The intensely controversial issue of allowing a permanent commercial “campground” in a Rural Living Zone has been a hot button for months in meetings of the Homestead Valley Community Council (HVCC).
The Planning Commission today declined to pass a motion for a Conditional Use Permit for this project– it was then denied without prejudice. The developer Robott Land Company has ten days to appeal this denial to the Board of Supervisors.
County Land Use Services Staff recommended a Conditional Use Permit for a campground that includes 75 permanent campsites, a camp store, a restaurant, a bar, restrooms, a pool, workshop buildings, a helipad, and common area gardens and pathways. All this to fit within about 25 acres of the 640-acre parcel, pushed away from the highway to the edge of Pipes Wash. They did not mention the large parking lot for guests and staff.
Brief background here: In 2009, Land Use Services asked HVCC to host a public meeting to change the zoning in Flamingo Heights. The argument for the change held that concentrating future commercial enterprises along Hwy 247 in the northern area would protect the rural character of the parcels in the southern area.
HVCC did; large public participation agreed; LUS presented the zoning change to the Board of Supervisors, and voilà – Rural Living prevailed, including this 640 acres now under scrutiny.
Also, LUS has worked for years with the HVCC Scenic 247 Committee to establish scenic corridor protections as far as the eye can see.
But questions of land use in Rural Living zones still need to be resolved! Campsites are allowed under current RL conditions.
But this project is not what us local yokels would call a campsite. Camping or “glamping.” A 30-foot-high “Art Barn” does not fit our preconceptions. Nor do 20 “Camping Lofts” of unspecified loftiness, each 1,230 square feet (quite a bit larger than many Homestead Valley homes).
Of course, barn and lofts would not intrude into the scenic corridor as the highway out of Pipes Wash approaches this wide-open vista, Robott Land Company says so!
Enough scorn on this project 😝. Stay tuned as HVCC and the Lucerne Valley Economic Development Association (LVEDA) pursue clarification of the County definition of Rural Living zoning.
We already see proposals for similar oddball commercial camping hotel projects in this area!
HVCC and LVEDA, as well as other organizations, businesses, and citizens who promote the conservation of our desert, strongly opposed this Conditional Use Permit.
In case this glampsite should actually receive a permit, HVCC calls for an Environmental Impact Report to address:
-a permanent commercial enterprise in an RL Zone,
-intrusion into the Scenic Highway Corridor,
-intrusion into an Area of Critical Environmental Concern,
-and above all, the cumulative impact on other private property owners!
If you own property in a Rural Living zone, take a look at all the details of this commercial scheme and see what this latest variety of California gold rush entails:
It leads off with aerial drone footage over the whole 640 acres of wide open spaces. We’re sure you will admire the “tents” they will use to entice townees to enjoy the desert experience.
Oh, durn. They plan a restaurant and a bar not open to the public. At least us hungry alcoholic yokels won’t be erupting onto one of the trickiest stretches to drive on 247.
- Really. Milder weather, longer daylight, and a big full moon do make it feel like Spring has arrived in Johnson Valley! Even while we read about our friends up in the mountains still digging out from under unusual snowfall and bracing for more rain.
Remember to reset all your clocks that don’t reset themselves. Move the hour hand ahead one hour before you go to bed this Saturday night, March 12.
And, as our fire guys always remind us, check the batteries in your smoke detector.
MIKE’S OWN MEATLOAF
- Once again, last Saturday’s Rigatoni Dinner was rated “better than any restaurant.” It’s good to be getting back in the swing of things after the lockdowns of the Community Center.
Our volunteers deserve a big thank-you!
We have another great menu for next month. Mike’s Own Meat Loaf Dinner features guest chef Mike Steele’s individual servings of his special recipe meatloaf, with delicious sides and dessert.
Save the Date: Saturday evening, April 1st. Doors open 5:30 p.m. Dinner at 6:00. Donation 10.00 per person, kids 12 and under plate, 5.00.
Cash, check or credit card accepted.
IN MEMORIUM ED WARREN
- A family memorial in honor of former JVIA president and longtime Board member Ed Warren was held in the Community Center on Friday, February 24th.
His daughter Donna Carrell and son-in-law Oney had invited Johnson Valley friends of Ed’s to join them in the Desert Dreams Garden on the 25th. They set up a memorial plaque below the one-man airplane Ed built that nowadays flies as a wind vane over the Garden scene.
(The Paul Van Hook Desert Dreams Garden is next to the parking area, open to all, free of charge. It’s looking pretty good after February’s snow and rain. The wind played havoc with the garden railway layout; lots of sand and twigs on the tracks means lots of clean-up time before the model trains run again! Maybe by the time the trees green up and the flowers bloom. Probably some wildflower seeds blew in, too.)
FREQUENTLY ANSWERED QUESTIONS
To new readers: the JV NEWS e-mails every week or two, expanding on items published in the neighborhood column in the Hi-Desert Star. Other notices of particular interest to Johnson Valley residents and property owners also circulate to this list.
If you do not wish to receive these notices, just reply and tell me to remove your name.
JVIA ADDRESS & DIRECTIONS:
The mailing address is:
50567A Quailbush Rd.
Johnson Valley CA 92285
Directions to the Community Center:
From Hwy 247, between mile markers 21 and 22, turn onto Larrea Road at the big red highway sign and go 1-3/4 miles to Quailbush Rd. The Community Center is on your left at the corner.
HVCC: The monthly meetings of the Homestead Valley Community Council give you a wealth of information from our County Supervisor’s office, the Fire Department, CalFire, the Sheriff’s Department, the Marine Base, and other representatives from county, state, and federal authorities.
The Johnson Valley Improvement Association is one of the four associations in Homestead Valley unincorporated communities which established this grassroots organization. Information is circulated among our members and other JV residents and property owners. Citizens present issues in the meetings, the Council follows up with them wherever we see the need.
Plan to come to HVCC meetings at 3:00 p.m. on the third Monday of each month. The location rotates around the four Community Centers; it’s Johnson Valley in February, June, and October.
The next meeting is in the Flamingo Heights Community Center, 55977 Perris Road, just off Hwy 247, on Monday, March 20th at 3:00 p.m.
Very important issue – the new CalFire maps of the State Responsibility Areas somehow manage to kick so many of us into a higher risk zone. They claim it uses wildfire history in part to establish wildfire risk in the SRA’s. They actually appear to ignore it, not consider it.
See years of Newsletters, HVCC Actions and Comments, as well as meeting agendas on http://homesteadvalleycc.com
See Scenic Highway 247 documents and the Visual Assessment on the website-in-progress www.scenichighway247.com