The village of Joshua Tree has long been a place where people go to unwind from the daily grind, and enjoy the tranquil, unique desert setting and small town charm. Locals take pride in the way Joshua Tree has grown into a beautiful National Park gateway town from the ground up, offering a colorful array of independently owned businesses recently featured in the June 1st issue of LA Times' article “Shopping Oasis.” Yet now, the Dollar General is scheduled to construct a store there. It would be the first major chain store in Joshua Tree, and would drastically change the town’s appeal to tourists and locals, thereby severely impacting the ability for local businesses to continue to thrive.
In this petition the residents of Joshua Tree, as well as past and potential visitors from Los Angeles, San Diego, and other areas throughout the world, implore the Dollar General to forgo the building of a store in Joshua Tree. There is already a Dollar General store planned for each neighboring town, and we believe that is enough. We want Joshua Tree to continue to grow, but as a community of small, one-of-a-kind businesses, as stated in the Community Plan. We believe it is the community’s right to be able to follow that vision.
Joshua Tree citizens have already written numerous letters and filed an appeal for the building permit, but Joshua Tree is unincorporated and therefore is subject to the decisions of San Bernardino County Supervisors, who voted 4-1 to uphold the permit on June 4, 2013.
Now we join with the general public and ask the decision makers of Dollar General to please give as much credence to the Community Plan of Joshua Tree as they would be forced to do if the town were incorporated. Even small, unincorporated towns should be able to determine their future.
We are preserving this community not just for us and our own values, economy and aesthetics; we are thinking of all the people who come here for life-changing, validating experiences, people who have always appreciated a brief moment to step out of their lives and into a place that is inspiring and unique. They don’t want to see the same stores that they see every day. It is not simply our right to determine our community, but everyone’s right to still have some places in this country we can go to rest and recover from the stresses of life. Joshua Tree is one of those places, and maybe the last of those places in southern California. We ask Dollar General to please respect that, and to have the decency not to go where unwanted.