LETTER TO THE EDITOR: An Appeal to Our City Officials
Glamping could destroy our kind and supportive community and our cherished wildlife
Note: This letter was submitted as a comment on our recent nonprofit announcement. We inquired about running it as our first “Letter to the Editor” and the author, Gretchen Grunt, said yes. If you are interested in publishing a Letter to the Editor, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will supply you with our new guidelines. UPDATED: We have added Ms. Grunt’s businesses to her signature line.
To the Editor,
For City Council, Planning Commission and Important City Officials of Twentynine Palms:
Before getting to the following concerns, I'd like to take this moment to refresh ourselves with the General Plan Vision as stated on the City of 29 Palms website:
"The City of Twentynine Palms seeks to create and promote the economic and social well being of its residents while maintaining a relaxed atmosphere and clean air quality, as well as simultaneously creating a stronger and more diversified economy through attracting arts and tourism development, health/retirement, recreational and clean, nonpolluting industries.
These goals should be guided by two principles: (1) sustainability and (2) adaptability.
This requires that existing needs be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, and that, to the degree reasonably possible as determined by the appropriate approval authority, community activities should adapt to the natural environment, rather than the natural environment being changed or adopted to these activities. In addition, the City will encourage high quality development compatible with the missions of the Joshua Tree National Park and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center."
In this moment we're all aware that great shifts are occurring in our community (and globally) on many levels—every aspect of our lives are interconnected no matter who we are and what are economic and political standings are in this community.
I'll also assume your awareness of our housing crisis is a top item of discussion in your circle as well as mine, because without a solid home base lives quickly crumble. As I watch the Short Term Rental (STR) industry ravage our community, watching close friends and vulnerable families lose their homes due to a lack of affordable housing. I am dismayed to learn that the Planning Commission wants to propose passing a city ordinance to encourage glamping (reported here). As a fourth-generation resident of 29 Palms and a 20-year local business owner who lives in a neighborhood where our homes are on 2, 5, or 10 acre parcels, I am horrified of what the proposed destruction this glamping ordinance would do to our sensitive wildlife corridor and our social well-being.
Fortunately, I live in a neighborhood of kind supportive individuals who have become like family members. But already 20% of the homes in our neighborhood are STRs, creating dead zones where we have little to no interaction with the individuals who own those STR properties and create distress from time to time from the their tenants. This saddens our family-oriented neighborhood. We would be further disappointed by our city officials if they allow further destruction of our community by legalizing glamping, as the environmental and social issues would outweigh solving economic issues that the city may be struggling with.
Please, consider the voice of your citizens who value an intact community, protecting the wildlife and living in a kind supportive community of individuals who care about each other. And not just thinking about how to make a quick buck or create opportunity for a few organizations that might benefit from this proposed glamping ordinance.
Save the historically heartfelt pioneering values of 29 Palms, where we love to look out for each other. This attitude inspires tourists to return over and over because they feel this connected friendly space we've created together! Our connection to each other is our strongest asset, and it'll stay that way if we grow intelligently by protecting our environment, social serenity and adapting sustainable ideas that serve our community as a whole.
A great example of how to grow intelligently is to research other desert cities like Taos, New Mexico. Taos has many more decades of experience with rapid tourism growth. They demonstrate valuable knowledge for our community that we could adopt, like how they manage their STRs.
Our unstoppable cultural Renaissance is rapidly transforming our community in so many positive ways, I just pray we grow intelligently, without sacrificing the well-being of our most vulnerable individuals and families.
I'd also like to mention that the Morongo Basin Conservation Association (MBCA) is holding their annual meeting and an item of discussion is the STRs Impact Study:
What: Morongo Basin Conservation Association (MBCA) Annual Meeting
When: Saturday, February 3, 2024, 9:30am - 1:00pm
Where: In person at the Town of Yucca Valley Community Center
57090 Twentynine Palms Highway
Yucca Valley, CA 92284
Finally, another topic of discussion that could be of value in understanding the shifts quickly happening in our community: asking long-term business owners how their clientele has shifted in recent years.
Thank you for your dedicated service and consideration of my citizen concerns about legalizing glamping in the City of Twentynine Palms.
29 Palms Creative Center
Daughter of the former owner of the 29 Palms Inn
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