Elevation 6752'
The Official Newsletter of the City of Big Bear Lake, CA
Elevation 6752', composed monthly by City Manager Frank A. Rush, Jr., is presented to keep our residents, property owners, investors, businesses, and visitors well-informed about the City of Big Bear Lake's issues, projects, and initiatives!
Issue #21-3 - Published March 26, 2021
COVID-19 Vaccination Eligibility Expands - Get Your Shots Soon!
COVID-19 vaccination efforts continue in earnest, and the City of Big Bear Lake encourages EVERYONE to get vaccinated as soon as possible when eligible.

As of March 26, nearly 20% of the adult population of the City of Big Bear Lake is fully vaccinated. An additional 11% of the City population has received the first shot, with the second shot scheduled in the next few weeks. The City is pleased to see good progress, and is optimistic that the vast majority of our residents will be fully vaccinated by late spring. Beginning April 1, ALL individuals over the age of 50 are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, and everyone over age 16 will be eligible beginning on April 15.

There are now several vaccination options available to our residents, both here in the Big Bear Valley and in nearby communities off the mountain:

  • Bear Valley Community Hospital will continue to offer vaccinations as supplies become available. Please monitor their website for future opportunities by clicking here.

  • The City of Big Bear Lake is partnering with San Bernardino County to offer COVID-19 vaccinations at City Hall on Friday, April 2. Details are still being finalized, and will be announced in the coming days.

  • San Bernardino County recently reached an agreement with the State of California to continue offering vaccines, with several County sites located off the mountain. Please view available locations and appointments by clicking here.

  • State vaccination sites continue to operate in Bloomington and Yucaipa, and information is available here.

  • Vaccine appointments are also available at various hospitals in San Bernardino County. Please click here to learn more.

  • Various pharmacies are now offering vaccination appointments. Please click here to learn more.

  • Many private health care providers are also offering vaccinations. Please contact your personal health care provider, and/or click here to learn more.
COVID-19 Cases Continue to Decrease, But Now 16 Deaths Attributed to COVID-19
Thankfully, the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to decrease, with only 29 new cases reported in the Big Bear Valley over the last month (since February 26). The cumulative case total for the Big Bear Valley (since March 2020) is now 1,042 cases.

Unfortunately, San Bernardino County is now reporting a total of 16 deaths in the Big Bear Valley attributed to COVID-19. There have been 7 deaths reported in the City of Big Bear Lake, 7 deaths in Big Bear City, 1 death in Sugarloaf, and 1 death in Fawnskin.
San Bernardino County and Big Bear Lake Expected to Move to ORANGE Tier Soon
With increasing numbers vaccinated, fewer new COVID-19 cases, declining transmission rates, and falling positive test rates, San Bernardino County is now expected to qualify for the less-restrictive ORANGE tier within the next two weeks.

Progression to the ORANGE tier will allow Big Bear Lake businesses to further expand operations, and is another encouraging sign that we are moving closer to normalcy. Please click here to view specific operating guidelines for different types of businesses.
City Council Continues Review of Vacation Rental Ordinance
The City Council continues to consider additional adjustments to the City's vacation rental ordinance, and will hold its second special workshop meeting on this issue on Thursday, April 15 at 6 pm at City Hall. The public is encouraged to attend (with appropriate distancing and masks) and provide additional input on this issue. This meeting follows a previous special workshop meeting held on March 12, at which approximately 50 people attended.

The City Council adopted a new urgency vacation rental ordinance on January 11 that significantly enhances the City's enforcement capabilities, places appropriate emphasis on preventing and resolving noise, party, and parking complaints, and establishes severe penalties for illegal vacation rentals, among other changes. The new urgency ordinance appears to be working well thus far, with significant decreases in the number of complaints over the past 11 weeks. It is anticipated, however, that City Council will act to further improve the vacation rental ordinance later this spring. Potential additional adjustments expected to be discussed include a potential moratorium on new vacation rental permits, a potential cap on the total number of vacation rental licenses, a potential limit on the number of rental contracts or days per year, potential changes to the trash collection system for vacation rentals, clarification of maximum occupancy requirements, clarification of parking requirements, and others.

City Council is expected to engage in additional discussion about the vacation rental ordinance in May, and will likely consider a new permanent ordinance in May or June.
Construction of New Bicycle Trail Set To Begin
A City contractor (S. Porter, Inc.) will soon begin construction of a dedicated, new 1/2 mile bicycle trail along Big Bear Boulevard and Sandalwood Drive, resulting in a safer, more convenient connection from the City to the Alpine Pedal Path on the North Shore. The new trail will begin at the Rathbun Creek crossing on Sandalwood Drive, and continue east along Sandalwood Drive and Big Bear Boulevard to Stanfield Cutoff. Construction is expected to begin in April or May, and be complete by late summer or early fall.

The total cost of this project is approximately $1.15 million, and is funded exclusively by State grant funds and transient occupancy taxes paid by overnight visitors. The project is a key segment of the City's overall bicycle trail plan, which seeks to provide a continuous dedicated bicycle trail system (approximately 3.5 miles) from the Moonridge area to the Alpine Pedal Path and Division Drive within the next 5 years.
City Council Discusses FY 21-22 Budget Priorities, DRAFT 5-Year Capital Plan
The City Council met on March 22 to review the City's current financial position, review future budget projections, and express its budget priorities for FY 21-22 and beyond. Council discussed several potential service enhancements, potential new capital projects, and other potential initiatives, and provided helpful direction to City staff as work continues on the FY 21-22 City budget. Importantly, the City Council also reviewed a draft 5-Year Capital Replacement / Improvement Plan that outlines the scope, timing, and funding for planned capital projects over the next five years.

The City is fortunate to maintain a solid financial position, and the overall City budget outlook is positive. These factors should enable the City to maintain quality services and undertake beneficial capital improvements in FY 21-22 and beyond. At the March 22 meeting, Council expressed preliminary support for additional law enforcement staffing and parks personnel to mitigate visitor impacts, efforts to develop more affordable workforce housing, improved street rehabilitation efforts, improved code enforcement efforts targeted at unsightly commercial properties, and continued work on traffic congestion mitigation strategies. Additionally, Council expressed preliminary support for the Moonridge Corridor Improvement Project, the construction of a new parking lot and restroom facility to serve the Castle Rock Trail, attractive new City signage, and several new bicycle trail segments.

City Council also discussed a planned increase in the vacation rental license fee to ensure that license fees cover 100% of program costs. If ultimately approved, the fee would increase from $235 and $279 to approximately $500 or more annually, and generate approximately $600,000 or more annually. The Council also discussed a potential November 2022 ballot measure to increase the City's transient occupancy tax rate, which is currently 8% (plus a 3% TBID assessment). Each additional 1% increase in the transient occupancy tax is expected to generate approximately $850,000 or more annually.

City staff will present the FY 21-22 Recommended Budget and 5-Year Capital Replacement / Improvement Plan to the City Council at its regular meeting on May 3. City Council will review and adjust the budget and capital plan during May and June, and formal adoption is expected sometime in June. The City's new fiscal year (FY 21-22) begins on July 1 and runs through June 30, 2022.
City Council Adjusts Meeting Dates
Beginning on April 5, the City Council will now hold regular meetings on the first and third Monday of each month (with adjustments if there are conflicts with official holidays) beginning at 6 pm.

All meetings are held in person at City Hall, and can be viewed live on Channel 182 and on the City's website. Archived meetings are also available for viewing on the City's website.

Upcoming regular Monday night meetings are scheduled for April 5, April 19, May 3, and May 17. City Council is also scheduled to conduct special meetings on Thursday, April 15 at 6 pm (Vacation Rental Ordinance) and Tuesday, April 20 at 1:15 pm (to discuss the City's Housing Element Update).
Special Memorial Day Fireworks Display Planned
Visit Big Bear, the Rotary Club of Big Bear Lake, and the City are busy preparing for a special Memorial Day fireworks display over Big Bear Lake on Monday, May 31. The planned Memorial Day fireworks display is the rescheduled July 4 show from 2020 that was postponed due to COVID-19, and is purposely scheduled for a Monday night to provide our local community with a fun, positive event after a very long and challenging past year +. We look forward to a great show, and to a great start to the summer in Big Bear Lake!
Planning Underway for Other Special Events
With COVID-19 concerns gradually decreasing in our community, special event organizers are beginning to make plans to resume activities this summer and fall. Visit Big Bear and the City will be working closely with event organizers to ensure that appropriate safety precautions are implemented, and, if necessary, will postpone any events if COVID-19 conditions worsen and the events cannot be produced safely.

In addition to the planned Memorial Day fireworks display, there are currently four special events currently in discussion with Visit Big Bear and the City: Grill & Chill food event (tentatively planned for May 30 - 31 outdoors at the Bartlett parking lot), the Big Bear Film Summit (tentatively planned for June 11 - 27 at outdoor locations), the traditional July 4 fireworks display over the lake, and the Tour de Big Bear bicycling event (tentatively planned for August 5 - 8 at Bear Mountain and various bicycling routes).

Questions regarding special events should be directed to Visit Big Bear and/or the City's Tourism Management Department.
City Expected to Receive Approximately $1 Million from American Rescue Plan Act
The recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act includes a total of $350 billion for State and local governments, and the City of Big Bear Lake is expected to receive approximately $1 million.

Thankfully, the City of Big Bear Lake has been fortunate to cover all COVID-19 related expenditures with previous Federal and State allocations and has not suffered the significant revenue losses experienced by other cities and counties. As a result, the City will be able to utilize these additional funds for targeted improvements in our community, and City Council is expected to formally appropriate these funds later this spring or summer (after receiving appropriate guidance from the US Treasury Department).
City Council Renews Tourism Business Improvement District
After 5 months of detailed review and discussion, the City Council formally approved the renewal of the Big Bear Lake Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) earlier this month. As a result, the TBID is renewed through March 31, 2031, and the current TBID assessment rates (3% on short-term accommodations, 2% on ski resort lift tickets) will remain in effect. Visit Big Bear will continue to manage funds generated by the TBID.

The TBID is expected to generate more than $3 million annually for marketing efforts, special events, and tourism impact mitigation efforts, with a clear focus on promoting sustainable and managed tourism in our community. Importantly, the TBID also now includes an associated Memorandum of Understanding that requires greater collaboration between Visit Big Bear and the City on tourism issues, transfers funding responsibility for certain City tourism-related expenditures to Visit Big Bear, and also establishes a new Tourism Impact Mitigation Fund to assist the City in effectively managing tourism impacts. The new Tourism Impact Mitigation Fund includes an initial $150,000 deposit, and is expected to increase by approximately $150,000 - $200,000 annually in the future.
City Exploring Lakefront Park Opportunities
The City continues to explore various opportunities to enhance the ability of our residents and visitors to enjoy the lake, and is focused on 3 potential sites in the center of the City.

City Council recently approved a $2.99 million State grant application to acquire a 1.15 acre tract west of Marina Resort to develop a new lakefront park, with approximately 375 linear feet of lake shoreline. Grant awards are expected to be announced later this summer, and if awarded the City will likely complete the acquisition this fall.

The City is also in discussion with Marina Resort to potentially acquire an additional tract with approximately 325 feet of lake shoreline to expand Rotary Park, in conjunction with other planned Rotary Park improvements. The City is also contemplating furniture, lighting, and fencing improvements at Rotary Park as part of the FY 21-22 budget.

The City is also in discussion with Bear Valley Mutual Water Company to potentially acquire a 19-acre lakefront tract west of Pine Knot Marina, with nearly 1/2 mile of lake shoreline. If ultimately acquired, the majority of the site would become the City's signature park.

The City is hopeful that one or all of these opportunities will come to fruition in the coming months, and is committed to improving the City's parks system for all to enjoy!
City Exploring Solid Waste Service Adjustments
Big Bear Disposal, Inc. provides solid waste collection services in the City of Big Bear Lake under an existing franchise agreement that will expire in June. The City expects to extend this agreement for up to 1 additional year, and in the meantime will be working toward a new, long-term solid waste franchise agreement later this year.

There is some interest in adjusting the City's solid waste services, with concerns expressed about traffic congestion at Clean Bear sites, the use of Clean Bear sites by non-City residents (who do not pay for the services), and the appearance of the Clean Bear sites. City Council and City staff will be reviewing these issues in the coming months, and welcome constructive suggestions on how we can improve solid waste services in the City of Big Bear Lake. To share your ideas and concerns, please email us!
New Parking Area Planned for Castle Rock Trail
The City plans to construct a new parking lot, trailhead, and restroom facility to serve the popular Castle Rock trail in 2022, and planning and design efforts are currently underway. The new parking lot is expected to accommodate approximately 30 cars, and is aimed at reducing illegal parking and congestion on SR 18 in this area.

The new facilities will be constructed on a 3.2 acre tract west of Talbot Drive that was acquired by the City in late 2020. The new facilities will be concentrated in the northeast corner of the tract, with the bulk of the remaining property available for future parking lot expansion and development of new park amenities. The total estimated cost of the project is approximately $1.1 million, and is funded exclusively by Federal grant funds and transient occupancy taxes collected from overnight visitors.

The new facilities are expected to be complete by late summer or fall 2022.
New Director of Public Services Begins Work on April 12
The City is pleased to welcome Sean Sullivan as our new Director of Public Services, and he will begin work with the City on April 12. Sean will oversee all of the City's engineering and public works functions, including streets, drainage, parks, bicycle trails, solid waste, snow removal, facilities, and the sewer collection system.

Sean brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the City, with nearly 13 years of public works service to the City of Rosemead and the City of Monrovia. He currently serves as the Public Works Director in Monrovia, where he has been heavily involved in the comprehensive Monrovia Renewal project that includes more than $50 million of public infrastructure improvements.

Sean and his family are excited to relocate to the Big Bear Valley, and he is anxious to begin serving our residents and visitors!
Did You Know?
There are approximately 2,300 homes in the City occupied by permanent residents, approximately 5,100 homes utilized exclusively as second homes, and approximately 2,400 homes serving as vacation rentals. In addition, there are nearly 1,600 hotel, motel, and lodge rooms available in the City of Big Bear Lake. If ALL of these homes and rooms are occupied at the SAME time, that results in an estimated peak overnight population in the City of Big Bear Lake (City limits only; 6.5 square miles) of approximately 53,000 people!

This estimate does NOT include day visitors, and the City continues to work with Visit Big Bear and others to develop accurate estimates of the number of day visitors. Various traffic count and cell phone data are being analyzed to better estimate the number of day visitors in the City on a peak day. Preliminary estimates suggest that there may be as many as 20,000 - 25,000 day visitors in the City on a peak day, however, additional analysis is required.
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The Official Newsletter of the City of Big Bear Lake!
Thank you for checking out this issue of Elevation 6752', the official newsletter of the City of Big Bear Lake, CA! This newsletter is presented to keep you well-informed about the City's issues, projects, and initiatives, and will be complemented by other public communications strategies in the future. The City Council, Planning Commission, City staff, and numerous others are all working hard to provide the highest quality City services, in a helpful and professional manner, and promote new public and private investment in our community - in order to enhance the quality of life and visitor experience - and we want to make sure you are well-informed about our efforts on your behalf!

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City of Big Bear Lake
39707 Big Bear Blvd. PO Box 10000, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
Phone: (909) 866-5831 | Fax: (909) 866-5491