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Calling 29 Palms Planning Commissioner Carey Alderson…

By   /   November 7, 2012  /   30 Comments

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Hi Carey. You have been exemplary in making use of this blog in order to explain some decisions and topics under discussion by the 29 Palms Planning Commission.

Planning Commission left to right): Dick Banneck, Greg Mendoza, Pamela Carmichael, Carey Alderson, Bill Easter. [Courtesy of 29 Palms City webpage]

Consequently, I ask if you will explain the Commission’s rationale for what occurred last night concerning the new law embodied in Assembly Bill 1616.

This bill is a new state law that encourages and makes it easier for home-based food businesses. This morning, local radio news reported the Planning Commission last night set about to modify (my term) the new law with many restrictions.  It reported:

 “The Commissioners were uniformly dismayed by the law, and set about considering a long list of restrictions that the state might allow…”

It added:

“–20 devised by Development Director Charles LeClaire and another 10 from Commission Chairman Cary Alderson–and approved most of them.”

The intent of the law is to promotes local jobs, provide more healthy food choices and to boost local economies. Hence, why are they so many (30) add-on restrictions by the Commission (which are apparently not required under Assembly Bill 1616)?

On another issue, why is the planned barber shop made to re-apply for a permit because it had an enclosed area without asking for permission (107.7 FM)? Why is this important? I though the Planning Commission is trying to easy up on restriction and hoop jumping.

Often, you are often the voice of reason and many of us want to hear the Commission’s take on issues.

Thank in advance for your input.


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Branson Hunter

(This story was posted by Cactus Thorn contributor Branson Hunter)

"The ends do not justify the means." If you use illegal mean to accomplish a legal and even desirable result, the good result does not make the bad means you used justifiable.


  1. Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

    You know Ben… this is one of those cases where …. New Council…. New Planning Commission.

    We need to streamline regulations not make it harder to do business in town. One of those rare times when we agree… scary.

    • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

      This is a good example of why we need to fire the city

      These types of added restrictions by a bunch of control freaks are what have devastated commerce in 29.

      Anyone that can still say 29 codes aren’t less restrictive than county has their head up their ass.

      Once again I have to point out the vibrant business community in J T that have to operate under county, now drive through 29 any questions

      • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

        No questions here….

      • Carey Alderson Carey Alderson says:


        Are you really wanting to go down that road again? Haven’t you had enough be proved wrong time after time?

        If you do want to start another round of “how many false things Mark says”, give me an example of exactly what code(s) you are talking about.

        You can’t use the sign code. You were proven wrong on that already.

        • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

          Our “dismay” about the law and what some feel is a serious fault in the law is the lack of safety inspections. Under the law there are 2 types of license for a cottage food operation”.

          So Carrey the state and county don’t seem to be dismayed as you seem to be, you post as if you think there should be additional restrictions. Hope you are not advocating a 29 health department lol.

          Carey you don’t have the venue to prove anything, you are part of a little group of control bozos. Until I am served with a citation giving me my constitutional right to due process there is proof of nothing. You may want to get that chip off your shoulder and start eliminating some of 29 overburden codes, 29 needs some relief from big bro. notice I was kind enough to not use the words that you can’t handle.

          • Carey Alderson Carey Alderson says:

            You do know that the Commission is working on a rewrite of the Development Code right? Trying to find ways to make it easier everyone across the board to do things in Twentynine Palms.

            At no point did I say anything about a city health department. I don’t get where you read that from. The “dismay” citation came from the Z1077 story.

            For a better reading of the news I would refer you to The Desert Trail. They reported that many on the Commission had issues about the law concerning safety.

            Are you not concerned about safety? Do you have an issue with us not worried that there might be health and safety issues?

            Where are your concerns? Have a heart brother!! I wouldn’t want anyone ending up in a hospital having their stomach pumped due to food poisoning.

            • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

              Yea the best I can tell is you guys would rather have kids buy institutional products like Twinkies that are inspected approved and very unhealthy rather than some homemade cupcakes or cookies, don’t be a servant of the establishment that protects big business and the status quo. I truly believe you are one hell of a good intentioned man, drop the institutional blinders and work for the people. Remember you can take you experiences and the knowledge obtained from locals to the meetings with you. The locals should not have to attend meetings to get a fair deal.
              Buddy I feel for you, I know it is not your fault the code rewrite has drug out over what years now, time to simplify and get it done.
              Thanks Carey

            • Carey Alderson Carey Alderson says:

              Thank you Mark for the kind words. But, I think you might have missed my point.

              I like the idea behind the issue. What I don’t like and can see as a potential problem is that without some safety standards put people at risk.

              Let’s look at the what the law says people are to do.

              CHAPTER 11.5. Cottage Food Operations
              114365. (a) (1) (A)
              (i) No cottage food preparation, packaging, or handling may occur in the home kitchen concurrent with any other domestic activities, such as family meal preparation, dishwashing, clothes washing or ironing, kitchen cleaning, or guest entertainment.
              (ii) No infants, small children, or pets may be in the home kitchen during the preparation, packaging, or handling of any cottage food products.
              (iii) Kitchen equipment and utensils used to produce cottage food products shall be clean and maintained in a good state of repair.
              (iv) All food contact surfaces, equipment, and utensils used for the preparation, packaging, or handling of any cottage food products shall be washed, rinsed, and sanitized before each use.
              (v) All food preparation and food and equipment storage areas shall be maintained free of rodents and insects.
              (vi) Smoking shall be prohibited in the portion of a private home used for the preparation, packaging, storage, or handling of cottage food products and related ingredients or equipment, or both, while cottage food products are being prepared, packaged, stored, or handled.

              Can you or anyone guarantee, assure or promise me that all the above will be followed?

            • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

              I thought there was a provision that if a complaint was filed the county would inspect, no cost. I don’t know for sure but I think the intensions for this change comes down to the state trying to open for business. I have hefty cost for my commercial food business, prohibitive for a person just starting out. Let’s embrace the spirit of those that would try and make something of themselves by their labor.
              I myself would prefer a homemade bakery item than one from bimbo, but that’s just me if there are those that want a bimbo Twinkie I say let them buy just as those that seek home cook goodness should have the same access to fill the cravings.
              I think we went here before but when Ben Franklin said those that would trade liberty for security deserves nether. Give me the liberty to buy and consume from whoever I chose, the state is finally doing their part.

              Thanks again

            • Carey Alderson Carey Alderson says:

              Yes there is that provision in the law. I think I said this before. I don’t understand what more do you want here.

              I said I like the idea of the law.

              Good Gawd Mark. If you don’t want a twinkie don’t buy the damn thing.

              Do you skip half of a conversation?

              Unless, someone files a complaint with the San Bernardino County Environmental Health Services there will not be any inspection. (class A)
              Then, the County has the OPTION to inspect the complaint.

              Do you hear me now?

            • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

              I guess it just gets down two different viewpoints. I kind of like the Idea that an informed public does not need a nanny or nanny state, they can chose to buy form an uninspected vendor if they feel comfortable with the vendor. I know many think people are not able of taking care of themselves therefor needing protection, and I will agree some do. But do we punish a potential new industry just to protect the few?

              I would bet the word option was put in so as to have an avenue for the county to disregard the lunatics the jealous the envious that would complain for other than legitimate reasons. The state may have put a lot of thought in this, or maybe just a smitten of comon sense.

              Once again we just have different viewpoints, of course mine is always right and yours is always wrong, just kidding the dialog is healthy and good for all that care about our community. Notice I did not say city.

            • Assembly Bill No. 1616


              SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

              (a) Small businesses have played an important role in helping slow economies recover and prosper as an engine of job creation. During the 1990s, small businesses created the majority of new jobs and now account for 65 percent of United States employment.

              (b) California, and the United States as a whole, are facing growing obesity and obesity-related disease epidemics.

              (1) Two-thirds of American adults and nearly one-third of children and teens are obese or overweight, placing them at risk for developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

              (2) One in every nine California children, one in three teens, and over half of adults are already overweight or obese. This epidemic affects virtually all Californians.

              (3) These health conditions are preventable and curable through lifestyle choices that include consumption of healthy fresh foods.

              (c) For decades, low-income and rural communities have faced limited opportunities to purchase healthy foods. Often, without cars or convenient public transportation options, low-income residents in these areas must rely for much of their shopping on expensive, fatty, processed foods sold at convenience and corner stores.

              (d) There is a growing movement in California to support community-based food production, sometimes referred to as “cottage food,” “artisanal food,” “slow food,” “locally based food,” or “urban agriculture” movements. These movements seek to connect food to local communities, small businesses, and environmental sustainability.

              (e) Increased opportunities for entrepreneur development through microenterprises can help to supplement household incomes, prevent poverty and hunger, and strengthen local economies.

              (f) At least 32 other states have passed laws that allow small business entrepreneurs to use their home kitchens to prepare, for sale, foods that are not potentially hazardous.

              (g) Even some bake sales are currently illegal in California.

              (h) It is the intent of the Legislature to enact a homemade food act specifically designed to help address these challenges and opportunities.


          • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

            Mark, Do you have any constructive input for updating the Development Code? When we became a city we adopted the county’s code and refined it over the years. WEhat would you change?

            • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

              I do…. Take the development code and reduce it until it can fit in to a PeeChee folder no more than 100 pages tops…. If a regulation is more than a paragraph it is too complex. Make it brain dead simple.

  2. Carey Alderson Carey Alderson says:

    Sorry for the late response, but here it my take on the issues you raised.

    I wish you and others had been there then you might have a better understanding of what occurred and I would not have to correct some false information. But I do understand that other events kept some doing other things.

    AB 1616 has many good qualities found in it. And you are correct, the law does help small businesses produce and sell food made out of their homes. It allows entrepreneurs to skip the expensive step of leasing certified commercial kitchens.

    Here is the text of the law: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201120120AB1616

    What you are missing and what the local news failed to report, though the paper did a better job, was that under the law a “use permit shall be granted if the cottage food operation complies with local ordinances, if any, prescribing reasonable standards, restrictions, and requirements concerning… (such factors as): spacing and concentration, traffic control, parking, and noise control relating to those homes. Any noise standards shall be consistent with local noise ordinances implementing the noise element of the general plan”.

    And that was exactly what was discussed. Under the law, local governments are allowed to prescribe reasonable standards, restrictions, and requirements. Many of the restrictions that the commission looked at were in keeping with those that already exist for all home occupations within the city under the current development code.

    You have to remember that we are talking about residential neighborhoods here not commercial zones. What was approved by the commission were such things as, storage of hazardous materials, equipment, and other materials and their screening. We looked at hours of operations as to keeping neighborhoods safe from extra vehicular traffic. We also took in to account limited parking, child safety, noise and lighting.

    Our “dismay” about the law and what some feel is a serious fault in the law is the lack of safety inspections. Under the law there are 2 types of license for a cottage food operation.

    Class “A” being the least expensive, are not be subject any inspections. Unless, someone files a complaint with the San Bernardino County Environmental Health Services. Then the County has the option to inspect the complaint.

    Class “B” being a little more expensive, only requires an initial inspection then they shall not be subject to more than one inspection per year. Unless, someone files a complaint with the San Bernardino County Environmental Health Services, then the county has the option to inspect the complaint.

    Just a note: Current commercial food facilities are inspected twice a year. That would include such places as Mustards Last Stand and Smith’s Ranch Drive-in.

    The law has other issues but I would be remised if I didn’t allow you to do your own reading of the law.

    If you wish you may view the meeting at home, here is the link to the cities video page. http://29palmsvideo.com/

    • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

      Thanks for the recap Carey. It was a long but productive meeting. The lack of inspections was a serious concern. (Dan, take note). And the hours of operation were also of major concern. If you live in town, would you want your neighbor selling their cupcakes to the public at 6AM in the morning?

      • Larry, you fret way too much over nonexistent issues. How many customers do you think a home cup cake business is going to get a 0600? It’s not a home based marijuana dispensary.

        You can come up with endless scenarios that don’t amount to a hill of beans. Maybe 29 ought to hire people to check if mom and pop wash their hands every time after they they take in cash from a sale.

        Bureaucratic micromanagement is an infectious disease. “Kum ba yah”,”Kum ba yah”. It’s true in law: Sometimes, the cure is worse than the disease.

        • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

          That was one of the concerns expressed by members of the PC. I won’t confuse you with facts anymore.

          • Insults isn’t going to work for you Larry. I clearly, sincerely and politely stated my views and if you want to say they are wrong and why, I’m open to that. I cited the new law and explained how I thought it was over-regulating of local mom and pop home businesses.

            I’m listening to reasonable people, can you continue to be in that group?

            • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

              Ben, you fret too much over nonexistent issues. But I will consider your sensitivities in the future.

        • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

          Maybe 29 ought to hire people to check if mom and pop wash their hands every time after they they take in cash from a sale.

          funny thing about that is, to meet the requirements of the Health Codes, you must have one person designated as the cashier…. Anyone who handles food is not allowed to touch the money. Unless of course you wash your hands for 20 seconds after each exchange of money..

          When we are in full swing I wash my hands as much as I can and always use gloves when handling food. I personally do not want to make anyone sick or risk being sued.

          I think as in every food handling business education as to health requirements is really important. Once each purveyor of these non-hazardous food items are permitted and food handling management courses have successfully completed, they should keep up with current health codes. It is just common sense.

          With this new law, It is now pretty hard to deny the right of Mobile Food trucks, trailers and carts from doing business in town. That is for sure…. We’re now getting into a fairness question. MFF and TFF are far more regulated and deserve at least equal treatment.

          • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

            Mobile Food Trucks, Trailers and carts are commercial. The new AB1616 is for Cottage(home)Food Operations. Dan, you could sell your hot dogs from your front porch and never have to come in town.

            • Interesting application of the new law from Larry and Dan.

              I’m with Dan on this; his food operations and preparations begin at home, that’s the beginning point for a long day in the field.There is no commercial restaurant or commercial leasing of a building.

              Should the regulations be out of the hands of local City Hall, I think a few would be envious and once again defy state laws. Seems that’s the nature of 29 Palms. Be defiant and do things the 29 way.

              Note that this well placed sarcasm is not directed at the Planning Commissioners.

              Larry, since you are a Cactus Thorns blogger can you research of the Legislative intent of AB 1616?

    • Carey, thanks for your response.

      A Mom’s Homemade Marmalade isn’t going to have the traffic of a McDonalds or Jack in the Box — unless, say, it’s a Carey’s Killer Cannabis Drive-Through window operating out of your kitchen. Thus, there is no problem that exists.

      Should there be a problem, deal with foreseeable problem via appropriate codes already on the books.

      One former City Manager in 29 and the Town Manager in Y.V. quickly point out that codes are “selectively enforced”. Keep everything pertaining to mom and pop little businesses very simple. Overburden codes just create problems as well as micromanaging a nonexistent problem.

      You wrote: “Current commercial food facilities are inspected twice a year.” My understanding of the new legislation is that an inspection of these type of home-based businesses may take place ONLY if a complaint is filed.

      I think you wrote this too. So what is the problem? There are none. If lack of safety inspections appears to be a stumbling block, upon a complaint being files as per the new legislation investigate it. You know, eating GMO foods out of Stater’s is more of a problem. Maybe the PC can do up some codes of FRANKENSTEIN FOODS… :)

      This weekend I hope to view the Video of the PC meeting. In that way, I’ll be better informed to better discuss this.

      • Carey Alderson Carey Alderson says:

        You asked for the Commission’s rationale, I gave it to you.

        You asked about the law, I answered your questions.

        You were given half a story, I filled in the rest.

        You haven’t read the law. You weren’t at the meeting or seen the video.

        Yet you want to beat me up over it???



        • It’s nothing like that Carey. You were a little disingenuous with me.

          I made some comments and shared my views, that’s all. Many times, I have highlighted your good faith willingness to be open and share your comments in here with everyone.

          The legislative intent of AB 1616 is that upon a complaint being filed,a safety inspection may take place. That means an inspection of the premises. The great concern over safety has been addressed by the legislature. I clearly understand the position of the Commissioners: Public Safety.

          Once again, you are exemplary in explaining the PC position. I can’t thank you enough. We really need more public servants such as yourself who actually believe in TRANSPARENCY, as opposed to the many elected and appointed haughty individuals in the Basin whom intentionally defile the political system without remorse.

          I can’t think of a more demanding job than being a Planning Commissioner. It’s complicated and exhausting and thankless. It’s dark and lonely work, but somebody has to do it.

          You five commissioners are an asset to 29 Palms.

  3. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    JT’s business community is arts and tourist oriented. No new grocery stores. No new furniture stores. Just art studios and restraunts. We could do the same if we supported the arts and tourism but CT seems to be anti-everything that would increase touirist income. The hospitality businesses are asking for help from the 2% of the TOT tax that was passed several years ago. Having one motor bike race a year at the raceway ain’t going to cut it.

  4. Carey Alderson Carey Alderson says:

    Here is my response to you inquiry concerning the barber shop. And again the paper did a better job reporting most of the facts.

    The issue with the barber was that a conditional use permit was granted by the Planning Commission that was intended to enhance the area based off of the then submitted plans. The owner made changes that may conflict with that. The engineer agreed that what was done was not the intended intent originally approved. He, the engineer, was asking if Commission would allow those changing or was there a need for a modification to the original conditional use permit. The Commission felt that further review was warranted so that it could assess the changes.

    This is not a re-applying for a permit. The barber shop can be built either as originally approved or they can submit those plans needed for the modification.

  5. According to newly elected BOS James Ramos’ vision, he “wants to begin researching the county’s policies on the licensing and regulation of businesses and whether any changes could be made to those policies to attract more businesses to the county.”

    This supports the need for less restrictions, not more micromanaging in 29 of small businesses. That’s all we are going to get in 29, small businesses.

    • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

      It would be nice to have a master development code that states the city in no way will pass a code that is more restrictive than that of the county. The city can ease codes within the bounds of state law. A simple solution to the commerce drought now choking the city.

      Larry whats wrong with the artist community of JT, the only difference I see between the JT artist and the 29 artist is the 29 artists need of public assistance.

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