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 #21-11 - Published November 23, 2021
City Acquiring 19-Acre Lakefront Property for New Park
At its November 1 meeting, the City Council approved a long-term agreement to lease approximately 19 acres of land for the future development of a new lakefront park and other improvements near The Village. The lease agreement was also approved by the Bear Valley Mutual Water Company Board of Directors, the land owner, on November 9.

The approved lease agreement grants the City control of the entire 19-acre property for 99 years, with an additional 30 years of extensions that would bring the total term to 129 years. In exchange, the City will pay Bear Valley Mutual Water Company a total of $100,000 annually, with a 2% annual escalator. The property includes a half-mile of lakefront, and the City plans to develop at least at least 10 acres of the property as a new park for our residents and visitors to enjoy, with links to the nearby Veterans Park, Rotary Park, and The Village.

Two existing restaurants on the property (The Pines Lakefront and The Pines Tavern on The Lake) will continue to operate, and will now lease the facilities from the City. The City will assume management of the Leisure Bear Mobile Home Park, and will be working cooperatively with residents to improve the park. The City will also assume management of two single-family rental homes on the property. In the long-term, the City expects to explore development opportunities on a portion of the site, potentially including the construction of new workforce housing units and new commercial development.

The approved agreement includes a 6-month due diligence period. The City will be meeting with current tenants in the coming weeks to discuss their concerns, and will also be reviewing any potential environmental concerns at the property. The City expects to complete its due diligence by next spring, and assuming no significant concerns arise, the City would assume control of the property in May or June 2022. Once the City assumes control of the property, an extensive public planning process will be undertaken to determine specific future plans for the 19-acre property.

The City's annual lease payment will be funded by transient occupancy tax revenue generated by overnight visitors to Big Bear Lake, and any future improvements will likely rely on grant funding and additional transient occupancy tax revenue. There is also the potential for the City to generate additional revenue in the future from any new development that may occur on the site.

The City is excited to undertake this beneficial project, and looks forward to great things at this property in the future!
Winter is Coming! Big Bear Lake Welcomes Respectful Guests!
Although it's taking a little longer than we'd all like, winter weather will soon arrive in Big Bear Lake! That means beautiful snow scenery, great times on the ski slopes, family fun playing in the snow, and warming up in our great restaurants and shops!

The City looks forward to welcoming respectful guests to Big Bear Lake this winter, and urges everyone to keep the following tips in mind:

  • Be prepared - make sure you have your snow chains in the vehicle, and only install them at a location well off to the side of the road. You are risking your safety and others' safety, and delaying everyone else's travel to, from, and through Big Bear Lake when you are not prepared and not parked in a safe location to install the chains.

  • If you are visiting overnight and staying in a vacation rental, be a good neighbor! We are so happy you're here to enjoy our winter playground, but we need you to respect our community. Check out our simple expectations here , and don't ruin your stay with a costly citation. Also check ahead with the owner or manager of your vacation rental property to make sure you understand the do's and don'ts!

  • If you are only visiting for the day, please enjoy our parks, trails, and other public spaces. Do not park illegally (you will receive a citation and/or be towed), and don't trespass on private property. Please treat our community like you'd want visitors to your community to behave!

  • Don't litter! Please take extra care to make sure you don't inadvertently leave anything behind that doesn't belong in our beautiful natural environment. Properly dispose of used or broken sleds, make sure your trash finds its way to a trash receptacle, and help us make yours and others' experience as beautiful as it can be!

  • HAVE FUN!

For comprehensive information about all that Big Bear has to offer, please visit our official travel and tourism website here .
Big Bear Mountain Resort Begins Snowmaking Operations
Big Bear Mountain Resorts is working hard to be ready to welcome skiers and snowboarders as soon as weather conditions permit. Snowmaking operations have begun, and we are hopeful the slopes will open soon! For the latest information, please visit their website here .
You Don't Need a Car in Big Bear - Ride the Free Trolley This Winter!
Mountain Transit's new FREE trolley service is the best way to get around Big Bear this winter! If you live here or are simply visiting, just leave your car parked in the garage or driveway, and let Mountain Transit take you to the ski slopes, The Village, and other shopping and dining destinations!

The new service operates from 6:30 am to 9:30 pm every day, with service all throughout the Big Bear Valley. The trolley will travel through your area every 30 minutes, with stops in close proximity to just about every neighborhood in Big Bear Lake and surrounding areas. There is no charge to ride - simply hop on at the bus stop near you - avoid the need to park at one of the ski parking lots and get on a shuttle bus, avoid the ski parking fee, don't worry about looking for a parking spot in The Village, and just sit back and enjoy the ride!

To learn more, simply visit Mountain Transit's website. Check out the maps for the Red Line, the Gold Line, and the Blue Line and then hop on! You can also download a free APP for your phone that will tell you where the trolleys are located in real time.

The new FREE trolley service is a cooperative effort among Mountain Transit, the City of Big Bear Lake, the Big Bear Airport, San Bernardino County (Supervisor Dawn Rowe), Big Bear Mountain Resorts, and Visit Big Bear, and is intended to make it easier for our residents and visitors to get around the Big Bear Valley and reduce traffic congestion. See you on the trolley soon!
City Council Conducts First Discussion About Potential Transient Occupancy Tax Increase
The City Council has initiated discussion about a potential increase in the transient occupancy tax (TOT) rate in Big Bear Lake, and will be working over the next several months to develop a plan to present to the voters in November 2022.

The City's current TOT rate is 8%, with the proceeds from 6% used to fund critical City services (law enforcement, snow removal, street maintenance, and more) and the proceeds from 2% used to fund beneficial infrastructure projects (bicycle paths, park improvements, the currently underway Moonridge Corridor improvements, and more). The current tax rate generates approximately $7 million or more annually, and is the City's largest annual revenue source. In addition to the 8% TOT rate, overnight visitors also pay an additional 3%, with these proceeds used to fund marketing and promotion efforts by Visit Big Bear and to help the City mitigate visitor impacts (public restrooms and trash collection). The combined rate charged to all overnight visitors in our hotels, motels, lodges, and vacation rentals is 11%. The combined rate in many other Southern California locations is in the 12% - 13% range or higher.

Initial City Council discussion occurred at the November 15 meeting, with much of the discussion centered on a potential 2% increase to be presented to the voters next November. Council members expressed support for dedicating the proceeds from any voter approved TOT rate increase for public safety initiatives (law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services) and/or investment in critical infrastructure (potentially including the Replenish Big Bear project, bicycle paths, and park improvements). City Council will engage in additional discussion this winter and spring as part of the annual budget process, and is expected to make a final decision by May or June 2022.

A previous 2% TOT increase was originally scheduled for the November 2020 ballot, however, the City delayed this vote due to significant uncertainty regarding COVID-19 when a final decision was necessary in June 2020.
City Considering Solid Waste Service Enhancements
The City's current solid waste franchise agreement with Big Bear Disposal expires in June 2022, and City staff are currently working to identify potential solid waste service enhancements for consideration by the City Council in the coming months.

City staff are focused on reducing congestion at Clean Bear sites, improving the aesthetic appearance of the Clean Bear sites, ensuring that non-City residents pay their fair share for the use of Clean Bear sites, implementing new State requirements for organic waste, improving the effectiveness of curbside collection services, making it easier for our visitors to dispose of trash, and creating a better overnight visitor experience. With these goals in mind, City staff are currently evaluating the following potential changes:

  • a new traffic pattern for users of the Garstin Road Clean Bear site,

  • staffing at the City Hall Clean Bear site,

  • implementation of a new fee for non-City residents using the Clean Bear sites,

  • future relocation of the City Hall Clean Bear site,

  • regular collection of vegetative debris (limbs, pine needles, etc.),

  • implementation of standardized trash and recycling containers,

  • implementation of special, private-sector collection services for vacation rental units,

  • strategic implementation of temporary, "pop-up" Clean Bear sites on key days at key locations,

  • Sunday operating hours at the County transfer station,

  • expanded and/or mandated curbside collection services,

  • and more.

City staff will present concepts for initial City Council discussion at the December 6 meeting, with Council decisions anticipated later this winter. The effective date of any service changes will not occur until at least July 2022, and perhaps later.
City Capital Plan Being Updated
City Council reviewed the City's adopted 5-Year Capital Replacement / Improvement Plan at its November 15 meeting, and discussed possible adjustments to the plan in conjunction with the FY 2022-23 budget process that the City will undertake this spring.

Council continues to prioritize the development of new bicycle paths, with funding previously identified for future new segments along Rathbun Creek and Stanfield Marsh. Council also discussed the possibility of allocating funding for a new bicycle path that would link the Castle Rock trailhead with The Village in the future, providing a safe link for bicyclists and pedestrians located in western Big Bear Lake. Other continuing priorities include the Moonridge Corridor, significant investment in street rehabilitation, and park improvements. Council members also expressed support for workforce housing, wayfinding signs, bus shelters, and public restroom facilities.

City staff are working to incorporate Council feedback into the updated capital plan, and a new draft 5-year plan will be presented for further Council discussion and review in March. The Council is expected to formally adopt an updated capital plan in June in conjunction with the FY 2022-23 City budget.
New Public Restroom Ordered for Stanfield Cutoff
City Council approved the purchase and installation of a new pre-fabricated public restroom facility for the Stanfield Cutoff area at its November 1 meeting, and the new public restroom facility is expected to be installed this spring. The new facility will be located at the corner of Stanfield Cutoff and Big Bear Boulevard, and will fill a pressing need for people visiting this popular area of Big Bear Lake in the future. The total cost of the new restroom facility is nearly $209,000, and is being funded 50% by Visit Big Bear and 50% by the City (with transient occupancy tax revenues).

The new public restroom facility is the first of several planned improvements to this area in the next few years. Future plans include the paving of the existing parking lot, the rehabilitation of the existing wooden boardwalks, and the construction of new asphalt bicycle paths from Stanfield Cutoff to Division Drive.
Supervisor Rowe Working to Help Big Bear Lake
The City of Big Bear Lake is represented by 3rd District County Supervisor Dawn Rowe, and City officials continue to work collaboratively with Supervisor Rowe to improve the City and the entire Big Bear Valley. Supervisor Rowe has been a great partner for the City, most recently securing $130,000 of County funding to support the new Free Trolley service.

Supervisor Rowe recently visited with City officials to make us aware of potential future County funding opportunities for beneficial projects, including fire services, the Replenish Big Bear Project, workforce housing, and bicycle paths. City officials will be pursuing County assistance in the coming months, and greatly appreciate Supervisor Rowe's commitment to Big Bear!
City Staff Continue Diligent Vacation Rental Enforcement
City staff in the Tourism Management Department continue to diligently enforce the City's new vacation rental regulations, and their efforts are making a positive difference in our neighborhoods!

Detailed and summary reports regarding the City's enforcement activities are available on the City's website here , and are updated monthly. Highlights of the City's activities thus far include the following:

  • there are 2,561 active vacation rental licenses in the City (as of November 19), out of a total of nearly 10,000 residential housing units in the City,

  • since the new program was implemented in January, the City has issued more than 300 citations for poor guest behavior (noise, parties, parking), excessive occupancy, illegal advertising, operating without a license, and more,

  • since January, the City has levied citations totaling more than $628,000, with more than $255,000 collected - with ongoing collection efforts in progress, and

  • a total of 10 vacation rental licensees are currently on formal probation, an additional 10 are on a watch list, an additional 4 have been suspended or revoked, and 4 have received a lifetime ban.

It is important to note that the overwhelming majority of vacation rental owners and managers care about our community, and are diligently working to ensure proper guest behavior. More than 90% of all licensed vacation rentals have not received a citation, and the owners and managers of the units that have received a citation are working cooperatively with City staff to take appropriate steps to prevent future citations. Equally notable, the overwhelming majority of our vacation rental guests are behaving respectfully, and when one considers all of the occupied nights at vacation rentals this year, less than one-half of 1% of all occupied nights result in a concern reported by a neighbor or City staff!

The Tourism Management Department's website also includes a wealth of additional information about the vacation rental program that may be helpful for residents, owners, managers, and visitors.
COVID-19 Update
COVID-19 cases have increased slightly over the past month, with a total of 182 new cases reported since October 25 - an average of 6 new cases per day. Overall, there have been a total of 1,840 cases of COVID-19 in the Big Bear Valley since the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020.

Sadly, there have also been 5 additional deaths reported in the Big Bear Valley since the last edition of Elevation 6752'. San Bernardino County is now reporting a total of 38 deaths in the Big Bear Valley attributed to COVID-19.

The City continues to encourage everyone to get vaccinated and take appropriate precautions for your personal and family circumstances.
Next City Vaccine Clinic Scheduled for December 14
The next City-sponsored vaccine clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, and the City is currently working with San Bernardino County to schedule additional clinics in December and January. Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are expected to be available, including booster shots. Appointments can be made at this website approximately one week in advance, and walk-ins are also welcome.

In addition to the City-sponsored clinics, many pharmacies and other medical providers offer vaccinations, including booster shots. Please reach out to your preferred provider and secure your vaccination as soon as possible!
Happy Thanksgiving!
The City of Big Bear Lake wishes everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

City Hall will be closed in observance of the holiday on Thursday, November 25 and Friday, November 26.
Did You Know?
The City of Big Bear Lake is a charter city operating under California law, and was incorporated on November 28, 1980. The City's 41st birthday is this coming Sunday!
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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 is complemented by other public communications strategies as needed. 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