STOP INDUSTRIAL SOLAR SPRAWL IN JOSHUA TREE WILDLIFE CORRIDOR JUST OUTSIDE OF NATIONAL PARK

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This is a fundraiser to appeal the Planning Commission’s recent misguided approval of a proposed 115-acre industrial solar farm on Sunfair.

We are appealing the decision to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, where we have a much better chance of prevailing against the industrial solar creeps.

The appeal itself costs $1,331. Then there will be various legal fees, hiring a lawyer, etc. The money is being handled by responsible and respected members of the Joshua Tree community.

Let’s get this happening! These jerks want to build gated industrial solar fields across a wildlife corridor, less than two miles from the National Park’s border. Sick and stupid. We can win this!

Go here now and donate: https://www.gofundme.com/265567fg

Posted in NextEra Energy Resources, Roy Williams Airport | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION OKAYS INDUSTRIAL SOLAR SPRAWL IN JOSHUA TREE, 4-1; DECISION WILL BE APPEALED TO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

As expected, we lost yesterday. Here’s how local radio station KCDZ 107.7 is reporting it…

COUNTY APPROVES JOSHUA TREE SOLAR FARM – April 22nd, 2016

For the second time in two weeks, the county planning commission made a controversial decision on land use that went against the wishes of Joshua Tree residents. Reporter Mike Lipsitz explains…

The County Planning Commission today approved the controversial plan by NextEra Energy to put an industrial scale solar plant at the site of the old Joshua Tree Airport. The 4 to 1 split decision gives the go ahead to the 100+ acre development, despite impassioned pleas by a number of area residents who oppose the plan. Commissioner Paul Smith, representing Morongo Basin, cast the lone opposing vote. Yesterday’s decision is the second time this month that County Planning has supported a project that flies in the face of the development standards put forth in the Joshua Tree Community Plan. This is the first large scale solar development in Morongo Basin to receive approval since the county adopted a 31-point Solar Ordinance in 2013. Unless an appeal is filed with the County Board of Supervisors in the next 30 days, yesterday’s decision will be binding.

An appeal to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on this stupid decision is in progress. More as we hear it.

Posted in blight, NextEra Energy Resources, Roy Williams Airport, solar | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

THURSDAY, APRIL 21: FREE BUS RIDE TO HEARING ON PROPOSAL TO BUILD ANOTHER GIANT INDUSTRIAL SOLAR FIELD IN JOSHUA TREE

Joshua Tree resident Mark Lundquist, who is Field Representative for Supervisor James Ramos, writes:

“I have a charter bus reserved for the April 21st Planning Commission meeting in San Bernardino. NextEra will be seeking approval for the Joshua Tree Solar project. This is an opportunity for up to 35 people to attend in person the Commission meeting and voice their opinion. If we get a decent response the bus will leave the Joshua Tree county government building parking lot at 6:15 that morning and travel straight to San Bernardino for the meeting. The meeting starts at 9am. The bus ride is free. People wanting to sign up can also call my office and reserve a seat. Please spread the word!!”

Contact:
Mark.Lundquist@bos.sbcounty.gov
760.366.1488

Posted in NextEra Energy Resources, solar | Tagged , | Leave a comment

JOSHUA TREE LOSES AS COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION APPROVES ‘ALTA MIRA’ CONDO PROJECT, 4-1

From local radio station KCDZ 107.7

The [San Bernardino] County Planning Commission yesterday approved the controversial Alta Mira housing development planned adjacent to Friendly Hills Elementary School in Joshua Tree. The 4-to-1 split decision gives the go-ahead to the 248-unit gated community. Commissioner Paul Smith, representing the Morongo Basin, cast the lone opposing vote. He argued that the project violates the spirit and intention of the Joshua Tree Community Plan, that the traffic study conducted for the project was outdated, and that the tortoise studies for the project relied on tainted and outdated information. Unless an appeal is filed with the County Board of Supervisors in the next 30 days, that decision will be binding.

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PLANNING COMMISSION DELAYS VOTE ON ALTA MIRA GATED CONDO PROJECT

From local radio station KCDZ 107.7:

March 25, 2016: After a postponement last week due to a power outage, the County Planning Commission still didn’t make a decision yesterday about the controversial Alta Mira housing project. Reporter David Haldane was at the teleconferenced meeting, and files this report…

Eloquent. Angry. Passionate. Intense. Those are a few of the words describing some of the testimony at yesterday’s four-hour public hearing before the county Planning Commission. The one describing it all, though, is opposed. Opposed to a 248-unit housing development near Joshua Tree’s Friendly Hills Elementary School that many believe would ruin the neighborhood.

In the end, the commission postponed until April 7 its decision on the 105-acre Altamira project. Along the way, though, the testimony – mostly from an overflow crowd in Joshua Tree where the proceedings were televised interactively – raised some pointed concerns. Among them: that the project would adversely affect the environment, create major traffic problems and be inconsistent with the town.

Alexis Sonnenfeld, a 20-year resident, felt that he’d made his point.

“I think that they get that nobody up here is for this. And it certainly raises questions. So I feel that in that sense, we were effective.”

Posted in Alta Mira, blight, news | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

ALTA MIRA HEARING RESCHEDULED TO THURSDAY, MAR 24! SAY NO TO GATED CONDOS IN JOSHUA TREE!

There was a power outage last Thursday, March 17 at the local teleconferencing center that affected the Planning Commission meeting on the abominable “Alta Mira” high-density gated condo project.

The discussion on Alta Mira has been rescheduled for this Thursday, March 24, 9am. If you wish to participate in the hearing, you can attend the Planning Commission meeting in person in San Bernardino and make a public comment. Alternatively, you can go to the San Bernardino County video-conferencing center located on the first floor of the Joshua Tree County Government Center at 63665 Twentynine Palms Highway at Whitefeather Road, and make a public comment there.

Longtime Joshua Tree activist David Fick believes attendance Thursday from opponents to this unwise project can make a difference in how the Planning Commission votes. He says:

We need as many concerned Joshua Tree residents at this Joshua Tree County Government Center and some who can make the trip to San Bernardino [to attend the Planning Commission meeting in person].

At the JT County Government Center, JT residents who feel shy [about speaking on camera to the Commissioners in San Bernardino] can register their disapproval on the Public Speaking Slips and need not comment aloud on the disgusting project.

We need the numbers there for the Planning Commissioners to take notice.

The Planning Commission already has many good comment letters from Morongo Basin Conservation Association, Joshua Tree Community Association, the Center for Biological Diversity, and me.

Speaking of comments, here’s a link to the LATEST on the Alta Mira Gated Community Project. Please send this link to everybody that could possibly take an interest on this Gated Community issue: Morongo Basin Conservation Association’s “Alta Mira Housing Project” page

Here’s a flyer that someone made. Please share it around!

altamirarablight

Posted in Alta Mira, blight, Joshua Tree MAC (Municipal Advisory Committee), Morongo Basin Conservation Association, Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Committee (MB MAC) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

THURSDAY, MARCH 17: STAND UP AGAINST UNWELCOME “ALTA MIRA” GATED HOUSING DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL

“Alta Mira” is a proposal to build a 105-acre, 248-home gated community in Joshua Tree south of the 62 next to the Friendly Hills Elementary School, with individual units retailing in the $250k range. Developers say the project would be constructed in phases, over a period of ten or more years.

Alta Mira has generated tremendous and unanimous opposition from the Joshua Tree community from its introduction over eight years ago. As local radio station 107.7 put it, “[C]ommunity opposition [has] centered around the project’s high density, environmental degradation, and the low-desert aesthetic a gated community would foster.”

Despite this continued opposition from the Joshua Tree community, Alta Mira’s developers have moved their proposal forward. The San Bernardino County Planning Commission will be addressing the project at 9am tomorrow, Thursday, March 17.

Opponents to Alta Mira should attend the Planning Commission meeting in person in San Bernardino and make a public comment. Alternatively, you can go to the San Bernardino County video-conferencing center located on the first floor of the Joshua Tree County Government Center at 63665 Twentynine Palms Highway at Whitefeather Road, and make a public comment there.

The Joshua Tree community’s concerns about Alta Mira, and the County staff’s woefully inadequate report on the subject, are deep and well-founded. Many of these objections were outlined in the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council’s resolution on the issue. Here is the text of that resolution, which was adopted this past Tuesday by a unanimous vote:

A RESOLUTION OF THE MORONGO BASIN MUNICIPAL ADVISORY COUNCIL REGARDING THE PROPOSED ALTAMIRA GATED COMMUNITY HOUSING PROJECT

Whereas, the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council (“MAC”), is mindful of its role to report on the views of the residents of the Morongo Basin on matters of importance to them and as otherwise permitted by law, and

Whereas, an Initial Study dated July 15, 2014 of the County’s Land Use Services Department has tendered a Mitigated Negative Declaration with respect to an application to construct a 248-unit residential housing development in the community of Joshua Tree, referred to as the Altamira project, and

Whereas, residents of Joshua Tree have represented to this MAC that, among other deficiencies the Initial Study does not consider any of the explicit provisions of the Joshua Tree Community Plan of 2007 the incorporation of which into an Initial Study is a requirement of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), including, without limitation, the limitation of vegetation removal (e.g. Joshua trees), only to “building pads and driveways”, a standard which should have been incorporated into the Initial Study, and

Whereas, the proposed project site is within the frequently flooded southwestern portion of the Joshua Tree region as most dramatically experienced recently in the nationally reported flash flood of September 16th, 2014, in which one adult male was killed and during which an infant was forcibly swept from an affected formerly intact house which flash flood occurred two months subsequent to the date of the Initial Study, and

Whereas, it has been represented to this MAC by local Joshua Tree community members adjacent to the proposed Altamira gated community site that they and the neighbors are uniformly against this project in view, among other things, of the sponsor–admitted decades of construction disruption to them and the Friendly Hills Elementary School, which will have the long-term community effects of unnecessarily depressing nearby property values, increasing already existing traffic problems, destroying thousands of native plants, and greatly impairing unreasonably their quality of life, and

Whereas, the local residents have informed us that they have witnessed desert tortoises within the project site which directly contradicts the representations of the proponent to the Land Use Services Department to the effect that there is no evidence of the presence of desert tortoises, and

Whereas, neighboring residents have expressed anxiety regarding the proponent’s description without specific elaboration of a planned 10-year or greater period of completion of construction through “project phases” because of the deleterious environmental effects to be expected upwind of the Friendly Hills Elementary School, including without limitation, wind borne dust and the creation of dangerous attractive nuisance construction sites for a decade or more , and

Whereas the residents of Joshua Tree, based on their view of the proponent’s delayed and inappropriate responses to valid community concerns over the last decade, are concerned that the proponent will not be able to marshal the monetary resources to complete the project under reasonable forecasting of construction costs and the foreseeable market in Joshua Tree, leaving the community to deal with an unfinished housing development with all its likely consequences, and

Whereas community member views have been provided to the Land Use Services Department by over sixty letters of comment which raise concerns about various aspects of the project,

Now Therefore, be it resolved that in view of the concerns of the Joshua Tree Community regarding apparently unaddressed and unanswered environmental and other relevant issues regarding the proposed Altamira residential housing project that serious consideration be given by the Planning Commission to requiring the proponent to prepare an Environmental Impact Report in accordance with CEQA requirements

More opposition information on Alta Mira is available from the great folks at the Morongo Basin Conservation Association.

Posted in Alta Mira, Morongo Basin Conservation Association, Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Committee (MB MAC) | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment