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High Noon for Pioneertown's Future: Tell San Bernardino County to Adopt the Pioneertown Mane Street Historic Overlay

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To the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and Planning Staff:

Pioneertown's Mane Street area needs specific zoning regulations to ensure that the qualities that make it a unique place for residents and visitors are preserved and future development is compatible with the surrounding community and at a scale supported by our limited local infrastructure. Although Pioneertown's Mane Street was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2020, the County has yet to recognize this unique collection of historic buildings and small businesses as in any way different.

Mane Street is not treated any differently by San Bernardino County than the rest of the Section 19 portion of Pioneertown – it has the same zoning as the rest of the area (SD-RES), no special provisions to ensure that future tourism uses are balanced with the needs of residents, nothing that recognizes Pioneertown’s historical importance, nothing to prevent the introduction of chain or franchise businesses, and nothing that would ensure that Pioneertown’s small scale and locally owned businesses are preserved. Pioneertown residents and property owners desire slow, sustainable growth for Mane Street that preserves our neighborhood character is critical to the future of Pioneertown's small businesses and residential character.

This proposal is based on the results that were compiled from the two San Bernardino County Countywide Planning meetings with the Pioneertown community residents and landowners. The Countywide Plan documented the needs and desires expressed by residents and landowners to map out the best route for the future long-term success of the Pioneertown community. Unfortunately, the County has not dedicated any resources to translate these Community Action Guides into binding land use regulations, and has left it to the community to propose and advance zoning changes to make community and property owner desires effective.

We support the propose Mane Street Historic Overlayin order to:

  • Ensure that Pioneertown’s historic buildings are protected and easier to reuse.
  • Preserve Pioneertown’s dirt roads.
  • Untangle the confusing and contradictory regulations that govern land use in Pioneertown so that they are clear for land owners, residents, and San Bernardino County staff.
  • Ensure that Mane Street remains focused on “hoof and foot” traffic. Discourage (but don’t prohibit) vehicular traffic on Mane Street.
  • Lower barriers to small scale development and independent business. Ensure that no project is larger or more intensive than Pioneertown’s roads and infrastructure can support.
  • Translate the community feedback from the Countywide Plan meetings into binding land use policies.
  • Ensure that there are size and frequency limits on festivals and special events appropriate to the location and adjacent residential properties.
  • Encourage the use of native plants.
  • Ensure that new buildings and signage are of a style and size that fits in.
  • Prohibit chain and franchise businesses.
  • Provide rules that better manage traffic and parking.
  • Ensure the types of businesses honor and reinforce Pioneertown’s history and culture of makers. Prohibit incompatible uses like gas stations and storage facilities.
  • Make San Bernardino County and future developers understand that Pioneertown is a unique place that deserves to be respected and protected.
  • Ensure that Pioneertown’s future honors its past and present.
  • Provide rules that anticipates and prevents problems related to extreme tourism uses before they occur.

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