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 #21-12 - Published December 29, 2021
COVID Cases, Hospitalizations
The City continues to closely monitor COVID data for the Big Bear Valley and San Bernardino County, as it has done for nearly 2 years.

As of December 28, there have been a cumulative total of 1,979 cases in the Big Bear Valley, an increase of 81 cases since December 1. This equates to an average of approximately 3 new cases per day during December, and is actually down from November when there were approximately 7 new cases per day. This is an encouraging sign, however, the Omicron variant continues to spread rapidly in other places and City officials are closely monitoring conditions here locally.

As of December 24, San Bernardino County hospital data continues to indicate lower numbers of hospitalizations in the County than reported during prior COVID spikes in summer 2020, winter 2021, and fall 2021, and we obviously all hope this will continue to be the case. As of December 24, a total of 419 patients were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID cases. For comparison, there were more than 1,800 individuals hospitalized at the worst period of the winter 2021 spike, and more than 600 individuals hospitalized during the summer 2020 and fall 2021 spikes.

With great uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant, City officials will be closely monitoring the Big Bear Valley's experience over the next few weeks. The City urges everyone to continue to be vigilant, take appropriate precautions for your own personal circumstances, and get vaccinated!
Masks Required Indoors Around Others
The State of California has enacted a new mask mandate for all indoor activities, and this mandate is in effect at least through January 15. The City encourages everyone to wear a mask indoors, whether you are vaccinated or not, as a simple precautionary measure to limit the further spread of the Omicron variant in Big Bear. We're all tired of wearing masks, but it's not too much to ask to simply wear a mask indoors!
More Vaccination Clinics Scheduled in January
The City continues to partner with San Bernardino County to offer additional vaccination clinics, with new clinics scheduled for January 13, January 20, and January 27 (all Thursdays). Appointments are encouraged (visit this website), but walk-ins are also welcome between 10 am and 2 pm. If you haven't already been vaccinated, or need a booster, please do so soon!
City Planning to Distribute Home Test Kits
The City is expecting to receive a shipment of home COVID test kits from San Bernardino County in early January, and plans to distribute these test kits to our residents at no charge. Details are still being finalized, and will be announced on the City's social media platforms within the next two weeks.
Herrick To Continue to Serve as Mayor, Mote Selected as Mayor Pro Tem
At its December 6 meeting, the City Council unanimously selected Rick Herrick to serve another term as Mayor of Big Bear Lake for 2022. Mayor Herrick has served on the City Council since 2006, and 2022 will be his 6th term serving as Mayor. The City Council also unanimously selected Bynette Mote to serve as Mayor Pro Tem, and she will fulfill the Mayor's duties during 2022 at any time the Mayor is absent. Mayor Pro Tem Mote was first elected to the City Council in 2020.
City Snow Plow Crews Working Hard for YOU!
After a slow start to the winter, Big Bear Lake has now been blanketed with several inches of new snow on several days over the last two weeks, with another significant storm expected just prior to the New Year!

City crews and contractors have been hard at work, at all hours of the day and night, to clear City streets, sidewalks, and driveway berms to keep our community safe and make it easier for everyone to get around. The City greatly appreciates their hard work and dedication!
City Maintains Strong Financial Position
The City's auditors have completed their review of the City's June 30, 2021 financial statements, and the City is fortunate to maintain an excellent financial position. Overall, the City maintains healthy fund balances, a structurally sound annual budget, and is not burdened by any significant long-term liabilities.

The City's total fund balance across all governmental funds is in excess of $23.5 million, with the General Fund representing the largest portion of this total (nearly $11 million). During the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021, the General Fund generated a surplus of $5.2 million, and more than $3.2 million of this surplus has been allocated for the construction of much-anticipated street and streetscape improvements in the Moonridge area. The main driver of the General Fund surplus was higher than anticipated transient occupancy tax revenues derived from overnight visitors, and this was also the case in the City's Measure Y Fund that is utilized to construct new capital improvements.

The City's continued strong financial position is the result of prudent financial management by past and current City Council members and City staff. These efforts have positioned the City well for desired service and capital improvements in the future, and will help to blunt the effect of any future economic downturns. The City Council and City staff remain committed to moving the City forward in a fiscally prudent manner.

To view a copy of the full June 30, 2021 financial statements, please click here .
City Council Approves 2021-2029 Housing Element
After nearly a year of hard work, the City Council adopted the City's new 2021-2029 Housing Element at its December 6 meeting. The Housing Element is the result of detailed analysis by City staff, significant public input, thoughtful input and review by the Planning Commission. and a commitment by the City Council to improve housing availability in Big Bear Lake in the future.

The updated Housing Element includes various provisions aimed at accelerating housing production in Big Bear Lake, including a review of available land for new housing development, encouragement of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), facilitation of employer-provided group housing, the potential development of City-owned parcels for new housing, and direction to consider future City Development Code amendments and/or the rezoning of certain parcels to specifically promote new multi-family housing development. With the recent adoption of the new plan and approval by State regulators, City staff will be working to implement the plan in 2022 and beyond.

To view the updated Housing Element, please click here .
City Aggressively Enforcing Illegal Parking and Unauthorized Snow Play
The City welcomes RESPECTFUL visitors to Big Bear Lake, and continues to work hard to promote a quality natural environment and built environment for EVERYONE to enjoy!

As part of the City's ongoing efforts to promote RESPECTFUL behavior, the City has and continues to deploy additional law enforcement and code enforcement personnel to heavily visited locations in the City - specifically focused on preventing illegal parking on City streets and preventing trespassing and unauthorized snow play activity. Additional personnel are deployed every weekend to the Boulder Bay area, the Tulip Lane / Aspen Glen area, the Village / Cherry Lane area, and the Stanfield Cutoff / Division Drive area, and will be aggressively enforcing violations.

If you are coming to enjoy the snow in Big Bear Lake, please do so only in authorized areas - City parks, designated US Forest Service areas, and on the private property of your own overnight accommodations. Do not trespass on private property (you wouldn't like that if someone did that in your neighborhood!), and do not park illegally, which results in safety concerns and exacerbates traffic congestion concerns. During most times with snow on the ground, it is illegal to park on any City streets unless it is specifically designated for parking.
City Council to Consider Urgency Ordinance to Implement SB 9
At its January 3 meeting, the City Council will formally consider an urgency ordinance to implement SB 9 – Housing Development Approvals – that was approved by the California legislature and signed into law by Governor Newsom in September. 

Effective January 1, SB 9 mandates that local governments approve the split of urban lots zoned for single-family residential use into multiple lots or allow additional units on an original, unsplit lot - potentially allowing up to 4 residential units on a lot initially zoned for only one single-family residence.  SB 9 has the potential to significantly alter existing single-family residential neighborhoods in Big Bear Lake, and the proposed urgency ordinance specifically includes various requirements that are intended to promote and preserve neighborhood character. 

The proposed urgency ordinance includes strict requirements regarding lot size, unit size, owner occupancy of at least one unit for three years, a prohibition on the use of lot splits and additional units for vacation rental purposes, consistent design standards, fire hazard mitigation requirements, deed restrictions, parking requirements, height limits, and more. Concurrently, the Planning Commission will proceed with review and recommendation of a permanent ordinance to implement SB 9, and a proposed permanent ordinance will be presented for City Council review in the coming months.
Developer Withdraws Application for Proposed New Grocery Store
The applicant pursuing the construction of a new Grocery Outlet store at 42175 Big Bear Boulevard in Big Bear Lake has withdrawn their land use application, and will not construct a new store. The applicant, Tectonics Design Group / Main & Main Capital Group LLC, recently settled a legal challenge to the project and agreed to terminate the project as part of the settlement.
The City Council met in closed session at its meeting on December 6, and conditionally approved the same settlement agreement related to the proposed Grocery Outlet store. The City Council conditioned its approval of the settlement agreement on being reimbursed for the City's litigation-related fees and costs, which has since occurred, thereby making the settlement agreement final. The City Council motion to conditionally approve the settlement agreement, made by Mayor Pro Tem Putz and seconded by Council member Melnick, was unanimously approved by the City Council with all Council members present. 
As a result of the settlement agreement, litigation filed in San Bernardino Superior Court challenging the Grocery Outlet project has been dismissed with prejudice. The Petitioners who filed that action and Tectonics Design Group / Main & Main Capital Group, LLC, as the real party in interest defending the project’s approval, will each bear their own attorney fees and costs. Tectonics Design Group / Main & Main Capital Group LLC agreed to withdraw its land use application for the Grocery Outlet project, and the City Council agreed to take action to formally rescind the City's approval of the project (scheduled for January 3). All parties to the settlement agreement have agreed not to pursue any claims against the other parties pertaining to the project.
Tectonics Design Group / Main & Main Capital Group, LLC applied for and obtained Planning Commission approval of the proposed Grocery Outlet project on April 21, 2021. The City Council denied two appeals of the Planning Commission’s approval on August 2, 2021. The legal challenge was subsequently filed on September 9, 2021. Tectonics Design Group / Main & Main Capital LLC and Grocery Outlet ultimately decided not to pursue the project despite the City Attorney’s advice that Tectonics Design Group / Main & Main Capital LLC and the City would likely prevail in the litigation.
The land at 42175 Big Bear Boulevard on which the Grocery Outlet store was proposed will remain available for future development. The approximately 3-acre parcel is zoned C-2, Commercial General, and a wide range of commercial uses are permitted on the site as per the City's Development Code, including grocery stores, hotels and motels, restaurants, manufacturing activities, transitional housing, automobile sales, professional and medical services, other retail establishments, and many more. No alternative development proposals have been submitted for this site at this time, and any new proposals that are submitted in the future will be reviewed by City staff and the Planning Commission.
City To Utilize Grant Funds for New Public Restroom at Castle Rock Trail
The City has been awarded approximately $181,000 from the California State Department of Parks and Recreation for park improvements, and these funds will be used to construct a new public restroom facility at the Castle Rock trailhead in 2022.

The new public restroom will complement a new public parking lot to be constructed by the City on City-owned land at the southwest corner of Talbot Drive and SR 18 in 2022. The City is excited to make this project a reality for our residents' and visitors' convenience, and, importantly, to reduce the amount of parking on SR 18 near the Castle Rock trailhead. The new parking lot will be constructed primarily with Federal grant funds, supplemented by transient occupancy tax revenues generated by overnight visitors.
Dispose of Used Christmas Trees at the Garstin Drive Clean Bear Site
It's time to take down that Christmas tree and focus on great things in 2022!

Used Christmas trees of any size can be disposed of at the Garstin Drive Clean Bear site, and trees cut into lengths less than 4 feet in length may also be placed at the curbside for collection by Big Bear Disposal crews.
City Working to Promote Quality Retailers for Former KMart Shopping Center
The former KMart shopping center has been mostly vacant for several months, and the entire shopping center has been offered for sale. The broker for the sale of the shopping center recently received proposals from potential buyers, and is currently evaluating proposals.  The City hopes to learn the identity of the prospective buyer in the coming weeks. 

City staff have participated in several encouraging conversations with the broker and potential buyers in recent weeks, and the City is optimistic that the shopping center will eventually be occupied by retailers who will provide necessary goods for the community in the future. Several discussions referenced Target, Marshalls, Ross, Home Goods, Big Lots, and other national retailers that offer goods that our community currently must travel down the mountain to purchase.

The City will continue to work closely with the new owner in the future, and promote the eventual location of quality retailers at the center. The City is also working with a national firm that specializes in recruiting national retailers to cities and towns like Big Bear Lake.   
Notice of Intent Filed for Potential Citizen Initiative to Limit Vacation Rentals
A group of City residents has filed a formal Notice of Intent to Circulate a Petition for a citizen initiative designed to limit vacation rentals in Big Bear Lake in the future. If the group is successful at obtaining the signatures of 10% of registered voters in the City over a 6-month period, a question could appear on the ballot for voters to consider at a future City election.

The proposed initiative, if ultimately successful, would make several amendments to the City's vacation rental ordinance, including a limit of 1,500 total vacation rental licenses in the future and a limit of 30 rental contracts per unit per year. There are currently approximately 10,000 residential housing units in the City, and approximately 2,600 of these residential units are currently licensed for use as a vacation rental. The City's current ordinance does not limit the number of annual rental contracts.

The City Attorney will soon draft a ballot title and summary of the proposed initiative, and will remit such to the City Clerk no later than January 11. The proponents of the initiative are then required to advertise the notice of intent and file an affidavit with the City Clerk, and may then begin soliciting signatures. If the proponents secure the signatures of 10% of the registered voters of the City (there are nearly 3,000 registered voters in the City) within a 6-month period, the petition will be presented to the City Clerk for validation. If validated, the City Council will then consider either adopting the ordinance as presented (without an election), scheduling a special election for the voters to consider the initiative provisions, or schedule the initiative for a regular City Council election in the future. The City Council also has the option to commission an impact report to better understand the effects of the proposed initiative.

Click here to view a copy of the Notice of Intent, and click here to view a copy of the proposed ordinance amendments.

Click here to view a copy of the City's current vacation rental ordinance, and click here to learn more about the City's vacation rental program.
City Welcomes Ryan Orr as New Public Information Officer
The City is pleased to announce the hiring of Ryan Orr as the new Public Information Officer for the City of Big Bear Lake! 

Ryan brings a wealth of experience and creativity to the City team, along with a keen understanding of and commitment to Big Bear. Ryan has more than 15 years of experience in public communications, most recently serving in key roles with the Mojave Air Quality Management District and Providence St. Mary Medical Center. He has also worked as a newspaper reporter and communications consultant, and we are pleased to bring someone of Ryan’s caliber on to the City team to serve as the City’s new PIO. Ryan’s first day with the City will be Monday, January 3, and he will work closely with all members of the City organization under the direct supervision of the City Manager. 

The City places the highest priority on transparency, responsiveness, and public understanding of the City’s issues, initiatives, and projects, and Ryan will be tasked with significantly expanding the City’s communications efforts. The City currently maintains a comprehensive website, a growing presence on various social media platforms, and produces periodic email updates and the monthly Elevation 6752’ newsletter to keep our residents, second home owners, investors, businesses, and visitors well-informed about the City. The City has big plans for more frequent and engaging communications in the future - via multiple new platforms, including greater use of video, podcasts, radio, digital, print, radio, and more.
Park Grant Applications Unsuccessful
Earlier this year, the City submitted two different Statewide Parks Program grant applications – one in the amount of $2.98 million for the construction of a new Village Plaza on the “Christmas tree lot”, and another for $2.99 million for the acquisition of a lakefront parcel adjacent to the Marina Resort and the development of initial park amenities. Unfortunately, neither of the City’s two applications were awarded funding. The grant process was very competitive, with approximately $548 million awarded out of approximately $2.42 billion requested. 

In the absence of grant funding, the City does not expect to proceed with the Marina Resort parcel acquisition, particularly now that the City is planning a large park at the 19-acre Bear Valley Mutual property located on the lakefront just east of The Village.  The City does expect to continue to pursue the future development of the “Christmas tree lot” in The Village in the future, and City staff and the City Council will consider both future grant opportunities and City funding for any desired improvements. 
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!
Happy New Year!
The City of Big Bear Lake wishes everyone a Happy New Year! Here's to a great 2022 for everyone in the City of Big Bear Lake!
Did You Know?
The City of Big Bear Lake's jurisdiction includes only approximately 6.5 square miles of the area known as the Big Bear Valley. Overall, the Big Bear Valley includes approximately30 square miles, and the remainder is under the jurisdiction of San Bernardino County and/or the Big Bear City Community Services District, or the US Forest Service.
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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