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Floor Area Ratio (FAR) Analysis
The objective of the floor area ratio (FAR) analysis is to analyze the impact of implementing a FAR standard with no unit or room density limitations within the commercial areas of town. 

The areas that would be affected by the application of the FAR standard are the lands that are designated Commercial 1 (C-1) and Commercial (C-2) in the General Plan. In the Zoning Code, these areas include the Old Mammoth Road (OMR), Downtown (D), and Mixed Lodging Residential (MLR) zoning districts (Zoning Map).

Project Background

The Town’s Zoning Code is the tool used to implement the General Plan. Upon adoption of the General Plan in 2007 and pursuant to State law that requires consistency between the General Plan and the Zoning Code, the Town needed to update the Zoning Code to be consistent with the General Plan.

Town Council initiated the Zoning Code update with the goal of incorporating the 2007 General Plan by promoting sustainability, quality and design, as well as cleaning up and modernizing zoning regulations in an effort to provide a streamlined and user-friendly set of standards that would clearly establish the type of permitted development (and permit process) while supporting the Community Vision expressed in the General Plan.

During the course of the Zoning Code update, a proposal was made to use FAR to regulate the intensity of development in the commercial zoning districts. While staff recommended the use of FAR in combination with existing density limitations in order to support consistency with the General Plan, Council directed staff to evaluate the implications of removing the density limitations and proceeding with a FAR standard alone as the means for regulating intensity in the Town’s commercial districts. Accordingly, the Zoning Code adopted by the Town Council in April 2014 did not include the removal of the rooms / units per acre density limitation, in order to allow more time to evaluate potential buildout using a FAR standard.

What is FAR?

As defined by the Zoning Code (Chapter 17.148), floor area ratio (FAR) is the ratio of floor area of a building on a lot divided by the total lot area. FAR helps determine density and intensity of development when combined with building height and setback requirements.

Public Meetings

Planning and Economic Development Commission - October 8, 2014
This will be the first public meeting to consider the FAR analysis and buildout implications. Please review the agenda and report regarding this item.

Planning and Economic Development Commission - December 10, 2014
The Commission will review and provide comments regarding the Project Description for the EIR to evaluate the FAR project.  Please review the agenda and report regarding this item.

Town Council - December 17, 2014
The Town Council will review and provide comments regarding the Project Description for the EIR which will evaluate the FAR project.  Please review the agenda and report regarding this item.

Planning and Economic Development Commission - February 11, 2015
The Commission will consider including a minimum Floor Area Ratio requirement for the commercial zones.  The staff report and meeting minutes are available on the Town website.

Planning and Economic Development Commission - March 11, 2015
The Commission will consider including a minimum Floor Area Ratio Requirement for the commercial zones (continued from February 11, 2015).  The staff report and meeting minutes are available on the Town website. 

Planning and Economic Development Commission - June 10, 2015
The Commission will conduct a public scoping meeting to review and provide and take comments on the Initial Study and the scope and content of the Environmental Impact Report. Information regarding the EIR process, the project, and opportunities for public participation will be presented. The Notice of Preparation and Initial Study may be reviewed below.

Planning and Economic Development Commission - July 13, 2016
The Commission will conduct a meeting to take comments on the Draft EIR for the project.  The Draft EIR may be reviewed below.

Planning and Economic Development Commission - November 9, 2016
The Commission will consider approval of General Plan Amendment 15-002 and Zoning Code Amendment 15-002 adopting the Land Use Element/Zoning Code Amendment  and Mobility Element Update.  The agenda and staff report can be reviewed on the Town website.

CEQA Analysis

Initial Study
An Initial Study consistent with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was prepared and circulated for a 30-day review period, from May 29, 2015 to June 29, 2015, with a scoping meeting held by the Planning and Economic Development Commission on June 10, 2015.  Based on the analysis in the Initial Study and comment letters received, the Town determined that the project could result in new or more significant impacts related to aesthetics, air quality, forestry resources, biological resources, cultural resources, greenhouse gas emissions, land use/planning, noise, population/housing, public services (fire, police, school, parks, and libraries), recreation, transportation/traffic, utilities and service systems (wastewater, water, stormwater, and solid waste).  

Notice of Preparation (public review period was May 29 - June 29, 2015)
Initial Study

Draft Environmental Impact Report
The issues identified through the Initial Study as requiring additional evaluation have been analyzed in the DEIR.  Based on the analyses contained in the Draft EIR, the Project would result in significant and unavoidable impacts in the following issue areas:  Air Quality, Recreation, and Traffic.  Other issues addressed in the Draft EIR, in which impacts were determined to be less than significant, include aesthetics; forestry resources; air quality (toxic air contaminants); biological resources; cultural resources; greenhouse gas emissions; land use and planning; noise and vibration; population and housing; public services (fire protection, law enforcement, schools, and libraries); transportation and circulation (consistency with plans); and utilities (water supply, wastewater, stormwater, and solid waste).  With implementation of mitigation measures, no other significant and unavoidable impacts are expected to occur as a result of the Project.

The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the General Plan Land Use Element/Zoning Code Amendments and Mobility Element Update project was released for public review on Friday, June 24, 2016, and the 45-day public review period ends on Monday, August 8, 2016 at 5:00 p.m.  

Comments on the DEIR may be provided in a number of ways: 

Notice of Availability
Executive Summary
Table of Contents
1.0 Introduction
2.0 Project Description
3.0 Basis for Cumulative Analysis
4.1 Aesthetics
4.2 Air Quality
4.3 Forestry Resources
4.4 Biological Resources
4.5 Cultural Resources
4.6 Greenhouse Gas Emissions
4.7 Land Use and Planning
4.8 Noise and Vibration
4.9 Population and Housing
4.10 Public Services
4.11 Transportation and Traffic
4.12 Utilities and Service Systems
5.0 Alternatives
6.0 Other Mandatory CEQA Considerations
7.0 List of Preparers and Persons Consulted
8.0 Bibliography
Appendix A: NOP and Initial Study and NOP Comments
Appendix B: Air Quality Data Worksheets
Appendix C: Greenhouse Gas Data Worksheets
Appendix D: Noise Data Worksheets
Appendix E: Public Services
Appendix F: Traffic Study Dated April 2016
Volume 1 Draft Environmental Impact Report (compiled document)
Volume 2 Draft Environmental Impact Report (compiled document)

Final Environmental Impact Report
During the public comment period on the EIR, comments were received from the following agencies:

  • Governor’s Office of Planning and Research
  • California Department of Transportation
  • Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • Mammoth Community Water District.
  • Mammoth Lakes Fire Protection District.

Responses to the comments received are included in the Response to Comments, which is included as the Final Environmental Impact Report.  In its entirety, the Final EIR is composed of the following items:

  • Draft EIR,
  • Comments received on the Draft EIR,
  • Written responses to comments,
  • Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program, and
  • Revisions to the Draft EIR.

Final Environmental Impact Report

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Location: 437 Old Mammoth Rd, Suite R, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546   •   Mailing Address: PO Box 1609, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546   •   Phone: 760-965-3600   •   Fax: 760-934-7493