- Short Term Rentals and Housing Element Update
- Workshop and Webinar: Joshua Trees and Climate Change
- Sienna Solar 2
Happy Fall, MBCA members and supporters!
Short Term Rentals and Housing Element Update
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors will consider adopting the Draft Housing Element (DHE) component of the County Wide Plan on Tuesday, September 27, 2022. We urge you to review the plan and comment online to the Supervisors by Monday, September 26, or in person at the September 27 meeting. As we reported recently, we want to encourage further and timely study related to the continuing effects of Short Term Rentals (STRs) in unincorporated County areas like the Morongo Basin.
The Housing Element forms the basis for policies that affect the quality and availability of housing throughout the unincorporated communities of San Bernardino County. Within the unincorporated areas, Short Term Rentals (STRs) are having effects on Community integrity, housing availability, displacements caused by conversion to STRs, school enrollment, businesses, excessive noise, trash, traffic and more. MBCA’s video highlighting some of these has been seen by the Supervisors, and while a temporary pause was put in place on the issuance of new STR permits (now concluded), the root of the problem has yet to receive the careful study needed.
MBCA has joined a coalition of groups in this letter encouraging the county to undertake a ‘public planning process and study’ to which they are committing under Program 4 of the DHE. MBCA is recommending that an interim cap on STR permits be adopted during the course of studies on STRs.
The Housing Element Agenda item is number 85, where you can find links to the July Staff Report to the Planning Commission on the Draft Housing Element. During the July workshop and subsequent vote by the Planning Commission to recommend approval of the DHE to the Board of Supervisors, there was no substantive discussion of the effects of STRs on housing.
To comment online by Monday, September 26, email:
Here is the information about commenting in person at the Supervisors’ meeting on Tuesday, September 27, 2022 beginning at 10:00am:
Attend in-person at:
County Government Center
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 locations:
Understanding Western Joshua Trees and Climate Change
MBCA is co-sponsoring this timely, hybrid Workshop and Webinar with the California Desert Coalition. The status of the listing of Yucca brevifolia (Western Joshua tree) as a threatened species candidate under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) will be explored in the workshop. As a corollary to this discussion, the important role of the intact desert in capturing and storing carbon will also be explored as a component of 30x30 efforts by the state of California. Experts in biology, regulatory requirements, and the desert ecosystem will make compelling presentations for protection of the desert.
When: Saturday, October 1, 2022, 9:30-2:30
Where: Online and in person at the Yucca Valley Community Center
This free and timely workshop / online webinar will inform the participants as the California Fish and Game Commission considers the listing of the Joshua tree and the California Natural Resources Agency drafts their final report on Working Lands. Pre-registration is required; continental breakfast and lunch will be provided at the in-person session.
Sienna Solar 2
MBCA recently submitted additional scoping comments for the draft Environmental Impact Report for this expanded and enlarged industrial scale renewable energy project north of Lucerne Valley. The developers expanded the size and scope of the project subsequent to the adoption of the Renewable Energy and Conservation Element (RECE) of the County Wide plan in February 2019, which was intended to limit such developments in rural residential areas. The developer remains the same as the original application although the project has grown significantly in size and scope from 1630 acres to 1932 acres, including a 45-foot tall battery storage component.
Should this project be approved, it would connect to the proposed Calcite Substation immediately adjacent to Highway 247 which would in turn facilitate the construction of other large-scale renewable energy projects including Calcite (664 acres), Ord Mountain (484 acres) and Stagecoach (3000 acres). The cumulative affect of these projects would be devastating to the Lucerne Valley community, wildlife and ecosystem.
While the need for developing clean, fossil-fuel free energy is imperative, we believe the intact ecosystem and health of rural communities must not be sacrificed. MBCA believes rooftop solar within the built environment, coupled with appropriately sited utility scale projects are best suited to create an equitable, distributed, and resilient electrical system. The use of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to evaluate impacts of projects is currently under threat. We encourage you to attend the CDC/MBCA workshop described above to better understand the applicability of CEQA to utility scale renewable energy projects.
Thank you all for your continued support and making your voices heard as we advocate for the healthy desert and environment that supports all life.
If not already a member, I encourage you to renew or join our membership!
Steve Bardwell, President
Brian Hammer, Director
Janet Johnston, Director
Sarah Kennington, Director
Arch McCulloch, Director
Gary Stiler, Director