Housing? Elementary School Project Looms in
UPDATE!! Not being able to find any information on this “project”, I inquired with Laraine Turk, (MBCA) who in turn sent the inquiry to David Fick (MBCA) who promptly responded with an overview of what he knew of this project. There are still several details that are not yet clear given that the school is a Calif state project and not something residents in Joshua Tree nor the County officials have any control over. You can see Mr. Fick’s response at the end of this article and photos.
With all the controversy over “big-box”, “corporate invasion”, “open space”, “anti development”, “preserve fauna and flora”, “water”, “sewage”, “view vistas”, “rustic rural character”, and numerous other sub-titles of concern, I am curious as to what the construction project is on the west side of Sunburst about 2 miles north of the 29-Palms Hwy in Joshua Tree that appears to be in conflict with the above “issues of concern”.
I’ve searched extensively Internet resources and cannot find a single word that gives a clue what this project is and no information seems to be available to contact the project proponents, operators, owners or others. Local news media appear to be void of any information.
The entire facility is chain-link fenced, locked gates, No Trespass Warnings posted and appears to be quite actively engaged in constructing
some sort of “big-box”, corporate owned track-styled housing Elementary School, complete with several streets and a huge flood control ditch on its southern end, [Mr Fick describes: a shallow moat to capture water run-off] which, implies it sits in a “flood zone”. Large earth-moving equipment, construction “office trailer”, outhouse (Port-a-Potty,) survey stakes and other evidence of “development” can be seen throughout the entire section.
The “yellow” line in the map below represents their chain-link fence — not necessarily the entire parcel which may be a total of 40-acres.
This section of developing land is about 0.20 miles square, or 1,115,136 square feet which is equal to 25.6 acres. It is bordered on the north by Calle de los Amigos, Sunburst on its east, El Reposo on the west and its center is about 1.8 miles north of the 29-Palms Hwy.
Photos taken Saturday, March 24, 2012
Mr. Fick’s brief email received late Sunday the 25th:
On Mar 25, 2012, at 4:48 PM, Laraine Turk wrote:
> Bill, I believe this may be the new site of the Joshua Tree
> Elementary School, but I am copying David who will know for sure and
> will be able to give you more information.
This is the new Joshua Tree Elementary School site. It’s
supposed to be a 16 acre campus, but they have very awkwardly included
a 13 acre bio-swell. I’ve talked to Ron Smith (of MUSD, 760 367-9191
ext. 4232 ) about it. He made a presentation about the “New” JT
Elementary School to the JT MAC about 8 or 9 months ago. It didn’t
include the “bio-swell” at that time, because at the MAC presentation
he was asked about the other 24 acres (it’s a forty acre parcel) and
he said MUSD was intending to leave it as is. The School site
originally wasn’t intending a bio-swell, but state requirements did.
A bio-swell is a “moat’ around the perimeter (with shallow sides to
prevent injury) to catch the free flowing surface water coming from
Bartlett Mountain and the “bad flood controlled” sub-division [existing housing] to
the north of the school site and have the water channeled around the
school. They then had to figure out what to do with all the displaced
soil from the “moat making”, so they cleared more land for that.
That’s the way they do it in Sacramento. [everything on paper] The “state architect” is
based in Riverside and Bill Warner of Nolte Engineering (formerly
Warner Engineering) had a hand in the preliminary landscape design.
Bill Warner’s answer is to clear and grade ALL the land. The construction is almost “sanctified” by state law, in that normal laws [building codes and local ordinances] that pertain to land clearing and such need not be followed. This is a state project.
PLEASE NOTE: IF THIS AREA WAS A NCHR, THEY COULDN’T DO THIS. It
would have been reviewed by a sane bunch of people who [live here] know the desert
and would be able to give design input to “go with the flow” and give proper respect to the desert landscape and had caring answers.
Oh, and a FEDERAL NCHR trumps State law.
EdNote: gray notes in brackets “[" "]” are added for clarity
“BIO-SWELL” is actually spelled BIO-SWALE. The photo below is an example of a Bio-Swale, under construction around a housing project. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Bioswales are landscape elements designed primarily to remove silt and pollution from surface runoff water. They consist of a swaled drainage course with gently sloped sides (less than six percent) and filled with vegetation, compost and/or riprap. The water’s flow path, along with the wide and shallow ditch, is designed to maximize the time water spends in the swale, which aids the trapping of pollutants and silt. Depending upon the geometry of land available, a bioswale may have a meandering or almost straight channel alignment. Biological factors also contribute to the breakdown of certain pollutants.
A common application is around parking lots, where substantial automotive pollution is collected by the paving and then flushed by rain. The bioswale, or other type of biofilter, wraps around the parking lot and treats the runoff before releasing it to the watershed or storm sewer.