Wednesday, January 21, 2015

• Planning Commission Meeting: Walmart

Let's jump to the end... all the three items on the agenda passed 4-0. Commissioner Bidwell wasn't in attendance. Next stop is in front of the full City Council... not sure if that's the next meeting or not at this point.
Walmart had a full team that started at the foyer, with many easels holding various poster sized images.
There were 31 public speaker slips filled out, though most chose not to speak. Those people were in support of the project. There were no people there to speak against the project. Though many concerns were raised.

Chief among the concerns were drainage issues, whether Walmart will be utilizing reclaimed water for irrigation, light pollution, due diligence, police and fire services, being able to attract more big box stores, shame on the same old people filing lawsuits, road construction and traffic.


There were no real fireworks, though the evening did start with another of Ray Johnson's hilarious document dumps. Thing is, Walmart doesn't even know that guy exists. Walmart has bigger fish to fry than that minnow. They have a group that follows them around from project to project and that's the legal hurdle they'll be looking to overcome.

A look at the rare Ray Johnson minnow.





I was expecting more hoopla, there was even a cop on duty to keep the rabble-rousers at bay... but none showed up. There was an overflow crowd, with about fifteen people listening from the hallway.

I had to chuckle when Walmart's attorney stood up and said they had been collecting "supporter cards" and that they've received 785 cards in support and only 10 against. Come on now... that is flat out silly. I've been running a poll, and out of 74 current votes, 39 are against it, while 35 are for it. I'm sure it's not accurate, but it's not any worse than Walmart's skewed stats on it.



City Engineer Dan York answered a question about when the road improvements would be done. He said that all the improvements will be done before the store opens, but I interpret that as they won't be finishing the roads until right before the doors of Walmart open.

The commissioners all made some points.

Commissioner Gary Brown asked about the closing of the existing store on Grape St. The answer he got was that it will close after the Wildomar store is opened and the Wildomar location is slated to open before the new Walmart that is planned for Lake Elsinore.

Commissioner Bobby Swann said he had questions... until Dan York answered them all. Also earlier in the meeting Bobby Swann asked about the Ray Johnson letter, here's a link to that part of the video.

Commissioner Stan Smith made good points about this project when he said that "Walmart didn't create the demand, they just are responding to the demand... Without commercial retail sales, Wildomar will not have the necessary funds to make needed improvements or increase public safety."

I also like Chairman Veronica Langworthy's inquiry about access to the Shell station from Walmart. Good point Veronica, I sure hope that Shell station is smart enough to play ball and think about what will bring them more customers, and not how to horse trade themselves into a corner that ends up cutting off much needed access for them after the raised median is put in on Bundy Canyon.

Below are some video links to the meeting.

First link is for the presentation of the project by City Planner Matt Bassi, and Mark Teague.


The video below is where the public comments can be seen. I edited out where Alfredo Garcia was reading out names of those that filled out speaker slips, but didn't want to speak.



The last video is where you'll see the commissioners discuss the project. Also where Dan York answers many questions about it.

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UPDATE
================
After some discussion, of a way to get from Walmart to the Shell station in the comments below, Kenny Mayes brought it to my attention that in the plans, there is a place in the designs for such access where Sellers leads into the proposed Walmart. 

See the image below, the red circle showing the linkage between Walmart and Shell. I'm assuming the plans are correct, so I'm not sure why it was ever a topic. I'll have to ask for clarification when this comes before the city council.


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Nobody forces you to work at Wal-Mart. Start your own business! Sell something to Wal-Mart!
—Kevin O'Leary


21 comments:

  1. Speaking of that Shell station, you might want to do a little investigating on them as to why their sign says "Cash/Shell Card" and shows a discounted price but, as of mid December, I have not been getting the discount with my Shell card! I have questioned them numerous times and receive nothing but stupid answers. In other words, the staff have no clue how the discount works. I have also contacted the Shell Transportation, who in turn has contacted the independent owner twice, and they still have not corrected this problem. How many people are getting ripped off there? I have purchased gas at this location since they opened and have always gotten the discounted price using my Shell card but somehow it all changed mid December. I would love for you to go question them on this!

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  2. Correction - should say Shell Corporation, not Shell Transportation. Darn auto correct. :/

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  3. Oh, by the way, I spoke with the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce and they told me that you would be the one to contact to check in to this overcharging of customers by this Shell station on Bundy Canyon Dr. :)

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    1. Hmmm... I can just see it now, as I try to speak to the owner... there is no way a person would give me the time of day if they were pulling a fast one. I appreciate that you gave me credit for being able to do an investigative piece, but that's outside of my abilities.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, and I hope that gets cleared up. That kind of thing,, false prices, irks me to no end... as it is, I've never done business there.

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    2. Thanks for listening. Do you have anyone that you could refer me to? I called the Chamber of Commerce but this is an independent owner so they can't help, they are not listed with the BBB, and if you look up the station they don't even have a phone number. I would love to call this owner out for false advertisement! Any help in which direction to go would be appreciated.

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    3. A little used source of help would be through the Riverside County Agricultural Commissioner's Office, Department of Weights and Measures
      http://www.rivcoag.org/DepartmentInformation/WeightsandMeasuresProgramsandServices.aspx . Under Petroleum Products
      petroleum and automotive product labeling, fuel dispenser labeling, and gasoline price signs are inspected.
      Kenny Mayes

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    4. Give Kenny's links a test. He's pretty good with the info he collects. Someone from the county or the state seems like the right direction to head in.

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    5. Thanks! I'll definitely give them a call!

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  4. On subject, The Bigger They Are The Faster They Spin
    The answer given about which drainage basin this project is in does not jive with the historical data for this area. Looking at Aerial Photos from 1938, topographic maps and Riverside County Flood Control studies one can clearly see a dividing line in the lower portion of this project where some water (a majority) goes down across country to Lake Elsinore by way of the high school (Santa Ana Watershed) and the balance goes to the Murrieta Creek in an unfinished earthen channel while traversing town (passing along side Windsong Park) (Santa Margarita Watershed).
    The retention basins will clean water flowing from the project but an increased amount will flow from it due to covering 80% of the site with asphalt and concrete.
    Another glaring omission is any mention of the former Sanitary Land Fill on Bundy Canyon Road which is well within the 1/2 mile search parameter.
    Kenny Mayes

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  5. What? Are you an engineer? How many years experience do you have in the industry? You are probably just a keyboard expert. Forgive me if I trust the experts.

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  6. 1938??? Way to dig way back there for something to make your inane point. You need to bring that information to somebody right away! I mean the evmwd is doing all that new work! The building that has happened since 1938! You need to go talk to someone in the county,since we have only been a city for a few years, and get people working on this.

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  7. While it may sound nice to have the shell station and Walmart parking lots open it could pose a liability risk in increased traffic and likelihood of fender benders. Or even injuries to pedestrians. I would think they ,shell station, would have to check with insurance carrier. Plus who pays for the work? Commissioner langworthy just might need to get better at tracking her gas gauge.

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    Replies
    1. It's kind of hard to discuss in writing, but I tend to agree with you. If there is access from Walmart to Shell, then that means there is access from Shell to Walmart... which could cause a shortcut through Shell that gets used dozens, if not hundreds, of times a day. Still, if you see the configurations, once the center median is put in, it's looking like only one way into Shell, and that'll be on Bundy going east.

      If I were on Bundy traveling west, I'd just find another place to get gas instead of making all the turns, and going through all the traffic signals it would take to get there. As for the Langworthy thing... I agree... I used to run out of gas all the time when I was a teen. The last time was when my gas gauge failed in 2000.

      Thanks for commenting.

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    2. If you look at Agenda Item 2.1 Attachment D Page 9 you will notice what is called "Entry Drive North" which lines up will Sellers Road. There is a traffic light proposed which allows entry and exit from both directions of Bundy Canyon, this entry borders the parcel housing the Shell Station (currently has retention basins on it) when completed there will be easy access to the Shell Station from both Bundy and the Walmart.
      Kenny Mayes

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    3. Kenny,
      I went and looked at the plans as you mentioned, and indeed there appears to be linkage between the two projects. I'm not sure why this was an issue... but I do remember asking one person from the city that would know (I'm not naming names because I don't know how well my memory is this many days after the fact) and the gist I was getting is that isn't set in stone. That the two land owners aren't seeing eye to eye on things, and that one of them may be trying to get more than what's fair at the other's expense. I'll have to ask at the next meeting for clarification.

      In the meantime, I did add a new graphic as an update in the blog, showing the proposed linkage.

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  8. This is all stuff that needs to get worked out with shell and Walmart. It really is no one else's business. Not even the city. If shell doesn't want it then it is their loss. People who have this much time to spend on playing psuedo experts might think about using that time with family, home improvement, or even charity work to help the needy.

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    1. This is absolutely the business of the citizens of a community. Without the public forums such as the planning commission, city council meetings these corporations would construct only what they need to to open for business. Letting the experts decide is what got the Shell Station open without the necessary traffic signals, this has resulted in an increase of accidents in the area.
      Kenny Mayes

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    2. Sorry Kenny but the issue of the driveway into shell is NOT anyones business but the businesses involved. You continually mix apples and oranges in your rush to complain about everything. Public forums are good so that people can voice concerns, no one said they weren'tPeople driving reckless is what has primarily caused the accidents. We all know where the street light was going to be and it wasn't as people immediately pull out of the shell station, or that the Bundy road improvement project will deal with much of that. Lets not also forget that Caltrans controls much of that area near the freeway. There are plenty of laws and regulations that these projects have to follow. Maybe you think you were annointed busy body of the city but to many of us you are still the guy that complained needlessly and publicly about things not done at a dog park instead of just asking questions to the people involved or the guy this blogger has on video spounting nonsensical rants at the city council members. You also can't have it both ways- you don't want people to listen to educated and experienced experts but you want us to trust an internet research junkie with no formal training or experience? I do salute you for not suing the city all the time though, However I am starting to suspect that is due to not wanting to give control over to an attorney.

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    3. Well, I've never heard Kenny Mayes declare himself to be an expert. Just a concerned citizen. Does that mean he has a 100% track record? No, but who does? Let's see what the "experts" at the city have managed... look at the parks. How about that infamous swing that is now gone... imagine had they'd heeded Kenny's words and double checked before pouring the cement. (Weren't we all taught to "Measure twice and Cut once"?)

      I for one wish we had more people in town that put as much time into our city as Kenny Mayes does. I don't have to agree with him to respect his efforts.

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    4. Joseph, well said! As to "Measure twice and Cut once", too often (not always) it appears the slogan is, "I don't understand it, I cut it twice and it is still too short". R, Monty

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    5. More people like Mayes! Heaven help us! We would never get anything done because no one would work together or be willing to hear other viewpoints. His efforts are not for unity, they are to try and show he knows more than others. He has a 99.99% track record in being against anything proposed. Even a blind guy will hit a dart board once in awhile if he throws at it often enough. You are parsing words to say that he doesn't claim to be an expert. His posts and words indicate that he does consider himself to be more informed than the experts. I will respect him if he ever decides to quit complaining all the time. Or tried to work WITH people. It is easy to stand on sidelines and find fault with everything, it takes a real civic and community minded person to work to get things accomplished.

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