Last Ditch Effort To Head Off Urbanization Of Joshua Tree Now Afoot

JOSHUA TREE— Residents in the rustic community of Joshua Tree are girding themselves for what is likely to be the ultimate effort to stop Terra Nova LLP’s proposed Altamira 248-unit housing development on 150 acres near Friendly Hills Elementary School.
The project, variously known as Altamira, YV 105 and Terra Nova, will be surrounded by a wall and will be gated at its street entrances. The property upon which it is to be sited was originally owned in part or whole by the Hoffman Family Trust, based in Orange County.
The zoning on the property, consisting of Section 33 and most of Section 34, was intensified in the early 1980s, reaching a density of 4.2 units per acre, pursuant to a 25% density bonus because of plans to develop it for senior citizen exclusive housing.
After the county’s land use services division gave Terra Nova LLP go-ahead on the less-intensive 248-unit plan earlier this year, a group of Joshua Tree residents and business owners, maintaining the county planning staff did not comply with the Joshua Tree Community Plan and elements of the development code, filed an appeal of the project approval to the county board of supervisors.
Of issue is that the urbanization of Joshua Tree, a destination for travelers worldwide who sojourn to the Mojave Desert and Joshua Tree National Park, will damage the area’s tourist trade, a major economic feature of the area.
The property to be developed includes some densely desert forested land that is as, or nearly as, resplendent as other visually striking landscapes in the Mojave.
Joshua Tree is an unincorporated county community between the incorporated municipalities of Yucca Valley and Twentynine
The appeal of the project approval will be heard during the board of supervisors meeting September 13, and will involve a video hook-up between the community government center on White Feather Road and the board of supervisors meeting place in the Robert Covington Chambers at the county administrative building in downtown San Bernardino. Local residents will be able to communicate by videoconference with the board during the hearing in allotted three minute speaking periods.

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