January 25, 2013
JOSHUA TREE FIGHTS DOLLAR GENERAL STORE, APPEALS TO SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS TO DENY BUILDING PERMIT
San Bernardino, CA and Joshua Tree, CA: Joshua Tree residents and the Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance this afternoon filed an appeal to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to deny Santa Monica-based Dynamic Development’s application to build a 9,100-square foot Dollar General retail store in downtown Joshua Tree, near the gateway to the Joshua Tree National Park.
“This project is bad for the site, bad for the neighborhood and bad for the community,” the group states in their written appeal to the County.
The Joshua Tree group is appealing a misguided January 17, 2013 decision by the San Bernardino County Planning Commission to adopt a mitigated negative declaration and approve with conditions the application for a Conditional Use Permit by the Dynamic Development Corp. to build a retail store in the community of Joshua Tree on 1.45 acres at the northwest corner of the intersection of Highway 62 and Sunburst Avenue.
The Joshua Tree group is asking the Board of Supervisors to reject the mitigated negative declaration and deny the application.
“A retail store of this size and type would be entirely out of character with the community, would harm the growing Joshua Tree economy, would undermine our efforts to build a sustainable economic future, and is simply contrary to the letter, purpose and spirit of the Joshua Tree Community Plan, [which is] an adopted, applicable and enforceable element of the San Bernardino General Plan,” the group’s appeal states.
The written appeal, delivered in person today by a Joshua Tree community member to the County offices 75 miles from downtown Joshua Tree, was accompanied by a $1,192 fee. Two dozen Joshua Tree residents raised the money to pay the fee last weekend through donations ranging from $25 to $200.
The Joshua Tree group will make a public appeal for further funds in the coming week to continue fighting this project. The group will also launch a new website outlining the community’s objections to the project.
The County Board of Supervisors now has 60 days in which to hold a hearing on the appeal.
Dollar General recently opened two other stores on Highway 62 in the Morongo Basin — one in Yucca Valley, and one in Twentynine Palms — each store is within 10 miles of the proposed store in Joshua Tree. In addition, a SuperWalMart is currently under construction on Highway 62 at the eastern edge of Yucca Valley where it borders Joshua Tree, an unincorporated village.
According to Wikipedia, “Dollar General Corp. is a U.S. chain of variety stores headquartered in Tennessee. As of January 2012, Dollar General operated over 10,000 stores in 40 U.S. states. In 2007, the company was acquired by the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), which took the company public in 2009. Dollar General stores are typically in small shopping plazas or strip malls in local neighborhoods. The stores tend to locate in smaller communities than those where Walmart would go.”
Dynamic Development’s Joshua Tree Dollar General project has been widely criticized within Joshua Tree village (est. pop. 8000) since it was first introduced to the community at a public information meeting in November, 2011. A locally circulated written petition denouncing the project attracted more than 700 signatures, while an internet petition now has over 400 signatures. Letters to the editor of the local newspaper on the subject have been plentiful, as are posters and flyers in Joshua Tree’s downtown bulletin boards and storefronts. And despite taking place on a weekday 75 miles from Joshua Tree, the January 17, 2013 San Bernardino Planning Commission hearing was attended by five dozen anti-Dollar General Joshua Tree community members, many of whom gave impassioned, five-minute statements against the proposal.
“Joshua Tree is a tight-knit, fiercely independent village that is ready to band together to defend itself against inappropriate business development and unneighborly behavior,” said a spokesperson for the group that filed the appeal. “We have the law on our side, and we have faith that we will ultimately prevail, either with the Board of Supervisors or in a court of law. Dollar General and Dynamic Development should cut their losses and withdraw their application now.
“Joshua Tree is not only a gateway to a precious National Park, it is a village whose growing economy is based on owner-operated businesses. Dollar General, a 10,000-store national chain with headquarters in Tennessee, simply doesn’t fit.”