Thursday, April 3, 2014

• Planning Commission Highlights: Now There Are Five

A couple of things I took away from tonight's planning commission meeting.

First, we have five of five seats filled for the commission again. Council Member Bob Cashman's pick of Dan Bidwell was sworn in.

General business 3.1 Bundy Canyon 38 GPA Initiation Request

According to Planner Matt Bassi, we may be seeing the last of the GPAs (General Plan Amendment) once we get our General Plan done.

Here's a quick run down of how I interpret a GPA.

It's a request by a developer/land owner to change the zoning for a certain area. From what I've gathered, if we were a more established city, that had a General Plan in place, such amendments wouldn't be part of the process. So, in essence, such a request for a GPA at this stage, amounts to nothing more than saying, "sure, make your preliminary plans and get back to us."

All it does is give them the ok to start coming up with details and concepts for a project. 

By the Planning Commission "recommending" that the council ok the GPA, it only allows the developer to start with studies and other preliminary work. Unless the developer was suggesting building a combo Sriracha Sauce/Pampers Recycling plant on the playground of one our elementary schools, I'd always vote yes for a GPA.

It's their money (for the studies, et al), and if they want to try and float a lemon of a project on the planning commission, they can be told "no" then. In the meantime, this is still the USA and landowners have rights that need to be respected.

Public speakers on the matter were Gail and George Taylor. Both made fair points about the potential impacts of the project. Which was said to be between 275 and 300 units, on 36 acres on the north side of Bundy Canyon just west of Tulip Lane. We all know that Bundy Canyon is a nightmare in waiting, it's already pretty challenging as it is. Just wait until the Walmart goes in there... Still, I think George may have exaggerated a wee bit when he labeled Wildomar as the High Density [housing] Capital of the World.

Let's face it, this city is in desperate need of apartments and condos, and I don't mean those overpriced ones that are just now opening behind Albertson's off of Clinton Keith Road.
The younger generation is in need of quality housing, that people just starting out can afford.

Those are called apartments... something that is in short supply here. Still, I don't see how "clustering" up to 300 units (still not determined whether rentals or for ownership) would work on that property, especially before Bundy Canyon is improved.

Standard math here tells us that 36 acres divided by 300 units is about 8.3 units per acre... but like the gentleman said, they weren't going to be disturbing the hill in front, and they were going to "cluster" the units in the center.

I've been to this site, it is rather hilly and seems like quite an undertaking. So, they aren't using all 36 acres to build. It seems that they couldn't really even use half of it for building. That means to get the number of units they have in mind, they'd have to double it to about 16 units per acre. I don't know that that is bad, but it sure is a far cry from what's already zoned there, and that's before the traffic considerations.

I still subscribe to the grassy knoll theory when it comes to building in Wildomar. Meaning, that builders/developers know all too well about the sue happy clicque here, and are smart to suggest something that is off the charts and would never be approved. Then they can come back at a later date, with a more modest proposal, something that they had in mind the whole time (wink,wink), and now everyone is happy because the project is more "reasonable".

The vote was 4-1 in favor of recommending that the council approve the GPA (Commissioner Langworthy voting no, though both Commissioners Gary Brown and Dan Bidwell later said they weren't too keen on such a project as this).


The balance of the meeting, was finishing up the General Plan Update from the meeting before. It lasted until past 9:30pm. Ouch! It was interesting, but mind numbing at the same time (no offense, nothing personal). 

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  1. Great article! I was sorry to see so few people there giving feedback to the commission. Looking at that map I see plenty of "trails" and such indicating usage of some sort,that once again shows us citizens are fine with trespassing on someone else's property. "Open space" that belongs to someone else is not really open space for the public, no matter how people like to convince themselves otherwise. The way people are acting we aren't going to have any affordable housing in town except for the beat up old places that make the town look more san bernardino than rural! sheila

  2. Here we go again, housing is always first when it comes to building and then years later we get the shopping. Why not build housing and shopping at the same time? Otherwise even more people going to Murrieta and Temecula to shop.

    1. I'd like more places of business here too. I'm just an observer, but in the time I've been going to the various city meetings over the last six months, I've seen NO plans put forward by retail or other businesses (others are undoubtedly in the works but got in the pipeline before I started watching). It's not as if they are being denied or discouraged by the city. Though there are several in the past that have been blocked or derailed by rampant litigation that has become a toy to the very bored in this city.

  3. "According to Planner Matt Bassi, we may be seeing the last of the GPAs (General Plan Amendment) once we get our General Plan done". Several comments need to be made here,
    (1.) Matt Bassi is now just a planner ?, in fact he is the Planning Director for the City of Wildomar. (The Director is responsible for directing the Planning Services Department which utilizes contract staff for meeting the community’s needs) and he paid quite handsomely for this position.
    (2.) I guess it was slip of the tongue that Mr. Bassi made the statement "once we get our General Plan done" It was my understanding this process is an "update of the current General Plan", you can't have it both ways, you either have one or you don't. This may be why there is currently lawsuit working its way through the courts to determine whether we currently have a General Plan or not and the outcome to that suit may make this whole process currently being undertaken moot.
    (3.) Eliminating the requirement for a General Plan Amendment to go before the Planning Commission (thereby shutting out another step in citizen input) prior to the City Council is all about the money. The sooner the Planning Department can get in on the process the sooner they can start charging the fees that keep the planning department employed.
    Kenny Mayes

    1. Kenny, thanks for bringing the comment to a place that it won't get deleted.

      (1) As I said earlier, I wholeheartedly apologize to Matt Bassi for demoting him to a simple planner, instead of Planning Director. (I just wish I would have remembered my wording from before).

      (2) I also remind people that my blog is just the way I see/saw things, and that it is folly to quote me as a source of official city policy.

      (3) I haven't really given that much thought. If the dots exist between the things you mentioned, I haven't connected them.

    2. I too want to retain the feel of open space but I know we can do this while offering some affordable housing(apartments!) for those who are younger but want to stay in the city they grew up in. Or even those who want to move here but are not able to purchase homes. We have many who clamor for businesses to come here but they won't if we don't have people to shop there. Most people in town do not have horses. It always amuses me that those who live in the tracts with their itty bitty yards always want to pull up the draw bridge on others. While those of us with property seem to understand the need for balance. I argue constantly for a healthy balance. That is common sense.

  4. Sigh- so a man who makes a casual phrase during an open meeting shows why a lawsuit that was filed against us is valid? Sure, never mind that menifee did the same thing or the Ca Municipal Law handbook allows for it. FYI- anyone can file a lawsuit for any reason. Also the neat thing about seeing the world through "consipracy-theory glasses" is that everything is connected! Joseph starting this blog is probably part of someone's master plot to take over the city! sheila


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