Thursday, September 24, 2015

• City Council Meeting Sept 23, 2015

A lot got done tonight.

First there was a brief presentation where Mayor Ben Benoit presented the VFW with a check for $365 on behalf of Wildomar Chamber of Commerce. The moneys were from the Wildomar Night at the Storm game.

CORRECTION: The money was donated by the city not the Chamber. The Chamber had sold the tickets to the Wildomar Night event. It's part of the Storm's give back to the local communities efforts. Without them, there wouldn't have been the funds to be donated in the first place.

Mayor Ben Benoit and Mick Seidler. 
Public Comments 
My brother Jeff (with a different last name, though it's spelled the same way as mine), along with two of his colleagues (Julie Miranda, Diana Fitch) thanked the city for helping with the Sycamore Academy project, and that a grand opening will be on October 16th.

1.2 Freedom Swing Reinstallation
This item was in the part of the agenda that only gets discussion if a member of the council, or the public, asks to speak about it. Ken Mayes talked about "an arrogant city council" that is going to spend money installing a swing designed for those in wheelchairs. (Here is a blog to the swing's unveiling last year).

I like the definition of "arrogant" when it's used against people that don't see eye to eye with an individual.

This project has had problems in the past, but life isn't perfect and we can either kvetch about imperfection, or we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and make it right. That is what is happening here as the swing will be getting a new home in an adjacent area at Marna (see image).

The plan is to do a dedicated blog about this shortly.

2.1 Elm Street Residential Project
Jumping to the conclusion, this was approved by a vote of 3-1 with Council Member Marsha Swanson being absent, though she did email her support for it.

Also, Martha Bridges, and her invisible lackeys, wrote a letter about this project... smells like the seeds to future litigation to me.

The big hang up was changing the zoning from R-R to R-1.

This project is going to be 15, one story homes on the property. Both sides of the argument (to allow the project or not allow it) made good points. Sorry, but the NIMBY excuse may be the loudest, but it's also the least impressive. Many (most) people that live in the area are against it.

This project has gone through many makeovers that date back to before Wildomar was a city.

Council Member Bob Cashman was against this. He was worried that "this is going to be a community that sits by itself."

•"Fifteen houses in a row, all on the same size lots, you're going to have a bank of lights along that [area], and it's going to obliterate the character of the area right now."

•"Not only will they not be integrated with the rest of the neighborhoods, because there's just no way for them to talk to anybody in those neighborhoods."

Fair enough, but can I ask you something Mr. Cashman? 
I've not been to your house, but I've been led to believe it's in the "rural" part of town. That usually means you don't really have any next door neighbors like I do in Windsong Valley. Kind of odd to be worried if a row of 15 houses "sits by itself".
Also, if I may add, I live in a neighborhood, and though I see cars go up and down the street, there is no 1950's style bond between the neighbors... unless a smile and a tip of the cap suffices as a close knit community these days.
As far as "obliterating the character of the neighborhood" goes... you didn't really say that did you? There are some nice places there, and then there some are junk piles. I'm guessing that those that take care of their properties would be happy to have that infamous character "obliterated"... or at least upgraded a bit, but maybe it's just me projecting again.

Mayor Pro-Tem Bridgette Moore questioned the applicant about if the proposed HOA would be responsible for future graffiti removal (on a perimeter wall). She also addressed Bob Cashman's concerns about how "close the neighbors" would, or wouldn't be, and that it's not for them to make decisions based on such things.

•"It's hodgepodge all over Wildomar. In my housing tract I have a grove butted up to one side and on the other side is another big acre parcel. I think this actually fits in because it's hodgepodge everywhere [in this part of town] and I don't see an issue with the fifteen homes."

It looked as if Council Member Tim Walker was going to be against this by the comments he was making.

•"I have a few issues. Number one, there are too many houses, I think it's too much to put on that row. I understand the economics of doing the sewer and why they did this (planned for fifteen houses). If you look at the 1886 map, they have it all one thing (one long parcel), that's exactly what's across the creek. 

Where the [owner] took that same amount of property and made four pieces of land. Houses on them with their own barns and everything, all four of them. That's my concern. Why would I want to infill something like this, crowd it in even more, when right across the creek you have four places that are perfect?"

•"My personal opinion is it's too many houses, it's too crowded."

•"Other people are coming up to us now (developers) and they're asking us, "What do you want to see when we buy up this property?" Half acres. That's it. That's what I'm for."

Mayor Ben Benoit asked staff for their opinion of Martha Bridge's letter:

City Planner Matt Bassi answered that "our response is adequate [to her concerns] and we respectfully disagree with the contention that we didn't respond properly."

Here are some of the Mayor's key thoughts on the matter.

•"If you look at that [project] map and see what's currently there, and the densities that are there, it fits in with Medium Density Residential (MDR). Most of that area is smaller lots."

•"It'd be nice if we could put half acre lots everywhere, and I know you (Tim Walker) enjoy living on a larger lot; I really enjoy living on my 7,000sf lot. My weeding is done in about 15 mins."

•"I can see why people would like to live on a slightly smaller lot, and if that's what that owner of that property wants to do, and it fits into our general plan... when it's almost identical to the [nearby houses] that's what this owner wants to do."

At this point, Planning Commissioner Stan Smith spoke as a private citizen. It was like being in school... in a class you like that is. Sharp as a tack and very informative as he was here during the days when the local population was about a baker's dozen. He was filling in some of the history around this project's locale.

As Council Member Walker was softening a bit, a lot hinged on his concerns about the developer pulling a switcheroo and sticking mobile homes in there. Those concerns were alleviated when the developer agreed, on the record, that mobile homes would not be part of it. Though, they are leaving the door open for prefab homes.

Walker then made the motion, which was seconded by Moore, and it was passed 3-1.

3.1 Wildomar Master Drainage Plan Lateral C-1
This is dealing with water drainage out of Windsong Valley. For those of us that are familiar with the area on Palomar, near Plow Boys, when it rains, it floods there. Especially near Arnold Lane.

"The last thing is for us to finish securing all the rights of way. We're every close. We have one last property that we're working through." — Dan York

I asked about the last hold out, but no specifics could be released. He told me that more will be revealed at the next council meeting.

3.2 ZIP Code Boundary Review
This is an odd one. It's also what happens when a town is last to be a city in the area. We have 10 different zip codes in Wildomar that affect over 800 parcels. It's easy to see how there would be some spillover from Lake Elsinore, Menifee, and Murrieta, but there are zip codes from Temcula, Sun City, Winchester and Perris within Wildomar's boundaries too.

I'm not sure how long this will drag out, but the last two times that US Representative Ken Calvert was in the council chambers, this was an issue.

3.3 Construction Contract Clinton Keith Resurfacing Project
The contract allows 25 working days to complete the required work. Based on construction starting within 15 working days after this award, construction would start on October 13, 2015 and the contract completion would be as early as November 16, 2015.

Project will resurface 98,000 square feet of pavement on Clinton Keith Road between Stable Lanes Way and George Avenue. Work will include placement of road resurfacing, base repair, and traffic striping.

Please call City Engineer Dan York and ask him to tell you about the polymer modified emulsion that's in the liquid asphalt for this project. "It's really cool stuff" and he'd be happy to tell you about it.

3.4 Hidden Springs Traffic Signal Modification
This is the most important item in my opinion. For those that either live in Windsong Valley, use the Sater Bros shopping area, or the shopping area on the south side of Clinton Keith we've come to loathe that intersection.

If you are traveling south on Hidden Springs and you need to either go straight or turn left, it's a nightmare since there isn't a dedicated turn light. Add to that, the intersection isn't flat, and you have a ready made blind spot.

If you're traveling north on Hidden Springs, leaving the dentist or Tacos Tijuana perhaps, then you hope and pray that those heading south and turning left onto Clinton Keith know that you have the right of way when going straight.

This is the next best thing to when they put the stop sign in at the other end of Hidden Springs where it tees into Catt Rd. This should be done by mid December. The reason this wasn't done concurrently is due to hang ups trying to deal with CalTrans.

3.5 Grand Avenue Bike Lanes and Multi-Purpose Trail Update
This is still a ways off. Earliest start date would be Spring of 2016. It'll be done in several phases and I liked the new edition of the multi-purpose trail on the west side of Grand. Tonight's action was just for the city council to receive the report and file it.
Gotta love this artist's conception of the area.
• • •

Next up is a movie in the park, last one of the year and a tile painting event at Marna O'Brien park. Saturday October 3rd.

State of the City will be October 7th, and you'll need to RSVP by the 2nd. 

Next City Council meeting is October 14th, and the Planning Commission is supposed to be in the house that night too.
•      •       

•You can observe a lot by just watching.
It's like déjà vu all over again.
No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.
Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.
A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore.
Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours.
We made too many wrong mistakes.
Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken.
It ain't over till it's over.
― Yogi Berra

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