Wednesday, January 15, 2014

• Planning Commision Highlights: Jan 15, 2014

Just a few highlights from tonight's meeting.

In the opening Public Comments portion of the meeting, Kenny Mayes had an interesting suggestion. He suggested that the city commission a 3-D model of the city so that it would be easier to grasp the various projects that are being brought before the Planning Commission. He suggested that each square foot could represent a square mile. I like the idea, but it goes back to the same old question of money. I'm guessing that if we want something detailed and truly representative of the area, it would cost a bankroll.

With our budget constraints, and the constant need to defend lawsuits,
I doubt we'd be able to afford much more than something like this at this point.


I don't know what to say about the next part. In short, Martha Bridges interrupted from the audience with a shout of "point of order" in a very stern schoolmarm tone, and then tried to take over the meeting before Chairman Stan Smith got her to take her seat. Then when it was time for public comments on the issue at hand, all she wanted to do was talk about an 85 page letter she wrote. I can't imagine what her point was... If you have 50 seconds of your life you're willing to burn, go check out the video I took of it.

Assistant City Attorney Erica Vega addressed Martha's concerns, and indeed, ALL 85 PAGES, were provided to the three Planning Commissioners. As if having 85 pages was supposed to come with some level of magic or something. 

Instead of wasting 85 pieces of paper times three, city staff printed on both sides of the paper... so only 43 pieces of paper —times three— were wasted... but imagine all that ink down the drain for nothing. All that waste isn't very environmentally friendly when you think about it.


Gina Castanon had nine minutes and I had to appreciate her passion about the subdivision that will be going in across from where she's lived for longer than many of us have been able to drive. I also respected that she made it clear that she isn't trying to stop the project. She had valid concerns, and it's too bad she left before Dan York got to his part of the meeting where many issues she happened to bring up were addressed. 

The thing I didn't get was when she emphatically said, "You guys better be careful with what you do here!" and then punctuated it with, "You'd better do your due diligence on this project."

After a 3-0 vote to recommend to the council, she left. Perhaps she was scheduled to leave anyway... even though the next item on the agenda was only 1500 feet further up Palomar


City Engineer Dan York gave a great report about various Capital Improvement Programs in the works, and how he's gotten grants to cover the costs. 

Chairman Stan Smith made two points that I want to share. 
First was that he'd like to see the 12 acre parcel in the flood plain, near the creek off of McVicker be used as a passive park for the entire community. 

Dan York confirmed, "Riverside County is amenable to allowing the use of the flood control area for a passive park and recreation."
I was speaking to Dan after the meeting, and it looks like there is a terrific plan in the works, from Temecula to Lake Elsinore. More info will be coming out this Spring on the project.

Second point that Stan made was that he'd like to see public comments be available at the end of the meetings. I agree, seems like a chance for some catchall comments for people that might have thought of something as the meeting transpired.

It also appears that we'll be getting a new Planning Commissioner soon. I look forward to meeting him/her. That leaves one more seat opened. If interested in the position, contact the city by clicking this link.

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