BARSTOW — Outgoing Planning Commissioner Robert Clemmer during his last meeting Monday urged the city to re-examine the possible annexation of Barstow Heights.
Clemmer decided not to seek another term on the board after 12 years of service. The City Council next Monday will present a proclamation to Clemmer in recognition of his service. According to Monday's City Council meeting agenda, a selection committee has recommended that Elbert W. Muncy III be appointed to replace Clemmer. The meeting will start at 7 p.m.
"Come to find out the new CEO of the hospital moved out to Apple Valley and I don't even think they even give us a chance anymore," Clemmer said. "I've been harping to the city of Barstow for over 20 years to annex Barstow Heights. There is 150 lots from A street to the freeway. These are all five acres to 2 1/2-acre lots.
"They keep saying they don't have any houses for people to live in. And I think most people, and I'm talking for my own preference, I wouldn't want to to move in a subdivision that they are just the same thing throughout the neighborhood. I think people who come in exactly the same situation want a little more room. They want a little more space. They want the ability to customize it to what they are really looking for."
Clemmer also said the move would be good for the city because it would add more population and more qualified individuals to fill governmental boards.
"At the same time, there are 538 homes up there now. If I look at the population, I'm just saying three people for each home. That's going to add 1,614 additional people to the freeway sign.
"I think it's an opportunity the city is missing. LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission for San Bernardino County is going to come in and say they are going to have to do it anyhow. Again, I have been talking to people up there for 20 years. There is going to be a little bit of resistance, but I don't think it's going to be that big of an issue to get people to buy in when they look what it costs to develop in the county versus what it costs to develop in the city. They (city) are also acquiring a lot of individuals that have skills and they are business owners."
Clemmer said he believes the houses in the Barstow Heights will be more upscale and will offer a higher tax base. He said that will offset any additional cost to annex Barstow Heights.
After the meeting, Clemmer told the Desert Dispatch it's a sad time, but it's time to move on and do some other things. He also said he enjoyed his time on the commission because it gave him the opportunity to get involved and be part of Barstow's growth.
"The economy tanked in between (his time on commission). Nothing really didn't happen for many years," he said. "Now we are at the point we are starting to see some development. (I) noticed some hotels coming in and other projects in the works. That kind of stuff. I think it's a growing time for Barstow. Barstow is going to see some activity and hopefully jobs and the things that go with that."
Mike Lamb can be reached at 760-957-0613 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You also follow him on Twitter @mlambdispatch.