As the intersection of Apple Valley Road and Bear Valley Road explodes with commercial development, Hesperia has seen the opening of new strip malls and small businesses, but nothing comparable to the large-scale development going on only a few miles away.


Mayor Rita Vogler expects to that to change in a big way in coming months, and, she said, Hesperia's higher land values will help make the city's development more upscale.


"The city is very open and very friendly," Vogler said Monday at the Hesperia Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon, where she presented the annual State of the City address. "We have done our share.


"We're going to be getting the Macy's, we're going to be getting the fine dining restaurants."


Vogler made the remarks in a response to a question from former planning commissioner Russ Blewett, a former mayor of Baldwin Park, who is planning a run for the Hesperia City Council in 2008.


The two major shopping centers previously announced for Hesperia -- anchored by a Wal-Mart and a Target -- have been making slow progress since being announced last year, due to both corporations going through a full Environmental Impact Report process. Vogler said Tuesday that the two corporations had insisted on going through the slower EIR process, rather than taking their chances with a faster alternative method.


"From their corporate headquarters comes the mandate that they will have an EIR on it," Vogler said. "Does that particular parcel warrant it? Probably not. But they're doing their due diligence."


But other cities have had rapid growth despite EIRs and high land prices, through incentives from local government. Vogler said the city has made deals with businesses in the past, but there was a limit to what she would want to do.


"There's only so much tax dollars and so much incentives that you can give."


But the continuing development in neighboring communities will help Hesperia's cause as well, she said.


"Victorville, really, they have no place to go. The [Mall of the Victor Valley], it's a hard sell, because of the traffic and the infrastructure they have there. There's a limit to what they can do.


"We have a canvas out there [in Hesperia], and we can do it the right way, and that's what I hope I can get across to them."


"That just shows a total lack of understanding of municipal finance," Blewett said Tuesday. "Every city that is a successful city has a very high sales tax. That's the revenue that provides services for the city. Our sales tax revenue is pathetic, and it's pathetic because we have a city council that just doesn't understand. ... They should be priming the pump to get these things to happen.


"It's unfair to the citizenry that they have to drive to Victorville" to shop, he said. "We're not getting the services in the city that we deserve. ... If we had more sales tax revenue, we'd have that money to get things done.


"Revenue is the name of the game, and you do what you've got to do to get things done."


"We're not giving away the taxpayer dollars," Vogler said.


The state of the city address video presentation will be online at CityofHesperia.us later this week.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.