Guidance on giving effective testimony to the County Planning Commission against the Dollar General proposal

If you are planning on providing testimony at the San Bernardino Planning Commission hearing on Thursday, January 17, 2013 regarding Dynamic Development’s proposal to build a Dollar General store in Joshua Tree, this may be of interest to you.

The Commission is required by law to make the following general findings for all Use Permits (Conditional and Minor) — that is, “the review authority shall first find and justify that all of the following are true before approving a Conditional Use Permit or Minor Use Permit application”:

(1) The site for the proposed use is adequate in terms of shape and size to accommodate the proposed use and all landscaping, loading areas, open spaces, parking areas, setbacks, walls and fences, yards, and other required features pertaining to the application.

(2) The site for the proposed use has adequate access, which means that the site design incorporates appropriate street and highway characteristics to serve the proposed use.

(3) The proposed use will not have a substantial adverse effect on abutting property or the allowed use of the abutting property, which means that the use will not generate excessive noise, traffic, vibration, or other disturbance. In addition, the use will not substantially interfere with the present or future ability to use solar energy systems.

(4) The proposed use and manner of development are consistent with the goals, maps, policies, and standards of the General Plan and any applicable community or specific plan.

(5) There is supporting infrastructure, existing or available, consistent with the intensity of development, to accommodate the proposed development without significantly lowering service levels.

(6) The lawful conditions stated in the approval are deemed reasonable and necessary to protect the public health, safety, and general welfare.

(7) The design of the site has considered the potential for the use of solar energy systems and passive or natural heating and cooling opportunities.

For many technical reasons too complicated to go into here, we are recommending that the fourth item, in bold, is the one that opponents of this proposal should focus on in testimony to the Planning Commission this Thursday.

That is, the Dollar General (or, “Joshua Tree Retail Store”) proposal is not in accord with the 2007 Joshua Tree Community Plan, and therefore the Commission must deny Dynamic Development’s CUP application.

So, if you wish to give effective testimony on Thursday, we urge you to outline in your remarks how the DG proposal specifically violates the JT Community Plan, which has the full force of law here. The JT Plan is available as a 74-page, 1.3 mb PDF — download here.

Thanks to Bonnie Kopp for assistance on this post.


About jay babcock

JT Homesteader, Arthur Magazine ... Joshua Tree, CA ...
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