Thursday, December 26, 2013

• Bike Lanes in Wildomar

 I just got done reading an article about bike lanes coming to Wildomar. 
Go over and read it.
Here are some of the salient facts in the article.
PHASE I
WHAT: Installation of bike lanes on Clinton Keith Road from George Street to Grand Avenue and on Grand Avenue from Clinton Keith to David A. Brown Middle School
WHEN: Construction, February-May 2015
COST: $949,500, (Grant funding - $613,800)

Leaving the city with a bill of $335,700

PHASE II
WHAT: Installation of bike lanes on Grand Avenue from David A. Brown Middle School to Corydon Street.
WHEN: Construction, February-May 2016
COST: $1,019,100 (Grant funding - $746,640)

Leaving the city with a bill of $272,460



For a combined total of  $608,160  for the city to pay. 

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Good News... since I first posted this blog, I've learned that the city will be using Measure "A" funds to pay for this. See update below.

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We've long since needed bike paths, along with curb, gutter and sidewalks throughout our city. All the places I'd lived in the past had curb, gutter and sidewalks, but that would be bank-a-roni  to bring here... and by the looks of the costs for these two projects [with no mention of curb, gutter or sidewalk in the article, but it did mention 'sidewalks' in the headline] it makes me blanch to think of how much it must cost to provide such things throughout The W

There is no doubt that we need bike lanes. When I moved here in 2001, I had my kids ride their bikes to school. That was to David A. Brown and Elsinore High School from The 'Song (Windsong Valley for the uninitiated). Had I known how truly dangerous those routes were, and continue to be, I wouldn't have had them bike to school. 




Still, money is a real factor, and the streets mentioned here are a nice start, but are barely a fraction of the streets without bike lanes. My question to the city is: 
Is there actually room in our budget for this?

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UPDATE TO THIS BLOG ENTRY

I can see that I jumped the gun when I posted this (I was ready to turn the computer off for the day). I didn't wait for some questions I had out there to be answered first.
 [Note to self: Hold your horses next time... Check ]

After posting this blog, Council Member Bridgette Moore apprised me of the following info: 

The City is "matching" with Measure A funds. The full staff report can be read here, starting on page 1,438.

It's a long report, so remember to enter the page number when you get there.

So, there is room in the budget for this, and I'm happy to post the update. It's always good to have our concerns dealt with in a timely manner.




Saturday, December 21, 2013

• Nearly 300 Have Breakfast With Santa

Today Santa was at the Wildomar fire station.
Wildomar Fire Station



For $5 you got pancakes, eggs, bacon or sausage, and coffee, hot chocolate or orange juice. Kids under 10 were $3.



City Manager Gary Nordquist and Mayor Pro-Tem
Marsha Swanson serving up bacon and eggs to the community.
 While Council Members Ben Benoit and Bridgette Moore [not pictured]
were working to keep things running smoothly.




This was a joint venture by the City of Wildomar and the Rotary Club of Wildomar.

Kid's of all ages had a chance to see the fire trucks, and other first responder equipment, up close and meet the local fire fighters.

And get a pic with Mr. North Pole himself.

Ok Santa, I'm jealous —you're beard is cooler than mine.




Quick back story, my wife was raised in Toronto, Canada. She immigrated here in 1999 after we got married. She is from an immigrant family from Sicily, and they never had Santa Claus in their culture... This was her first picture with him, and she was nearly as excited as any youngster getting their pic taken with him... that smile you see is as genuine as is my look of doubt. :)


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Stat Check
There were 289 paid breakfasts, and when you add to that the Rotary Club volunteers, other volunteers, students from EHS, students from Wildomar Elementary, fireman from various stations. An estimate of 350 to 400 in attendance would be a pretty reasonable guesstimate. If you missed out... 
just remember it for next year.

In addition to all the lifelong memories the various families and kids will take away from today's Breakfast with Santa, a total of $1,294.00 was raised, which will be split 50/50 between Rotary and City.


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Also in attendance were representatives of Wildomar Little League, and Wildomar CERT.  Always looking for local people interested in getting involved. If you'd like to help the local league with sponsorship, or have a child that would like to play organized baseball, click this link to get to their website. 

CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. The classes are free. Lot's of good info to learn while getting to know some of the members of the community.


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Donated toys for the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest County
A note about the Toy Drive for the Boys and Girls of Southwest County held at Terri Holladay's home in Windsong on Thursday December 19th. Though she only had a few weeks to get the word out, and it was a rainy day, she collected several large boxes of toys, and it was a chance for many neighbors to get acquainted. Looking forward to the second annual toy drive next year.
 ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺

Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

• BP vs. HDR (Planning Commision Meeting 12-18-13)

(Business Park vs. High Density Residential)
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Are you signed up for the city's emails? I am. Two weeks ago I got something that looked like this in regards a special Planning Commission meeting.

Below is an artist's rendering of it.





It was 717 pages long... so I emailed A-Gar and asked if this was a mistake. I must have hit the wrong "reply" button at yahoo mail, because I've yet to get a reply. I've since learned that there are server issues that the city is coping with. 

My Bad... I guess.

...and to be fair, he did start off with saying the 'agenda was attached'... but the included link was a major league curve ball, and I just watched it go by for a called third strike. My bad... I guess.

The real agenda was only six pages long.
Who knew?


Dear Santa, I've been marginally good this year, and all I'd like to have is clear, consistent communication when dealing with the city. Can you please straighten out their internet server issues? Thank you.
_________________________________________________________________________________

Straight from the Planning Commission agenda

3.0 GENERAL BUSINESS
3.1 Strata/Prielipp GPA Initiation Request (Planning Application No. 13-0039):
The applicant (Strata Equity Group) is requesting a Planning Commission recommendation to the City Council in accordance with Section 17.08.040.B of the Zoning Ordinance to initiate a proposed general plan land use amendment on a 20.2-acre site from Business Park (BP) to High Density Residential (HDR) to accommodate a future 86-unit/104-bed Congregate Care Facility/Assisted Living Facility on 7.5 acres of the site, and a 143-unit townhome multi-family project on 12.7 acres of the site located at the northwest corner of Elizabeth Lane and Prielipp Road (APN: 380-250-023).

RECOMMENDATION:

The Planning Department recommends the Planning Commission recommend the City Council allow the initiation of a general plan amendment for Planning Application No. 13-0039 (Strata/Prielipp Project).
(emphasis is mine)

The vote was 3 to 1, with Commissioner Swann voting nay, to NOT recommend.
   Nothing like a good old fashioned double negative to cross a person up.  

My favorite quote from the applicant was:
"Taking care of the aged is a business."

This was his response to concerns that he wanted to put HDR (High Density Residential) where the zoning is for a business park. He does have a point... it is a business, and the estimate is for 100-110 permanent jobs once it's complete, with 300 construction related jobs for the 2 years it takes to build; does sound nice. Still, this is far worse than a MUPA where the maximum of 50% HDR was agreed upon.

Not only that, but what brainiac suggested putting 143 multi family, triplex and fourplexes, in the same complex as a retirement home? Seriously, talk about a match made in hades.


What I didn't understand was when the applicant said,
"We own this property, we bought it in October of 2012, this isn't just an option that we have..." 

Let me get this straight. You bought business park property, but you wanted to build HDR townhomes and assisted care facilities. Umm, Mr. Applicant sir... why didn't you buy land that was already zoned for such a project in the first place?
============================================

There were two other items on the agenda. 
Items that I thought would've sailed through. 


2.1 Allowing a 5 plus acre parcel to be divided into ten 1/2 acre lots at 34951 Orange St. I can't imagine why there would be real opposition, but there was. Commissioner Devine recused himself from the discussion (I'm gathering he had some dealings with it) and the final vote was 3-0 to recommend to the council. But not before Gary Andre warned about impending flooding, and lost indian artifacts. (please refer back up to the rolling eye gif if you wonder what I think of it).

I know my name isn't Joe Hydrologist, but why would there be anymore flooding because of ten houses being built? Is someone suggesting they are all going to leave the hose running at once?

Oh, also gotta love hearing that The Alliance For Intelligent Planning had their cap gun attorney send another letter. Can there be a bigger misnomer for a cabal of dissidents, I mean "activists" out there??? Well, other than Ducks Unlimited suggesting they are for the protection of ducks that is?


 
2.2 After much deliberation, or so it seemed, it was voted 4-0 to recommend to the council. In question were three modular trailers for Gracepoint Church, on Canyon Drive. I didn't see what the hang up here was either. It's good to be concerned about the aesthetics of the area, but perhaps those making the decisions could drive by the place next time. Come on Commish Devine... you didn't know the houses that abut the church property were already built? 

You can see rooftops and cars in the neighborhood west of Gracepoint Church.

 
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Oh, and as of today, there have been ZERO applications sent in for the fifth planning commissioner's spot. If you're interested in applying for the post... contact the city about it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

• Coming Christmas Events

It's a busy time of year for many. With lots of shopping, family obligations and tight schedules... so let me add more to your list. If you can manage to squeeze a couple of good causes in, I'm sure they'd be appreciative.

     Plus they will be fun to attend!    

Let me remind you of three events coming up in Wildomar as we get nearer to Christmas. First, on the 19th, Terri Holladay is Hosting an Event at her home for all Windsong Valley/Wildomar residents. She has partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest County for their Toys for Tots toy drive.

In keeping with the spirit of giving, Terri added, "I’m also giving away cotton candy, pop corn, coffee, hot chocolate and fresh donuts. I Hope to see everyone there." Check the flyer for more details.     
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Next on the calender
Saturday December 21st
Breakfast with Santa 
at Fire Station #61. 
Please see the flyer below for more details.

This is for all members of the community and their families. 
You don't need to have small children to have breakfast with Santa.

(Empty Nesters, like me, are welcomed too)
 
Come on out and be part of the festivities!

According to the flyer, they even have  
gluten free pancakes upon request.
















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Also, I'd like to give a nod to the Wildomar VFW Post 1508. On Sunday, December 22nd at 9:00am, they will be giving out holiday baskets to Military and community families. A total of 26 families will be receiving a full Christmas dinner and presents for the children in the family. 

This annual program was started in 2002. 

For more information, please contact Ina Schafer at 951-265-9026


The VFW holds fundraisers throughout the year that benefit this program. Wildomar VFW Post 1508 21180 Waite St. Wildomar, CA 92595



Thursday, December 12, 2013

• Bob Cashman calls it in... again!

The meeting started nearly 10 minutes late trying to hookup a remote for Councilman Bob Cashman. He was on business in Montreal. On the one hand a person might think, “Hey, this guy’s a gamer… he’s on the phone, participating in his duly elected post, though he’s three time zones to the east… what a guy!”

Until you realize that it was on the city’s dime.

You remember, we don’t have many of those in Wildomardimes to spare. In our modern age of Skype, and other nearly free forms of dependable communication, our city had to foot the bill —long distance phone bill, so that Bob Cashman could participate the old fashioned way... and in a specially rented room too.


He definitely participated, and he put out his points about the Housing Element in the General Plan Amendment… thing is, call me blind, but I didn’t see why he had to be present at added expense. Things happen, he had to represent his company in a foreign country… people have to miss meetings all the time. I didn't detect any life or death votes on the agenda.

 ====================================
News Items From the Council Meeting
1)
CDBG (Community Development Block Grants)

A series of speakers looking for block community grants. There were $16K available, and four groups were vying for it... actually according to a UT article they had applied for $60K.

The Assistance League
H.O.P.E. (Helping Our People in Elsinore) 
A local chapter of Habitat for Humanity
Merit Housing 

In the end, the city council allocated the grants this way. $7K for H.O.P.E. $4K for The Assistance League; and $2,500 for the other two groups.  


2)
 Spring Meadows Ranch

The council voted 4-1 (Bob Cashman dissenting) to accept the Planning Commission's recommendation on the project. Which namely is that the project, which is only in concept stage at this point, may continue in the process. 


3)
New Mayor for 2014 

By unanimous choice, Marsha Swanson was chosen to hold the title of Mayor next year. By the same vote, Ben Benoit was chosen to be Mayor Pro Tem. He was nominated by Bridgette Moore, and though he was happy for the nomination, thought it might be council member Moore's turn for the post. After a brief discussion, where Bridgette was happy for the post to go to Ben, the first nomination was made official.

______________________________________________________________________________


Some Thoughts On What Went On
  
1) The Farm and Spring Meadows Ranch

If Spring Meadows Ranch becomes a reality, it will be bigger than the Windsong Valley section of town (which means it wouldn't be done being built for 20 years). Its early conceptual drawings show several parks (purportedly Public Parks) an equestrian center, community center and a local shopping area.

I get it, residents of The Farm don’t want their bucolic lifestyle altered, but are you really telling me you want to be cut off from the shopping, and other amenities there, by refusing to allow access to the three roads you have there? 

IMN2BHO People can be pretty shortsighted. 

Still, the biggest issue should be the fact that Bundy Canyon isn’t anywhere close to being able to handle all that additional traffic, and until the ingress and egress issues are resolved, with a modern approach, it should stay as a pie in the sky project.

2) Future Agenda Items

Ben Benoit suggested a couple of Future Agenda items. The ones that I applauded dealt with the city being billed for council members that are out of town  (hint, hint check out the title of this blog for clue as to which one) needing special rooms and long distance calls. 



Also, it seems that one council member (I'll give you three guesses and the first two don't count) demanded a hard copy of the agenda. Something that took 3 reams of paper and multiple hours of city staff overtime to prepare it before a plane trip.




 ===========================================

3) Parks Commission

Marsha Swanson added "Parks Commission" to the future agenda. Noting that the current format made it difficult to have direct communication with interested people/groups. It sounds as if the City Council may not be here to suppress the will of the people after all... gorsh dern it! ☺

4)Windsong Park Fence

Also put on the future agenda was the fate of the Windsong Park fence. I've been against the fence remaining. The subject was part of the impetus that got me more involved in the community. I know some would like it to stay (Hi Monty), and we'll see how this unfolds. If you have an opinion this meeting would be key attend. The date hasn't been set yet, nor the location (though it has been suggested to be held at the park itself).


Last, though it was first... the council meeting started by recognizing the efforts of the local, under 12, girls soccer team that had advanced further than any previous team in Wildomar.
Click to view image of team at the council meeting

Christmas in Wildomar City Council Chambers      Picture Courtesy of Grace Morabito



Saturday, December 7, 2013

• Ho, Ho, Horn! Merry Christmas!

Have you ever been in a parade? I hadn't. Until last night that is. I was invited by Wildomar's Boy Scout Troop 332  led by Doug Ames. It was Temecula's:

Santa’s Electric Light Parade 

A view from The Deuce of The Bank restaurant and the crowd in the street.

 ___________________________________

A brief recap:


We got there a couple of hours before the parade. The staging area was north of Old Town and that's where the M35A2 Deuce got decorated. The lights were put on by Mike Ames. He's a 'no nonsense' guy. If you want to help, you'd better be ready to follow his directions... he's 17 and he knows what he's doing ☺. But seriously, he had his task down to a science.

This year's theme was Snowman.
We had the smallest snowman, but on the biggest vehicle.
Before we got rolling there was time for some hotdogs and chatting. I met Vic Ramos, a father of one of the scouts, and his two sons. The scouts were very courteous to me, asking if I wanted a hotdog, chips and a drink, though they hadn't met me before.

I also had a chance to meet other members of our community, and council member Bridgette Moore was there too. 
Though she had her duties split between our staging area (38) and the one for Wildomar Elementary (about 20 spots north of us).

_____________________________________ 

It was a great time out. Chilly, but not cold, perfect weather really... and a great time to get infused with the Christmas Spirit... if you didn't already have it yet.

As we rolled along, it was fun to watch the crowd asking for us to blow the air horn, as they'd give us the international signal for it. Then they'd get the horn's blast and were both delighted and surprised at its girth; the looks on their stunned faces were classic. ☺

(Horns can have 'girth'... right?

We were waving, shouting out "Merry Christmas!"  From the young to the old, it was really fun watching the faces in the crowd. 

This looks like a great event to be a spectator at... and I'm thinking that'll be on the books for next year. If you've never been to Temecula's Santa’s Electric Light Parade,  and especially if you have kids or grand kids, I suggest making a date to go next year. Just remember though... first, get there early unless you like traffic jams, and also if you see The Deuce, and ask for the horn... you're going to get the horn. ☺

I had a spectacular view for the parade.

















Wednesday, December 4, 2013

• Workshop #1, What Is Wildomar?

That was the theme of the Planning Commission meeting of December 4th, 2013.

 Mark Teague gave a presentation on the 2014 Wildomar General Plan Update, and true to his word it was an actual "Workshop" style meeting. Very refreshing change of pace from the usual meetings. Sad part is that I counted eleven people in the audience. 


For all the endless squawking I hear about Wildomar, and how 'we should do this', or 'not do that'... it sure looks like there are a lot of people that prefer to flap their gums about it, than show up and try and make a difference. 


______________________________________________________________________

When it comes to the general plan, they've assigned us all homework.


Take Pictures of things you like, and things you don't like.

 Specifically of things that you'd like Wildomar to resemble,
and things you don't want it to resemble. 





            Try
            and
            guess
            which
            one
            I'm
            partial
            to...





Send your photos to Planning Director Matt Bassi
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I have mixed reviews of the meeting. 

First, it was a good format with the audience interaction. Had there been more people there, it might have really gotten going. I liked the presentation and the input by the members of the community. My problem is... I don't get it. 

Sorry, but it didn't seem realistic. It's important to remember what Wildomar is, and not try to pretend otherwise. In the words of Planning Commissioner Stan Smith, "Wildomar is basically a bedroom community." 

That isn't a slur, it's a good thing and it's our reality... but you need to understand that we FLAT OUT are NEVER going to have a Performing Arts Center here (And yes, that was not only in the "top 10 list" of wants, it was at the TOP of the list, from the last General Plan of 2008, of things people wanted in our city). 

If you build it, they will come...

We'd be better off aiming for something more feasible...  like 4 cops on duty at the same time.

For all the talk of 'desiring businesses to move in' is nice, but I'd like to see the list of businesses trying to open up that we are refusing. Anyone? 

I imagine you've heard the old saying,
"You Snooze, You Lose." 
Well, way back when, Wildomar decided to stay in the 20th century, and the spoils have already been divided among our neighboring cities. There aren't lines of important businesses waiting to (re)locate here... they've either decided to skip California, or they've already set down roots a few miles north, south or east of us... other than Walmart that is... and many people are fiercely against them. 

But I don't want to stop those that want to dream of grandiose things for our city... 
playing make believe is great fun.

_________________________________________________________

What you need to know is that Workshop #2 is scheduled for
February 5, 2014. 

If you have an opinion about Wildomar's General Plan, you need to be there. If you have an opinion, and don't show up... you need to keep your opinions to yourself in the future.
__________________________________

Two other bits of news.  

1) Stan Smith was voted to be Chairman again by a 3-1 vote, and Veronica Langworthy was voted in as Vice Chair by the same vote. Applications are still being taken for the vacant seat on the Commission. Contact the city if you're interested... times running out on that one.
2) Someone needs to let Stan know that Mr. Mayes' name is Kenny, not Kevin.


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