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Inyo leaders to weigh natural gas conversion

February 7, 2012

The Inyo County Board of Supervisors will be discussing a proposal to run some county vehicles off of compressed natural gas in an effort to save money on maintenance and cut down on pollution. Photo by Mike Gervais

County leaders will be returning to business today after a two-week hiatus in late January.
The Board of Supervisors will meet at 9 a.m. in the County Administrative Center in Independence to discuss three requests from department heads to hire new employees, a waste tire amnesty event and a new planning ordinance.
The board is also scheduled to discuss potential uses for funding that is available through the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District’s Clean Air Projects program.
The board will hear a presentation from Planning Department staff regarding a proposal to use Clean Air Projects funds for a compressed natural gas fueling station and fleet retrofit project.
According to a staff report, compressed natural gas is “a more economical fuel than gasoline and diesel, and provides relative air quality benefits.”
The staff report goes on to say that, with natural gas, technical issues and maintenance costs are reduced.
“Once the stations are developed and utilized by the retrofitted vehicles, additional stations and retrofits could be accomplished,” the staff report states. “Thus, this unique funding opportunity provides a means to begin converting portions of the county’s vehicle fleet to CNG, reduce county costs and achieve important air quality benefits.”
Staff said the fueling stations would cost approximately $1.5 million, and possible locations have been identified in Lone Pine, Independence, Big Pine, Bishop, Mammoth Lakes and Bridgeport.
“In addition to working with existing gas stations that may be interested in developing this infrastructure, there is also the possibility to rehabilitate vacant gas stations along the 395 corridor to a CNG program,” the staff report states.
County Planning Department staff has been working with the Antelope Valley Clean Cities Coalition to determine appropriate vehicles within the county’s fleet for conversion. The Planning Department said it estimates 100 vehicles can be converted for about $1 million.
If the board approves the proposal, staff will submit it to the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District for review.
Planning staff is also scheduled to hold a public hearing on an ordinance that will allow for the restoration of non-conforming dwellings that were destroyed in the Inyo Center Fire of March 19, 2011.
Currently, most homes that were destroyed in the Center Fire have been rebuilt, but not all.
According to the Planning Department, “Indian Camp and Glacier View Mobile Home Park have not yet started construction.
“Most homes destroyed in the Center Fire were constructed prior to the adoption of current zoning code, and so conform with density requirements,” the Planning Department said in a staff report. “Inyo County code permits reconstruction of nonconforming one-family or multiple dwellings destroyed in a fire provided that such restoration or reconstruction has equal or less floor area, and a similar building footprint and height as the destroyed, nonconforming one-family or multiple dwelling.”
The staff report goes on to say that development of necessary infrastructure to bring Indian Camp up to current building code has delayed reconstruction.
If approved, the proposed county planning code would provide for additional time for those impacted by the Center Fire to re-build.
Glacier View Mobile Home Park is regulated by the Department of Housing and Community Development and is required to follow HCD regulations in the reconstruction process.
The board is also scheduled to discuss requests from Information Services, Health and Human Services and the Water Department to fill vacant, budgeted positions.
This meeting is open to the public and time will be set aside at the opening and close of the meeting for residents to make comments to the board on matters not calendared on the agenda.

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