Photo credit Valeree Woodard
Nearly 100 area residents crowded both rooms of the Joshua Tree Community Center to hear a report on the County's Program 4 Housing study, initiated to answer the question, "How Are Short-Term Rentals Impacting the Housing Market?" Colin Drucker, a representative of PlaceWorks, one of the two contracted consulting firms, presented a slide show summarizing the data gathered so far. He noted that the study covers only the unincorporated areas of the mountains and “east desert” (Morongo Basin) and not the “north desert” (i.e. Lucerne Valley, Newberry Springs, etc.).
Heidi Duron, Planning Director of Land Use Services, then read out loud and answered or responded to dozens of written questions from the audience. Frequently repeated topics included future restrictions on size and number of STRs, a request for a moratorium, and a plea for improved code enforcement. Considering each community individually rather than any overriding plan was emphasized by commenters and acknowledged by the speakers.
Maps created for MBCA's January housing-focused annual meeting were placed on the meeting room walls and received a lot of attention. MBCA's comment received applause from the audience. Both speakers emphasized that research is ongoing for the final report, which they expect to complete by year's end, including incorporation of all information gathered today and from other public meetings.
Additional comments can be emailed to: [email protected]. Please be sure to put “STR Study Comments” in the subject line of your email. There is one more public meeting (Big Bear) that has to be rescheduled. The Board of Supervisors will direct any actions to be implemented based on the final report and recommendations.
For those interested in the data behind the slide show presentation, here are documents from Granicus, the data-gathering consulting firm: the Scope of Work and the Phase 1 Report.