Scope, Role, and Legal Framework of the Circulation Element

The Circulation Element is intended to serve as an infrastructure plan addressing communications, County facilities, community services infrastructure, and the movement of people and goods. The Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), developed through a coordinated effort with Caltrans and including the municipal jurisdiction of the Town of Mammoth Lakes, is utilized in its entirety to address the movement of people and goods. Policies relating to energy, water, sewage, and storm drainage infrastructure are contained in the Conservation/Open Space Element.

The communications policies are intended to provide information, guidance, and recommendations as they relate to the development, implementation, and accessibility of communications infrastructure, particularly basic telephone, wireless telephone, and broadband Internet. These policies draw from a number of technical resources, reports, and other jurisdictions, including but not limited to the Humboldt County General Plan, policy work developed by the City of Santa Cruz, the Eastern Sierra Innovation and Prosperity Report developed by Sierra Business Council, and the Mono County Economic Development Strategy.

The County facilities policies are intended to provide structure for the cataloging and selection of projects relating to County facilities. Policies to reduce energy consumption in County facilities are located in the Conservation/Open Space Element. The community infrastructure policies are intended to describe the mechanisms that ensure adequate services within community areas.

By statute, the Circulation Element must correlate directly with the Land Use Element, and has direct relationships with the Housing, Open Space, Noise, and Safety elements.

Land Use: The Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) considers and incorporates demographic and land use projections, correlating transportation issues directly with the Land Use Element. In addition, communication policies directly correlate with development standards in the Land Use Element.

Housing: In Mono County, the circulation system is well established, and there is little traffic congestion. When congestion does occur, it is not the result of residents’ commuting, but of recreational traffic at peak use periods or special events, combined with local use. The existing circulation system is generally adequate to provide for additional housing, and the RTP provides for improvements to the local transportation system that will allow for the continued development of housing.

Conservation/Open Space:  Since 94% of the land in Mono County is publicly owned, and 90% is federally owned, much of Mono County remains open space. Policies in both the Conservation/Open Space Element and the Land Use Element focus future development in existing community areas, providing additional open-space protection. The RTP focuses on transportation issues within and connecting these existing community areas, and communications and facilities/infrastructure policies focus on serving these existing communities. The communications policies and related regulations in the Land Use Element are sensitive to the potential impacts of communication infrastructure on the open-space character of the county.

Noise: The transportation network is the primary source of noise within Mono County, and the Noise Element quantifies noise exposure of the transportation routes identified in the RTP.

Safety: The Safety Element recognizes the potential impacts of seismic, geologic, flooding, avalanche, and fire hazards to the transportation network and existing communities. In addition, the RTP and communication policies in the Circulation Element address lack of cell phone coverage along transportation corridors as safety needs of traveling motorists.