I am Tony Phillips, the owner of a 14 acre plot of land in Aspendell. The purpose of this web site is to tell you about my plans for the property.
Some of you may not be aware of the property. It is located on the east side of Highway 168, adjacent to Alpine Drive. The lot is quite large: 14 acres amounts to about 25% of all of the privately owned land in Aspendell. Half a dozen homes along Alpine Drive have back doors that open directly onto the property. More than 30 other homes and lots are within a hundred yards of its boundaries. Given these dimensions, it is clear that what I chose to do with the 14 acres has an impact on community property values and neighborhood ambiance.
At the moment I maintain the 14 acres in an almost completely wild state. I preserve everyone’s view of the mountains, I prohibit hunting, and maintain a safe zone for wildlife along much of our community’s perimeter. The only exception to the undeveloped state of the property is a fence I built for a team of Siberian huskies. During winter, I am a recreational dog sledder.
My huskies and I have been living in Aspendell for nearly 20 years. Recently, some neighbors (mainly newcomers) have objected to my huskies and made complaints to Inyo County, asking that the dogs be removed.
We have no plans to leave.
I favor an open and collaborative approach to neighborhood harmony. Anonymous complaints to county officials are neither neighborly nor effective. Instead, I encourage neighbors to contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) . Together we can take steps to minimize any nuisance the huskies may inadvertently cause. 14 acres is a lot of land, and with a little creativity I can use that space to accommodate reasonable requests about the sound of the huskies and the visual profile of the dog yard.
To those neighbors who persist in anonymous complaints, however, please note that things could be worse–much worse. The law allows me to use the 14 acres in ways that are far more disturbing than a team of sled dogs.
Unlike most lots in Aspendell, which are zoned Residential (R1), my 14 acres is zoned Open Space (OS). According to Inyo County Planning codes, the following are permitted uses of Open Space properties:
- Single-family dwelling, including the use of a mobile home;
- Farms and ranches for orchards, vineyards, field and truck crops, nurseries, greenhouses, vegetables, flower gardening and other enterprises carried on in the general field of agriculture, including agricultural activities directly related to the farm or such as the repair and maintenance of farm and ranch equipment operated on the property; farm and ranch vehicles used on the property; and vehicles used to haul farm and ranch products produced on the property;
- Livestock ranches for raising, grazing, breeding, boarding or small animals except as otherwise provided for under Section 18.12.040;
- Animal hospitals or kennels, except when the property is adjacent or abuts residential zoned property;
- Wildlife refuges; hunting and fishing preserves;
- Wilderness areas and wilderness uses. (Ord. 943 § 4, 1994.)
In support of these activities, a number of accessory uses is also permitted:
- Dwellings of persons regularly employed on the premises for agricultural or domestic duties; mobile homes; subject to the provisions of state law, may be used for this purpose;
- Private garages, parking areas and other structures used for the storage of equipment appurtenant to a permitted use;
- Home occupations, guest house, signs and advertising, subject to the provisions under Chapters 18.06 and 18.78;
- Roadside stands, not exceeding four hundred square feet in floor area, for the sale of agricultural produce grown on the premises;
- Signs and advertising for permitted, accessory or conditional uses in compliance with the provisions of Chapter 18.75 and subject to the provisions of Section 18.12.050;
Imagine the entire east side of Aspendell rimmed by fences, billboards, roadside stands and farm equipment. Every day the population of the community would be augmented by agricultural workers. The hum of tractors and other equipment would join the burbling sounds of Bishop Creek.
Currently, I do not engage in these permitted activities. I am, however, approaching the end of my rope with anonymous complaints about me and my dogs. We live on the edge of wilderness, not in an LA suburb. Neighborliness and tolerance for individuality should be the atmosphere we strive for in our remote, close-knit community.
Neighbors who wish to discuss this further and avoid unnecessary conflict are encouraged to contact me at email@example.com .