Thursday, February 19, 2015

• Planning Commission Meeting: Sycamore Academy

A couple of things on tonight's agenda worth noting.

The long plagued Oak Creek Canyon project was hit with another last minute document dump. So the issue will be continued until April 1st, 2015.

Gary Andre spoke and wanted it known that he has "no problems" with the project, but... He went on to speak for 9 mins, with donated time, discussing the problems just the same. He was concerned about soils tests and repeated more than once that it "wasn't Bill Lo's problem... How do you build homes next to a sewage treatment plant? You wouldn't want to build homes on top of sewage and people getting sick."

Good points Gary. When did you first realize this was potentially the case? I'm guessing that you had your documents ready long before the day of the Planning Commission meeting... right?

So what was the point of doing another last minute Document Dump... other than that's the only card you people seem to have in your hand?

I liked how Chairman Veronica Langworthy worded it: As a commission, we'd appreciate a more timely opportunity to read the information, so if you can get it to us a little sooner, that would be lovely.

To which Andre said, "No Problem".

To which I whispered to my lovely wife, "Yeah right."

Item 2.2 Sycamore Academy
A room full of Scorpions! (It's the name of Sycamore Academy's mascot, and you can see it on the green jerseys.)

The school project was hit by it's own 275 page document dump, around 4:00pm, by Wildomar's own self proclaimed activist, Martha Bridges and pals. The comments were not provided during the 30 day public review period. The actual letter was 2 pages, with 273 pages of exhibits.

Mark Teague spoke about the letter.

Two main points. The first was about liquefaction and the second about fault lines. "We feel that the information here [in the letter] doesn't raise any new environmental issue, or does it cause any problem with the project."

There was then a presentation by the school principal Barbara Hale, about their school's program and mission statement, followed by a detailed powerpoint, by the architect, for the new project.
Artist rendering of what the future campus will look like from it's northernmost point on Palomar.

Aerial view of the campus. To the left, you see the edge of the grassy field area that will provide a play area.
A couple of interesting things I heard were that the school has a No Walk To School policy, and No Ride Your Bike either. I get that at its current location next to Baron's Market, but once it's at a real campus, I don't get it. I guess it's that I'm an old fashioned parent that's out of touch, because I had my kids ride their bikes, or walk, once they were old enough. My kids only got rides to school when it was actually raining.

The other thing that caught my attention was that the rules of a charter school are different than that of a typical public school. Sycamore Academy is attached to Ronald Reagan School and part of the District and open to all students without charge, but there are a ton of things that don't apply to them, that do apply to other schools such as the speed limit when children are present.

Sycamore is not "attached" to Ronald Reagan Elementary.

Though, according to the internet, it's full name is:

Ronald Reagan Charter School Alliance,Sycamore Academy Of Science and Cultural Arts 

It's not an automatic thing that the speed limits will be reduced. 

I have two thoughts on that one. First, the city council needs to take the necessary steps to have the speeds lowered while kids are present. Second, since kids won't be allowed to walk or ride bikes, it seems that they won't be "present" and so maybe lowering the speed isn't necessary. I'll leave that to the city engineer to hash out with the council members. ☺

There were two public comments of note. First was George Taylor, and he made several strong points in support of the project.

  • Win-Win for both the city and Sycamore Academy.
  • The school gets a place out in "the country", where it's quiet.
  • The city gets ready made office space, without having to go through the building process.
  • As far as the seismic thing is concerned, we are at the tail end of a fault, and maybe we should all pack up and leave tomorrow morning. (I read that as a forearm shiver to those that would bring such a silly thing up in these here parts.)

Everyone loves Debbie Downer!
Next up was Kenny Mayes, and probably due to the applause that George got for his comments, Kenny started off by declaring himself as Debbie Downer as he proceeded to say that the school has no business being built on Palomar Street.

Watch the video to see it in real time, along with some well placed sound effects.   Principal Hale comes back to rebut a comment about the property line "being manipulated to be shoehorned into a parcel" to avoid environmental factors. 

There were two speakers from the school, Hillary Martinez and 6th grader Taylor Bedley. There were also 101 comment slips filled out in favor of the project.
Taylor Bedley speaks in front of a full house as the Planning Commissioners give him their full attention.

What an exciting campus they have in mind. If I had kids that were the right age, I'd be looking to get them into this school.
This is a bundle of 400 letters from the students.
This looks to be a future heirloom that the school will want to get back I'm sure.
There was also a giant banner that they didn't get a chance to unfurl.

The vote went 4-0 to approve. The only potential hitch is whether the Last Minute 275 page Letter Writers want to pay the $964 filing fee for the privilege of further trying to hold up this project with an appeal. They have ten days. Which means they'll wait until 9 days and 23 hours have passed before dumping more documents.

Let's hope not, though I told one city staffer that "I'm going to mortgage my house and head to vegas, putting it all down on the Bridge-Burner to do what she always does..."
•      •      •

Last on the agenda was Westpark Promenade. It's still in the early stages, but it is another half commercial—half housing project. This has been discussed in the past, but has been revised a bit. This project is off of Clinton Keith Rd behind the USA gas station and abuts the I-15. 

In short, it includes 191 Townhomes, about 100,000sf of retail with two 8,000sf restaurants. It has a large anchor store and though a clothing or grocery store was mentioned, there are no commitments at this point. 

Commissioner Bobby Swann said, "You used the G word, and I think the worst thing we could do is put a grocery store there. I can't control what you do, but we're putting a Walmart one off ramp up, it's a Super Walmart, it's in essence a grocery store, and the existing grocery stores are going to have a [fiscal] problem with that."

Come on Bobby, we don't have a Ralphs, Vons, Pavilions or Gelson's yet... but I sure could go for a Winco myself.

There was a lot of wrangling about enough parking spaces for the condos, errr... I mean, Townhomes.

Had to love Langworthy's invocation of Little House on the Prairie again. Where you live above your own general store. Not sure how real that is in a wide open place like Wildomar, but it's good to have dreams.

The problem I see with this project is that the people that live off of Depasquale have an advanced case of the NIMBYs. They don't want ingress and egress going in and out of their neighborhood. 

Commissioner Stan Smith said it best on the topic, "That's what happens, you do a development, then the adjacent property gets developed. Then the residents that moved into the first development say 'Oh no, we don't want anything happening over here next to us.' So if you don't plan for it in advance you end up with this impact where you don't get adequate flow."

This project is still in the early phases, and there won't be much movement on it for months. Be sure to stay tuned.
•      •      •

The best of men cannot control their fate,
The good die early, the bad die late.
— Daniel Defoe


  1. Martha is doing her typical blackmail where she will end up getting paid off to settle and have the developer meet some silly change that she will claim benefits all of wildomar. When really it is just her ego and her bank account getting the benefit.The same applies to Gary Andre, plus he rambles and gives misinformation and claims expertise when he has none.

    1. Knowing the thin skinned nature of the local litigant brigade, the third word in your sentence needs to be "allegedly", said with gritted teeth in a 'not so' mocking manner.

      There were other Andre quotes I wanted to use, but he got more room in this blog than he deserved. I love how he said, "I'm the trails commissioner", though later on he did modify it to "former trails commissioner." He also talked about a friend losing a house, and a wife, near the Oak Creek Canyon project. Ummm... since he didn't say how his friend "lost" them, it's up to people to guess. I'm guessing it was a high stakes poker game on an Ocean Liner out in the Bahamas... those gents play for keeps.

      He basically is Wildomar's own version of Brian Williams.

  2. Thanks for all the great information. I am NOT attending the city council meetings as of yet and I love all of the 411 that keeps me up to date. :)

  3. Isn't Bridges part of the lawsuit against Cornerstone? How can anyone think she is anything but destructive and selfish?


Let's hear what you have to say... for other inquiries try the email listed under "view my complete profile" but if you want to discuss a blog topic, I'll only do it in this comment section, not by email.

Subscribe by Email