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ON THE AGENDAS: 8/1 PLANNING COMMISSION and HOMELESS COMMITTEE and 8/3 WASTEWATER COMMITTEE
A conditional use permit, a report from a local organization providing housing resources, and a wastewater project update expected for this week's Committee meetings
Planning Commission, Tuesday, August 1, 2023, 5:00 pm, Council Chambers
The Planning Commission continues a light schedule with just two agenda items prior to transforming into the Homeless Committee for the balance of the meeting—one of those being approving minutes from the prior meeting.
This series of short agendas prompts the question, “What’s up with the Short-Term Rental ordinance revision?” Community Development Director Keith Gardner tells Desert Trumpet that concerned community members can expect it in September.
Public Hearing, Scorpion Lollipop Conditional Use Permit (CUP)
Scorpion Lollipop owner Sara Lyons has applied for a CUP to add off-site wine and beer consumption to its existing idiosyncratic array of retail goods. Located in the Corner 62 building at Yucca Ave. and Hwy 62, Lyon and co-owner Josh Grelock describe Scorpion Lollipop as having a “fun, bubbly, punk sensibility and a healthy dash of weirdness” vibe.
Retail alcohol permits are divided into two categories: “On sale” for on site consumption, such as a bar, and “Off sale” for off-site consumption, such as a market. Per the staff report “Liquor license allowances are based upon an established ABC formula, relating census tract population counts to the number of approved licenses within that tract. This formula is to prevent an over-concentration of licenses within defined areas.”
If granted, this would be the 11th liquor license issued in downtown census tract 104.33. Tract 104.33 is a two-square mile tract extending north from 62 to Two Mile and is bordered by Utah Trail on the east and Mesquite Springs Rd. on the west. This would be in addition to the 16 alcohol permits held on the south side of 62 in Tract 104.34.
Twentynine Palms continues to grapple with the contradictions existing in the downtown corridor, balancing the desire to attract tourism and generate income for local businesses against a downtown located in the most disadvantaged region of the City.
Homeless / Housing Committee, following the conclusion of the Planning Commission meeting
When the Homeless Committee last met on June 20, Committee members decided to adjourn to a stand-alone meeting on Thursday, July 27. That meeting did not take place, landing the Committee back on the Planning Commission agenda. After blank agendas for prior meetings, we are happy to report that discussions items are listed, although with little supporting detail:
Affordable Housing Project
Back to Life "Tiny Home Project"
Morongo Basin ARCH presentation
The June 20th meeting was packed with useful information on the current state of the unhoused in Twentynine Palms. Attendance is highly recommended for anyone interested in this crucial issue for our City.
Wastewater Advisory Committee, Wednesday, August 3, 5:30pm, Council Chambers
At the June 27 Council meeting, Committee Chair Karalee Hargrove characterized the last Wastewater meeting on June 22 as “contentious,” and our reporting confirmed that residents are extremely concerned about the potential of a wastewater plant in their neighborhood. Again, the agenda consists of topics only with no attached reports or details:
Potable water discussion
The last meeting was packed; arrive early for a seat. However, if you are unable to attend, opponents of the wastewater plant location are planning a rally adjacent to City Hall on August 8 at 5 pm, immediately preceding the City Council meeting. Details at stopthesewer.org.
Are Committee Agendas Meeting Brown Act Requirements?
Advisory committees engage with important topics in our City and are subject to the same Brown Act regulations as City Council and Planning Commission. While lists of topics are an improvement over blank prior agendas, isn’t the City required to attach supporting documents distributed to Committee members to the agenda? Or are Committee members heading into these meetings without any advance preparation? The lack of these attachments is as likely a sign of overworked staff as it is a lack of transparency. However, that most Committee meetings fail to be live-streamed and archived remains a serious—although easily rectified—breach of City transparency.
Public comments for all items are limited to three minutes per agenda item, but the public is entitled to fill out requests to speak on multiple items and may also speak during general public comments. To comment, pick up a green form at the desk, fill it out, and hand it to the Clerk who is usually sitting on at the desk at the front of room on the right side. For all of these meetings, the public can also send comments via email to the Community Development Director and request that comments be read at the meeting.
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Per the California Healthy Places index, as of April 2023, Twentynine Palms was at the 8.1 percentile, while the downtown area was at the 4.7 percentile...this is out of a rank where top level percentile is 100.
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