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 #21-2 - Published February 23, 2021
Focus on COVID-19 Vaccinations, Only 4 New Cases Reported Over Last Week
Thankfully, the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to decrease each week in the Big Bear Valley. There were only 4 new cases reported over the past week, the lowest number of new weekly cases since last summer.

Vaccination efforts continue in earnest, with Bear Valley Community Hospital, San Bernardino County, and other private providers offering vaccination appointments. Supplies continue to be limited, and the timing of available slots is often uncertain, but our residents are encouraged to monitor the following websites for potential vaccination opportunities:

  • Bear Valley Community Hospital will post future opportunities here.

  • San Bernardino County offers several public health vaccination sites off the mountain, and you can view available locations and appointments here.

  • State vaccination sites are operating in Bloomington and Yucaipa, and information is available here.

  • Vaccine appointments are also available at other hospitals in San Bernardino County, by clicking here.

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

  • Some private healthcare providers are also offering vaccinations. Click here to learn more.

Additionally, the City is partnering with San Bernardino County to offer an invitation-only vaccination clinic at City Hall this Saturday. The San Bernardino County Department of Aging and Adult Services will be contacting vulnerable individuals directly to schedule appointments.

As of February 22, approximately 12.0% of adults (18+) in the Big Bear Valley have received the first vaccine dose. Approximately 2.6% of all Big Bear Valley adults have received both doses.
Planning Continues for Moonridge Corridor Improvements Project
City staff continue significant planning efforts for the construction of the long-awaited Moonridge Corridor Improvement project, and will present a financing strategy and proposed construction schedule to the City Council on March 8.

The project includes includes comprehensive streetscape improvements to Moonridge Road between Elm Street and Clubview Drive, including the installation of two new roundabouts at the Elm Street and Clubview Drive intersections. Planned streetscape improvements include the rehabilitation of existing vehicle travel lanes, the installation of medians, a new bicycle trail, new heated sidewalks, reconfigured on-street parking spaces, attractive landscaping, decorative lighting, fixed electronic message board signs, and more.  

The total estimated cost of the project is approximately $8.2 million, and would be funded by a combination of SBCTA funding (up to $3.2 million) and transient occupancy taxes (approximately $5 million). City Council will review a construction schedule that begins this summer, ceases for the winter months, resumes in spring 2022, and is complete by fall 2022. If approved by Council, construction bids will be solicited later this spring.
City Unveils New Website
The City continues to place a greater priority on public communications, in an effort to keep our permanent residents, second home owners, investors, businesses, and visitors well-informed about the City's issues and initiatives. To this end, the City has unveiled a new, cleaner, and more intuitive City website. The City's website can be accessed by clicking here, and we encourage you to peruse the entire site. City staff will continue to expand and improve the website in the future, and we welcome your suggestions!
New APP Makes it Easy to Report Vacation Rental and Other Concerns
In an effort to make it easier for our residents to report vacation rental concerns, the City has implemented a new, user-friendly APP. Residents can continue to call the 866-CODE hotline to report concerns, however, the new APP makes it even easier to report concerns and also makes it easier for City staff to receive, track, and follow-up on concerns.

The APP is now live on the City website, and you can access it off the main page by clicking the “Report a Concern” button on the bottom or simply by clicking here. Although the “Report a Concern” feature can be accessed on the City website, the primary intent of the APP is for our residents to download the APP on their smartphone. To download the APP, simply search for GovAlert on the AppStore or GooglePlay. The APP is very intuitive, includes a map of the City with your current location, a menu of potential concerns, the ability to attach photos, and more.

Please give the APP at try, and provide any helpful feedback to our Tourism Management Department .
March 1 is Deadline for Illegal Vacation Rentals to Come Into Compliance or Face Lifetime Ban, Significant Fines
The City's new vacation rental urgency ordinance includes significant ramifications for illegal vacation rentals operating in Big Bear Lake, and City staff are actively using powerful new software to identify all illegal vacation rentals.

City staff recently mailed letters to all property owners in Big Bear Lake advising owners of the City's focused efforts on this issue, and the City is providing a ONE-TIME opportunity - with a March 1 deadline - for any illegal vacation rentals to apply for a vacation rental license and come into compliance. Beginning on March 2, any vacation rentals operating without a license may be subject to a $5,000 fine, a potential LIFETIME BAN, and subsequent fines of $10,000 per day. We urge any unlicensed vacation rentals in the City of Big Bear Lake to come into compliance immediately, as the City will implement a ZERO TOLERANCE policy after March 1.

To learn more about the City's vacation rental program, please click here. To contact the Tourism Management Department (manages the vacation rental program), please click here.
Special Meeting to Receive Public Input on Additional Vacation Rental Ordinance Adjustments Scheduled for March 12
The City's new vacation rental urgency ordinance was adopted by City Council on January 11, and includes several helpful improvements, including a significant change in protocols to allow for more aggressive enforcement and a simpler ordinance that places emphasis on preventing and resolving noise, party, and parking concerns.

City Council continues to consider additional adjustments to the vacation rental ordinance, and will host a special meeting on Friday, March 12 at 1 pm in the Performing Arts Center at City Hall to receive additional public input and discuss potential additional adjustments. The public is encouraged to attend and share your ideas and concerns. Concerns may also be shared at this email.

City Council is expected to continue to discuss the vacation rental ordinance in the coming weeks and months, and may consider additional changes later this spring or summer.
Final TBID Consideration Scheduled for March 8
The City Council has reviewed the proposed renewal of the Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) at 4 different meetings over the past 4 months, and the final step in the process is scheduled for March 8. The City Council will conduct a formal public hearing at the March 8 meeting, after which the Council is expected to formally consider the renewal. The current TBID was established in 2016, and expires on March 31.

The proposed renewal of the TBID, and an associated Memorandum of Understanding, would maintain the same assessment rates (3% for short-term accommodations and 2% for ski ticket and pass sales), establish a new 10-year term, require greater collaboration with the City on tourism issues, transfer funding responsibility for certain City tourism-related expenditures to the TBID, and also establish a new Tourism Impact Mitigation Fund to assist the City in effectively managing tourism impacts.

The TBID assessments are not a City tax, and would be levied on various tourism businesses in the City as a result of a self-initiated petition process outlined in State law. 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 - by respectful visitors who appreciate the unique and beautiful natural environment in Big Bear Lake.

The TBID assessments are separate and distinct from transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenues that are collected by the City. The current City TOT rate is 8%, and generates approximately $7 million annually for City services, including law enforcement, snow removal, street maintenance, and more. TOT is also the City's primary funding source for beneficial capital improvements that benefit everyone in our community. TOT is the City's single-largest annual revenue source.
City Council to Consider Park Grant Application on March 8
City staff have conducted several public input sessions, and are finalizing a Statewide Parks Program grant application that will be reviewed by City Council on March 8. If approved, the grant application will be submitted to the State later in March.

The proposed grant application includes the development of park amenities on the City-owned vacant lot located at the southwest corner of Pine Knot Avenue and Village Drive (the "Christmas tree lot").  The total amount to be requested is nearly $3 million, and grant funding would be used to create an “urban plaza” through the installation of a paved (heated) gathering / special event area, a covered pavilion with kiosk and fireplace, a “Santa House” and storage building, and a public restroom. Other improvements and features would include drainage, native landscaping, new lighting, picnic tables, trash/recycle bins, and seat walls.
City Staff Hard at Work on Development of FY 2021-22 Budget
City staff are hard at work reviewing important budget and financial information, and are formulating potential new initiatives and projects for City Council review later this spring. Fortunately, the City maintains a strong financial position, and the City Council will likely have some flexibility to invest in making Big Bear Lake a better place for all of us!

The City Council will begin FY 2021-22 (July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022) budget discussions at a special City Council meeting on March 22. This meeting will include a high-level review of budget and financial constraints and opportunities, a high-level review of potential service enhancements, and consideration of beneficial capital projects over the next 5 years. Council feedback from this meeting will be used to develop a FY 2021-22 Recommended Budget that will be presented to Council in May. Council is expected to review the budget in May and June, and ultimately adopt a responsible spending and work plan sometime in June.

The public is encouraged to attend these meetings and remain engaged in the budget process over the next few months.
Housing Element Kicks Off, Focus on Providing Workforce Housing
The City Council and Planning Commission held a special joint meeting on February 17 to kick-off the City's Housing Element Update. The Housing Element Update is required by the State every 8 years, and outlines strategies to meet regional and local housing goals. The City's updated Housing Element is on track to be approved by the end of 2021, and will guide the City's housing efforts through 2029.

City Council has identified workforce housing as a high priority moving forward, and City staff will be working with consultants over the next few months to identify effective strategies. City Council and the Planning Commission will reconvene again in April to review proposed strategies, and public input is encouraged. To share your ideas, or if you are interested in developing workforce housing in Big Bear Lake, please contact Sue O'Strander, Director of Planning and Inspections at 909-866-5831 or via email.
City Council Establishes New Economic Development Advisory Committee
The City Council has established a new Economic Development Advisory Committee to provide recommendations on future economic development initiatives in Big Bear Lake. The City will soon accept applications from City residents in the following categories: a member of the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce, a member of Visit Big Bear, a member of the Big Bear Lake real estate industry, and two at-large residents of Big Bear Lake. The appointments representing these categories will be joined by one member of the Planning Commission and one member of the City Council to establish a diverse and well-rounded committee. The City Council is expected to conduct interviews and make appointments in April, with the committee beginning work soon thereafter. To express interest in applying, please contact Rebecca Cannon in the City Clerk's office at 909-866-5832 or via email.
Two Long-Time City Employees Celebrate Retirement
The City recently celebrated the retirement of two long-serving City employees, and expressed appreciation for their long and dedicated careers with the City of Big Bear Lake. Public Works Superintendent Kevin Sebourn and Senior Code Compliance Officer Jim Dubuque both retired from the City on February 11.

Kevin Sebourn began work with the City in 1994, and served for more than 26 years in increasingly responsible positions. Jim Dubuque began work in 1984, and served for more than 30 years in both the Public Works and Code Compliance functions. The City greatly appreciates their service to our community, and wishes both a happy and healthy retirement!
New Planning Commission Member Appointed
The City Council recently interviewed a total of 11 applicants for a vacant seat on the Planning Commission, and ultimately appointed Michael Beveridge to the seat. Michael joins the 4 current members in reviewing new development plans and City development regulations, and will begin his service in March.
City Newsletter Surpasses 7,000 Subscribers
The City's new email newsletter (Elevation 6752', COVID-19 Updates) now has more than 7,100 subscribers, and is a helpful tool for the City to reach all of our customer groups - permanent residents, second home owners, investors, businesses, and visitors. If you know someone who may be interested in learning more about the City of Big Bear Lake's issues and initiatives, please forward this link to sign up!
Did You Know?
On March 12, 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 2,183 permitted vacation rentals in the City of Big Bear Lake. As of February 17, 2021, there are now 2,346 licensed vacation rentals in the City.

Overall, approximately 23% of all housing units in the City of Big Bear Lake are occupied by permanent residents. Approximately 53% of all housing units in the City are utilized solely as second homes (not vacation rentals), while approximately 24% of all housing units are licensed vacation rentals.
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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