‘Abandoned land’: The story of the desert region
In his first year in office, President Donald Trump promised to clean up the nation’s “deplorables.”
But he also promised to preserve land and water resources that have become “the most underdeveloped, degraded, and threatened regions in our country.”
The new administration’s plans to restore some of those lands are being tested in a few states, as federal agencies continue to fight over lands they’ve historically held under eminent domain.
In the heart of the newly declared “delegated” land, there are two parcels of land known as the “Pomona Ranch” and “Taylors Ranch.”
Both are located in the Pembroke Pines area of Palm Springs, California.
They were once owned by a prominent local landowner, George and Nancy Taylors, and their estate was sold in the 1980s for a small fortune.
After years of legal wrangling, the Taylours finally sold the property to the Taylis in 2016.
The Taylis later sold their interest to a group of investors who purchased it in 2018 for $3.2 million.
The two properties were previously known as a “deleterious” section of the San Joaquin Valley, a designation that the Tayls and other landowners have been fighting for decades.
“This was a piece of land where a lot of our old families and people who lived on that land would go,” George Taylson said.
“We have been asking for decades for it to be re-zoned.”
The Taylins’ family has fought for years for land in the “deleted” section, and they were one of the first landowners to take legal action in the area in the 1990s.
The family said they were denied an easement that would allow them to build a new, larger home on the land.
In 2008, the federal government and the Tayliks reached an agreement in which the Taylys would buy a plot of land in Palm Springs for $250,000, and a group known as The Conservancy of the Tayslors would sell the land to a private developer for $300,000.
“When we first bought the land, we never imagined it would go to this point,” George told Politico.
“That is the first time in our life we had a legal challenge against the Taylies and the Conservancy.”
The land, which was once owned primarily by a wealthy Palm Springs property owner, George Tayla, and his family, is now being sold to a developer who wants to develop a 1,500-unit housing complex, a multi-family residential project, a grocery store, and an entertainment venue.
The Conservatory of the Taylos is working on a plan to redevelop the area into a mixed-use community.
“The Taylens and Conservancy have been engaged for a long time to protect this land for the long term,” the Conservatory said in a statement.
“However, after more than 40 years of litigation, this issue has gone to the Supreme Court of the United States.”
In 2016, the court ruled that the land was not subject to federal protection under the federal Delegated Land Act, a provision of the Antiquities Act that gives the federal land administration authority over land.
“If you look at this land, it is in a state of disrepair, it has been abandoned, and it has become more degraded than any other land that has been deeded in the U.S.,” said Mark Schmukle, the director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
“And so, the Conservancies plan to tear it down and rebuild it with all new homes, a new grocery store and a lot more of everything.
And it’s going to be a very, very beautiful place.”
The Conservancies plans for the land include plans to build an entertainment center, a large retail complex, and several apartment buildings, as well as an affordable housing project.
“As the Tayla family is working to restore this land to its former glory, the Trump administration will make good on its promise to clean it up, restore the land and the environment for future generations,” the conservancy said in its statement.
The Trump administration is taking a very different approach.
“In 2016, our administration began the process of delegating some of our ancestral lands, and we have continued to work with the Tayles to protect these ancestral lands,” a statement from the office of the Department of the Interior’s Secretary of the Environment said.
The department said that while Trump “continues to fight for these lands,” the Tayluas and Conservancies have agreed to a settlement of the land dispute.
The conservation group said that it would continue to pursue other lawsuits and that it will continue to “advocate for restoration of this land.”
The Trump Administration is working with the federal agencies to restore the Taylenos’ land, as it is required to under the