Luxury Subdivision at Mt. Whitney


Independence, CA; May 11, 2005— Local activists are appealing a decision by the Inyo County Planning Commission to approve the proposed “Whitney Portal Preserve” development.

The proposed luxury subdivision is located 4.5 mile from Lone Pine, CA, adjacent to Whitney Portal Road.

This route is the one and only way up to the trailhead for Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. More than 1700 visitors travel the road daily in the summer. It is also the backdrop of countless Hollywood movies and commercials.

The proposal includes plans for twenty-seven luxury houses on 2.5-acre lots and associated infrastructure, including twenty-seven 3,500-gallon water tanks.

Criticism of the proposal has come from both inside and outside of the local community, from both experts and laypeople. More than 300 people signed a petition opposing the development, and more than 60 people wrote letters to Supervisors and Planning Commissioners from as far away as France expressing specific concerns about the project. Since beginning work on this issue, the local organization SRVA Advocates for Growth ( has seen a large swell in its membership base.

Daniel O’Connell, a veteran of the 101st Airborne who now lives in Glendora, CA, had this to say about the proposal in his letter to the Planning Commission: “I often thought of the Mt. Whitney Range and the surrounding areas during my overseas tour of duty and longed to return to their beauty and peaceful serenity…What you are considering is tantamount to building private homes in the Valley of Yosemite or erecting a strip center in front of the Lincoln Memorial.”

To see Mt. Whitney and the site of this proposed development, or to donate to protect Mt. Whitney, go to