Legalizing short-term SFRs now on the Town Council Agenda.

Dear Mammoth homeowners, business owners and concerned visitors,

This important issue is finally on the agenda for real deliberation and possibly a vote at the next Town Council meeting, this coming Wednesday, December 19, from 6PM-9PM (Suite Z, Vons Shopping Center).

The Town Council (and Town Staff) is taking the issue seriously and would like to see it resolved in such a way that we do not have to revisit it again in the near future. We believe there is potential majority support on the Council for amending this outdated and overreaching zoning code. SO: we need to make sure they feel strong political support for what might seem a fairly contentious decision.

We need to remind Council why and how allowing single family rentals will be good for Mammoth visitors and for the local community, how it will make code compliance and quality of life enforcement easier rather than more difficult (in those neighborhoods that do not have specific CC&Rs against Single Family Rentals), how it will make Mammoth immediately more competitive in the market for coveted longer-stay destination visitors, and will indeed lead to the capture of significant new TOT revenue. And, finally, why a change should be made NOW, rather than kicked down the road indefinitely into the future.

Please join us at the Council meeting to show your support!

(By the way, the skiing is fabulous right now. And there are regular flights to MMH from LAX, SFO, San Diego and Orange County.)

If you can’t arrange to be in Mammoth next Wednesday December 19, please do take a moment TODAY to take action. Here’s what you can do:

1)    Send an email, preferably NO LATER THAN THIS COMING MONDAY MORNING (December 17), voicing your support for the proposed ordinance change to Mayor Matthew Lehman <>, Town Clerk Jamie Gray <> and Town Planner Ellen Clark <>.

2)    Be Present at Town Council meeting this coming Wed Dec 19th in Mammoth, 6-9pm!

This really is most critical, along with writing emails. We need feet on the ground at the meeting to counter-balance the very vocal opposition.

  1. Write something to be read at the meeting by someone else!
  2. Volunteer to read someone else’s comments!
  3. Write your own and present at meeting!
  4. Be there to support us!

3)    Tap into any resources you have in Mammoth or beyond, get as many people as possible to show up, to sign this petition (and also reply to the email confirmation!), and to send emails.

4)    Homeowners – Please provide us with information about your property for the purpose of showing the town hard data on existing and possible inventory–as well as revenue that could realistically be captured by the Town–if single family homes were allowed to rent nightly. Please send the following information to

  1. Neighborhood/subdivision (Slopes, Majestic Pines, Knolls, Mammoth Vista, Old Mammoth, etc.)
  2. Closest Ski Portal/Lifts and distance from your house
  3. Would you engage in nightly rentals immediately?
  4. 4.  Would you be willing to purchase an Operator’s license from the Town at a reasonable fee?
  5. 4.  Would you be willing to make timely payments of all TOT due in connection with the rental of your property?
  6. # of bedrooms, # of people your property sleeps safely and comfortably;
  7. Square footage
  8. Estimated range for nightly rental rate
  9. Approximate % of the year you would rent it out (0-15%, 15-30%,30-50%, etc.)
  10. Do you have a local property manager? Would you be willing to contract one?
  11. Any other relevant information that can help persuade the Town Council that our homes are a unique product and not in direct competition with other existing and planned lodging properties.

Again, time is of the essence on this! We need all hands on deck or we may lose this opportunity to get Mammoth on track toward what we all know it could be: the Best Mountain Town in North America!

Thank you,

For a complete update on the approximately $50 million settlement between the Town of Mammoth Lakes and MLLA/Ballas, as well as the town’s subsequent Proposed Restructuring Plan, watch the video of the special Town Council session on Sept. 27 (mp4). For the initial Sept. 21 press release click here (pdf). For detailed local press coverage, click here (The Sheet) or here (Mammoth Times).

THE SHORT OF IT: By the end of November, the Town of Mammoth Lakes needs to come up with a strategy for cutting costs and increasing revenues so as to be able to make an annual $2 million payment to MLLA/Ballas for the next 23 years. There are several proposed cuts on the table, including a significant reduction of the town police force and the closing of Whitmore Pool and Park.

The only substantial and realistic source of new revenue would be derived from a proposed zoning overlay allowing for the short-term rental of single family homes (within a resort-adjacent corridor only, and with specific code compliance guidelines, T.O.T. and business tax collection).

A RISING TIDE FLOATS ALL BOATS: According to a study we’ve put together and presented to council and staff, legalizing single-family rentals (SFRs) will provide the town with new T.O.T. revenue estimated from $1.5-5 million per year. If implemented in time for the upcoming winter season, the town is likely to see added short-term T.O.T. revenue of approximately $600,000 by April 2013. These extra funds would allow the town to maintain most, if not all, basic services (including Whitmore Pool and Park), WITHOUT INCREASING T.O.T. ON EXISTING LODGING PROPERTIES, RAISING LIFT TICKET PRICES, OR ATTEMPTING TO PASS OTHER TAX MEASURES.

  • Allowing short-term SFRs WILL help make Mammoth competitive in the international resort market by adding an important and popular product to its quiver of amenities. (Or, more accurately, by taking advantage of a product that already exists but has been outlawed.)
  • Allowing short-term SFRs WILL  provide a secure funding source for the annual air service subsidy, and stabilize the budget and marketing efforts of Mammoth Lakes Tourism, all to the direct benefit of our community and economy.
  • Allowing short-term SFRs within a designated resort corridor WILL NOT impact neighborhoods with CC&Rs prohibiting nightly rentals, such as The Trails or the Knolls, or other high-density neighborhoods such as Pinecrest/Snowcrest or Old Mammoth. See FAQs and Misconceptions for more.
  • In specific resort-corridor neighborhoods, where more than 2/3 of single-family homes are second homes, legalization and regulation of short-term SFRs WILL facilitate and improve noise, parking, trash, neglect, and other quality of life enforcement. HERE’S HOW.
  • Allowing short-term SFRs WILL NOT adversely impact or compete with existing lodging inventory. (Evidence shows that up to 200 single-family homes have been participating the Mammoth Lakes rental pool (illegally) for decades. As such, any potential impacts have already been felt, but without any mechanism in place for the town to collect TOT revenues on these properties. In any case, interviews of finance directors at comparable ski towns have indicated that short term rentals of luxury vacation homes is not considered to be in competition with other lodging interests; Rather, they are treated as a different class of accommodation opportunity.) See FAQs and Misconceptions for more.
  • Allowing short-term SFRs WILL be good for local service businesses. (tradespeople, property managers, cleaning crews, retail operators, contractors, snow removal services, realtors, etc.)
  • Allowing short-term SFRs WILL help struggling homeowners in resort corridors to keep their homes, thus increasing property values as well as property tax revenues that help fund our schools, fire department and other essential services.

If you are a Mammoth Lakes property or business owner, a Mammoth local or a concerned visitor, please read through our Main Talking Points, post your thoughts, sign the online petition, and if possible attend Town Council meetings through November (until the adoption of an official Restructuring Plan).

Upcoming Planning Commission and Town Council MeetingsClick here for calendar.

Stay tuned! Thanks for your support and involvement.