Airstream hotel gets OK from county

Miriam Seger testifies for the San Bernardino County planning commission Thursday, Oct. 3.

JOSHUA TREE — Residents and business owners came down on both sides of the question of a 55-unit Airstream hotel proposed for downtown Joshua Tree.

Residents both in support and opposed went to the Bob Burke Government Center to take part in a county planning commission hearing on the project Thursday. After hearing public comments, the five commissioners all voted to approve the project.

The project will be located on 26.15 acres north of Twentynine Palms Highway, south of Verbena Road and east of Sunburst Avenue, close to an apartment complex and the Morongo Basin Transit Authority bus terminal.

It will include a clubhouse and meeting area made from Quonset huts, according to plans.

Autocamp, the developer behind the proposal, operates in three locations in California: Santa Barbara, the Russian River and the Yosemite Valley.

Project manager Sam White called the camp an alternative type of hotel. He said the company partners with local vendors to help its guests explore the surrounding communities.

“We think of Autocamp as a base camp to explore the community,” he said.

“I am in favor of it,” local business owner Darren McGarvey said. “I think it is an amazing project. I think it is a benefit to the community.”

Resident Susan Hogervorst expressed concern about the fire pits to be placed with each of the Airstream trailers. She worried about smoke and particulate matter from all those open fires.

Resident Jet Tucker, who lives a few blocks up the hill from the development site, said she was in favor of the development but thought 55 units might be a bit too many. She worried about noise, particularly construction noise.

“It all filters uphill,” she said.

“There are a number of people who are concerned about this,” resident Jane Jarlsberg said. “Hopefully the water use of this project will be kept to a minimum.

“I am not convinced you are not going to have an impact on the traffic,” she added.

“There is a real need for development,” architect Steve Bardwell said. He suggested developers use solar power and improve water efficiency by doing laundry on-site and using the gray water for landscape irrigation.

Stephanie Smith said she would rather see 55 legal Airbnbs located in one spot than 55 illegal trailers spread out across the community.

“I like the design,” she said. “It’s not like a big-box Motel 6. It’s designed for creative folks.

“It will draw much-needed development to downtown Joshua Tree,” she added.

“I am pro smart development,” Miriam Seger said.

She expressed concerns about several aspects of the proposal, from the use of sail cloth on outdoor structures to the possible disturbance of native vegetation.

“It’s going to increase traffic 24/7, I object to that,” Pamela Goodchild said. “Headlights will hit all the homes in the area.”

(6) comments

Patrick Henry

To each is own. 50 years I’ve been in the Morongo Basin, seen many a thing. You can’t have it both ways, the mystical magical JT with all the hipsters and over priced BnB’s, when most of you all are in my opinion “not in my back yard” lol. Now you get to see a bunch of ugly airstreams right off the main drag. I love it. Where’s the Mojave desert land stealers when you need them? All of this JT stuff is a fad, wont be long and the typical desert dweller will again be able to afford a decent house and live in the peace they desire. This cracks me up. For those wanting to question my knowledge save yourself the grief, I know many people personally, most live in what I call hipster land near the park entrance, most are well off professionals, the same type of folks who live in pioneer town proper. Cheerios mates...

TITUS

All this growth is great news for home owners and business owners because it is driving up the price of rent and increasing equity.

CheRojo

"All of this JT stuff is a fad, wont be long and the typical desert dweller will again be able to afford a decent house and live in the peace they desire." - Let's hope not. We need development and money in the area. The "typical desert dweller" aka bums can still go live in a plywood shack out in Wonder Valley if they want to.

Benny

Look on the bright side! The Air Streamers only cross Sunburst to get their junk at Dollar General.

booboo77

Go google "airstream hotels Yelp!"" and you'll find the usual glowing reviews that all hotels arrange to be posted as true critiques extolling it's virtues. But dig deeper and you'll find that many of these instant and expensive ($200 a night) tin can resorts are far from safe and sanitary. Broken showers, lousy water heaters, bug infestations, septic tank odors, broken pull-out beds (an extra $20 a night!) and legal agreements not to sue them if you catch a disease in the camp's public showers or toilets. After the Dollar General monstrosity and this yuppie sardine farm I guess anything is possible. What's next? A casino? Car lots? Private prison? There goes the neighborhood.

TITUS

LOL. These area has been full of clap board cabins, poverty, and drug addicts 4 every. This type of thing will drive up the value of legit residents homes and increase the value of rentals and drive out all of the undesirables. They can take their welfare checks, SSI, alcoholic beverages, food stamps and drugs to Wonder Valley or Amboy for all I care and Child Protective Services, and the Probation department and drug court can go with them.

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