Loved by thousands of guests over the years and featured in magazine articles such as Sunset Magazine, Dwell, GQ, NY Times (and the list goes on!), these locations are an invaluable part of the High Desert landscape.
SHUTTING DOWN- In two months all of these rentals will be forcibly shut down based on an arbitrary decision due to lack of resources and willingness by the County of San Bernardino. Even though the County supports big box stores, strip malls, chain hotels and so on, they have decided this local community cottage industry should be illegal.
WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW! In an effort to push back and help the County see what locals and scores of happy visitors already know, our small community has hired a lawyer. The goal is to attempt to convince the County and effectively help them write a code that will include responsibly-managed and regulated alternative structures for everyone to enjoy. Going up against the Big Hotel lobby and County officials in faraway cities who have little understanding of the High Desert, this is an emblematic David and Goliath scenario. Managed by a group of locals who are spearheading this challenge, your donation will be going directly to the lawyer(s) and all costs associated with fighting the county on this matter.
THE PLAN- A lawyer will represent the interests of the community in this matter to the extent the donated funds allow. The first step is to begin attending meetings with the County Planning department and request that the citizens affected by this decision be allowed to participate in the process. The lawyer will act as a collective representative and will also appeal to the Board of Supervisors. If these attempts prove fruitless, the next logical step will be to bring a lawsuit against the County on numerous fronts, one primary argument being a constitutional one. However, this is a last resort and the group’s desire is to approach this in a meaningful and proactive manner.
FURTHER INFORMATION- Joshua Tree and surrounding area has seen an unprecedented jump in visitors. The National Park alone has seen nearly 3 million visitors last year (up from just over 1 million in 2013!!) in this sleepy region. Add to that Paul McCartney putting the nearby Pappy and Harriet’s in iconic Pioneertown on the global map, the new National Monument, and a proliferation of OHV events in the surrounding desert. There is subsequently a severe lack of accommodation which has in no way been addressed by the County. Hotels and traditional Airbnbs are at maximum capacity, and prices are skyrocketing.
But despite the tourism, this is considered a ‘depressed’ region- income is low, unemployment is high, the County is in debt. Alternative rentals offer some small part to alleviate these issues. They offer visitors an affordable, unique lodging option. They employ local cleaners, maintenance people, and all goods and services (fuels, essentials, septic cleanouts, etc) are kept within the local community. Furthermore, a 7% tax goes to the county to help with essential services and paying down their debt.
The upside to keeping these alive isn’t just for the experience- they’re a huge boon to the local economy and community too!
THE BIGGER PICTURE- The world is changing. People are taking control of their lives and their destiny. Television shows and magazines are celebrating local cultures like never before. This is a time for small communities to thrive and offer outsiders a look into how they live and what they do. We are at a cross-roads. Do we continue down the utopian path of farm-to-table, community gardens, cottage industries, sharing our local experiences with others, or do we get unreasonably regulated back to a time of chain restaurants and name brand concrete block hotels? This fight is a symbol of a much greater issue, one that each of us has to fight on our own front. Please support us on our front.
PLEASE DONATE AND SIGN OUR PETITION
Whether you can spare $10 or $1000, anything will help! Any excess funds collected that remain in this trust will be donated to a local non-profit that benefits the general community (Pioneertown Conservancy, Mojave Desert Land Trust etc).
Please sign our petition here: https://www.change.org/p/san-bernardino-county-allow-hosts-to-rent-unique-structures
DonationsSee top donations
- Ione Butler
- Stav Stern
- Chris Barker
- Liz Mediavilla
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