White drone hovering in a bright blue sky. Drone copter flying with digital camera
Spread the love

• Come on over to the Johnson Valley Community Center this Saturday evening, March 4th, for the super Rigatoni Dinner. Enjoy this flavorsome baked pasta along with cheesy garlic bread and fresh green salad, plus dessert!

It’s only 10.00 per person; the kids’ plate for ages 12 and younger is 5.00. (Cash, check or credit card accepted).
Doors open at 4:30 p.m. Dinner at 5:00.

Plan to stay awhile after dinner for the announcements and meeting; get the latest news and hear the nominations for the election of JVIA officers and directors for 2023. We urge all members with dues paid by January 31, please come! And VOTE at the March 4th meeting!

• Wild weather delivered a glancing blow to our stretch of the high desert – winds rolling trash cans, empty water tanks and lawn furniture; a blackout in the dark; whiteouts on the roads; a full-arch rainbow! Our northern friends get much amusement over our taking on so about a few days of winter weather.

No excuses. It’s a novelty we sometimes wait for years to see. Best yet, under the creosote bushes and buried in blown sand, millions of sleeping seeds will awaken in a few weeks to exchange the white snow on the ground for dazzling wildflower colors.

Note to weekenders: past wild wind events tell us you may want to come out and check if your property suffered any damage. Or maybe call a neighbor to check and see if anything happened.

The forecast is milder for the upcoming days, but if your shingles are in the Colorado River, you want to know, just in case.

•Reminder: if you have going solar on your mind, the window of opportunity to maximize future savings closes soon.

California’s new net metering policy NEM 3, approved last December against much opposition, reduced compensation for the excess electricity your solar energy system generates and sends to the grid. That’s if your interconnection application is submitted after April 14th at 5:00 p.m. PST.

You can select an installer no later than March 31st and have time to submit the interconnection application via your installer before the April 14th deadline.

After that date, solar savings would still be meaningful, but they would be 60% lower for 20 years.

The actual installation does not have to happen by that deadline, and you can even revise your system design after submitting your interconnection application. If you submit your application by April 14th, it will be grandfathered into the old lower rates for 20 years.

As we well know, the grid can be unreliable, with another (planned for daytime) blackout for our area on Friday, March 3rd. Public safety power shutoffs can occur several times a year. Solar panels paired with a battery can save money on your annual electric bills and help solve your blackout worries. See:

• Where does it end? When do bureaucrats catch on that people LIVE here? Careless or unscrupulous rulings and designations made without a real investigation of the lands in question or informing residents? Oh well, what else is new?

Two controversies have stirred up a hornets’ nest in the Homestead Valley (Johnson Valley, Landers, Flamingo Heights and Yucca Mesa) as well as other rural unincorporated communities.

#1 Rural Living See the Flamingo Heights 640 “Glamping” Proposal Updates webpage:  http://homesteadvalleycc.com/fh640glamping.php
To review project documents from the County: see the line item “Resort Camping- Proj-2020-00191”: https://lus.sbcounty.gov/planning-home/environmental/desert-region/

For several months HVCC has addressed this and other commercial resort developments applying for Conditional Use Permits on properties zoned RL: Rural Living.
Stay tuned for updates on comment dates for the Planning Commission.

#2 The new SRA maps
Judging by the interactive map of ‘before’ and ‘projected’ hazard levels – it’s even more important to get us out of the CalFire State Responsibility Areas! Our environment does not qualify as ‘wildfire prone’.


You can click and drag the map’s divider sideways to see the changes.

Large areas in Lucerne Valley and Homestead Valley have been designated along the assessor’s property lines for increased levels of wildfire hazards (of course, if any wildfire starts in a red, orange, or yellow square, it will surely not spread over these arbitrary boundary lines.)


However, the California Wildfire History Map tells a different story about wildfires:


Zoom in on the Johnson Valley area; Hwy 247 is indicated by a light gray line.

The lovely colors delineate the spread of each wildfire. Click on a color to see the year and name of each. But none of the colors show up in the large sweep of countryside that includes Lucerne Valley and the Homestead Valley communities! None. NO fires.


Already we hear of people reporting insurance being dropped or rates increasing.  What they hear is: Higher Fire intensity!


Our Assemblyman Tom Lackey sent a letter voicing his concerns over the new maps of Fire Hazard Safety Zones (FHSZs) to Daniel Berlant, Acting State Fire Marshal/Deputy Director, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection:

“In the introduction of the new modeling used for determining FHSZs, fire intensity scores are determined by ‘the most extreme fire weather at a given location.’ This seems to run counter to previous modeling and does not best assess accurate hazard conditions, as demonstrated by the comparison with flood maps ‘where lands are described in terms of the probability level [of being impacted].’
‘Additionally, these zones do not take into account defensible space or landscape changes that would alter the hazard conditions significantly, leading to unreliable determinations on the accurate severity of fire hazards.’

Most surprising yet, is the impact on the Lucerne Valley Unified School District, which includes Johnson Valley. The LVUSD district office/alternate education campus was not in any hazard zone before. The new proposal indicates it is in an orange zone, “high risk.” For what?

The public comment period has not ended yet, but the SRA Viewer map reflects the newly proposed zones as if they have already been approved!


Nothing has changed in the environment since the previous mapping, but you may find yourself saddled with problems with insurance and any future development on your land. None of this makes any sense; try explaining the difference between “risk” and “hazard” to an insurance agent.


No SRAs appear north or east of Hwy 247, although the merest attempt at ground-truthing would show both sides of the highway are the same.


Also, the additional goal to protect watershed areas through SRAs should not apply. The majority of Lucerne Valley and all of the Homestead Valley are NOT watershed areas. The watershed terminates in the hills, NOT at Hwy 247. Once again, laziness? carelessness? has adopted the road as a senseless boundary.


The public meeting comment period on the newly updated SRA mapping ended before any of us heard of this activity.

The written comment period ends on Tuesday, April 4.
E-mail: fhszcomments@fire.ca.gov
Call: 916-633-7655 for more info.

HVCC continues to work with the Lucerne Valley Economic Development Association on both the Rural Living Zoning issue and this SRA designation.


The next meeting of the HVCC will be in the Flamingo Heights Community center, 55977 Perris Rd. on Monday, March 20, at 3:00 p.m.

• To JVIA members subscribed to the Journal, who expected to see it this week in your mailbox – due to circumstances beyond our control, it has not even made it to the printer yet.

You don’t want to hear about all the interruptions in writing and production, but the motto for a while there was, “What next!?!


The only good outcome for content – ⛄we have photos of Johnson Valley snows for the first time in several years. If you took any, please e-mail them to me soon, and we will try to fit as many as possible into this issue! If not, into the next for everyone to remember as the days warm up. Thank you in advance!


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.

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.

The Paul Van Hook Desert Dreams Garden is next to the parking area, open to all, free of charge.
Please keep dogs and kids away from the garden railway – thanks!

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 and 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 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 on Monday, March 20th at 3:00 p.m.

See 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

Betty Munson
c/o Ship-It-Shop
51720 Hacienda Rd.
Johnson Valley CA 92285

By Betty Munson

Betty Munson c/o Ship-It-Shop 51720 Hacienda Rd. Johnson Valley CA 92285

Leave a Reply