CEQA Now representative Robert Berkman of Newberry Springs, and the Newberry
Springs Community Alliance representative, Ted Stimpfel, attended a Morongo Basin Conservation
Association (MBCA) board meeting on Thursday, February 8, 2018, in Yucca Valley to strategize in a
collaborative effort to address the inaction of the county's Land Use Services Department
to follow the county Supervisor's order to place Policy 4.10 before the county's Planning
Commission for consideration.
Policy 4.10 is a proposed part of the Renewable Energy and Conservation Element
(REC Element) that would help protect the county's Rural Living zoned residential parcels
from utility-scale renewable energy encroachment.
Policy 4.10 was removed from the REC Element before the Element was approved
by the Board of Supervisors last August and Policy 4.10 was ordered by the Supervisors to be
sent to the Planning Commission for review. The task of placing Policy 4.10 before the
Planning Commission falls upon the Land Use Services Department (LUSD) which has failed to do so in
over six months. If Policy 4.10 is approved by the Planning Commission, it would
automatically become a part of the REC Element.
The REC Element regulating renewable energy development is to become a
part of the county's General Plan updating later this year and rural residents want Policy
4.10 as originally written included in the General Plan.
The reason for the LUSD's delay to bring Policy 4.10 before the Planning
Commission isn't clear but residents want Policy 4.10 reviewed by the Planning Commission
as ordered, and approved as originally worded. There is some concern that the LUSD
may take it upon itself to reword the Policy.
Attending the MBCA meeting was Sheara Cohen, California Desert Public Lands
Representative of The Wilderness Society who was addressing the Trump Administration's attempt
to rewrite the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). The Administration's
directive to reopen vast areas of the desert to corporate development is adding to the uncertainty
of the desert's environmental preservation.
On Tuesday, February 13, 2018, community representatives from Newberry Springs,
Twenty-nine Palms, Morongo Basin, and the Lucerne Valley are expected to request the county
Board of Supervisors at their Board meeting to again direct that Policy 4.10 be placed before
the Planning Commission as originally written.