Johnson Valley News 10/20/2017

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• Last Monday’s meeting of the Homestead Valley Community Council featured updates on issues that have been on the HVCC action item list a very long time, plus some news for the communities.

The statewide ban on building permits if the property relies on hauled water leaves many desert dwellers two choices: take a chance on drilling your own expensive well which might give you no water or bad water, or give up the idea of building or doing a major remodel.

The HVCC continues to partner with other organizations to point out conflicts between the latest action in Sacramento and previous state codes. How does the State plan to implement the ban?

The HVCC campaign for Scenic 247 promises economic benefits for us. However, more applications for industrial solar permits in the scenic corridor have been submitted, although Caltrans requires that care must be taken to preserve its eligibility for State Scenic Highway status.

Four miles through 2000 acres of solar panels, battery storage buildings, cables, towers and an Edison substation can never be scenic, nor can the developers mitigate the problems raised by destroying the desert. State Lands a little further north could also be subjected to this destruction.

Also, the meeting heard helpful information from County Fire, very timely considering all the wildfires and evacuations we keep seeing on the TV.

Their Office of Emergency Services has a high-speed alert known as TENS, the Telephone Emergency Notification System, like a reverse 9-1-1. They warn you of an emergency.

Using a database of telephone numbers, emergency messages can go to your landline. To get emergency text messages on your cell phone, add voice over internet phone numbers (V.O.I.P.), and manage your own account using a valid email address, sign up at

No internet connection? Call 2-1-1 or (888) 435-7565 to sign up. TENS targets affected areas, so enter a valid San Bernardino County address, for which you will receive danger alerts.

• Also under discussion at the HVCC: the Homestead Valley Community Plan. The existing plan, which affects the four communities of Johnson Valley, Landers, Flamingo Heights and Yucca Mesa, was adopted in 2007. The County has been holding meetings in all unincorporated communities with the idea of updating all community plans.

In 2007, many Homestead Valley citizens worked very hard, held many conferences and meetings to work out a plan agreeable to everyone. It includes matters like transportation, land use, and development that maintained the rural character of these historic homestead communities. It was adopted as part of the County General Plan.

The County’s latest meetings were run by a consultant company and certainly did not operate in the same manner. Those who made it to the meetings expressed goals and policies to consider for future development permits, and problems faced by the severely disadvantaged communities. Others commented online.

Now we see the County’s draft of so-called community action plans: plans for community volunteers to address goals and problems themselves. Unfortunately, most have already been addressed to County officials with little success (can we say Scenic 247 and the hauled water ban?). For the rest of it, the small population does not produce enough involved citizens to volunteer for the activities they advise.

HVCC and other communities see the same deficiencies. The call is to retain our existing plans, to update them with specifics on land use issues that have surfaced since 2007, such as industrial renewable energy in the desert, and to put more teeth into the plans themselves.

The County will hold a scoping meeting for the Countywide Plan to receive comments on the scope and content of the programmatic environmental impact report (EIR).

They welcome us to attend the scoping meeting and present environmental information that we believe should be considered in the EIR.  The scoping meeting is scheduled as follows:

Date: Thursday, October 26, 2017
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Meeting Locations:

-In San Bernardino Government Center, 
385 N. Arrowhead Avenue, 1st floor
-In Hesperia, 
Jerry Lewis High Desert Government Center, 
15900 Smoke Tree St, Suite 131
-In Joshua Tree
Bob Burke Government Center,  
63665 Twentynine Palms Highway

If you plan on speaking, you will need to fill out a speaker slip – but if you want your comments considered in the EIR, submit a hard copy also.

For more information about the Scoping Meeting and to view the Notice of Preparation please visit



• Sharon Edwards lost her battle with lung cancer Thursday, October 12, at the age of 74.

She was born in San Luis Obispo on May 15, 1943. She and her husband Larry were weekenders in Johnson Valley remodeling and expanding their house here. When Larry retired in the early 90’s, they moved here from Norwalk, saying they loved the peace and quiet of Johnson Valley.

An active member of the community, for years she ran L&S Water Delivery with Larry. She served on the Board of JVIA, worked with the Hobby Club, served Saturday Breakfasts and organized fundraising events. She taught many of us line dancing weekly at the Community Center.

An enthusiastic supporter of the development of the Paul Van Hook Desert Dreams Garden, she donated vintage equipment for display, and the trailer that the garden crew transformed into the “Sheriff’s Office” to store stuff out of the weather. She made the curtains for it and donated Deputy badges to give to visiting kids.

Sharon is survived by Larry, her husband of 56 years, three children, five grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, November 11, at the Landers Moose Lodge, 58266 Reche Rd. It will be potluck, bring a dish if you wish.

 • New members, this JV NEWS e-mail goes out once a week or so. It is an expansion on the community news column in the Hi-Desert Star, which has limited space available, and fills in between issues of the Johnson Valley Journal, which publishes every two months.

If you do not wish to receive the JV NEWS, just e-mail me and tell me to take your name off the list.

I hope you continue, though, and welcome your news, comments or questions. Also stories and pictures that might fit into the Journal.



Betty Munson

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