My heart sank when I saw the front page of the TC, stating that the planning director of Riverside County has approved the construction of a three-story hotel in the middle of town.
In a previous article (8-26-21) about said project, Brad Rechtfertig mentioned that there are many three-story homes in the area, but I am hard-pressed to find three-story businesses in town. I guess the fact that the trees are taller than the proposed building makes that OK.
Also included in the previous article is a quote by Rechtfertig stating that he and his wife, “designed and built (literally with our own hands) the Grand Idyllwild Lodge.” In the latest article about the proposed hotel, Rechtfertig states again that they “also intend to build the Hotel Idyllwild themselves.” If that’s the case, I hope they don’t mind if I bring a chair and watch the two of them dig the foundation, pour the concrete, build the framing, put up the drywall, install the electrical and plumbing, etc.
I am very concerned about water use. Swimming pools require a lot of water, not just to fill them initially, but to continually replace water lost through evaporation. The Idyllwild Water District general manager says that, “At this time, adding the hotel would have no concerning effect on district operations for water and sewer.” That may be true, at this time, but what about worsening drought conditions that may occur in the future?
Most of the Hill is under voluntary water restrictions right now. Residents are always water conscious, but people from off the Hill may not realize or care about the need to conserve water while they are up here. The amounts of rain and snow we received recently are very much welcome and appreciated, but it will take decades of “normal precipitation” to get us back to a healthy forest, with lots of drinking water for residents and visitors.
I have been coming up here since 1952, and I have lived here since the early 1970s. I have witnessed some changes, but these days are different. It makes me sad and frustrated when I run into town to pick up my mail but there is no place to park in the post office/Fairway parking lot.
We don’t need progress, we need preservation. Otherwise, we will end up like Big Bear and just be a city in the trees. I can’t imagine what it would be like if town had to evacuate.
People live up here and visit in order to get out of the city, to find simplicity and tranquility. That’s what I’ve always thought, anyway.