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 #20-6 - Published November 18, 2020
Continued Vigilance Needed to Combat COVID-19
The City continues to closely monitor the incidence of COVID-19 in the Big Bear Valley, and continues to receive additional data from San Bernardino County contact tracers.

As of November 18, the County reports a total of 37 active cases in the Big Bear Valley, and the number of active cases has increased significantly over the past three weeks - there have been a total of 108 new cases since October 27. Overall, the County reports a cumulative total of 266 cases in the Big Bear Valley since the beginning of the COVID-19 event in March. Sadly, there has been one death attributed to COVID-19 in the Big Bear Valley, and this death is also linked to the loss of an unborn baby by a family member of the deceased.

Everyone in the Big Bear Valley is reminded of the potential serious consequences from contracting COVID-19. EVERYONE needs to take the virus seriously, and should take all responsible precautions to keep our community safe:
  • if you are feeling sick, stay at home, isolate yourself from everyone, and get tested as soon as possible,
  • if you are especially vulnerable or fearful of becoming sick, please take appropriate precautions for your circumstances, including staying at home,
  • WEAR A FACE COVERING whenever you are indoors at a local business, and also if you are within 6 feet of others in an outdoor setting,
  • maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others whenever possible, and
  • practice good personal hygiene - wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer!

Following these simple, reasonable precautions will make the most difference in keeping our community safe!

Please do your part - for yourself, for your family, for your friends, for our entire community, and for our local businesses who can't afford another restrictive lockdown!
Lee, Mote Elected to City Council - To Be Seated on December 14
The City Council will welcome two new members on December 14, as Alan Lee and Bynette Mote will be sworn-in to office at the Council's regular meeting. Lee and Mote were elected by voters in District 1 and District 5, and will serve 4-year terms through 2024. Congratulations to Council Member-Elect Lee and Council Member-Elect Mote!
Thank You to Jackowski and Jahn for Dedicated Service to Big Bear Lake
Current Council Members Bob Jackowski and Bill Jahn will end their service to the City at the December 14 City Council meeting, and the City expresses its sincere appreciation to both men for their dedication and commitment to the City of Big Bear Lake. Council Member Jackowski served on the City Council from 2012 - 2020, while Council Member Jahn served from 2004 - 2020. We wish both the very best in the future!
City Council to Discuss Vision for Big Bear Lake at Upcoming Special Workshop
The newly constituted City Council (including existing members Dave Caretto, Rick Herrick, and Randy Putz, and new members Alan Lee and Bynette Mote) will hold a special workshop meeting on December 3. The new Council will discuss Council leadership roles and Council service on numerous other boards and commissions, and, importantly, will engage in initial discussions about their collective vision for the City of Big Bear Lake in the future.

The City Council will consider the following five questions at the December 3 meeting, and this discussion will be followed up by additional workshop meetings in February and May as the City develops a multi-year plan for future initiatives and capital projects, and seeks to continually enhance the quality of life for our residents and second home owners, improve the visitor experience, and promote a vibrant local economy for our businesses.

Specific questions to be contemplated by the City Council include:

  • What do we (all of us in the City) “want to be when we grow up”? Stated another way, what do we aspire to be as a community?

  • How important is tourism (or not) to our community, and to what degree should we embrace, reduce, or grow tourism?

  • With regard to residents and visitors, to what degree do we want to be an exclusive or inclusive community? 

  • Should the City focus solely on the residents within the City limits, or should we try to serve the entire Big Bear Valley? 

  • What is the best tourism / retirement destination that you’ve visited yourself, and what about it made it special? To what degree should Big Bear Lake strive for that impression or experience?

These are high-level questions, with no right or wrong answers - the answers depend on our individual and collective values. Our goal, however, is to use the answers to these questions to begin to chart a course for the future of Big Bear Lake. As noted above, additional workshop meetings will be scheduled in the future, with additional opportunities for public input planned.

Stay tuned!
DRAFT Vacation Rental Ordinance Released -
Public Input Sessions Planned After Holidays
City staff have been listening intently to vacation rental concerns over the past 6 months as the City has experienced continuous and significant visitation due to COVID-19, and have been working hard to develop improvements to the City's vacation rental program. A new DRAFT ordinance has been prepared, and the draft ordinance and additional staff reports summarizing the proposed improvements are available for public review here.

A special joint meeting of the City Council and Planning Commission was originally scheduled for November 18 to discuss the draft ordinance, however, the meeting has been postponed due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and the expected high attendance at the meeting. The meeting will be rescheduled for a later date when it is safe to convene, likely after the upcoming holiday season.

The draft ordinance includes numerous provisions aimed at achieving and maintaining a balance between residential quality of life and vacation rental visitor impacts, and is specifically aimed at promoting respectful and responsible visitor behavior, promoting responsible management of vacation rental units, and addressing various other concerns. The draft ordinance is exactly that - a DRAFT - and is a place to start the conversation. Ultimately, City Council will adjust the draft after additional public input is received in the coming weeks and months.

The staff recommendation also includes a fundamental change in the enforcement strategy for vacation rentals, and intentionally shifts primary enforcement responsibility from vacation rental owners / managers to City enforcement officials. The City expects to initiate a more robust and aggressive enforcement effort for noise, parties, parking concerns, and other behavioral issues as part of the overall new program.

The vacation rental industry is vital to the future success of Big Bear Lake, and it is important that we achieve the right balance that enables our visitors to enjoy Big Bear Lake, enables our vacation rental owners and managers to thrive, and enables our local businesses to thrive - as long as our vacation rental guests respect our community and respect our residents. The City is confident that we can achieve and maintain the right balance - both now and long after COVID-19 is only a horrible memory!

Future meeting dates will be announced after the holiday season, and will be conducted in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines.
City Adds Additional Staff to Improve Vacation Rental Enforcement
The City continues efforts to improve vacation rental enforcement, and recently hired two new employees to focus on vacation rental concerns. The two new employees are expected to begin work in early December, complement an existing enforcement employee, and will provide nearly continuous coverage throughout the City. The new employees are part of the recently created Tourism Management Department that was specifically established to better manage visitor impacts on our community.
Excessive Noise, Parties Will Not Be Tolerated at Vacation Rentals
The City experienced a 5-fold increase in vacation rental complaints this summer compared to summer 2019, and more than 80% of these complaints involved excessive noise, parties, and parking issues in our residential neighborhoods. While we understand that people visit Big Bear Lake to enjoy themselves, we need ALL vacation rental visitors to behave in a responsible and respectful manner. The main reason that we all live in and visit Big Bear Lake is to relax and enjoy the beautiful natural environment - to get away from it all, enjoy the plentiful outdoor recreation opportunities, and enjoy the peaceful mountain environment!

We need all of our vacation rental owners and vacation rental managers to help us ensure a positive experience for both your visitors and YOUR NEIGHBORS. Please make sure you vet your guests appropriately, educate them about important occupancy limits, noise regulations, and parking requirements, and remain thoroughly engaged in managing their stay. As noted above, the City is in the process of significantly enhancing our enforcement efforts, and validated complaints will result in significant citations and penalties.
New "Welcome to Big Bear Lake" Signs With Electronic Messaging Planned for Eastern and Western Entrances to City
The City has been awarded funding through San Bernardino County to better educate our residents and visitors about COVID-19 issues, and the City will utilize these funds for the purchase and installation of two new electronic message signs at the eastern and western entrances to the City. The new signs will be similar in appearance to the existing dynamic message sign at City Hall, and will also serve as more attractive "Welcome to Big Bear Lake" signs. The new signs will be used to convey important COVID-19 information, along with other important public information for our residents and visitors.
City Purchasing 3.2 Acre Tract for Castle Rock Trailhead, Future Park Amenities
In an effort to reduce congestion associated with on-street parking and promote a safer environment, the City is in the process of purchasing a vacant 3.2 acre tract of land located adjacent to the Castle Rock trailhead near the western City limits.

This popular trailhead routinely attracts numerous vehicles parking along side the road, and the City is seeking to move most (but not all) of these vehicles to a future dedicated parking area. The new parking lot is expected to accommodate 30 - 40 vehicles when constructed (hopefully no later than summer 2022), and the City also hopes to add other park amenities at this location in the future. The property includes beautiful views of the lake and mountains, and is directly adjacent to the Castle Rock trailhead.

The $600,000 land purchase is funded exclusively by transient occupancy tax revenues, and the construction of the new parking area will be primarily funded by a $741,000 Federal grant.
City Planning to Submit Significant Park Grant Applications
City staff are currently soliciting public input on future park development in Big Bear Lake, and are working to assemble significant grant applications to the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Grant Program in March. Approximately $400 million will be awarded by the State in 2021, with a maximum grant award of $8.5 million.

A total of 3 public input sessions have been held in recent weeks, with more opportunities planned in the coming weeks. At this point, the City is primarily focused on the development of park amenities at the vacant "Christmas Tree lot" in The Village and the development of a new lakefront park, with amenities to serve residents and visitors at both locations. Please let us know your ideas by emailing comments and suggestions to Ruth Lorentz, Principal Planner.
Department of Water & Power Completes Street Resurfacing Work
The City works closely with the Department of Water & Power (DWP, governed by a separate governing board, to maximize value for the City when various water projects are completed. The DWP recently completed the replacement of numerous water lines in the City, and as part of this project also completed full-width resurfacing of approximately 2.5 miles of City streets.

The City appreciates this partnership, and these efforts complement the City's goal to create a recurring annual street resurfacing program. The City maintains approximately 90 miles of City streets, and is working to develop a responsible financing / partnership plan to resurface approximately 4 - 5 miles annually in the future.
Decorative Fencing Being Installed Along New Stanfield Cutoff Dedicated Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail
Construction continues on the new dedicated bicycle and pedestrian trail across Stanfield Cutoff, and the project is expected to be complete later this month or early December. Contractors have begun installing attractive decorative fencing to delineate the new trail, which will link the City limits with the popular Alpine Pedal Path on the North Shore.
Preparations Continue for Planned Construction of Moonridge Commercial Corridor Improvements Beginning Next Summer
City staff continue to plan for the construction of long-awaited improvements to the Moonridge Road commercial corridor, and are targeting summer 2021 to begin construction. The project includes significant street, parking, sidewalk, and other aesthetic improvements, including the construction of two new roundabouts. The overall goals of the project are to create an attractive, safe, and vibrant commercial node in this area of the City, and promote new commercial development and redevelopment in this area.

The estimated project construction cost is approximately $6.7 million. The City has already secured $1.5 in grant funding for construction, and currently has 3 other grant applications pending that could provide up to the full $6.7 million for the project. City staff are also working to identify necessary City funding for the project, and are targeting the use of transient occupancy tax revenues for any construction costs not funded by grants. All grant funding decisions are anticipated in spring 2021 or summer 2021, and the City expects to move expeditiously after all grant decisions are known. Construction is expected to occur over a two-year period.
Want to Get Involved and Make a Difference? Upcoming Vacancy on City Planning Commission
With the recent election of Bynette Mote to the City Council, there will soon be a vacancy on the Planning Commission for the remainder of a term that expires in June 2023. If you are interested in serving on this important commission that helps craft development regulations and reviews proposed new projects, please contact Planning and Inspections Director Sue O'Strander or City Clerk Erica Stephenson for more information.
Help Wanted! City Recruiting New Director of Public Services
The City is currently recruiting for a new Director of Public Services to oversee the City's public infrastructure maintenance and development activities. Service areas under this position include streets, drainage, parks, wastewater collection, solid waste, and more. The Director of Public Services is a key member of the City's leadership team, and advises the City Manager and City Council on these issues. To learn more, please view the recruitment brochure by clicking here.

This position is vacant due to the resignation of John Harris, current Director of Public Services. John has been employed by the City for more than 3 years, and is leaving to become the Director of Municipal Utilities and Engineering for the City of Redlands. All of us at the City appreciate John's service to the City of Big Bear Lake, and wish him the very best in Redlands.
Multiple Ways to View City Council Meetings
The City Council meets regularly on the second Monday of each month at 6 pm in City Hall. If you can't make it out to City Hall that evening, but still want to view the meeting, there are numerous ways to view the Council meetings, including:

  • watch live on Channel 182 via Spectrum cable,

  • watch live on the City's website, by clicking on the link in the top center of the main page, or

  • watch archived meetings on the City's website, by clicking on the link in the top center of the main page.
SHOP LOCAL This Holiday Season!
The holidays are fast approaching, and everyone is encouraged to SHOP LOCAL this year! Now more than ever, our local businesses need your support, and you can promote the continued success of your friends and neighbors right here in Big Bear Lake!
Be Prepared - Always Carry Your Chains!
Winter is nearly upon us, and we've already had a significant snow storm earlier this month! Residents and visitors are encouraged to always carry tire chains, as the winter weather can sometimes be unpredictable and occur suddenly.

To monitor current road conditions on SR 18 and SR 38, please visit Caltrans website, and simply type in either SR 18 or SR 38 (or other routes along your way to Big Bear).

If you must stop to install tire chains along the way to or from Big Bear, please do so in a safe and responsible manner. Please pull over in a safe location away from traffic, and do not stop in the vehicle travel lanes, as you are putting yourself and others at risk and also delaying travel for everyone!

Be prepared!
Did You Know?
The City collected nearly $6 million of transient occupancy tax revenue in FY 2019-20, despite the fact that all traditional lodging facilities and vacation rentals were shut down for more than 2 months from late March to late May. Of this nearly $6 million, almost 30% was derived from traditional lodging facilities and more than 70% was generated by vacation rentals.
Sign Up for Elevation 6752' -
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!

The easiest way to stay-informed about the City of Big Bear Lake is to sign up for this new email newsletter. It's easy to sign up - simply visit https://www.citybigbearlake.com/ and click on "Text & Email Notifications" in the top center of the homepage. Simply click on the link, enter your name and email address, and you're all set. Signing up will ensure you receive the new Elevation 6752' newsletter each month, and also any special communications from the City of Big Bear Lake for emergency situations, special events, and more!

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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