• Steve Brown

Paradise Valley hits stumbling block, hearing postponed until May

Paradise Valley, the new city planned for the southern border of Joshua Tree National Park, hit a stumbling block this week at the Riverside County Planning Commission hearing.

The Riverside County Planning Commission hearing on Paradise Valley, a new city planned for the southern border of Joshua Tree National Park, did not go quite as planned for the developer. The project hit a significant stumbling block as the Planning Commission agreed to postpone any further discussion of the project until May 15, 2019.

"The Commission deliberately chose that date to allow further public comment from people in the desert," noted Chris Clarke, California Desert Program Manager for the National Parks Conservation Association.

This provides additional time for public discussion and comment on the project, and it seems the Planning Commission has taken more than a "rubber stamp" approach toward this development. According to Clarke, the chair of the Planning Commission, Bill Sanchez, has announced he is planning to visit the site, and has invited other commissioners to join him.

"That in and of itself may mean nothing," Clarke said, "but it's a sign that some on the Planning Commission are at least hearing the arguments about the desert's inherent worth.

"In the three months until the next hearing, I'd like to invite you to do the same," Clarke added, having recently walked the Paradise Valley site, something I did with Donna and Larry Charpied and others back when the project was first announced. "The Shavers Valley is a beautiful, compelling piece of desert that most of us just speed by on I-10," Clarke continued. "It deserves protection and appreciation. Every time I visit I come away resolved to make sure Paradise never gets paved. It's blooming right now."

Mojave Watch will send out an Action Alert for any dates for a guided visit to Shavers Valley, the prospective site for the Paradise Valley development. Those interested should sign up for our occasional newsletters and action alerts on our website.

Clarke noted that opposition to the Paradise Valley project has reached groups that usually support construction projects.

"Representatives of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, a union that represents 50,000 construction trades workers in six states, showed up to offer testimony in opposition to the project," Clarke explained. "That's right: unionized construction workers came to the hearing to speak out against the Paradise Valley project. They see very clearly that while this project might bring some short term jobs, it would actually hurt employment long-term by destroying the local Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, a framework that helps developers build projects without running afoul of environmental protection. When construction workers oppose a construction project, that sends a clear signal that the project has some serious problems."

Please register for Mojave Watch newsletters and action alerts to be notified of opportunities to visit the project site, and opportunities to comment on the project. If you would like to submit public comment now, please go to this page for talking points, information links, and contact information:

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