Thursday, April 24, 2014

• City Council Tackles the General Plan Update

The meeting was called to order by Mayor Marsha Swanson and she reminded those in attendance that the  meeting was going to be less formal than a regular meeting, this being a "workshop" style and all. Council Member Tim Walker was on the rack, with the flu, and had to take a standing 8 count at home.

Planning Director Matt Bassi reiterated that this General Plan Update didn't cover any land uses or roadway changes. A pared down version of a comprehensive update which would cost upward of $1.5 million.

The council was shown a presentation by planner Mark Teague. For those of us at the previous workshops on the subject, it was a lot of review. I had to feel for the young daughter of our Chief of Police that was in attendance... it was difficult enough for those thirty years out of high school to maintain attention, and I can only imagine the test of endurance it was for someone with many years of schooling ahead of them.

For any one that would like to view the Wildomar General Plan Update just click here.

After the presentation, it was time for public comments. There were comments by several locals, and many good points were made. I particularly liked Ken Mayes saying, "I'm in a fog right now," due to the overwhelming complexity of trying to go through the whole GPU in one meeting. Followed by, "I've got a big email coming."

Notable comments:
  • Bob Cashman wanting to have community meetings at one of the local schools.
  • Ben Benoit, sharing concerns with Monte Goddard (and me too) about the wording about City Wide CFD (Community Facilities Districts aka Mello-Roos) for new roads. It was explained that it was "city wide" for new developments. The wording is going to be clarified for the final document.
  • Water Use and new development. Discussion about front yards/lawns
  • Bob Cashman discussing housing density. Particularly a passage that states a developer "'shall provide at least the minimum density', I don't see why that has to be."
  • Bob Cashman mentions submitting a long list of concerns. Mayor Marsha Swanson mentioned wanting all concerns to be sent in. This is the place to send them.
All told, there were not that many people in attendance. There were less than twenty people there, and I probably knew all but one or two of their names. Let me suggest that you take this link so you can sign up for city Stay Connected. For City of Wildomar updates and posting of new information of interest to you, subscribe to Stay Connected. You’ll get emailed messages alerting you to what’s new, with links that will take you directly to where you want to go. 

Here's what I took away from the evening.

Yes, we need a General Plan Update, especially since what we have is a remnant of when we were part of the county. That said, whatever gets put into such a document isn't something akin to the US Constitution. Times change, as do places, and if Wildomar had been incorporated 100 years ago, I'm guessing their general plan may have had the town elders looking to preserve the "rural feel" they grew up with and mandate no parcels be under ten acres.

It's not an insult to take a realistic look at our area, and resolve to make it the best Wildomar possible. 

Take an aerial view of our city. It is a hodgepodge of  old and new houses, old and new buildings, rolling hills, flood plains and all with a freeway haphazardly bifurcating us all with a galliwompous twist. Our city wasn't just put into a pristine place such as the Santa Rosa Plateau, like a Laguna Niguel or a Mission Viejo was.

If you want to get me to laugh in your face, try and sell me that we are a Ranch Community. Ha!
I can't think of any Ranches here... certainly not enough to be called a Ranch Community. 

Yes, we are very diverse, and though I heard it again tonight, that "people moved here because it's rural," I beg to differ. Today's city population is over 32,000. The population in 1990 was 10,411. I guran-dang-tee you that most came here because it was what they could afford... whether it was rural or not was way down on the list of most of that population influx. As the next generation comes of age they won't be looking to have large lots... and there won't be enough water for them to take care of them anyway.

So let's not tie the hands of future generations with narrow, backward thinking from a time that is long past. That's not to say I want Wildomar to be turned into a another Murrieta, but if we had to resemble one of our two neighboring cities, I'd suggest looking to the south and not the north for something to emulate.


  1. As usual, I appreciate your coverage and being an enabler of my lack of attending -- actually, I have 5 astronomy shows in the next two weeks, so I can't think of the city's future at the moment. I'm one contrary example to what you say above: When I looked for a home in this region I looked at Temecula, Murrieta, and Wildomar. Wildomar was the clear choice for it's open spaces and rural feel, which includes horse ranches. I moved after two years, choosing to stay in Wildomar. Now, I have a dairy to my northeast, horse ranches to the east, cows grazing on a field to the southwest, and I'm in walking distance to two places offering horse boarding. If I drive a couple miles, I hit horse ranches -- all of this in Wildomar. I'm surprised you can't think of any horse ranches. Yes, the community will change, but I still think of "build out" as an ugly, undesirable concept. I'm working on the one rural quality that can be kept regardless of density: the night sky.

    1. I probably have different images when I think of "ranches" than you do. Too much influence from old TV shows I'm thinking. My grandparents had a nice place in Woodcrest in Riverside. It had a barn, two stalls and some pasture. He had up to two horses and three steer at a time. I wouldn't call that a ranch. My dad has three acres in Mohave Valley Az and he has had as many as a dozen horses there at one time, yet I'd also not label it a "ranch". I see DeJong's Dairy as a ranch, but can't think of any others like that here; some could be tucked away from general view that I'm oblivious to. Also Norco is famous for its ranches that can be seen from the 15 freeway. Perhaps I'm just too stingy/narrow with the designation of ranch.

      When you said you "looked for open spaces and a rural feel" I was overlooking the group you are in. I'm keying in on the heavy influx of people Wildomar has had in the last 20 years, and most of those are carried about by necessity and not so much by desire. I myself arrived, in large part, in Wildomar because of affordability, in addition to my brother and mother living here at the time. Had money been less of a deciding factor, I most likely would have stayed in congested San Clemente. But that wave broke long ago, and I'm a proud WildoMartian now. :)

    2. You're more right on "ranch" than I am. When I say "ranch" I mean "ranch fragment with agricultural detritus". In other words, "rural feel".

  2. I only moved to WIldomar because of the home prices. If I could have the same home in San Diego for the same money I sure wouldn't be here, even though it does put me closer to Disneyland. I have made good friends here and I don't regret the move, however, I do laugh at those wanting to keep the rural feel. The trouble with those folks is they don't own all the land, yet they want to tell everyone what can be done with their land. If someone owns (or is making payments on) a ticky-tac house in a sub division with it's tiny lot, why should they get to decide what someone does with their 30 acres by the freeway? They both had the same chance to buy the large lots. How anyone could look around at all the cheap housing sandwiched between San Diego and LA and not guess that bargain shoppers would move here and commute is mind boggling.

    1. "The trouble with those folks is they don't own all the land, yet they want to tell everyone what can be done with their land" There are plenty of zoning and building codes already that tell people what they can do with their land. And the whole point of incorporating as a city is so it's residents can determine the city's character and ensure that changes to a city can account for the cost of those changes to the city. Such planning can improve the quality of life here and preserve home values. No doubt we'll provide plenty of amusement for some time.

    2. I basically concur with you. My brother moved from here to San Diego about three years ago. The home he left was 3100 SF 6 BR with a pool and he owed about 300K. He bought a home that isn't quite 2000 SF, that has a backyard the size of a walnut and all for the tidy little sum of well over half a mil. For people that take the long view, paying off a house is an important part of retirement plans. While I'll be mortgage free in a short period of time, my brother will be paying his home off as he celebrates his 77th birthday. Good Luck wit' dat.

    3. well it was good to see Cashman making sure to protect his area of town! But I did put dibs on my area and I say the idea of making the area around lost road a wine country is a keeper! sheila


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