EBlast December 1, 2020

  • Joshua Tree Candidacy for Threatened Status
  • Desert Tortoise Candidacy for Endangered Status
  • Countywide Plan / Repeal of Community Plans
  • Stagecoach Solar
  • XPressWest Wildlife Crossings
  • Stinknet Invasive Plant!
  • Virtually Attend MBCA Board Meetings
  • Check the MBCA Calendar for Online Events
  • Support MBCA through Amazon Smile
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MBCA Opposes Stagecoach Solar in Lucerne Valley

The latest large-scale solar development proposed for a problematic desert location is Stagecoach Solar, proposed for the Lucerne Valley area. In this case we are pleased that many of our concerns about the project on behalf of east desert residents are mirrored by the two desert-area County Supervisors, District 3 Supervisor Dawn Rowe and District 1 Supervisor Robert Lovingood. As in MBCA's comment letter, issues mentioned in the Supervisors' letter include existing County land use policies (RECE 4.10 especially), damage to wildlife corridors, and impaired viewsheds. In another extremely detailed and comprehensive coalition letter signed by 67 associations, organizations, and individuals including MBCA, there are numerous carefully researched and verifiable arguments to show why the Stagecoach Solar project would create a cascade of human and environmental difficulties for the Lucerne Valley community, not the least of which is a breach of  environmental justice.
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Wildlife Crossings Needed for High Speed Rail Project

Earlier this fall (September 3), MBCA joined with 23 other nonprofit organizations in a letter to CalTrans officials about the planned High Speed Rail Project from southern California to Las Vegas. Known wildlife corridors are in its path, including for bighorn sheep, so it is important that over-crossings and under-crossings are incorporated as part of the project's development, which is the message outlined in the coalition letter.
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Letter: Stagecoach Solar Project NOP Comments

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Countywide Plan Adopted and Community Plans Repealed

At their October 27 meeting, the San Bernardino County Supervisors adopted all recommendations from Land Use Services concerning the new Countywide Plan, including repealing the 2007 Community Plans. During Public Comments preceding the vote, five MBCA Directors made public comments from the Joshua Tree and Hesperia video-connection sites, requesting the Supervisors adopt and update the 2007 Community Plans rather than repeal them. Third District Supervisor Dawn Rowe asked County staff a number of thoughtful questions, including several related to MBCA’s concerns, then asked that the recommendation regarding the repeal of Community Plans be a separate vote. When that occurred, she voted against the repeal though it passed 4-1.

On the video recording of the October 27th meeting you can view the entire session concerning the Plan, including the presentation by Terri Rahhal of Land Use Services, by scrolling down and clicking on the bar beneath the video titled “100 Countywide Plan, Community Action Guides and Related Actions." It starts at 2:44 and ends at 4:38. You can hear comments from MDLT and from the MBCA Directors between 3:21 and 3:37.

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MBCA Requests County Retain Community Plans

Since the process began over 5 years ago, MBCA has closely followed San Bernardino County's efforts to develop a Countywide Plan. The resulting plan is scheduled for adoption at the Supervisors' October 27th meeting and includes the repeal of the 2007 Community Plans. MBCA maintains that the existing Community Plans are necessary for unincorporated communities to have a say in future development. MBCA's comprehensive letter sent to the County's Land Use Services staff and Supervisors on October 23rd addresses the background and rationale of this argument.  The letter concludes:

Communities want and need the specificity of the Community Plans to ensure the health and safety of their communities.  These plans already exist, are currently adopted into code, and housed in the Development Code that is not part of the vote on October 27th. Keeping these Community Plans ensures that the integrity and character of these communities is respected and maintained.
We respectfully ask that you do not repeal the 2007 Community Plans and initiate community-led updates of the Plans, that can then be incorporated into the forthcoming Development Code update.

Again here is the entire letter.
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Letter: MBCA Requests San Bernardino County Retain Community Plans

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Desert Tortoise Becomes Candidate for Endangered Status in California

tortoise_in_yard.jpegThe California Fish and Game Commission has temporarily designated the desert tortoise as endangered, a step beyond its current status as threatened. Similar to the action reported in our most recent News Update about the status of the western Joshua tree, a year-long review period will precede a permanent designation. Read more in this LA Times article.

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Joshua Trees Voted as Candidate for Threatened Status

Samuelson's_Rocks__JTNP.jpegThe California Fish and Game Commission voted 4-0 on September 22 to advance the western Joshua tree to the status of candidate for listing as threatened under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). This vote initiates a one-year review. In a second 3-1 decision, 15 large-scale solar projects nearing construction will be permitted to move forward under a seldom-used emergency provision "2084." Read the details in this Desert Sun article or in the Los Angeles Times.
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Comments on Environmental Justice in Countywide Plan

MBCA has sent a letter to San Bernardino County Land Use Services and the Countywide Plan Coordinator with concerns about the Environmental Justice Policy proposed as part of the Countywide Plan. The Plan is due for consideration at a September 17 Planning Commission meeting. Of special concern is why Lucerne Valley has not been designated an "Environmental Justice Focus Area" (EJFA), and why other communities that should qualify by state descriptions do not qualify for the same protections.
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