JOSHUA TREE RETREAT CENTER CLEARING AND CONCERT PERMITS, PART 2

JOSHUA TREE RETREAT CENTER CLEARING AND CONCERT PERMITS, PART 2

Yesterday we reported on the Joshua Tree Retreat Center’s lawful clearing of several acres on the property’s west side adjacent to Highway 62. The area will be used to organize and consolidate parking for upcoming and future events. And while the clearing was within the facility’s legal rights, it generated a great deal of negative public attention and heightened scrutiny. Assignment reporter Mike Lipsitz brings us this follow-up report…

Outrage initially generated by the clearing of several acres for parking at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center put the facility squarely in the crosshairs of an angry public. Immediately, the question of county permitting was raised along with a multitude of quality-of-life issues, including late-night noise and light pollution. Calls and emails came in to Z107.7, as well as the sheriff’s department and county code enforcement.
Some of those complaining expressed frustration that inquiries to the Retreat Center had gone unanswered. The County’s Public Information Officer, David Wert, issued a statement to Z107.7 News saying “the County Planning Division is processing and plans to issue a Temporary Special Event Permit” for a large music event this weekend as it falls within the Retreat Center’s allowed use. Wert went on to say the County has not been approached about permitting for a large music festival planned for October and suggested that the event in question “would exceed what is allowed on the property.”
The concert this weekend, which brought a large blow-up amphitheater to the Retreat Center, is called PHAROS. It is a series of live shows Friday, Saturday, and Sunday by Donald Glover, also known by his musical alias as Childish Gambino. Glover is a multi-talented actor, writer and musician who starred in NBC’s “Community,” and released a Grammy-nominated album in 2013, “Because the Internet.” Gates open at 6:00 pm. Tickets to the event sold out in six minutes. The October event to which Wert referred is known as Desert Daze and has been advertised as happening October 14 through 16.

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3 comments to JOSHUA TREE RETREAT CENTER CLEARING AND CONCERT PERMITS, PART 2

  • gnylen

    We have a house near the Retreat Center and were looking forward to a nice, peaceful Labor Day Weekend. Instead we were subjected to a gigantic event with loud music playing until 2 a.m. (shows were added Friday and Saturday nights that STARTED at midnight), as well as the worst light pollution I have ever seen that completely obscured the stars. Joshua Tree Retreat Center’s motto includes the phrase “Silence so deep it awakens you”–but clearly this does not apply to the surrounding neighborhood. I cannot fathom how they were granted a permit to generate this kind of noise and light pollution when Wal-Mart had to spend years (appropriately) studying and installing downward facing lighting in their parking lot before they were allowed to open. One of Joshua Tree’s strongest draws and most precious natural resources is its quiet and dark sky, and this event destroyed both on a key holiday weekend. The person who responded to inquiries about this event was totally unapologetic and claimed this event benefitted the “youth” — yet it was a for-profit extravaganza for Donald Glover, a Hollywood Star who performs under the stage name “Childish Gambino” at $99 ticket with plenty of Bud Light for anyone who was old enough to drink. This kind of event belongs far away from residential neighborhoods, let alone the doorstep to a National Park. The Community needs to rise up and stop them in their tracks because they have an even bigger event planned for next month — Desert Daze, with dozens of bands lined up over several days, including headliners like Primus. The grading of the parking lot is the least of the issues and is simply evidence that the Retreat Center plans to use these events to bankroll itself for the future, neighbors and Joshua Tree National Park be damned. Shame on them.

  • jhspirit

    One light remained burning brightly Monday night after the concert. That, too, needs to be pointed downward. Ideally, let the management at the JT Retreat Center stand atop a hill overlooking the Center at night and the Basin and see how their lighting setup dwarfs all the other lights in the area.

  • jhspirit

    Yesterday went on the SBDO county website and filed a code enforcement complaint on the severe light pollution over the weekend.

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