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Street musician in New Orleans

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Street signs in New Orleans

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Fringe theater in New Orleans

Fringe theater in New Orleans

Life and art merge – Newest photographs from a series called “See Me”.

From See Me Series

From See Me Series

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Alta Mira Housing project in Joshua Tree

In 2007, a proposal for a new gated community in Joshua Tree was submitted to the County of San Bernardino by a corporation known as YV105, LLC. The plan would develop two adjacent parcels of land and consist of 248 single family lots, a community center and a sewage treatment plant. Two years later, in 2009, Ron Schwartz, a representative of YV105 and John Criste of Terra Nova Planning & Research, Inc. in Palm Desert, presented the plan to the Municipal Advisory Council (MAC). Public opinion was unanimously against the project and the plan seemed to disappear. But on October 17th of this year, the Alta Mira gated community was once again proposed via a notification letter to residents for the Friendly Hills area, extending from Sunny Vista to Alta Loma Drive.

The project is now in the land use approval process with the County of San Bernardino. Kevin Pursch, Supervising Planner for the county, said he anticipates this project going through the planning commission for a public hearing after comments from residents are collected which is a necessary step in the process. Residents who would like to submit comments on the project can contact  Kevin White. His telephone number is (909) 387-3067, and his email is Kevin.white@lus.sbcounty.gov. According to Pursch, comments will still be accepted after the October 31st deadline posted in the October 17th notification letter.

Some of the objections raised at the 2009 MAC meeting included: environmental and wildlife impacts, increased density, traffic control, clear cutting, allergenic reactions from dust, and the possibility of barren land and abandoned houses if the houses do not sell. Current residents have also expressed a desire to maintain the rural character of the area by limiting housing developments and preserving open spaces, scenic views, and wildlife corridors, as well as supporting locally owned businesses. Janet Johnston, a resident and a local architect said, “We love Joshua Tree, and moved here because we wanted to live in the beautiful desert, not amongst tract home developments… Building 248 houses without the jobs to support the residents is not a smart, sustainable economic development decision.” Despite efforts, these concerns voiced at the 2009 meeting were not taken into consideration, and the initial plan remains the same.

Additionally, corporation YV105 LLC has a balance of taxes due on both parcels of land that are anticipated for the project – a balance of $69,735.19 on the larger parcel from 2009 and a balance of $20,002.87 on the smaller parcel. Matt Brown, an Assistant Auditor Controller from the San Bernardino County Tax Collector’s Office, said the corporation will have to pay the outstanding taxes before the subdivision map is recorded and the entitlement process can be complete.