The Joshua Tree Gateway Association of REALTORS would like to express its strong support of the bill AB 235, which seeks to allow for the continuation of commerce and development, and therefore potential takings, in an area that has a species that is a candidate to be listed as an endangered species.
The recent petition from the Center for Biological Diversity that seeks to list the Western Joshua Tree as a threatened species has brought the need for such legislation to our attention, as the proposed protection of the tree, even during the proposed study period, will cause profound difficulties in the communities that share habitat with the Joshua Tree. While we certainly wish to support protecting the iconic Joshua Tree, we also feel the petition is aimed at the multi-thousand acre swaths of desert land being razed for large-scale projects things such as solar and windmill farms, and the blanket protections provided by the listing would instead hurt our communities by halting or deeply complicating infrastructure improvements and development of housing, which in turn would increase the demand and therefore the price of existing housing. Housing affordability is an issue that this state cannot afford to exacerbate further.
We appreciate the bill’s recognition of the impact these studies, that are likely to be proposed more and more often as the bill requires that the local government make a finding that stopping infrastructure and development projects would create an economic hardship, we strongly support AB235 and hope to see it passed as quickly as possible to help our community mitigate the consequences of the likely impending Joshua Tree study.