County RE Element Final Draft

Here is a message from the County about the latest status of the Renewable Energy and Conservation Element of the County's General Plan.  For more background, you can click the links in this November 2016 News Update from MBCA.

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April 25, 2017
April 2017 Final Public Hearing Draft Renewable Energy and Conservation Element Now Available for Public Review!
 
The Final Public Hearing Draft Renewable Energy and Conservation Element (REC Element) has been revised following the Planning Commission Public Hearing held November 3, 2016 and is now available for public review. The Board of Supervisors’ upcoming public hearing has not yet been scheduled, but the date will be posted on the Land Use Services Renewable Energy website and email notices sent out once scheduled.
 
The April 2017 Final Public Hearing Draft REC Element tracks the changes made to the November 2016 Draft and may be viewed via the following link:
 
 
 
Comments and/or questions may be sent directly to Linda.Mawby@lus.sbcounty.gov .
 
 
 
Linda Mawby
Senior Planner Land Use Services Department
Phone: 909-387-4002 Fax: 909-387-3223
385 North Arrowhead Avenue, First Floor
San Bernardino, CA 92415-0187

 

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Landscape Tour Review

During Earth Day weekend, nearly 400 people enjoyed the creative efforts of the owners of 21 water-wise landscape properties from Morongo Valley to Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, Twentynine Palms, Pioneertown, and Landers.  

The Hi Desert Star published Hilary Sloane's article "Landscaping tour shows off water-wise sanctuaries" on April 29.

See more photos of the Tour on the 2017 Landscape Tour Photos page.

If you participated in the Tour, consider submitting a short essay to describe your experience and win a gift certificate.  Here are the details of the Essay Contest.  The deadline for entry is May 15.

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Morongo Basin Dark Sky Alliance Presentation

At the April 21 Black Rock Symposium focused on "Grass Roots Activism in the Morongo Basin," panelist and MBCA Director Laraine Turk described the work of the Morongo Basin Dark Sky Alliance that operated under the County's jurisdiction from 2010-2013. MBCA Director Claudia Sall was also an active participant on the Committee, which worked with the County and local residents to provide education and work toward an improved County lighting ordinance. A PDF file of the presentation is available.
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Cadiz Water Project Moves a Step Forward

An administrative move within BLM management at the federal level has reduced the obstacles still in place for the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project that seeks to move water from desert aquifers to urban areas of southern California.  This April 5 story by our local radio station includes a map of the Cadiz location, and this LA Times article provides more details.
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Rural Roads and OHV Limits

Commentary and documents provided by Pat Flanagan
 
The BLM believes they have the legal right to connect public land parcels together using county un-maintained dirt roads. I believe this is incorrect – our dirt roads, a legacy of the Small Tracts Act (STA), are considered by the County, based on case law and the STA, to constitute legal right-of-way (ROW) for those entitled to use them, i.e. the public and utility companies. 
 
The documents provided here, especially the STA pamphlet and Penfold letter and County opinion, need to be readily available to anyone wanting to understand their legal position should BLM open County un-maintained dirt roads to OHV riding.

 

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Altamira Project On Hold

While we cannot say that there has been an end to plans for the Alta Mira housing project in the Friendly Hills area of Joshua Tree, the JT 105 Alliance citizens' group has informed MBCA that the developers have recently offered the project land for sale.  Below is an update from the Alliance and also links to some of the documents involved in the ongoing legal efforts to stop or change the plan for the Alta Mira Housing Development in the Friendly Hills area of Joshua Tree.

1)  A summary of the current situation is presented in this Press Release from the JT105 Alliance.

2)  The Alliance provided a copy of the October 28, 2016 CEQA petition they filed that outlined all the points of concern about the development.

3)  In January 2017, the Alliance proposed to the developers a settlement offer that included two very specific alternative revisions to their existing development plan that would be much more acceptable to the alliance and many Joshua Tree residents who have been concerned about the very “urban” plan proposed by the developers.  As the Alliance wrote, “We are not anti-development; we respect smart and ecologically-sensitive development.”

Here's an explanatory paragraph about the stay from the Alliance update:

"A six-month stay was agreed upon, on March 17, so that the developers could explore these options, during which they are not to pursue any permits for construction. Shortly after the agreement, a community member notified the Alliance that the developers had listed the project for sale, with the tract map approval as a key marketing point. If they were to sell the land, the lawsuit, and the wrath of hundreds, would be inherited by the new owner." 

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DHS Development Stopped Again

Several MBCA Directors have attended recent Desert Hot Springs City Council meetings to support their Planning Commission's decision to deny an extension for a developer's plans to create a large housing complex near Mission Creek Preserve and the Sand to Snow National Monument. At the Council meeting on March 22, a procedural situation resulted in the denial being upheld.  This Desert Sun article explains more about the circumstances and possible future actions by the developer. 
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JT Airport Solar in a Legal "Stay" Status

NextEra /JT Solar project is officially in a "legal stay" for six months as requested by NextEra. The Southern California Edison’s RAM PPA for the project has expired and NextEra has stated no work on the project has gone forward. The group Joshua Tree Community for Responsible Solar took the lead in opposing the project and initiated legal action. This Hi Desert Star March 17 article provides more information about the status.
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Turn off lights for Earth Hour

A worldwide effort to bring attention to environmental issues and climate change is represented by the act of turning off as many of your home lights as possible for one hour, between 8:30 and 9:30 PM, on Saturday, March 25.  Much more information is available on the Earth Hour website.
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E-Blast February 24, 2017

  • UPDATE: Request for SB Co. renewal energy Moratorium 

 

Renewable Energy Moratorium Initiative Status UPDATE
WHAT: Solar Moratorium Resolution postponed for Board of Supervisors meeting on Feb. 28
 
The previous E-Blast announced that MBCA joined our Lucerne Valley conservation partners in support of the request for San Bernardino County to impose a moratorium on approving any new industrial-scale renewable Energy projects – with all current applications placed “on hold” - until the County’s Renewable Energy Element is approved and in place. 
 
Future E-Blasts will notify you of how we can support the request for a renewable energy moratorium. Stay tuned!
 
Sincerely,
Sarah Kennington, MBCA President
 
Your 2017 MBCA Board
David Fick, Vice President
Steve Bardwell, Treasurer    Marina West, Recording Secretary
Pat Flanagan, Director         Meg Foley, Director             
Ruth Rieman, Director          Seth Shteir, Director
Claudia Sall, Events              Laraine Turk, Director
 
MBCA advocates for a healthy desert environment
that nurtures the region’s rural character, cultural wealth
and economic well-being.
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