“DEFEND JOSHUA TREE” T-SHIRTS!
- WHO TO VOTE FOR
- JOSHUA TREE WINS MAJOR COURT VICTORY AGAINST DOLLAR GENERAL
- NEWS REPORTS ON THIS WEEK’S COURT RULING REGARDING DOLLAR GENERAL IN FAVOR OF THE JOSHUA TREE DOWNTOWN BUSINESS ALLIANCE
- WE ARE HEARING THERE’S A RULING AND IT’S A VICTORY FOR JOSHUA TREE AND LOSS FOR DOLLAR GENERAL
This ruling means that if they still want to put a Dollar General in here in Joshua Tree the developer will have to start the permit process pretty much all over again, only this time they will be required to do a very expensive Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which they didn’t have to do previously. They can also appeal this ruling, but apparently these kinds of rulings are rarely overturned in appeal. We’ll see what happens next. This battle has been going on for almost three years now and WE ARE WINNING.
Press release via the Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance website…
Joshua Tree, California wins a key court battle against corporate predator, Dollar General.
Joshua Tree, California, a small, unincorporated desert community and the Gateway to Joshua Tree National park, is engaged in a nearly three-year struggle to preserve its unique community character, and so far it’s winning. Small, local business owners and residents in Joshua Tree, 150 miles east of Los Angeles, won a key court fight against San Bernardino County and discount retailer Dollar General, which wants to build an outlet in the iconic tourist village. The store would be the fourth Dollar General serving the community of about 8,000 and surrounding towns, in addition to a Walmart Supercenter only four short miles from downtown Joshua Tree.
“Tourists, campers, rock climbers, bird watchers, artists–they all come to Joshua Tree National Park to get away, and they stay, eat and shop in the town of Joshua Tree because we offer something different, something charming and authentic that they cannot find in most cookie cutter towns around here,” said Celeste Doyle of the Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance (JTDBA), which brought the suit. “Our local economy and tourism appeal depend on our unique character.”
San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Donald R. Alvarez agreed the store could put the town’s economy at risk. Judge Alvarez recently ordered the County to conduct an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to determine whether business and property owners would suffer economic harm from the proposed 9,100 square foot formula retail chain store. Dollar General, a $17.5 billion public company with 11,000 stores in 40 states, will pay for the EIR…
Read the entire press release and the court’s 41-page writ and judgement: jtdba.wordpress.com
We’re psyched to announce that our signature DEFEND JOSHUA TREE “three fierce coyotes” T-shirts in all Women’s and Men’s sizes are now on sale in downtown Joshua Tree at Joshua Tree Outfitters.
Joshua Tree Outfitters
61707 29 Palms Hwy (the 62)
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
NEWS REPORTS ON THIS WEEK’S COURT RULING REGARDING DOLLAR GENERAL IN FAVOR OF THE JOSHUA TREE DOWNTOWN BUSINESS ALLIANCE
Following are two news reports on this week’s stunning court ruling in favor of the Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance. The first is from the San Bernardino Sun, the second is from the Hi-Desert Star. You can download the ruling itself (34 pages, PDF, 3.8mb) here (courtesy JTDBA).
We are hearing from two sources that Judge Donald Alvarez has sided with Joshua Tree in the JTDBA’s lawsuit and has sent Dollar General’s building permit back to the County to be re-done, with an (costly) Environmental Impact Report now required.
According to David Fick from the JTDBA (all-caps his):
THE COURT GRANTS THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDATE TO OVERTURN THE APPROVAL OF THE SUBJECT REGARDING THE MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION AND THE CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT ON THE GROUNDS OF FAILURE TO PROPERLY ANALYZE THE PROJECTS IMPACTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE AREA OF ECONOMIC IMPACTS RESULTING IN URBAN DECAY. THE COUNTY IS REQUIRED TO UNDERTAKE AN EIR FOR THE PROPOSED PROJECT.
According to Gary Daigneault from local radio station 107.7:
According to court minutes released Tuesday morning, Judge David Alvarez granted the petition to overturn the County’s approval of a planned Dollar General retail store in Joshua Tree, with regard to the mitigated negative declaration and the conditional use permit, on the grounds of the failure to properly analyze the projects impacts on the environment in the area of economic impacts resulting in urban decay. The county is required to undertake an Environmental Impact Report for the proposed project. The Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance, which had filed the suit against Dynamic Development and San Bernardino County over the project approval, applauded the ruling. The court did reject other grounds that the JTDBA put forward in its suit — traffic impact, land use consistency, and the failure by the developer to identify the store as a Dollar General.
From Eva Soltes, regarding yesterday’s hearing:
The judge announced his ruling would be a written one. He gave no indication of what he thought. Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance lawyer Babak Naficy told JTDBA members afterwards that the judge has up to 90 days to release his ruling.
1. THE PROPOSAL FOR ALTA LOMA SOLAR FIELD IN THE FRIENDLY HILLS AREA OF JOSHUA TREE
From The Hi-Desert Star:
Solar application surfaces in south Joshua Tree
Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 11:51 pm | Updated: 10:01 pm, Fri Jan 10, 2014.
By Courtney Vaughn, Hi-Desert Star
JOSHUA TREE — San Bernardino County recently received an application for a 24-acre commercial solar farm near Alta Loma Drive.
The proposed 4 1/2-megawatt project site encompasses 56 acres and two adjoining parcels immediately south of Alta Loma Drive and about 700 feet west of Olympic Road in an area zoned for rural living.
An initial study of the Alta Loma solar project is underway, Dave Prusch, a representative with the county’s Land Use Services Department, confirmed Tuesday. Property owners got notices about the project this week and have until Jan. 16 to submit comments.
Prusch said the project would require a conditional use permit, but it’s unclear whether an environmental impact report will be required. In most cases, he said, renewable energy projects of this size will be asked to provide a document called a negative declaration or a mitigated negative declaration, to state the project’s effects on the surrounding area and how the developer plans to compensate for those impacts.
Residents in the area say the site is rich with wildlife. Some reported seeing mountain lions and tortoise shells on the project site in recent months.
“The county will review a project’s location for any issues with habitat or something similar,” Prusch said.
Just last month, San Bernardino County supervisors approved a renewable energy ordinance that seeks to limit commercial solar development in residential areas. Prusch said county staff will review the initial study before making a recommendation to the Planning Commission. Property owners will be notified once the initial study is released and will be able to comment on the project before and during the Planning Commission’s consideration of the application.
The applicant, Clean Focus SBC Owner One LLC, applied for a conditional use permit through the county within the last three weeks, according to Prusch. The same company has an application on file for a 12-acre solar farm in Twentynine Palms on the corner of Raymond Drive and Mesquite Springs Road.
An agreement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission indicates the project site may have been formerly owned by Canadian-based Coronus Solar Inc. or Coronus Energy Corporation. According to the financial document, which was executed in August, Coronus owned several parcels of land in Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms. Each parcel was intended for solar development. Coronus sold off nearly all of its assets, including those parcels, to Redwood Solar Development LLC.
A notice to property owners asks that all comments on the project application be directed to Chris Conner at email@example.com.
2. HOW TO GET INVOLVED – SEND LETTER OF COMMENT BY JAN. 16, 2014
From Bonnie Kopp:
Here is my opposition letter to the Friendly Hills solar project. I sent this last week to Chris Conner, the planner, as well as Supervisor Ramos’ staffers, Chris Carillo and Phil Paule. If you haven’t written yours, please feel free to borrow from this.
PO Box 824
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
January 6, 2014
RE: APN 0588-131-02
CF SBC Owner One LLC
Dear Mr. Connor:
I am writing to state my opposition to this application for a conditional use permit to establish a commercial photovoltaic solar power generating facility on a 56-acre site in Joshua Tree. The county has adopted an ordinance which would revise criteria for siting such projects, and the proposed facility violates many of these criteria.
The subject parcels are located adjacent to a wildlife linkage which is a major acquisition focus for the Mojave Desert Land Trust. The Trust has already acquired several parcels in the immediate vicinity which preserve the movement of wildlife between Joshua Tree National Park and the Bartlett Mountains in Joshua Tree. The largest of these is Section 33, 624 pristine acres containing 12,000 Joshua Trees, and habitat for the threatened desert tortoise, bobcat, golden eagles, fox and prairie falcons.
In addition to facilitating the movement of wildlife, Section 33 protects the important viewshed from Highway 62 south into Joshua Tree National Park. For the many tourists who are the lifeblood of our economy, this is the Gateway to Joshua Tree, a welcome respite after the strip mall and chain store developments of neighboring Yucca Valley. The proposed project will be clearly visible from the highway, destroying the vista of mountains, Joshua Trees and the National Park. It will also be visible from hiking trails inside the National Park, a violation of the ordinance.
The ordinance also requires that the proposed project not have an adverse effect on the desirability and future development of communities, neighborhoods and rural residential use. This project is situated between the densely developed Friendly Hills neighborhood and the National Park and other protected lands. It would constitute an unsightly, unwelcome commercial/industrial intrusion into a highly desirable residential, rural neighborhood.
For these reasons, staff and the Planning Commission must rule against this project.