Landver & Greenburg Abandon Appeal Of Planning Commissions’ Denial Of Wonder Valley Inn Proposal

Jason Landver and Alan Greenburg have withdrawn their appeal of the San Bernardino County Planning Commission’s rejection eleven months ago of their proposal to establish a resort hotel in the desert community of Wonder Valley.
On March 23, 2023, four members of the county planning commission – Kareem Gongora, Michael Stoffel, Matthew Slowik and Jonathan Weldy – devoted four hours 37 minutes and 45-seconds to considering the San Bernardino County Land Use Services staff’s recommendation of approval and the presentation of the project made by Landver and a team of development consultants along with the input of 47 residents of the area or their advocates who inveighed against the project. Commissioner Melissa Demirci was absent from the meeting.
Landver and Greenberg’s proposal called for constructing a 106-room hotel, to include an all-night restaurant, spa/wellness center, conference hall and event center, a 6,000-square foot swimming pool, hot tubs, outdoor showers, a 180,000-gallon water tank and a 205-space parking lot on 24.4 acres situated on 223 acres they have acquired centered on a point identified as located at 78201 Amboy Road, not too distant from the southwest corner of Amboy Road and Gammel Road.
The county’s land use services division’s personnel assigned to the project, consisting of Senior Planner Azhar Khan and Supervising Planner Chris Warrick, were favorably disposed toward the proposal, and they recommended that the planning commission recommend approval of the undertaking to the board of supervisors. Board of supervisors approval of the project would be required for the project to proceed because, of the 24.4 acres that are to be developed, only 3.18 acres are currently zoned for service commercial use, which is consistent with a resort. The remaining 21.22 acres are zoned for residential development, with a requirement that each dwelling unit be located on a five-acre lot. Only the board of supervisors has the authority to grant the required zone change, conditional use permit and policy land use amendment Landver and Greenberg sought.
While Gongora, Stoffel, Slowik and Weldy seemed, by the tenor of some of the comments to be favorably disposed toward the resort concept,things went awry for Landver and Greenburg when Landver gratuitously and presumptively made an assertion suggesting he and Greenberg had an absolute “right” to develop the project as they proposed it and that the commission, board of supervisors and county had no discretion with regard to the project approval or terms of approval. Things worsened for the proponents when it was revealed that the team of development specialists Landver and Greenberg hired to usher the project past the planning staff and planning commission, which included the politically well-connected David Mlynarski and his assistant, Julie Gilbert, made misrepresentations about the presence of endangered desert tortoises on the subject property and those development consultants then made a personal attack on the biologist who found evidence of those tortoises’ presence, questioning his ethics, apparently because they felt that by withholding payment to him for that study, they could prevent him from publishing his findings.
The assertion by Mlynarski and Gilbert that the biologist had acted unethically by refusing to keep his survey results under wraps and providing a copy of the study he completed to entities that had not paid for it, coupled with a threat by Gilbert to blackball the biologist, Ed LaRue, with the development industry appeared to have sorely offended the commission members, who took the effort to bury the evidence of the endangered tortoises being present on the property as an affront and an attack on the integrity of the county’s land use approval process.
Ultimately, Weldy, Slowik Stoffel and Gongora declined to make any recommendation to the board of supervisors, which was tantamount to a project denial.
Landver and Greenberg appealed the passive denial to the board of supervisors.
In communications with members of the Wonder Valley community, Aron Liang of the San Bernardino County Land Use Services Department informed them that an email from Jason Landver informed county officials that he and Greenberg had decided to “pull the appeal” of the planning commission’s denial of the project. It thus seems the project, as was previously proposed will not be pursued.
Landver and Greenberg still own significant acreage in Wonder Valley. In the email to the county land use services division, Landver stated, “We intend to find a path forward in developing a project that adds beauty, jobs, and place where people can connect with the landscape.”
Wonder Valley residents are continuing to monitor the situation. One of those told the Sentinel they take action if a new proposal is contrary to or conflicts with the Countywide Plan and the Wonder Valley Community Action Guide.

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