- Short-Term Rentals Community Meetings
- Mojave Air Quality Management District Community Meeting
- Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act Information Event
- County Land Use Services Open House
- Pioneertown and Land Use in The Morongo Basin Item 1
This August, typically the time for vacations, is also the time when several important meetings concerning our desert environment have been scheduled. We hope MBCA members, supporters, and the community will take time to attend and comment upon these topics:
Short-Term Rentals Community Meetings
The availability and affordability of housing in the Morongo Basin, and the effect of Short-Term Rentals (STRs) on our communities has been a focus of MBCA’s attention over the last several years. Our videos, letters, and public comments to elected officials and State agencies can be found in a dedicated Housing and STR section on our website. We continue to call for decisive action to recognize that STRs represent a distinct type of housing that must be tabulated separately and recognized as a contributing element in the local housing crisis.
In order to have the Housing Element of the County Wide Plan accepted by the State, San Bernardino County was required to study the effects of STRs on local housing through a public planning process known as ‘Program 4’. To receive public input on the study, Third District Supervisor Dawn Rowe will be holding an open house on Thursday, August 24. The topic is “How are short term rentals affecting the housing market?” The meeting will be conducted by representatives from County Land Use Services and PlaceWorks, the consultant who prepared the Housing Element, based on this presentation. We understand that Granicus, the company retained by the County for the technology and data gathering of the study, will not be present.
We do not believe the County’s Program 4 presentation has changed since the initial community meeting at the beginning of August in Crestline, although the STR market continues to rapidly evolve with the changing economy. MBCA encourages your attendance at the meeting and submission of substantive comments and questions. A presentation will also be made in Big Bear on August 21. Should you not be able to attend either of the remaining two meetings or wish to make comments, use this dedicated email for submitting comments or questions. Issues regarding complaints, compliance (or not!) with the STR ordinance should be directed to the STR Code Enforcement webpage or by calling: 800-205-9417.
BIG BEAR: August 21, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Big Bear Senior Center 42651 Big Bear Blvd, Big Bear
MORONGO BASIN: August 24, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Joshua Tree Community Center 6171 Sunburst Street, Joshua Tree
Mojave Air Quality Management District Community Meeting
Air quality in the Mojave Desert will be the topic of this virtual and in-person community meeting to gather input from residents on reducing emissions and improving local air quality.
Excessive dust and air pollution is an ever-present concern of desert dwellers. MBCA has consistently raised concerns of PM2.5 and PM10 air pollution as an effect of scraping the desert of the fragile natural crust when constructing industrial-scale renewable energy projects (as in this example) or for inappropriate and unneeded development. There are no ‘certified’ air monitoring stations east of Victorville, yet much of the Morongo Basin lies within a sand transport corridor with soil types that are susceptible to wind erosion and blowing dust. Plan to attend this meeting and express your concerns. Use this link for more information about the meeting.
When: Wednesday August 23, 2023. 1:30pm PDT to 2:30pm
Where: Mojave Desert AQMD
14306 Park Ave
Victorville, CA 92392
Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act Information Event
The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) is hosting an information-packed evening to explain the newly passed Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act. Plan to attend and learn about new protections now in place for the Joshua tree. With the devastating loss of uncounted numbers of Joshua trees in the York fire, this bill provides needed protection for this keystone species and provides clear rules for development that impact Joshua trees. Please RSVP to MDLT at this LINK.
When: Tuesday August 29, 2023 6:00pm PDT to 8:00pm
Where: Mojave Desert Land Trust Headquarters
60124 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
County Land Use Services Open House
Representatives from San Bernardino County Land Use Services (LUS) will conduct a listening and information session at the Joshua Tree Government Center on August 30. As publicized, “Land Use staff will be present to listen and answer any questions or inquiries regarding building services, development and planning services, and code compliance and enforcement.”
With the repeal in 2019 of all 14 distinct Community Plans by the Board of Supervisors it is important for LUS to hear from residents who now must rely on Community Action Guides for appropriate (or not inappropriate!) development within their communities.
The County Wide Plan adopted in 2020 incorporates a two-map web-based system of which only the Land Use map has so far been adopted. The second, a Zoning map which must be consistent with the Land Use map, has yet to be adopted. We are looking forward to the release of a draft version of this second map for public review and comment. We are hopeful that the ongoing climate crisis is reflected in the County’s decision-making. One example of carbon-aware planning strategies would be to consolidate commercial zoning to minimize Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) within the expansive desert environment. Additionally, the definition of ‘camping’ as an allowed use within the RL zone must be re-considered to not allow de-facto resort / commercial developments within the RL zones. Similarly, the development of de-facto ‘boutique’ hotels under the guise of an STR further encourages the dispersal of commercial uses throughout the high desert.
LUS plays an important role in guiding development within the unincorporated portions of the County with much of their jurisdiction falling within the Third Supervisorial District desert areas. Until recently LUS had been without a director, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to meet the new director and other members of the staff. We encourage our members and supporters to attend this open house and discuss the many development and planning issues affecting the Morongo Basin.
Understanding that Code enforcement is within LUS, we believe it is important to rely upon public engagement and education as the first means of addressing compliance issues. We look forward to working with LUS in sharing such information with our members, supporters, and the community. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with LUS on the education needed for compliance with the Light Trespass Ordinance coming into full effect in January 2024.
When: Wednesday, August 30, 2023 - 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm PDT
Where: Joshua Tree Government Center
63665 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
Pioneertown and Land Use in The Morongo Basin
We are pleased to inform our members and supporters that as requested within an online petition, LUS has positively responded to the proposal for an Overlay Zone. They stated that ‘...the Overlay Zone application (for the Mane Street portion of Pioneertown) may proceed more quickly than the larger Countywide zoning update effort and the County supports moving the Overlay Zone forward separately. We can then develop the Countywide zoning to contemplate the Overlay Zone.’
Thank you for your continued support in our advocacy for the healthy desert environment!
Steve Bardwell, President
Brian Hammer, Director
Janet Johnston, Director
Sarah Kennington, Director
Arch McCulloch, Director
Gary Stiler, Director