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Yucca Valley Inching Toward Commercializing & Industrializing Residential Zones

By   /   June 27, 2014  /   4 Comments

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(June 24)  The town of Yucca Valley this week took a major stride toward the liberalization of its land use policy, with the planning commission making a recommendation that the city council alter its development code to allow greater latitude with regard to the type and nature of home-based businesses that can locate in the town’s residential zones.

Challenges made by some city residents of businesses run out of single family residences in several of the town’s neighborhoods, including at least one that involved a lawsuit, resulted in the town revisiting the issue of home occupation permit regulations earlier this year.  In some of those cases, complainants referenced violations of the town code that had been ongoing for several years.

The operators of those businesses and their supporters, including nearby residents who signed letters or petitions saying they had no objection to industrial or quasi-industrial uses in the midst of their residential neighborhoods, petitioned city officials to amend the town code, in particular Development Code Section 84 with regard to home-based businesses.

There has been some degree of back-and-forth between two differing factions in town – those advocating strict enforcement of the town code to prevent commercial or manufacturing operations in residential areas and others maintaining that commercial and light industrial activities should be deemed acceptable within the town’s rural neighborhoods.

The planning commission on June 24 made a non-binding recommendation that the city council adopt the newly drafted ordinance, which would repeal Development Code Section 84.0615 of the Town Code and amend Title 9 by adding a section and a chapter to the Yucca Valley Development Code.

The ordinance changes the language in the code from a reference to home-based business to home occupation operations. It contains language which states that such activities should “not alter the character of any residential neighborhood, or create impacts or activities that are not typically and commonly associated with residential neighborhoods.  It is the intent of this section to allow for commercial uses that are accessory and incidental to the primary purpose of residential zones homes, which is that of providing a habitable dwelling for the owner or occupant as the primary use of the residential dwelling unit.”

The ordinance would yet prohibit home occupations that entailed “animal hospitals; automotive and other vehicle repair, upholstery painting or storage; junk yards; medical and dental offices, clinics and laboratories; mini-storage; storage of equipment, materials and other accessories to the construction trades; welding and machining; cabinet shop[s]; uses which may include the storage or use of explosives or high combustible or toxic materials; sales of ammunition; [and] massage establishments.” The ordinance also disallows sales of firearms in residential zoning districts other than those designated as Rural Living or Hillside Reserve.
Planning commission chairman Tim Humphreville lobbied his colleagues to allow the sale of firearms in all residential zones.  That request was not endorsed by the full commission, however.

The ordinance identifies four classes of home occupation operations that are permitted.

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About the author

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:

    Much ado about Nothing….. What happens in another mans yard matters only if it extends into my own.

    This an argument between a devout Roman Catholic Family and a Devout Agnostic Homosexual Couple.

    Insurmountable, I say let the warring parties meet on a field of battle and take shots at one another. Last man standing is the winner. Otherwise keep the Business Community and home grown business out of it.

    Only in California do we have stupid people causing such hardships. Nothing but one vexatious fellow ruining it for everyone.

  2. Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

    This article is hogwash. Whomever penned the article wasn’t at the last meeting or any of the previous. The PC did not vote to do anything on June 24th. We are still in draft phase of the article and holding public hearings.

    • Mark Gutglueck says:

      Commissioner Whitten is free to characterize the article I wrote as “hogwash” or in any other terms he chooses, but he is mistaken when he says I was not present at the June 24th meeting. I was in fact there for the hearing on Development Code Amendment, DCA-02-14. I distinctly recall that he, with the concurrence of his colleagues, directed Mr. Stueckle to consider putting a table into the ordinance that would specify what uses were permitted in the town’s differing residential zones so those contemplating obtaining home occupancy permits would have a clear understanding of what types of businesses or intensity of uses would be acceptable up front. There was also interchange between the commissioners with regard to the wisdom of permitting gun sales in businesses located in residential neighborhoods, with Mr. Humphreville at the most liberal end of the spectrum in this regard and Mr. Lavender representing the most conservative approach with regard to this issue. A major portion of the article are verbatim quotes taken out of the staff report or the proposed ordinance itself. If, as Commissioner Whitten states, the commission did not formally vote, there nevertheless appeared to be a consensus that Mr. Stueckle proceed with the ordinance as it was presented with a few minor changes, such as that suggested by Commissioner Whitten with regard to redrafting the permitted uses in the various zones from a narrative into a table. Moreover, Mr. Stueckle’s staff report contained a recommendation that the planning commission recommend that the town council adopt the ordinance and I did not hear anything from the council countermanding that recommendation.

      • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

        There was consensus for Staff to proceed with changes to the draft that we discussed and to bring it back to us. We never made a motion to accept Staff’s recommendation or vote on that recommendation, therefore the recommendation to send it to the Council died. We did not do what you stated in your article, quote:

        ” The planning commission on June 24 made a non-binding recommendation that the city council adopt the newly drafted ordinance, which would repeal Development Code Section 84.0615 of the Town Code and amend Title 9 by adding a section and a chapter to the Yucca Valley Development Code.”

        Please feel free to introduce yourself next time you’re at the PC meeting.

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