Thursday, August 21, 2014

• Planning Commission Meeting Aug. 20, 2014

I've been going to city meetings for the past year, and I think I haven't missed a single planning commission meeting in that time... though there have been a couple of regularly scheduled meetings that have been cancelled, including next month's.

Here's what I've taken away from that experience.

I am so glad that I'm not a landowner in this town.

Let's take this little, odd shaped, piece of land where Corydon meets Mission Trail for example. There used to be a rock yard there, I bought a bunch of stepping stones there in the past, but it's been gone for what seems like the better part of three years now.

Plot of land in question.





From what the developer/owner said —he first wanted to come in with some high density housing, but was told that most likely wouldn't fly here. Funny thing about that, I remember a former Planning Commissioner that said he understood the need for high density, but didn't like that it was all being put into one area of town (presumably the area near Kaiser). Well, this area is at the other end of town and would have made a lot of sense, but the developer opted to heed the planning department and went into another direction.

It's currently zoned CR (commercial retail), and he wanted the zoning changed to add some light industrial. Let's all remember that this part of the process is actually before the proverbial first step. It's NOT a GPA (it's a GPAIP - General Plan Amendment Initiation Proposal (pre-application review). A step that will soon be relegated to the history books, but is still needed today.

The developer came in with retail in the front portion and light industrial in the back. Most of the commission was holding out for only retail on the entire property. If you are familiar with the retail area north of the Baxter off ramp and east of the 15, you may agree with me that having a retail business that is tucked away, out of plain sight for people driving by, can be a death knell.

However, I did enjoy the optimism of long time Wildomar resident, from the farm, George Taylor on the topic. He reminded us how Temecula did not allow Walmart to build on a certain plot of ground years ago... and how later that land was developed into what is now The Promenade.



"You don't know what might happen here, in the future, with commercial real estate"
—George Taylor—

He can't really be comparing the two... is he?

I understand that people like to exaggerate to make a point, but please there should be limits. If you want to say, "I'm hungry enough to eat a horse" we understand that bit of hyperbole. There is no need to accelerate it up to, "I'm hungry enough to eat the entire Budweiser team of Clydesdales."

There is no way to compare a vast open area, that later became a regional mall, to a relatively small piece of land that is simply going nowhere. If we wait, as was suggested, and skip over the current owner's plans, it will not become The Wildomar Promenade... at least I don't think it will be.

The developer was speaking of possibly having automotive related retail in the front of the property. Things like custom tires or car stereos. Items that come with high prices, hence are good sales tax generators. Certainly as good as the "dress shop" I heard tossed out as an alternative.

The thing that got to me, and Commissioner Bobby Swann touched on it a bit, is the reverence that seems to be paid to a document that was put together before we were a city; by only a handful of locals.  I hear it took almost three years, and I bet it was a ton of work, but it was put together in another time —before our economy went  >>poof<< . Sorry, but there is no document that is above being revised as time marches on.

Even our own US Constitution has been revised dozens of times. If that hallowed document can be amended, so can our General Plan.

Still, that isn't the best part. Am I the only one listening at these meetings?

This General Plan Amendment Initiation Proposal (pre-application review) request on the part of the applicant will NOT be an approval of anything. It simply allows him to start the process, and if his plans don't fit within the desires of Wildomar, he'll be told NO —then.

Once our official General Plan kicks in, which is sooner than later, this 'pre' first step will be eliminated in the GPA process. This part of the process is what is called a formality. Meaning: rubber stamp it, and let him be told 'NO' later if his ideas don't work in our city.

In this cartoon, Peach is playing the part of Wildomar and Mario is the developer.


Asking the applicant about the specifics at this point is like asking your spouse if he/she wants sour cream and chives on their baked potato... six months from now. Let's deal with today first.

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There was also another GPAIP by someone wanting to build 48 homes on 15 acres off of Baxter.

Click to see the full info at the city's website.

I'm not sure if that's good fit or not, but still what was all the wrangling about at this juncture? This was another one of those formalities that should have been kicked upstairs to the city council to deal with. This was not the time to ask the applicant anything. When at a restaurant we don't give our food order to the hostess. Time and place my friends.

Lastly, there seems to be some romantic notion among many that we are "rural" and they want only to see The Ponderosa on one side of the street, South Fork on the other.

Pa better keep this a secret, Hoss and Little Joe ain't gonna like it one bit.




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Sorry, but in the words of SE Hinton, that was then, this is now.

Take a realistic view of our city —Google Maps is great for that— and you'll see that it is not some rural place with swaths of pristine open land. Click the link and you'll get an aerial view of our city. It's already been built and we can only be considered "rural" when compared to metropolitan areas like LA, or other major media markets.

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Wildomar Rap has never attempted to eat a horse, much less a Clydesdale, though I hear they are rather tasty.

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