An article in the Victor Valley Daily Press recently highlighted that 11 January was significant for another reason in the Mojave Desert (for the other reason, read here). The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors designated 11 January as the last day for the public to comment on the environmental impact statement for the proposed development of a sub-division in Fairview Valley, located within the Apple Valley sphere of influence but in area where humans are outnumbered by Jackrabbits.
View Fairview Valley in a larger map
The Strata Equity Group proposes building nearly 3,000 homes in the area over the next 20-25 years, which would severely burden city services, existing transportation infrastructure, and add noise and air pollution. The overall impact would be a dramatic shift for the way of life of current Fairview Valley residents, who cherish the seclusion and open vistas of the Mojave Desert on the fringes of the Victor Valley.
Although this is partly an environmental impact question, the impact is also one of economics. given that thousands of additional residents on the outskirts of Apple Valley would bring thousands of cars, and hundreds of thousands of trips to the grocery store, movies, and doctor's office. This generally would sounds like a good thing for any community facing bad economic times. The problem is that such a development is ill-conceived and represents a potential pitfall for the County seeking quick revenue but forgetting to preserve the desert heritage that provides a hallmark character for the Victor Valley community. (sound familiar? Read about Victorville's expansion plans here.) Adding more residents on the perimeter of Apple Valley will force the County to invest more heavily in Country services, will place an extra burden on roads in the City of Apple Valley, increase demand for fire protection and law enforcement services, and sanitation. Perhaps the County and the developer should consider pushing this development closer to the city, where the roads and services are in better shape to handle the influx of residents.
Once again the vast expanse of the desert projects a mirage that invites wild dreams that neither the desert nor the dreamer can sustain.
If you'd like to keep track of the process, check out the San Bernardino County Land Use Services Department website and scroll down to the Hacienda project.