TWENTYNINE PALMS PLANNING COMMISSION GETS HARD QUESTIONS ABOUT DEVELOPMENT CODE

TWENTYNINE PALMS PLANNING COMMISSION GETS HARD QUESTIONS ABOUT DEVELOPMENT CODE

The Twentynine Palms Planning Commission got down to the nuts and bolts of development codes in a hard-working meeting last night. Reporter Dan Stork says the hard questions were being asked…
Suppose there was a religious community in Twentynine Palms whose rituals included animal sacrifice. Could the city’s development code be amended to require that the practice be shielded from public view, or would that infringe freedom of expression?

The Planning Commission asked the City’s Development Director Charles LeClaire to ask the City’s attorney his opinion, before they pursue the issue further. This subject was broached late in a long study session, the third (so far) in a painstaking review of the Twentynine Palms Development Code. Another highlight of the meeting started with the observation that massage parlors and smoke shops are not listed among permitted uses, so technically, they are illegal! Recognizing the difficulty of enforcing this interpretation, and also wishing to distinguish between “massage parlor” and “massage therapy,” the Commission decided to add such businesses to the permitted-use tables, with the intention of going back later and adding restrictions – such as hours of business, and ages of clientele – to how they conduct business. Among the many other items discussed, as Chairman Cary Alderson kept the meeting on track as the Commission conscientiously worked through a 62-page staff report:

Under what circumstances does the gap between a paved street and a paved driveway also need to be paved? Should the rooftop mounting of swamp coolers and air conditioners be prohibited, for aesthetic reasons? (The consensus was to think about it some more.) In which zoning areas should large daycare facilities be allowed? Should the code specify minimum sizes for the units in multi-family housing projects? (The consensus was: yes.) What should be the maximum height of a fence? (Consensus: 4 feet on small lots, and 6 feet on large lots, with the top 2 feet see-through.)

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