Thursday, February 12, 2015

• City Council Meeting Feb 11, 2015 Rap Up

It was an overflow crowd to hear about Walmart. I was able to horse trade my way to my usual seat, though it had been designated for the applicant (Walmart). It was a long meeting with many things on the agenda. Let's just go down the list as I highlight the memorable parts.

  • Library Update: There is an adult book club, the first book will be In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Mention of a Lego Club and a Crochet Club. A Summer Reading Club is in the works slated to start June 13th. Be sure to call the library for details (951) 471-3855
  • 2014 Mayor Marsha Swanson getting recognition as her name was added to the plaque of past mayors by 2015 Mayor Ben Benoit.
Hey guys, you need to look at Grace next time so she can get a better shot.

  • Recognition for two Wildomar Soccer teams. 
  • Boys U10 that made it to the "equivalent" of the Super Bowl.

    Girls U12 that won the "equivalent" of the Super Bowl. To see the full story, click here.

    • Fire Department update discussed that a recent rash of fires had no correlation.
    This is where non agenda item public comments came in. There were three public speakers.
    • George Taylor speaking about the condition of Bundy Canyon Rd.
    • Kenny Mayes speaking about parks, drainage and roadways in town that aren't up to snuff.
    • Steve Urane speaking about the crazy traffic and terrible conditions on Lost Road.
    Agenda Item 2.0 Walmart
    It was basically the same presentation that was put in front of the planning commission a couple of weeks back. To see the write up, and the full video if you'd like, check out the blog that covered it by following this link.

    There were many public speakers on the matter. Most were in favor of Walmart, though there were only two that spoke against it.

    Miss Miller and Kenny Mayes.

    Miss Miller brought her A-Game tonight so I thought she deserved to be seen in real time on video. No trick edits here, just her as the good lord intended... Au naturel.

    Meryl Streep... move over, there's a new Drama Queen on the rise.

    From my count, there were 42 speaker slips. Though to be fair, that number was aided by a little bit of Walmart thumb on the scale action. You see, just before the meeting they held a rally of sorts at a local Pizza place, and they were giving out buttons showing support, and urged people to fill out speaker slips in support of the project. Of the 39 in support, only about 10 spoke.

    The proponents touted the jobs, the convenience, the affordability, less pollution since Wildomar residents won't need to drive as far to shop.

    The opponents mentioned traffic concerns, Autumnwood, and the city falling on Walmart's sword in desperation only to bleed when the changing face of retail causes the sales tax to be collected elsewhere by goods purchased by citizens of Wildomar.

    Next were the Council Comments of the matter.

    The comments that stood out for me came from Council Member Bob Cashman and Mayor Ben Benoit.

    Cashman wanted to know about the traffic around the project, particularly on Monte Vista to Baxter.
    "You have to assume that trucks and cars are going to want to go to Walmart." 

    Charlene So, Walmart traffic consultant, mentioned,
    "The traffic study does identify that there are future needs to widen the roads. Which includes signals along Baxter Road at Monte Vista and future [I-15] interchange improvements, but the project itself doesn't generate the need for those improvements."

    Cashman came back with, 
    "Future impacts???" said with the vigor of three question marks, "As soon as you build the thing you're going to have impact. I don't think we have to wait for the future to see how a flock of Walmart shoppers —which I think there will be— have to leave Walmart and go someplace and they're going to go down that road [Monte Vista]. 
    He ended by saying he has no "Intrinsic" objections to Walmart.

    Mayor Benoit's thoughts on the Monte Vista/Baxter intersection.
    My big concern is Monte Vista and Baxter, and the signalization of that. I know it's only a 24% [responsibility] share [of yours] according to the traffic report. I know it's off the site, but I was wondering if there was any way possible that Walmart might look forward to helping our community out by developing that, then getting their share back as other developments come in.

    Other interesting points from the council included:
    • Marsha Swanson mentioned not having to drive to other communities, giving them our money and our tax dollars. Services like having your eyes checked in town.
    • Bridgette Moore had So confirm that the light at Bundy and Monte Vista would be going in before Walmart would open.
    • Tim Walker in favor of the project, speaking about what it takes to do business. That "it's hard and it takes money to do anything". 
    For a full look at the council comments, watch the video below.

    Interesting factoid. The proposed sign along the freeway is set to be 30 feet high... whereas the Shell sign is 71 feet high.

    Nothing is ever complete without a document dump and the threat of a lawsuit in our city. This time it was by Walmart's own remora Briggs Law Corp.

    We did get a letter from the Briggs Law Corporation, about 8 pages long with a number of attachments. City staff and the applicant have not had enough time to digest what is in there. We've done a cursory review and because of that last minute —as we call it "document dump"— Walmart has asked us to continue this item to the March 11th meeting..
    —Matt Bassi Planning Director

    Since the item was continued, we'll have to wait another month to watch the vote go 5-0 in favor of the project.

    There were a few more things on the agenda, but you should have attended if you wanted to hear about them. ♥

    City Manager's Report:
    • The new council chambers are under construction, with a target opening of May.
    • WM is sponsoring this year's Easter Egg Hunt at Marna O'Brien park.
    • CR&R charged $2400, factoring in a 50% discount, for the west side's green waste clean up.
    • Congressman Calvert will be at a special City Council meeting February 20th at 1:30pm.
    • Another Great Day of Service is being proposed, and the meeting discussing it will be at Wildomar Elementary at 2:30pm Thursday February 12. Open to the public.
    The only other thing of note was that the new multi city trail that is slated to open this June, known as the Murrieta Creek Regional Trail got a new logo. It was selected from more than 20 local entries. More will be discussed about the trails as we get closer to June.

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    Bureaucracies were invented by people with nothing better to do than frustrate those who did.

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