The State Supreme Court will decide sometime in the next 60 days whether it will accept the case.

From the Hi-Desert Star


Friday, August 26, 2016 6:47 pm

By Leah Sanson, Hi-Desert Star

JOSHUA TREE — The Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance announced Monday it will try to take its battle against Dollar General to the California state Supreme Court.

The Fourth Appellate District ruled in June that the Alliance did not provide enough information for a fair argument to consider the negative economic impact of the store, proposed at Twentynine Palms Highway and Sunburst Street.

Local business owners have decided to petition the state Supreme Court to hear their case.

“The county should evaluate the potential of the economic impact,” said Celeste Doyle, a member of the Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance.

Members of the Joshua Tree community have been fighting against the construction of this Dollar General for over four years now. They say the store would cause blight and damage the downtown area’s unique character. A corporate spokesman contacted this week argued the store would be good for Joshua Tree.

“We are very committed to providing things the community members need at low prices,” Dan MacDonald, senior director of corporate communications, said.

In its lawsuit against San Bernardino County and store developer Dynamic Development, the Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance received a favorable ruling from the Superior Court of San Bernardino County, but Dynamic Development filed the appeal to the Fourth Appellate District, which ruled against the alliance.

“We just wanted the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to acknowledge and consider the effects of the project,” said Doyle.

Now, the Alliance has filed to the state Supreme Court. The California Supreme Court’s process is discretionary, so it could choose not to handle the case.

If the California Supreme Court accepts the petition, the downtown alliance will file a more in-depth legal brief to the court.

“We are asking the California Supreme Court to resolve the decision based on all of the previous information,” Doyle said.

“The county approval is still in limbo,” she added.

MacDonald said the location of the proposed Dollar General meets all of the company’s criteria for a successful store. The demographic is favorable, there is no real competitor and there is heavy traffic flow on Twentynine Palms Highway, where the store is proposed.

“We are very confident it will do quite well,” said MacDonald.“We plan on operating this store for a very long time in the community.”

He said the community may have some misconceptions about the store and its values but, assures the community that the company aims at providing affordable prices for common products.

Doyle said the store will not benefit the community of Joshua Tree at all. She said it will just take profit from the community with no net benefit.

MacDonald said. But, he estimated the new store will be up and running three to four months after the project has been approved.

Press release from the JTDBA…

Joshua Tree vs. Dollar General

On Monday, August 22, 2016, the Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance (JTDBA) filed a Petition for Review with the California State Supreme Court, requesting that the Court overturn the adverse ruling recently issued by the 4th Appellate District in JTDBA vs. San Bernardino County/Dynamic Development, (a.k.a., Joshua Tree vs. Dollar General) (Case No. E062479).

The Joshua Tree Community has steadfastly opposed the proposed Dollar General Store in our small, commercial, central district as inconsistent with, and undermining the County-adopted Joshua Tree Community and Economic Plans. The project would cause negative economic, traffic and neighborhood impacts the County has refused to address, as required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the County’s own Conditional Use Permit standards.

The JTDBA successfully challenged the County’s approval of this project, winning an order from the Superior Court of San Bernardino County that required the County to evaluate the likely, negative impacts it would have on the economic stability and future of Joshua Tree.

In essence, Joshua Tree is a small, rural community and the primary, most-used entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. The central, commercial district straddles the State Highway that runs through the center of town (Highway 62), is mostly only one block deep on either side of that road and not even two miles end to end. The restaurants, grocery and retail stores, art galleries, hotels and other shops are virtually all small, independent and locally owned and operated businesses. These businesses re-invest in their shops and the community, building the local economy as they draw more and more tourists and locals to experience our unique, friendly, small-town atmosphere. The presence of a corporate predator like Dollar General, with its misfit, cookie-cutter building crammed onto a lot too small to accommodate it at an intersection already overburdened and in the midst of the most densely-populated neighborhood in Joshua Tree would not only mar this district, but also undermine, even sabotage, what the Community has made of itself: A space and a place that is different from everyplace else, that embraces and reveres its natural environment, and welcomes and introduces visitors from all over the world to the Mojave Desert and Joshua Tree National Park.

Just before the County Board of Supervisors voted to approve this thing, Staff told the Board that this project would be the tipping point for Joshua Tree . . . it would be the “camel’s nose under the tent” that leads to more corporate chains moving in, displacing and replacing locally-owned businesses, taking their profits out of the community instead of re-investing, and making Joshua Tree just another corporate, commercial strip: Generica.

The Appellate Court reversed the lower court’s order, ruling that members of the Community had not provided adequate evidence to require that the County address the negative economic impacts the project would have. The Appellate Court ruling is contrary to CEQA standards, which require only that the Community make a “fair argument” that the project will lead to the identified harmful impacts, thus requiring the County to study and evaluate that likelihood. JTDBA has filed its Petition with the State Supreme Court requesting that it instruct the Appellate Court to follow the law and re-instate the lower court’s ruling.

About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in the rural wilderness of Joshua Tree, California, where I am a partner in JTHomesteader.com with Stephanie Smith.
This entry was posted in blight, Dollar General, Dynamic Development, Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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