Thursday, November 13, 2014

• City Council Meeting November 12, 2014

Here is a rundown of what I noted from the meeting.

First was a presentation to City Manager Gary Nordquist in recognition for his 5 years as a city employee.
Ok people, next time you see Grace pointing the camera at you, be sure to hold still and say Cheese. ☺

Second was Melina Velazquez, branch manager of Wildomar Library discussing the goings on at the library. To stay up to date check out the facebook page at this link. There are a lot of activities planned through the end of the year. Click here for the link.

Agenda Items

2.1 Allocation of Community Development Block Grant.
The city had roughly $20,000 available to donate, and four groups asked for a combined $65,000. In the end, HOPE got $9,000. Assistance League of Temecula Valley got $7,000, Merit Housing (Wildomar Senior Center off Pasadena) received $3,000. Habitat For Humanity got nothing. They didn't show up to argue their case, and I liked Mayor Pro-Tem Ben Benoit's point about wanting to see how last year's contribution helped Wildomar before donating more to them.

2.2 Minor Change and Amendment Phasing Agreement (Canyon Plaza. Where the New Shell Gas Station is). It was continued to the Council Meeting on December 10th by a 5-0 vote.

3.1 and 3.2 were last chance efforts by two different builders to secure a GPIP (General Plan Initiation Proposal).
Just as a reminder, a GPIP is nothing more than asking permission to ask permission... as illustrated by the four panel cartoon below.

A GPIP is just asking permission to ask permission. Like asking if you can ask someone out to dinner. 

Neither the planning commission's vote nor the City Council's vote would have been an approval or an endorsement for either project. That's why I didn't understand the Planning Commissions 5-0 to "recommend the City Council NOT allow" the GPA for what is being called Wildomar Pointe at Mission Trail and Lemon Street... or the 3-1-1 vote against the George and Iodine Springs GPA.

To be fair, I spoke against the gated community condo complex at both meetings. Not because the project isn't nice... it is... but because it is one of those dreaded MUPA overlay zones. A whimsical fantasy forced on us by Sacramento. Something that would fit in Irvine or LA but makes ZERO sense in a place like Wildomar (it's basically where apartments and businesses are all in one small area).

We are mandated to have such areas by the state, and the General Plan was a major pain to start monkeying with it now. Still, we have a cushion of 102 houses to stay compliant with our General Plan, and if this project gets approved, that will leave a cushion of 49 houses. Thing is, Planning Director Matt Bassi said that would pretty much be the last MUPA change without going out of compliance if another change were to be requested in the future.

In the end, the council voted 5-0 to allow both groups to go to the next step.

Wildomar Pointe at Mission Trail and Lemon Street really looks like a good set up... it just needs a couple of tweaks but I hope they approve it. It's not going to be a typical strip mall, the plan is for automotive needs such as, stereos, upholstery, custom wheels and tires, car and truck wraps, truck accessory store, traditional auto parts store and even a car rental place was mentioned... all things with big ticket items and therefore a good sales tax base.

Also a group of non automotive businesses were mentioned. Possibly a micro brewery, rock fitness/crossfit, hardwood flooring, granite countertops, patio furniture/BBQ retailer, indoor swimming lessons.

In the back buildings, light industrial is proposed. Cabinetry was mentioned as a target business to be in there.

Council Member Bob Cashman asked what the percentage of the project is to be warehouse, and the applicant said, "about 40%."

Council Member Bridgette Moore mentioned how it's near homes and that noise and fumes from industrial businesses would have to be taken into consideration. The applicant answered that they respect the fact that homeowners don't want to be looking at the side of a building and that there are ways to screen the building with vegetation, and to also be sensitive as to the way lighting would be installed.

Council Member Tim Walker mentioned how that part of town was part of a visioning document that was intended to be part of an old town, and that's why it was zoned as Commercial Retail.

Mayor Marsha Swanson said she was in favor of the M-SC zones (Manufacturing Service Commercial). She preferred the list of targeted businesses that didn't include the automotive based businesses. She also said she would like to see a "plan certain" to go along with any zone changes. She doesn't like to see a zone change with nothing to go with it, and she didn't like the proposed facades of the buildings either.

Mayor Pro-Tem Ben Benoit seemed to like much of the project, and added that he had concerns about noise initially, but if you look at a map there are only two or three homes that are near the property. He also mentioned that the buildings don't look all that much different than the Elk's Lodge or the Animal Shelter that aren't too far from the proposed site.

Note to my friends on the planning commission. Next time you get a GPIP just rubber stamp it like I suggested in the past. When it is an actual GPA, then take the applicant to the mat if you must.

3.4 City Hall Facility Lease
First thing you need to know is that nothing is free. We currently are renting about 3800sf for over $9000 a month (I think it's closer to 10K but I try not to overbid as if I were a contestant on Price Is Right). The new agreement is for about 10,000sf at a cost of $19,000 a month with built in 2.5% yearly increases over the seven years. There are other lease options, with fewer square feet with the price per square foot going up. If you want all the details, ask Gary Nordquist for them.

Ben Benoit asked to have the topic continued for 30 days so that the Jean Hayman option be revisited again.

Let's do the math. $19,000 a month, for 84 months would be $1,596,000. That isn't factoring in the yearly increase which would be an increase of 17.5% after seven years or a monthly rent of $22,325. So the total outlay for rent would be closer to $1.8M over seven years.

I don't know about you, but I bought my home for a reason. Renting is for fools. If we were to buy Jean Hayman School (assuming it is a fair price) it would be paid for before we know it, and in the life of a city, 30 years isn't that long. I can tell you one thing for sure, that in 30 years Wildomar City Hall will be a lot more than $22,325 a month. Just padding the bank account of a faceless landlord.

Now where do you sit when it comes to being penny wise and pound foolish?

To round things out... last count in the election had Tim Walker and Ben Benoit tied for first with the same number of votes. Sorry Tim, it's all my fault. Had I stuck with an idea I had been toying with, and giving a mercy vote to Mr. Leija, then you would have beat him by one.

•      •       

"A long Sunday walk and a glass of beer could put us spiritually in the company of Alexander the Great"
—GK Chesterson


  1. A long Sunday walk for that beer is just what the mayor needs. She complained about there being no cooling center in Wildomar an in the past it has been said there are no free standing bars in town either. The very first thing she would see are the signs pointing to the library an then she would arrive at Lakeview Chapel 32700 Mission Trail (in Wildomar even though mailing address is Lake Elsinore) after cooling off in a official Community Action Partnership of Riverside County Cooling Center she can continue her walk to the Hideaway, where she could get a shot with beer chaser, also located in Wildomar with a Lake Elsinore mailing. address.
    Kenny Mayes

    1. Kenny,
      I always enjoy your observations. Still, if the "Senior Center", which I've always considered more of a private club, is going to get money from the city, it would be nice to get something in return. It would be good of them to at least experiment with being an official cooling station on hot days. I sincerely doubt that very many in our area actually avail themselves to such things in the first place.

  2. That private club you speak of was built using RDA monies and is actually reserved for low income or Section 8 housing for seniors. It will be until somewhere around 2060.
    Kenny Mayes

    1. I didn't mean to imply that it was a 'swanky' private club... just not open to the public. If I'm incorrect, glad to hear it and always prefer to have my errors corrected than to hold fast to them.

  3. I agree with you Joseph. Wildomar has changed tremendously. I've lived in Wildomar since 1979 in the same home. I've watched this town get infested with outsiders and buildings like there were no tomorrow. I remember when the only store we had were the Round up food and liquor and the fruit stand on Palomar and Mc Vicke well maybe not exactly on Mc Vicker but I think all you Wildomarians get the point. I'm just sayin Wildomar was better off the way it was. We don't need any more outsiders.

    1. I liked the way San Juan Cap, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel and San Clemente used to be too. They probably had far less than half the population than they currently have. Laguna Niguel had ONE stop light from the freeway to Coast Highway and was called Crown Valley Speedway. Last time I counted in 2001, it had more than 25 stop lights on that one road alone. The hills are covered with little boxes. It's not as if they sit empty there, and the same is true for Wildomar.

      People need places to live, just as you have a place to live. Sure, sure it would be great if people from the midwest or back east never came here, and I'd say the same about the illegal invaders from Mexico and Central America too. Thing is, they are here and there is no way the clock will be turned back. It's part of living in a great nation like the USA that allows freedom of movement.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

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