Wednesday, December 3, 2014

• Planning Commission Meeting Recap

It was a shorter meeting than most. Probably because there were no public comments, and no comments on any of the agenda items either. So let's go down the agenda.

2.1 Revised parcel map for Wildomar Square Retail Center. 

The revision was to take it from six approved parcels to eleven. It passed 5-0. After the meeting I asked Assistant City Manager Dan York about rough time tables for this project. What I got from it, don't expect much movement before the second quarter of next year. 

I asked when commerce might be happening there... and I could see that there wasn't really any definitive answers that could be given since there are so many variables between now and then. So I tackled it this way. 

I asked, "Do you think any of the stores will be opened before Hillary is sworn into office?" (that one always gets the funniest looks) If all goes well, then we'll be able to add that to the list of retail areas sometime in 2016... I think (my words, not Dan's).

3.1 and 3.2 were Back To School topics. A study session on "Conditions of Approval" and a study session on "Running an Efficient and Orderly Meeting"

My two pull quotes were these.

As Mark Teague was detailing Conditions of Approval I liked his quip that went something like, "If you can't measure it, it's not real".  Examples of requiring a contractor to "make it pretty" or "respect the surrounding areas" were used to illustrate the point. In other words, if you want to set conditions on a project, be specific.

The other quote came from Assistant City Attorney Erica Vega as she was giving her primer on Running an Efficient and Orderly Meeting. 

It dealt with the point of public comments. 

[About] engaging in back and forth with the people that speak during public hearings. That's a matter of commission preferences. I work with other commissions where they do not really respond to public comments at all, besides with a "thank you for your comments" then moving on.

You might have a clarification question, that's perfectly acceptable, that's up to you —the level of back and forth you want to have. However, I would advise not to engage in debate with public commenters.

The purpose of the public hearing is for the public to air their concerns to the commission, not for the commission to question the public as to why they feel the way they feel. Clarification questions [to the public speaker] are perfectly appropriate. However I wouldn't engage in wholesale, tearing down of people who may have opposing viewpoints.

—Assistant City Attorney Erica Vega

Seems pretty basic to me. The public has concerns, so they speak them to the commission (or the City Council). It's not that our representatives don't want to hear our viewpoints, they do. It's just that at a city meeting it isn't the place to expect debate or the same type of conversation you'd have with them at other venues.

3.3 Election of New Planning Commission Officers.

This went rather smoothly... especially compared to last year when the choices weren't unanimous. It started with Chairman Stan Smith nominating Vice Chair Veronica Langworthy to be the Chairman for 2015. That was approved without discussion 5-0.

Next was the nomination for Vice Chair. Gary Brown nominated Bobby Swann for the seat, quickly seconded by Dan Bidwell... but before the vote could be taken, Langworthy said she wanted to nominate Gary Brown. Before the tempest in the teapot could boil, commissioner Brown declined the post. The vote was fun to watch though. On paper it was 5-0, but one of those yes votes sounded more like... "well, if you're going to twist my arm... I'll vote aye" after a two second pregnant pause.

This is where my aspie senses betray me. I can't tell if it's just innocent banter up there, or if there's something deeper. I just know that one liners go back and forth that seem a bit chippy at times... but I guess that's what politics are all about.

Now this is where I whip out my crystal ball. Let's talk about the 2016 City Council elections for a second. Unless something unforeseen occurs, there will only be one seat up for grabs in 23 months. I say that because the only way Bridgette Moore won't get another term is if she declines to run. That leaves one seat that is currently held by Bob Cashman.

I haven't heard that he will run again or not. By then he'll be in his mid 70s and I'd hope we'd be prepping a statue (or a plaque) in his honor for all his past service to the city. If not, I see a storm a-brewin' with a crowded field of qualified candidates. Among them, I predict you'll see Bobby Swann, Veronica Langworthy and Gary Brown.

Such a prediction is as bold as predicting that New Years will come a week after Christmas, but just the same... you heard it hear first.

From the Planning Director's Report.

The Oak Creek lawsuit settled (sorry, no details were given out). After a year and a half in the courts, the project is finally going forward after some minor changes. Expect it to be in front of the planning commission in February.

Also, due to the holidays, the Jan 7, 2015 Planning Commission meeting is cancelled, but there will be a meeting on January 21, 2015 instead. Watch your email for the agenda. If you aren't signed up at the city's website, follow this link to stay connected with city events.

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  1. If you would like specifics on the lawsuit:

    1. Thanks for the tip. I'll add it to the blog.


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