Stop Altamira !
The San Bernardino County Planning Staff said this project would have no potential impact on the environment, and pushed through a Mitigated Negative Declaration, rather than requiring an Environmental Impact Report which would have revealed the obvious issues, and would have required an alternate design. The County did not review the project for consistency with either the County General Plan, or the Joshua Tree Community Plan, which is a required "finding" by both State and County Law.
The Planning Commission passed the project (4 to 1) in April, the JT 105 Alliance (an asssociation of concerned community members) appealed, and then after a very questionable hearing, the Board of Supervisors passed the project 3 to 2, on September 27, 2016. The JT 105 Alliance filed a CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) lawsuit, and we now need our extended community, and desert-loving guests to help pay for the lawyer, filing fees, and costs associated with this action. The core JT 105 Alliance members have spent, and will spend, hundreds of hours of volunteer time, as they see the importance of stopping this project for future of our Morongo Basin, and for the benefit of all our National Park Visitors.
Janet Johnston and Gayle Austin have volunteered to manage the fundraising for the JT 105 Alliance. We are both residents of, and active in, the community of Joshua Tree. Gayle is an amazing tattoo artist, and along with her husband, are building a business in downtown Joshua Tree. They have both worked at the local schools, as well. Janet came to Joshua Tree, back in 1998, to build the Harrison House, and was the architect for Sacred Sands B&B (her husband helped build it), as well as private houses, locally. She and her husband decided to raise their family here, and have volunteered for years as soccer coaches in Joshua Tree, and extensively at the local school. Janet and Gayle are well-known in various circles of the community, and can provide references (again with some notice) as to our committment and character.
You can research the history of the community's battle with the Altamira development, and keep up on updates, on the local HiDesert Star (newspaper) and KCDZfm (radio) websites.
The funds collected are going to be used to pay the court fees, the JT 105 Alliance's lawyer's fees, and any direct costs (copies, mailing expense, and possibly renting a room for a meeting) required for the case.
We have opened a specific bank account for this action of trying to stop this development. We will route all money collected, and all money spent to pay lawyer (etc.) through this bank account, so all is transparent. All transactions are available for review by anyone who has donated, with a few days notice. Janet Johnston is the responsible party that will withdraw the funds from GoFundme, then deposit into the bank account that Gayle Austin and Janet jointly opened for the purpose of paying the lawyer, and costs associated with JT105 Alliance's battle to stop this development, that is so out of character with our community.
We will post updates to inform all donors of the continuing status of the case, as it proceeds. Once we know the case is finished (whether this trial court, or potential appeal), and it will take time, we will contact folks to determine together what to do with any remaining funds. Options may include either returning whatever percentage (if any) is left of their donation to them, or donate to a local charity.
The next step is soon approaching, and we will update/inform you about that, as soon as we get a few more details in place. THANK YOU, and please continue to donate, and share.