Wednesday, November 20, 2013

• Shall We Play Chicken With the State?

Here are some highlights from the
Planning Commission Meeting
November 20, 2013

This was a carryover meeting from two weeks earlier. The gist of the meeting was the General Plan Amendment. 

Should the Planning Commission give a Recommendation to the city council or not when it comes to approving the GPA? (Remember folks, the City Council doesn't have to take a recommendation 'for' or 'against'... it's really a suggestion).


After a Power Point presentation by planner Mark Teague, Commissioner Bob Devine got into the following exchange with Mr. Teague.
BD: Why is this coming so late?
MT: Community opposition slowed the process.
BD: What’s the penalty [for not completing the GPA on time]?
MT: Being forced to do the “housing element” on a four year cycle instead of an eight year cycle. Which is about a $100K a throw. (my paraphrasing)

At this point Assistant City Attorney, Erica Vega, jumped in to elaborate on the penalties. “The definite penalties [for not complying with state mandates on their schedule] would be to be forced to go through the process every 4 years instead of 8 years that we are currently on." 

She continued, "Possible penalties are that a judge could block future development until a plan is adopted that complies with the state."

(It’s a long story of why the cycles to update the housing element are the way they are, click the following links to learn more.)


At this point we had public comments

Lead off batter: 
Miss Miller:
she went twice so I'll mash her comments together (believe me, you won't know the difference)
She quoted the bible, mentioned 'man and beast', that Sunflowers are now extinct in Wildomar , lost her place on the page, said "oops", no more parking lots, take down the existing apartments,  the Indians want you to leave the sage alone, if we don't build - we don't have to comply...

that's where I zoned out... but was brought back to life with a new word: Exasterbating. I don't even want to guess.

Thing is, I do agree with her view that there are too many people in California. Problem is, people keep making more people and they're going to need someplace to live. 

Ah, maybe that's what she was referencing when she kept saying "Exasterbate."


Next Up was Martha Bridges:
• In my opinion, we do not have general plan. 
• [The] urgency [here] is artificial at best.
• [Due to the statewide "depression" we've been in] I would be waiting with baited breath for the state to penalize us.
• We need to preserve and protect the commercial and business land. 
• Urges a NO vote for the zone changes.

It's hard to argue with wanting to 'preserve and protect' our commercial and business lands.


Monty Goddard:
I'll sum up what I got out of Monty's points. He sees that our police service has been cut since incorporation, and is worried that building more dwellings, instead of commercial, especially on lands designated as commercial, will only reduce the police presence we currently have. 


Other Notable Notes:

Mathew Bassi (planning director):
• In response to Martha Bridges assertions, he stated, 
"[This] is not artificially urgent."

"State Law is 30 units per acre and 30% of the project [for MUPA projects].

Bobby Swann (planning commissioner):
• "I'm frustrated that this work hasn't been done earlier."
Referencing the fact that if the work doesn't get done soon, Wildomar will be facing onerous penalties.

Veronica Langworthy (planning commissioner):
She had a few that made the highlight reel:

She was concerned about the 30 units per acre being 30% of a project, and wanted to put language in that would restrict it to NO MORE THAN 50%. Ummm, errrr... why couldn't we put language in there that caps it at 30%? Just because the state is mandating we take a cup of poison, must we cap the dose at a cup and a half?

"[if you have a problem with MUPAs, your] argument is with the state for putting this on us."
Seems about right

Speaking of MUPAs in general
"The Olsen's (from Laura Ingalls fame) were living over their store on Little House on the Prairie." 

Where's Melissa Gilbert when you need her?

I'm trying to picture how that would work here

Bob Devine (planning commissioner):
"We should contact Lake Elsinore and Murrieta to see which one wants to take us over... since we will just be  their bedroom community."
"I don't have a problem with high density housing (apartments), my problem is that they shouldn't be in commercial areas."

I shared his amusement at the idea of putting the apartments in parcels that boarder Murrieta.

Stan Smith (Chairman) 
 Allow me to paraphrase a rather long intro
• PC-13-25, dash zero, dash double zero, dash, zero, dash, batman sign, dash number, dash, more numbers, dash more numbers than my had can handle at once, dash, zero, dash, help I'm now insane. 

Where's TinyURL when you need one? It's an inside joke if you made it that far into the proceedings. Stan's a good guy.


Summing it all up

All the items on the agenda have been forwarded to the City Council with the recommendation for the council to approve them. I believe there were eight items voted on, of which Bob Devine voted no on at least three of them. 

Here's how I see it. Like it or not, the state has mandated that we follow certain guidelines when it comes to zoning and housing. From what we were told, the state is really pushing MUPAs and there isn't a lot of wiggle room there. 

I don't see how it would do our city one bit of good to play chicken with the state.

By not getting this plan in on time, it sure sounded like the state will penalize Wildomar by dictating that we import more poor people ERRRRR... I mean, zone for more low income housing.
California would basically pummel cute li'l WillyMar

 Post Script
I arrived ten minutes before the meeting started. The room was nearly empty of spectators. Various city staff and commissioners where there. I happened to hear Bobby Swann say he was going to call the police. If I were TMZ I'd probably focus on this... but I didn't see what precipitated it, and nothing came of it. City business carried on, and there was nothing. If there was more, it didn't happen on my watch. 


  1. Did not attend tonight's meeting as it was a carry over from the last planning commission meeting when a last minute change was made without proper notice and I had my 3 minutes then. The housing element mandate from the state says we must have a certain percentage of housing for each income group what it doesn't state is that we have to jamb it all into a couple areas of town. Wildomar has managed to cluster these low income areas were there currently is no public transportation which will necessitate these individuals have cars without a plan to improve the roads in those areas and to remove commercially zoned areas in favor of housing only ensures these people will have to leave the area for work. This plan is just totally screwy.
    Kenny Mayes

    1. I missed you at the meeting.
      I agree with you that putting them in those particular areas would be an unwise choice. I only know what I heard, and the way it was explained is that California is pushing for those kinds of MUPAs, though they don't make sense in a place like Wildomar to me. I don't see people wanting to live in little villages here. The overriding issue, from what I could tell, is to get a plan in on time or suffer further consequences. Maybe the state is bluffing... but it seems a weak strategy to intentionally defy the state.


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