WE'RE CELEBRATING THREE NATIONAL MONUMENTS IN THE CALIFORNIA DESERT!
On February 11, 2016, President Obama designated three new national monuments, including Sand to Snow in our own backyard, plus National Trails and Castle Mountains. A BIG THANK YOU to the many MBCA members and supporters who wrote letters and appeared at events to support this.
Read about the new Monuments in this LA Times article.Read more
Morongo Basin Conservation Priorities Report
Between 2008 and 2010, the Morongo Basin Open Space Group convened dozens of Morongo Basin residents in multiple workshops and discussion groups concerning long-term conservation and development planning in the Basin. Its printed product was the Morongo Basin Conservation Priorities Report which represents the collected perceptions of the Open Space Group participants plus a lot of related scientific data.
Support for this project was provided by the Sonoran Institute. Both public input and conservation science were used to develop this information-rich document. The report provides a comprehensive picture of which areas of the Morongo Basin are considered by its residents to be particularly worth conserving, and which areas may be more suited to development, and why.
Tuesday, September 27 - San Bernardino County Supervisors voted 3-2 to deny the appeal, thereby approving the Altamira Housing project to go forward.
The 2 votes for the appeal, therefore against the project, were District 3 Supervisor James Ramos and District 1 Supervisor Robert Lovingood.
Read MBCA's September 12, 2016 submission to the Hi Desert Star "Guest Soapbox"about the Altamira appeal.
REPORT ON THE SUPERVISORS' HEARING ON YV105 LLP, AKA THE ALTAMIRA HOUSING PROJECT
Supervisors Meeting September 13, 1016
Action Recorded on the Altamira Issue
This is a summary of what happened during the Altamira Housing Project agenda Item at the San Bernardino County Supervisors Meeting of September 13, 2016. Agenda item #102 included a public hearing to consider the appeal by JT105 Alliance, and the staff had recommended that the Supervisors deny the appeal and go forward with the project.
Acting as representative for the JT105 Alliance appeal, Pat Flanagan made a very detailed, specific, and comprehensive statement of all the myriad problems with the project.
Here are the PowerPoint slides Pat presented. Here are the notes that she presented with each slide.
Then the Project Applicant YV105, LLP made their case. Public Comment was then opened, where about 30 people (most at the videoconference room at the Burke Government Center in Joshua Tree and several in San Bernardino) made eloquent, impassioned, and well-researched statements opposing the project.
Among the topics addressed were traffic safety, fire safety, native plant removal and other environmental issues, the presence of tortoises, water issues, historical (and questionable) up-zoning of the project property, and the incongruence of such a high density project in Joshua Tree. Repeated many times was the concern that the project plan never even mentioned the Joshua Tree Community Plan, and that state law requires that it be considered for such a project. In fact, according to both state and county law the Community Plan became part of the General Plan when adopted in 2007. At that time, according to the General Plan, the zoning should have been returned to its original density and it was not.
Both the project applicant and JT 105 Alliance’s representative were given one more 5-minute comment opportunity.
Supervisor Ramos made a motion to accept the appeal and deny the project, and Supervisor Lovingood seconded the motion. But then, the County’s attorney indicated there would be legal difficulties if the vote on this motion were 2-2. It was a complicated matter related to the County’s need to have “findings” supporting the denial. The Supervisors present also appeared to prefer the full attendance of all 5 Supervisors to conduct this vote. So Supervisor Rutherford, although stating that she was “for” the project, moved to Continue the decision to the next meeting. The other 3 Supervisors present agreed. We are uncertain under what protocol Supervisor Ramos’s motion to accept the appeal and deny the project was “dropped.”
So the issue will be taken up again at the next Supervisors’ meeting on September 27.
- Altamira Gated Housing Appeal hearing - Sept. 13
DRECP Record of Decision (ROD) Event – Sept. 14
We are all welcome to attend an event this Wednesday to mark the Record of Decision (ROD) that initiates the long anticipated DRECP (Desert Renewable Conservation Plan). Apologies for the late notice – MBCA just learned of it. Find the Department of Interior’s invitation below with details.Read more
Federal and State Level - Palen Photovoltaic Solar Project
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced in June 2016 that it is proposing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the rejuvenated 500 MW Paln Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Project on 4200 acres of undisturbed desert ecosystem land east of Desert Center adjacent to the I-10 freeway.
MBCA sent a comment letter on September 3, 2016, focusing on dust pollution as a major problem for this project. You can read MBCA's detailed 3-page letter about the Palen project or a shorter one-page summary of the issues that concern us about this project.
- Altamira Gated Housing Project
- Joshua Tree Solar Farm
- Soda Mountain Solar Project
- Dollar General Store vs. Joshua Tree
- Homestead Valley & Pioneertown Community Plans
- MBCA Desert Wise Living fall lecture
SAVE THE DATES:
- Alta Mira Gated Housing Appeal hearing preparation – Sept. 1
- Alta Mira Gated Housing Appeal hearing - Sept. 13
- Homestead Valley & Pioneertown Community Plans – see below
- MBCA Desert Wise Living fall lecture – Sept. 24
Recent decisions were made on a couple long standing issues of concern to MBCA and our conservation partners. Opposition wages on as several others continue to wind their way through decision makers. We can however finally celebrate one wonderful victory.Read more
Federal and State Level Deny Soda Mountain Solar Certification
A DESERT VICTORY!
- Joshua Tree Airport Solar: Next Era solar project on 115 acres
- Alta Mira Gated Community Housing Project: 248 homes on 105.24 acres
- Proposed Dollar General Store goes back to court
- Camp Rock Solar / Camp Rock Road, Lucerne Valley
- Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project ("Cadiz")
- Eagle Mountain / JTNP Boundary Study
- YV High School student Julia Martinez receives MBCA support
- MBCA celebrated Emeritus Director Esther Herbert
- 2016 Desert Wise Living Landscape Tour a great success!
Things are warming up now finally after a cool May, eh? Hope your swamp coolers are serviced and ready to go for the summer ahead!