MBCA Releases Video: Seeking Housing Solutions for the Morongo Basin

MBCA has posted a complete video of MBCA's Annual Meeting program "Gimme Shelter: Seeking Housing Solutions in the Morongo Basin." Other resources related to the program are provided below:

Contact and Information List of Program Participants 
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Joshua Tree National Park and Tribal Authorities Create New Agreement

A historic co-stewardship agreement was signed by Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians Tribal Chairman Darrell Mike and Superintendent David Smith of Joshua Tree National Park this week. The of tribal lands and federal land acquisitions over time in the area are described in this news story in the Desert SunThe agreement “will enable the park and the tribe to collaborate on interpretive and educational services, natural and cultural history training, mutual aid for search and rescue and wildland fire operations, and other projects. The park and the tribe also plan on collaborating on a trail connecting the reservation to the park.”
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MBCA's Annual Meeting on Housing Promotes Ideas and Dialogue

Nearly 100 participants heard public officials and non-profit leaders describe problems and potential improvements for the recent crisis in affordable housing options across the Morongo Basin at MBCA's January 21 Annual Meeting. We are grateful for the expansive reporting of the event by local radio station KCDZ 107.7, which offers a good summary of the issues discussed. This opinion piece in the Hi Desert Star encourages a focus on housing similar to the message of our program. The entire program was recorded and will be available soon on MBCA's website. Links to several handouts can be found below. Additional news, documents, and links will be posted here on MBCA's News page when available.

Annual meeting program with listing of speakers
Handout - Government Requirements: Housing Element and Acronyms
Handout - Program 4: Short-term Rentals (the required study of the effect of STRs)
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Western Joshua Tree Endangered Listing Decision Delayed

In an outcome not entirely unexpected, the California Fish and Game Commission today chose to delay the decision on whether listing the Western Joshua tree as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act is warranted. Today's meeting focused on additional tribal input, which will continue, while general public comment is closed. Much of the concern comes with how the restrictions will be implemented as relates to development, and the idea of more widespread conservation planning is another issue being considered. The item will next be on the agenda at the Commission's February 8-9, 2023 meeting. Here is the story in more detail as reported by the Desert Sun and here is a short summary by local radio station KCDZ.
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Response from Flamingo 640 Campground Developer

As reported on local radio station KCDZ, the RoBott Land Company replied in writing to questions asked at a recent Homestead Valley Community meeting with a 17-page document. Their detailed replies are to a great extent based on the acceptance and approval of San Bernardino County in their application process and their belief that the growth in visitors to Joshua Tree National Park supports their project.
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MBCA Comments on Sienna Solar 2 in Lucerne Valley

Changes to the proposed Sienna Solar project in Lucerne Valley triggered a new scoping comment letter from MBCA about Sienna Solar 2. The proposed site has expanded and poses a wide range of potential harms to quality of life and the desert ecosystem. In a community designated as Severely Disadvantaged, Lucerne Valley residents will be subjected to dust, degraded views, and excessive lighting. Environmental problems likely to arise include degraded air quality, water issues, and harm to wildlife including threatened species. MBCA Directors Pat Flanagan and Brian Hammer have outlined the problems and created detailed maps illustrating the issues in MBCA's Scoping Comments to San Bernardino County’s Land Use Services Department. 
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Golden Currant Solar Project Needs RMP Review

MBCA and 7 other conservation groups have requested a pause in the Golden Currant Solar project variance review until a revised Bureau of Land Management Resource Management Plan is completed to replace the 1997 version. The 25-year old plan predates many changes in desert management, including updated desert tortoise status, water availability, visual resource and habitat conservation plans, plus water availability, public land access, tribal consultation and many more concerns. While this Nevada project is not within the Morongo Basin, MBCA has always viewed the entire Mojave Desert as part of "the healthy desert environment" that we seek to preserve.
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Letter: Scoping Comments for Sienna Solar and Storage Project in Lucerne Valley

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Eblast September 22, 2022

  • Short Term Rentals and Housing Element Update
  • Workshop and Webinar: Joshua Trees and Climate Change
  • Sienna Solar 2
Read more
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Coalition Letter on Program 4 in County Housing Element

As part of the County's amended Housing Element (required report to the state), Program 4 is a study to determine the impact of short-term rentals on the housing supply of unincorporated desert and mountain communities. In this September 19 letter to San Bernardino County's Planning Director, MBCA and the Center for Biological Diversity along with Mojave Desert Land Trust, Tahquitz Group of the Sierra Club, and Unincorporated San Bernardino Together, ask the County to show that they are taking their responsibility to their communities seriously. The letter recommends formation of two Advisory Committees – one for the Mountain Region, and one for the Desert Region. The letter also recommends setting an interim cap during the study period, plus a timeline and goals for the study. The introductory paragraphs of the letter summarize past concerns and the intent of the recommendations. For more background information, read MBCA's News posts from May 15, June 9 (MBCA letter)June 9 (letter with CBD)June 15, and July 5, 2022. 
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