It strikes me as odd that with what seems to be a demand by citizens of the City of Twentynine Palms that there are not more places to shop. As I look around I see old buildings in need of face lifts and renovations, not to mention possible code requirement updates. Now I not just talking about development code updates to bring them into compliance with the cities current code. I also am talking about electrical, plumbing, gas, building safety, and even earthquake retrofitting.
I understand that there has been some discussion about allowing some past legally non-conforming structures to have continued use. Well that seems to go against what the General Plan called for.
As I read the Land Use Element under the Goals and some of the Policies that this city has already adopted there seems to be disconnect.
Goal LU-1 Encourage orderly growth and development as envisioned by community residents.
Policy LU-1.10 The City’s Development Code, composed of the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances, shall be consistent with the General Plan.
Policy LU-2.1 Development shall be consistent with underlying land use densities and intensities.
Goal LU-3 Promote a high quality of life and by encouraging attractive high quality development that is compatible with existing uses and the city’s desert environment.
Policy LU-3.12 Encourage economically successful commercial and industrial centers that are functional, safe, attractive and convenient to users, and which will strengthen the local economy.
Goal LU-4 Adequately address the potential impacts of new development on the existing community and the City’s infrastructure system.
Policy LU-4.1 Consider and address the potential impacts of new development on surrounding properties.
Policy LU-4.7 City codes, including building and safety, zoning and land use regulations, and property maintenance codes, shall be strictly enforced to maintain safe, high-quality residential neighborhoods and commercial/industrial developments.
Goal LU-10 Promote a high quality of life for Twentynine Palms residents by developing and sustaining a strong and diverse local economy.
Policy LU-10.1 Encourage land use decisions that are fiscally responsible and positively affect the City’s economic health by creating jobs, generating tax revenue and involving private capital investment.
Policy LU-10.8 Maintain a strong economic base by targeting and attracting new uses that provide high quality development and meet important economic goals such as employment and revenue generation.
Policy LU-10.9 Encourage the expansion and attraction of small and medium sized businesses with growth potential.
Then let us look at the City in its desire to attract new businesses to Twentynine Palms. Take a look at their web site page.http://www.ci.twentynine-palms.ca.us/Business_Incentives_Programs.108.0.html
It still references the RDA. As most people know those are gone. It also talks about Business Incentives Program where they “will be glad to meet with you and assist your business with a smooth entry into Twentynine Palms. We are in contact with county, state and federal agencies that provide loan programs and tax credits to job-creating businesses. We can analyze your business plan and determine if there is a partnership opportunity for the City/
Redevelopment Agency that we may be able to leverage.”
Not real cozy about that one or their ability to help when you have people that look as tho’ they would rather not have an increase is this city beyond mom and pop stores, tattoo shops, haircut shops, massage parlors, and smoke shops.
So let’s look at the local chamber of commerce. I thought that they were just here to be the local “Chamber of Events”. They should think about changing their name.
Their web site states that “The Chamber is made up of local and area business owners and citizens who work to improve the local business climate and further develop the economic base in our community.”
The Chamber President Chuck Caplinger seems happy with the status quo. “in a small city like ours, where we fall short of providing certain essential retail shopping experiences. Let’s face it, we’re for the most part, a community of small business entrepreneurs. We’re not a retail hub, we have no big box stores and, for certain items and services, we often have to look elsewhere.” And “I’m a believer in the “shop local””. He continues to say “There are many businesses that truly “serve” the community, with an attitude of, not only providing goods and services, but with a volunteering or helping hand.”
Really, where, who are we talking the same 12 each and every time? How about any of the 16 Massage Parlors, 9 tattoo parlors, 12 barber shops, 8 nail salons, 8 beauty shops, 8 second hand goods stores, 4 smoke shops, or the 6 full service bars are you talking about them?
Did you know that the Chamber lists over 250 members? Some include Costco, The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies, and Assemblyman Paul Cook. In all listed there were only about 170 that were even listed as being in the City of Twentynine Palms.
Hmmm? That is interesting.
Let’s take a moment and look at tourism. Take a look at the top 2 reasons to visit Twentynine Palms http://visit29.org/29_Reasons_Visit_29Palms.44.0.html .
Are you kidding me?
Now if this city can’t keep its only lumber store here what help is there for anything else? Why is the City Manager, the Chamber of Commerce, and the local Twentynine Palms Realtors (there are 15 of them) getting people and businesses into the city limits? Are they stupid or inept? Or maybe they are lazy, just sitting on their hands and waiting for someone to walk into the door so they don’t have to work.
What can these officials do to attract businesses? The key lies in building a better business climate, the panoply of public policies that affect investment, business startups, and profitability. A good business climate encourages people to start new businesses, existing businesses to grow, and national and international businesses to invest in an area. A poor business climate does the opposite. This city’s economic health depends greatly upon the nature and quantity of businesses that operate within its limits. Some business within Twentynine Palms generates zero sale tax. When businesses are spawned in a city or move to a city, the revenue they generate contributes directly into the city’s property and sales tax base. Look at what sells tax is generated by tattoo, barber, message, nail salons, and beauty shops. Most are cash and go.
The city can benefit from the additional revenue achieved by attracting new businesses. Some of the bigger or faster-growing cities place great emphasis on the economic development department within their chambers of commerce and city halls in order to actively increase the amount of business conducted within city limits.
Economic development has been an important concept to the health of cities since the origins of the monetized economy. More attention needs to paid to the active recruitment of businesses to grow our tax base.
This City has had a difficult time attracting the right type of businesses. Economic development specialists have to take into consideration existing infrastructure and the skill and education of their labor force. We have these people right here.
So Leaders, get off your duff and do something.
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