Discover more from The Desert Trumpet
ON THE AGENDA: PLANNING COMMISSION, NOVEMBER 7, 2023
Discussing the Matrix—a matrix for camping land use and zoning, that is—and homeless services
Most of this week’s Twentynine Palms Planning Commission Meeting will be spent working through details of proposed zoning for camping within the City.
The entire agenda packet can be found on the City’s website, which will also have a link on the day of the meeting to livestream the meeting. The recording will be available for viewing later on YouTube.
Attend this meeting if:
you have general comments you want to make about planning and development matters
you have an interest in campgrounds and camping in Twentynine Palms and have comments you want to make
you have an interest in homeless services and housing
After Planning Commission announcements, you can comment on items not on the agenda. Public comments on agenda items will be requested when the item is discussed. Fill out a green comment sheet available in the lobby and hand it to the staff usually sitting at the desk at the front of room on the right side. You have 3 minutes to make your comments.
The only item on the Consent Calendar is approval of the minutes from the October 17 Planning Committee meeting. The minutes provide a useful way to find out what happened in the sometimes meandering Planning Committee meetings and the Homeless Committee meetings, which are not live streamed and archived on YouTube.
DCA23-000004 - Special Occupancy Parks. Currently, mobile home parks and campgrounds are lumped in together in the same city code. This Development Code amendment pertains to the the regulations for mobile home parks, RV parks, and campgrounds and seeks not only to separate them, but provide detailed guidance for landowners. This topic was first discussed at the Sep 19 Planning Committee meeting. This item was tabled at that meeting to allow the staff and commissioners additional time to study commercial campground and RV park requirements.
City planning staff identified three categories of campgrounds and prepared this matrix for discussion with Hipcamp serving as a “subject matter expert,” as noted in an August 14 letter sent to the Desert Trumpet by Hipcamp. The letter, from Michal Rosenoer, Hipcamp’s Head of Government and Community Relations, was sent to the City to be read into public comment at the August 15 meeting, which was postponed to September 19. While mentioned by Commissioner Jim Krushat, it was never read into public comment, so we are attaching it below.
Hipcamp is part of the “sharing economy” and provides ways for private and public landowners to list their properties as camping sites. In the November 7 meeting, Planning Commissioners will be exploring proposed campground requirements. The elements for low-impact camping in the matrix below come right out of the letter from Hipcamp.
The Hipcamp letter goes on to point out that camping is in short supply around Joshua Tree National Park and that offering campsites is a revenue opportunity for landowners:
As the planning commission has discussed in recent meetings, camping is an extremely popular and limited amenity in Twentynine Palms and around Joshua Tree National Park. By creating a new code definition and standards for LICAs [Low Impact Camping Areas], the city has the opportunity to provide additional low-impact camping options for visitors while also supporting secondary revenue streams for local landowners of all sizes—not just those who own large parcels.
LICAs are a great option for Twentynine Palms to meet the demand for additional camping in the area while benefiting from the economic benefits therein, and establishing options for landowners to host overnight visitors without using buildings that could otherwise be used for long-term housing.
Camping is currently allowed on private properties zoned for Rural Living (RL) only with a conditional use permit granted by the City Council, which effectively means it is not permitted. A search of Hipcamp shows that there are a number of sites that give Twentynine Palms as their location. Most but not all appear to be outside the city limits.
If low-impact camping is allowed in rural living zones then codes regulating campfires, portable toilets, dogs and other pets, and the encroachment of campers on adjacent residents’ property will need to be written and enforced. And what effect will this have on wildlife corridors in Rural Living zones?
Should the Planning Commission think that the matrix above is a good start, City staff will ask for direction on the criteria that are missing—and other elements may be added. Once the direction has been agreed on, Staff will draft the ordinance for the Commission to review in the future.
STUDY SESSION: HOUSING AND HOMELESS COMMITTEE
The topics listed for this study session are updates on the progress of the Navigation Center, the Mobile shower unit and the Inventory of Services that will be offered at the Navigation Center.
At the August 22, 2023 meeting, the City Council approved the purchase of mobile showers and the development of a navigation center. At the last study session held on October 17—not live streamed but reported in the minutes, Director Gardner commented that ARCH and Community Action Partnership offer great services and resources on their websites.
Committee members also:
asked how much additional money the City Council is willing to put toward homeless solutions,
would like to put togther a proposal for a 55-unit homeless shelter and bring it to the Committee,
Desert Trumpet writer Kat Talley-Jones is a member of the Public Arts Advisory Committee, which is a part of the City of Twentynine Palms.
Share your thoughts in the comments below or in our live chat in the Substack app. Please note that we do not allow anonymous comments. Please be sure to include your first and last name in your profile before commenting. Anonymous comments will be deleted.