Eblast March 1, 2022

  • Flamingo 640 Glamping Project going before Planning Commission
  • Wonder Inn Project update
  • Spring is here and so are Invasive Plants!
  • Rooftop Solar Update
  • 2023 Desert Wise Living Landscape Tour

Flamingo 640 Glamping Project going before Planning Commission

We understand that the Glamorous-Camping (Glamping) project proposed for a 640-acre parcel in Flamingo Heights is to be on the March 9 agenda of the San Bernardino County Planning Commission. The hearing by the commission has been long-in-coming and after nearly a year of waiting, it is unclear if the scope or particulars of the project may have changed in the intervening time. MBCA has written this letter describing why we believe the mitigated negative declaration (MND) is inappropriate and that a focused Environmental Analysis is needed for this project. We support the Homestead Valley Communities Council in their letter calling for the preparation of a focused EIR for this project.

MBCA believes the Initial Study (IS) upon which the MND was based is flawed for, among other reasons, the lack of acknowledgment that the property is within an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC); the cumulative impact of this project along with the other tourist focused developments approved or under review within the Morongo Basin (see below re: the Wonder Inn); and the lack of acknowledgement of the Goals and Aspirations of the Homestead Valley Community Action Guide. An on-line petition in opposition to the project offering more information is available here.

And as we discussed in our annual meeting, where would the workers for this enterprise live?

At this hearing the commissioners will consider the recommendations of county Land Use Services for adoption of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) analysis as a mitigated negative declaration (MND).

Plan to attend and make comments to the Planning Commission on Thursday, March 9, 2023 beginning at 9:00am. The agenda for the meeting has yet to be officially published and we encourage careful review of the staff report at the time of its publication (anticipated to be released Friday afternoon March 3) to see if the project design may have changed and to confirm the time of the meeting. Here is the page to find the agenda when posted.

Attend in-person at:

County Government Center
Covington Chambers
385 N. Arrowhead Avenue, 1st Floor
San Bernardino, CA 92415

Video conferencing facilities will be available to view the meeting to and make oral comments at the following location:

Bob Burke Government Center
63665 Twentynine Palms Highway 1st floor
Joshua Tree, CA 92252

Wonder Inn Project update

Meanwhile, at the eastern edge of the Morongo Basin, Land Use Services has prepared an Initial Study (IS) with a recommendation for a MND for the Wonder Inn. Detailed information about this 106-room (!!!) hotel/resort can be found at the website for Stop Wonder Inn. Should this development be constructed it would be the largest hotel/motel in the Morongo Basin. MBCA presented multiple comments calling for the preparation of a focused EIR for this inappropriate development within the Wonder Valley community. Our comments questioned the adequacy and veracity of the tortoise report prepared for the developer and highlighted the observance of tortoise found on the properties directly adjacent to the project site. We called attention to the presence on social media of advertisements for the subdivision of the remaining portion of the parcel into 5-acre home sites to be sold and developed as Short Term Rentals managed by the Wonder Inn, effectively expanding the scope of the project beyond the size specified within the IS!

The project would require re-zoning existing Rural Living-zoned portions of the land to Commercial zoning. There is currently no commercial use on the property and we believe the re-zoning would constitute ‘spot-zoning’ in opposition to the Countywide Plan.

The time window for written comments was closed on February 22, 2023. However, continued vigilance is needed. The project would require review and approval by the Planning Commission before ultimately being voted on by the Board of Supervisors.

The cumulative effects of the dispersion of tourists expanding across the entire high desert by this project must be considered. The on-going climate emergency demands that careful analysis be taken of the carbon expended when commercial enterprises are evaluated over the expansive geography of the Morongo Basin.

And as we discussed in our annual meeting, where would the workers for this enterprise live?

Spring is here and so are Invasive Plants!

With our welcome rain and anticipation of another potential ‘super-bloom’ of native wildflowers also comes an abundance of Invasive plants! These virulent plants are finding the recent wet environment perfect and we are seeing a bumper crop! Inform yourself of their appearance and take advantage of the moist soil to eradicate them before they go to seed and spread.

Rooftop Solar Update

With the recent passage of new Net Metering regulations, known as NEM 3, the rules for rooftop solar are scheduled to change significantly on April 14, 2023. The Solar Rights Alliance has prepared a detailed explanation of the changes and answered frequently asked questions about the new rules. If one is considering adding solar, time is short, but the window has not yet closed to benefit from the NEM2.0 rules. For those solar installations already in place, a battery system can be added without triggering compliance with NEM3. A carbon-free all-electric world is our future! If thinking of making the leap and installing solar, now could be the right time. It is important to work with a reputable solar contractor to assure that all the proper procedures and timing are followed.

2023 Desert Wise Living Landscape Tour

Please save the date  - Sunday, April 23 - and mark your calendars for our 13th Annual Desert Wise Living Landscape Tour. We look forward to homeowners opening their homes and sharing their water wise native landscapes. Hope to see you there!

More information forthcoming!

Steve Bardwell
Your MBCA Board:

Steve Bardwell, President
David Fick, Vice President
Laraine Turk, Secretary
Cathy Zarakov, Treasurer  
Pat Flanagan, Director;
Stacy Doolittle, Director

Brian Hammer, Director
Janet Johnston, Director
Sarah Kennington, Director
Arch McCulloch, Director
Gary Stiler, Director

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