.F.6.a. Work with the DMV and Social Security Administration to make their services locally available.

Policy 10.F.7. Provide support and services for elders.

Action 10.F.7.a. Identify the needs of the elderly community.

GOAL 11. Grow a sustainable local economy with diverse job opportunities that offers year-round employment and wages that reflect the cost of living in the area.

Objective 11.A.

Plan for a diversified, sustainable economy.

Policy 11.A.1. Achieve a more-diversified economy and employment base consistent with the small-town, rural nature of the Mono Basin.

Action 11.A.1.a. Support Objective H, Policy 4 in the Countywide Land Use Policies of the Land Use Element of the General Plan to develop strategies to improve the County’s economic climate, including the creation of an Economic Development Strategy for the County and/or Mono Basin.

Action 11.A.1.b. Research and incorporate best practices for economic development in small, rural communities.

Action 11.A.1.c. Establish a community-based organization that provides leadership for economic development and includes private citizens, the County/RPAC, local business leaders, chamber of commerce, as well as other agencies, nonprofits and corporations.

Objective 11.B.

Enhance and support the existing tourism-related economy.

Policy 11.B.1. Cultivate tourism-related programs and attractions that promote longer, multi-day visits.

Policy 11.B.2. Capitalize on local and nearby attractions such as Yosemite National Park, Bodie State Historic Park, Mono Basin Scenic Area, and the Tufa State Reserve by promoting Lee Vining as a centralized recreation hub.

Action 11.B.2.a. Support the Yosemite Policies, and Objective H of the Mono Basin Policies, in the Circulation Element of the General Plan to strengthen the relationship between the Yosemite region and its eastern gateway.

Action 11.B.2.b. Support local recreational uses and visitor accommodations, such as existing campgrounds, hotels/motels, and RV parks.

Action 11.B.2.c. Collaborate with other agencies to provide 24-hour, year-round visitor sanitation facilities; e.g., public restrooms, and sanitation facilities at popular recreation staging areas.

Action 11.B.2.d. Support Lee Vining as a host for YARTS services such as the High Country Hiker Shuttle.

Policy 11.B.3. Support a sufficient bed base and visitor accommodations to support the tourism industry.

Policy 11.B.4. Diversify and promote recreation opportunities during the shoulder seasons and winter.

Action 11.B.4.a. Identify and implement potential shoulder season and winter opportunities, such as ice climbing.

Action 11.B.4.b. Work with applicable entities to increase access and activities.

Policy 11.B.5. Keep public roads open as long as practical during the shoulder season to provide access to recreation activities and other communities.

Policy 11.B.6. Promote collaboration with organizations in the region to enhance tourism.

Action 11.B.6.a. Support the designation of US 395 as a National Scenic Byway.

Policy 11.B.7. Keep up-to-date airport planning documents, such as the Lee Vining Airport Master Plan and Lee Vining Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan.

Action 11.B.7.a. Initiate community conversations about the opportunities available through an expansion of airport-related services.

Action 11.B.7.b. Consider visual sensitivity of the Lee Vining Airport surroundings to prevent further degradation of the Scenic Area.

Action 11.B.7.c. The County shall complete the revegetation project at the Lee Vining Airport to address visibility and dust concerns.

Objective 11.C.

Diversify the existing economic base and employment opportunities to achieve a more- sustainable economy.

Policy 11.C.1. Pursue Objective H of the countywide Land Use Policies in the Land Use Element of the General Plan to “maintain and enhance the local economy.”

Policy 11.C.2. Encourage and support new business development and entrepreneurial efforts that contribute to a mix of uses and services, and a wider range of employment opportunities.

Action 11.C.2.a. Research programs and other mechanisms that could offer financial incentives for small businesses.

Action 11.C.2.b. Catalog the specific businesses identified in the action plan workshops and the community survey for inclusion in the Economic Development Plan.

Policy 11.C.3. Encourage and support new development within Lee Vining.

Action 11.C.3.a. Explore County incentives such as reduced fees, funding for an Alquist-Priolo fault study for the Lee Vining Main Street area, parking standard adjustments (see Goal 1, Objective E, Action 3.1), and prescriptive building designs, such as ground-mounted solar systems and residential decks.

Policy 11.C.4. Encourage a diversity of uses and services, and a healthy business environment, which recirculates the dollars spent in the community.

Action 11.C.4.a. Convene local business owners to initiate discussions about a healthy economy.

Policy 11.C.5. Support the revitalization of Main Street.

Action 11.C.5.a. Pursue planning, implementation grants, and funds to support Main Street and Livable Community goals, such as the Scenic Byway planning grant.

Action 11.C.5.b. Explore options for encouraging and facilitating the use of vacant commercial space for new businesses.

Action 11.C.5.c. Encourage businesses to provide public gathering spaces to contribute to the vitality and activity of Main Street.

Action 11.C.5.d. Support an attractive Main Street through actions such as the promotion of the Mono County Design Guidelines to complement Lee Vining’s small-town character and attract visitors.

Policy 11.C.6. Encourage locally produced goods and services, including food production for local consumption of locally produced food.

Action 11.C.6.a. Work with local food producers and relevant permitting authorities, such as Mono County Environmental Health, to enable public consumption.

Action 11.C.6.b. Establish a market for locally produced foods, such as a farmers market, door-to-door sales, or local purchase by businesses or institutions.

Action 11.C.6.c. Support and promote community, school, and backyard gardens, and other types of urban agriculture.

Policy 11.C.7. Encourage businesses and services to remain open year round.

Policy 11.C.8. Support infrastructure to expand home-based businesses.

Action 11.C.8.a. Support the efforts of Digital 395.

Action 11.C.9. Support continued and new agricultural and grazing uses in the Mono Basin, the potential for agricultural tourism, and consider incentives or other mechanisms to increase viability of agricultural operations.

GOAL 12. Build a safe, friendly community where people feel connected, work together to resolve community issues, and are involved in community activities and events.

Objective 12.A.

Build healthy social connections and interactions that contribute to a sense of community.

Policy 12.A.1. Improve interactions and support between community and the schools.

Action 12.A.1.a. Open a dialog with the schools with the intention of initiating a collaborative relationship, and share community suggestions about building mutual support, including:

  • Tapping the business community and local organizations to provide vocational training and educational opportunities;
  • Holding joint or mutual community events;
  • Increasing communication and information sharing between the community and school (e.g., school-produced newspaper);
  • Collaborating to involve parents and community members through volunteer opportunities;
  • Stabilizing school staff; and
  • Strengthening the connection between the school and community by making school facilities accessible and encouraging community use.

Policy 12.A.2. Support the provision of higher education and workforce development programs.

Action 12.A.2.a. Promote the development of vocational programs and higher education services.

Action 12.A.2.b. Connect the Mono Basin residents to Mono County’s career services program.

Policy 12.A.3. Support factual media coverage and accurate community information sharing.

Action 12.A.3.a. Develop and/or enhance local community communication mechanisms, which could include a regularly published newsletter, radio station, regular social gatherings, centralized bulletin boards for posting notices, and/or social media (e.g., Facebook and Twitter).

Action 12.A.3.b. Develop and maintain a local community calendar.           

Policy 12.A.4. Cultivate community leadership.

Action 12.A.4.a. As a principle, support decision making that empowers and strengthens the community and that achieves meaningful results.

Action 12.A.4.b. As a principle, address community issues and concerns rather than positions, and seek common ground and win-win situations.

Action 12.A.4.c. Maintain representation on the RPAC that encompasses the diversity of the community.

Action 12.A.4.d. RPAC meetings are intended to be an open forum for the public to respectfully and candidly discuss community issues, recognizing consensus is not always possible or necessary in order to move forward.

Action 12.A.4.e. Consider refining the role and responsibility of the RPAC by reviewing the bylaws.

Policy 12.A.5. Support various cultural and ethnic groups in the community.

Action 12.A.5.a. Assist the Kutzadika Mono Lake Indian Community’s efforts to obtain formal tribal recognition, a land base, and community services.

Action 12.A.5.b. Support community interaction that celebrates and invites multicultural participation and educational opportunities.

Objective 12.B.

Encourage and support local events and programs that provide community and youth activities, capitalize on the tourist economy, and bring the community together.

Policy 12.B.1. Identify key community events that excite residents and resonate with the community.

Action 12.B.1.a. Inventory community events, consider combining events based on overlapping interests, and define a set of events on which to focus and invest. Consider local people’s interests and talents when selecting events.

Action 12.B.1.b. Encourage the pooling, coordinating and sharing of resources for events.

Policy 12.B.2. Encourage programs and events celebrating local history and diversity, and encourage the revitalization of historical events that no longer exist (e.g., Mark Twain Days).

Policy 12.B.3. Support outdoor education, supervised and unsupervised activities, and facilities for youth.

Action 12.B.3.a. Work with the school district and community groups to develop after-school and summer programs.

Action 12.B.3.b. Work with the library to enhance service offerings and activities for youth and the community.

Action 12.B.3.c. Support natural history education and interpretive programs, and encourage the Kutzadika Mono Lake Indian Community to share its local knowledge and history.

Objective 12.C.

Encourage people to volunteer in the community and participate in events.

Policy 12.C.1. Organizations should honor and take care of their volunteers.

Policy 12.C.2. Promote a positive, nonpolitical, inclusive social environment that attracts volunteers.

Policy 12.C.3. Advertise the events, including the use of social networking.

Action 12.C.3.a. Post community events in the community calendar of local papers, local radio stations, and other media.

Action 12.C.3.b. Advertise events through any local communication networks that are developed.

Policy 12.C.4. Recruit all residents, especially younger residents.

Action 12.C.4.a. Engage high school students, teachers, seniors, nonprofits, and service clubs to provide volunteers and event leadership.

Policy 12.C.5. Foster ownership of events by volunteers.

Action 12.C.5.a. Engage volunteers in planning the events.