EBlast August 19, 2018

San Bernardino Countywide Plan – LUS regional meetings
San Bernardino County Fire Service Zone parcel fees – special meeting
San Bernardino County RECE 4.10
Joshua Tree Airport Solar Project
Eagle Crest Pumped Storage Project

Dear MBCA Members and Supporters,

When it rains in the desert, it pours! We have another round of issue updates for you this week. A few “save the dates” along with other updates. Thanks for your attention.

San Bernardino Countywide Plan & Community Plans: regional meeting

When: Monday, Sept.10, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Where: Joshua Tree Community Center, 6171 Sunburst Ave

The County is hosting a second round of regional meetings in September to hear feedback on the revised Countywide Plan and Community Plans (see below for note on Community Plans,) draft goals and policies, community actions, and the land use map. It will be the main agenda item for the monthly Morongo Basin MAC meeting. After a presentation by LUS staff, the audience will have the chance to respond with “feedback.”

Per the County’s announcement of the meeting, earlier public input lead directly to substantial changes to the Draft Countywide Plan documents and maps.

 Residents in the Morongo Basin expressed great concern in the first round of Open Houses that Community Plans were not to be included within the revised Countywide Plan. Eliminating Community Plans from the Countywide Plan denies the Community Plans the legal strength of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA.) Our Community Plans must be respected and have adequate power of law to function with authority. How will this be addressed in the revised Draft Countywide and Community Plans? The flyer for this round of regional meetings notes that Draft Community Plans have been renamed ‘Community Action Guides’. Please attend to understand the implications of this re-name, and what the other proposed revisions, could be!

Check the County’s Open House page for the flyer announcement of all 9 Community Meetings across the County, plus more details about the Open House format and links to Community Plans.

 San Bernardino Co. Fire Protection District: special meeting

A special meeting sponsored by County Fire to provide information about the expansion of the boundaries Service Zone FP-5 boundaries and increased assessment fees.

When: Monday, August 27th

Where: Joshua Tree Community Center, 6:00 PM

The San Bernardino County Fire Protection District Board of Directors, as well as the County Fire Protection Districts Fire Chief, announced plans to expand Service Zone FP-5 as the best way to generate needed revenues to maintain existing fire protection and emergency services. They also state that current property tax revenues are insufficient to cover the costs of providing fire and emergency medical services. Each legal parcel within Service Zone FP-5 is assessed an annual parcel fee. The current assessment is set at $157.26/year, and can increase up to 3% each year.

A 30 day protest period has been established along with a scheduled public hearing set for October 16, 2018 to allow the public to express their opinions regarding the expansion of the FP-5 Service Zone.

  • September 14, 2018: Public Notices mailed to all parcel owners.
  • October 15, 2018: Last day to receive mail in protest letters. Must be received by close of business.
  • October 16, 2018: Last day to receive walk in protest letters. Must be received by the closing of the public hearing.
  • October 16, 2018: Public Hearing 10am, San Bernardino County Government Center, 1st Floor Covington Chamber.

Go to the County’s Service Zone FP-5 page for more detailed information including a map, FAQs, and listings of other community meetings about the issue.

The Renewable Energy Conservation Element (RECE), section 4.10

RECE, section 4.10 will be scheduled on the County Board of Supervisors agenda within the next two months. When it is announced, we’ll let you know to “save the date.” It will be important again for residents to weigh in as the Supervisors decide the future renewable energy in RL (Rural Living) zoned areas. If we don’t tell our story to defend our communities from large-scale RE, the RE industry will tell theirs and tip the balance! Desert communities have spoken clearly: no large scale RE in residential communities!

Joshua Tree Airport Solar Project

As reported in previous the e-Blast, Joshua Tree Community for Responsible Solar sued the developers of JT Solar in CEQA court and the project is in a court monitored “stay.” There is another impediment to the project: the developer NextEra’s Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Southern California Edison Power expired in early 2017.

Eagle Crest Energy Company Pumped Storage Project

The previous E-Blast reviewed the status of this project. We can now confirm that the Desert Protection Society (DPS) will file an Appeal to the BLM right-of-way approval. It is hoped this action will block Congressman Paul Cook’s sponsored bill H.R. 5817 to authorize an extension of Eagle Crest’s missed deadline to commence construction.

While purported to be a renewable energy project, damage to Joshua Tree National Park’s ecological balance seems certain.

We should note for those of you who are not aware, the passing of renowned desert activist, Donna Charpied on November 11, 2017.  A true champion of the desert and an inspiration to many, Donna and her husband Larry were recipients of the Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award in 2005. Donna devoted her life to fighting assaults on Eagle Mountain and founded the Desert Protection Society. While she is genuinely irreplaceable, the DPS carries on with the work Donna was so passionate about. Thank you DPS board of directors!

 

Sincerely,

Sarah Kennington, President
Morongo Basin Conservation Association

 

Your 2018 MBCA Board

David Fick, Vice President                         Steve Bardwell, Treasurer 
Marina West, Recording Secretary            Pat Flanagan, Director       
Meg Foley, Director                                    Mike Lipsitz, Director
Ruth Rieman, Director                               Claudia Sall, Director
Seth Shteir, Director                                   Laraine Turk, Director

 

www.mbconservation.org

MBCA advocates for a healthy desert environment
that nurtures the region’s rural character, cultural wealth
and economic well-being.

 


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