Hi-Desert Star: “SOLAR PROJECT AT JOSHUA TREE AIRPORT PUT ON HOLD”

GOOD NEWS!

From local newspaper the Hi-Desert Star:

Solar project at Joshua Tree airport put on hold

Posted: Friday, March 17, 2017 4:23 pm

By Leah Sanson, Hi-Desert Star

JOSHUA TREE — The NextEra corporation is stopping, at least for now, construction of the solar farm planned in the old Roy Williams airport, a company official confirmed this week.

“We are not proceeding with immediate construction of the project,” Steven Stengel, a representative of NextEra, said.

Joshua Basin Water District General Manager Curt Sauer first announced the company’s turnaround at a board meeting on Wednesday.

Sauer said the project manager mentioned the hold on the project about three weeks ago.

“They decided that they will not pursue this project anymore at this time,” Sauer said in a phone interview. “They may decide to pursue it later, though,” he added.

The project, a utility-scale solar farm 2.3 miles from Joshua Tree National Park, has been under fire from some Joshua Tree residents for more than a year.

After the San Bernardino County Planning Commission approved a permit application from NextEra, a group of residents appealed the decision to the county board of supervisors.

The supervisors upheld the permit on Aug. 16, 2016.

Afterward, a group of locals and environmental groups sued the county and the corporation, saying standards for environmental protections had not been followed. David Fick, a Joshua Tree resident involved in the lawsuit, said litigation is ongoing with NextEra and its subsidiary, Joshua Tree Solar Farm LLC.

A lawsuit was also filed against the county by the SoCal Environmental Justice Alliance over the project, Fick said in August.

County court records show the group petitioned for a judicial order against Joshua Tree Solar Farm and San Bernardino County in May. They alleged the county and the company failed to prepare an environmental impact report or analyze all potentially significant effects of the project.

NextEra also wrangled with Joshua Basin Water District over water service. The water board at first voted against providing water for the project. Sauer made an agreement with the company, requiring it pay for a delivery of State Water Project water to replace the local water the project will use.

Sauer said the water that the company purchased from the state is still expected to replenish the aquifer in the spring.

The company bought 84 acre-feet from the state, which would last 40 years.

A construction crew hasn’t been on the property for some time. “There hasn’t been activity on-site since the middle of November,” Fick said.

Posted in blight, Joshau Tree Community for Responsible Solar, NextEra Energy Resources, Roy Williams Airport, solar, water | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

TODAY IS THE DAY FOR WILLOW CROSSING

To help protect the desert we love, please give to the Mojave Desert Land Trust’s #Protect62 Campaign today.

Matching funds will double your donation — today only. Help keep the native Joshua Tree forests intact along Hwy 62!

Donate here: givebigsbcounty.razoo.com/us/story/California-Desert-Land-Conservancy

Posted in Mojave Desert Land Trust | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

LAWSUIT LAUNCHED BY JOSHUA TREE LOCALS TO STOP PROPOSED ‘ALTA MIRA’ GATED HOUSING PROJECT

https://www.gofundme.com/stop-altamira

JT 105 Alliance is seeking to raise $20,000 to fund its lawsuit against the proposed 105-acre, 248-unit Alta Mira gated housing project. Over $2,000 has been raised already.

You can donate here: STOP ALTA MIRA! gofundme

You can also send a check to: “Janet Johnston” or “Gayle Austin” PO BOX 2022, Joshua Tree, CA 92252, if you would like the full amount to go to the cause. (Gofundme takes 8%.) Include your email so they can contact you. Email jt105alliance@gmail.com if you have any questions.

From Joshua Tree resident and JT 105 Alliance activist Janet Johnston:

The Altamira gated development, proposed in the heart of Joshua Tree community of Friendly Hills, will blade 105 acres of native Joshua tree woodland, shoehorn 248 speculative (and relatively expensive) homes onto 10,000 sq.ft. lots, and then encircle and enclose its maze of cul-de-sacs with wall and fence. This design is completely out of character with the area. The existing rural neighborhood is currently built on 18,000 to 2.5 acre lots, all built as needed by locals, on open, natural desert streets, through which all neighbors and animals are welcome to travel.

The San Bernardino County Planning Staff said this project would have no potential impact on the environment, and pushed through a Mitigated Negative Declaration, rather than requiring an Environmental Impact Report which would have revealed the obvious issues, and would have required an alternate design. The County did not review the project for consistency with either the County General Plan, or the Joshua Tree Community Plan, which is a required “finding” by both State and County Law.

The Planning Commission passed the project (4 to 1) in April, the JT 105 Alliance (an association of concerned community members) appealed, and then after a very questionable hearing, the Board of Supervisors passed the project 3 to 2, on September 27, 2016. The JT 105 Alliance filed a CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) lawsuit, and we now need our extended community, and desert-loving guests to help pay for the lawyer, filing fees, and costs associated with this action. The core JT 105 Alliance members have spent, and will spend, hundreds of hours of volunteer time, as they see the importance of stopping this project for future of our Morongo Basin, and for the benefit of all our National Park Visitors.

Help spread the word!

Posted in Alta Mira, blight, JT 105 Alliance | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

WILLOW CROSSING

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We were deeply distressed recently when the Institute of Mentalphysics/Joshua Tree Retreat Center, without a permit, cleared 3-plus acres of their land at the corner of the 62 and La Contenta to make a parking lot. Bad enough that this was permanent destruction of intact, native habitat — it was also a crucial part of the wildlife corridor, a place of rest and refuge for wild animals making the dangerous transit across the highway. No longer.

What Mentalphysics did was awful — but there’s something we can do to try to mitigate it. The Mojave Desert Land Trust is appealing to the public to raise $15,000 to kickstart the ~$400k acquisition of 80 acres of wildland on the other side of Mentalphysics, next to MDLT’s headquarters. When purchased by the Land Trust, this land (nicknamed “Willow Crossing”) will become PERMANENT, PROTECTED WILDLIFE CORRIDOR. We need to help make this happen.

Please, follow the link to donate what you can: Scenery Worth Saving #Protect62

Posted in Institute of Mentalphysics, Mojave Desert Land Trust | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

BAD NEWS: CA. SUPREME COURT DECLINES TO HEAR JOSHUA TREE’S CASE AGAINST DOLLAR GENERAL

David Fick of the Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance posted on Facebook:

Late today, Friday October 14th, the JT BA has been notified by our legal representation that the State Supreme Court has Denied our Petition for Review of the JTDBA vs Dynamic Development/San Bernardino County Dollar General State Appeals Court Ruling. We haven’t seen the documents for denial yet, but we need to inform our supporting Friends and Family of the current status of this lawsuit as soon as we learned of it. This legal avenue of resisting Dollar General appears to have ended. We’re studying our future options and great thanks to everybody who’s supported our efforts. We have and still are fighting the good fight to keep Joshua Tree the kind of place we have all come to know and love.

Posted in blight, Dollar General, Dynamic Development, Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

JOSHUA TREE COMMUNITY JOINS 2ND LAWSUIT AGAINST COUNTY OVER ‘NEXTERA’ SOLAR COMPLEX APPROVAL

From a recent edition of the Hi-Desert Star…

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Posted in blight, Joshau Tree Community for Responsible Solar, NextEra Energy Resources, Roy Williams Airport | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

ARGH. COUNTY SUPES APPROVE ‘ALTA MIRA’ GATED CONDO PLAN FOR JOSHUA TREE, 3-2

More on this later. For now, here’s the straight news from 107.7 KCDZ

A controversial housing development in Joshua Tree, the 248 units on 105 gated acres known as Alta mira, got a green light at yesterday’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors in San Bernardino. The 3-2 vote in favor of the project, and against the appeal concluded almost a decade of back and forth over development of the pristine desert between Highway 62 and Friendly Hills Elementary School. As expected, Board Chair James Ramos and Supervisor Robert Lovingood voted in favor of the appeal. With no discussion or comment, Supervisor Josie Gonzales voted for the development along with Janice Rutherford and Curt Hagman. Plans call for the gated community to be built in phases with final build out ten years away. Opponents of the project have objected to its high density and other elements which do not conform to the Joshua Tree Community Plan.

Posted in Alta Mira, blight | Tagged , , | 2 Comments