4 p.m., Jan. 22
Private Military Facility Plan Dies in the Desert
It appears that plans for Wind Zero, a planned military/law enforcement training site and auto-racing facility near the Imperial Valley community of Ocotillo, have died.
Wind Zero plans called for shooting ranges, a live-fire training house, indoor virtual training, helicopter landing pads, and onsite food service and lodging, all of which could be rented out by law-enforcement groups or the military. The grounds also were to include over six miles of road-racing courses.
The Imperial Valley Press reports that the project, first proposed in 2009 and approved by the Imperial County Board of Supervisors in 2010, was opposed at the time by Ocotillo residents, environmental groups, and the local Quechan tribe.
"Who wants to live next to shooting ranges and heliports and racetracks?” asked Ginny Chandlee of the Reader's Dorian Hargrove in an interview around the time of the approval. “It’s not reasonable. My husband and I used to walk outside and listen to the quiet. He passed away two years ago, and I’m sure that he’s rolling over in his ashes.”
Shortly after the approval was issued, a lawsuit effectively brought the project to a halt. The issue never came to a hearing in court, however, and last year the group behind the proposed 944-acre development filed for bankruptcy, with the property being foreclosed upon in December.
The Imperial County Board of Supervisors was set to vote May 7 on a motion to rescind the permits and rezoning authorization that had been issued for the project, thus preventing any buyer of the land from moving forward with development.