Wednesday, September 16, 2015

• Planning Commission September 16, 2015

A brief recap of a relatively long meeting.

The first item on the agenda was

2.1 Villa Siena Apartment Project
It is a project of 170 apartments located at the northeast corner of Elizabeth Lane and Prielipp.

There were four resolutions in this. A key one being a GPA (General Plan Amendment) from MHDR (Medium High Density Residential) to VHDR (Very High Density Residential). 

This issue looked like it was headed for a defeat, so the members of the commission elected to continue this to the next meeting.

Here's why.

There were only three commissioners in attendance. At the moment we only have four, and Commissioner Bidwell was absent. The type of vote necessary needed a majority of the body, which is three, and not just a majority of those in attendance.

It was going to take a 3-0 vote to send it to the council, and as Planner Matt Bassi told the commission, if they were to not pass part of it, the other parts would become moot.

Commissioner Gary Brown wasn't comfortable with the density increase, and though a no vote wouldn't have killed the project, they felt it was better to wait until they had Commissioner Dan Bidwell present.

It's never a gimme pick when guessing how someone will vote, but I thought I remember Bidwell not being too keen on high density projects himself.

I guess we'll find out on October 21st when this comes before commission again.

2.2 was asked to be continued
This is a zoning ordinance amendment.

3.1 Taghdiri General Plan Initiation Request 
I learned a long time ago that there is no reason to put any energy into a GPIP. It's not an actual GPA (General Plan Amendment), it's asking permission to have a hearing. I don't know why we still do these.

I spoke to the commission and suggested that they use the Wildomar Rap rule of thumb for GPIPs: Always Approve WITHOUT Comment.

Save the comments for when they are actually asking for the GPA.

Let's see if my cartoon on the topic makes a GPIP any clearer. Princess Peach is playing the part of Wildomar, and Mario is acting as a developer looking to woo the city.

Sure, it might be more direct to nix a bad project from the outset, but a GPIP is before the outset. It doesn't hurt to let a developer know where you lean, but it's simply not the time to ask what kind of amenities the project will have when they haven't even drawn up any blue prints.

The location of this project is on the south side of Bundy Canyon Rd, east of the coming Walmart and west of the esses in the road. There are no specifics, just another request to change the density. This time from MDR (Medium Density Residential) to MHDR. Something tells me that Commissioner Brown won't be green lighting this one once it comes back around.

It's to be a gate guarded apartment complex with between 140 and 180 units. There's no need to get into the details here, because there really aren't any yet. This project could easily be years off.

Last on the agenda.

3.2 Election of a New Vice-Chairman
With the Vice-Chair suddenly being vacated last month, they needed to fill it. This too was tabled until Commissioner Bidwell could be present. I had already put in a speaker card and so they called my name even though the issue wasn't going to be dealt with tonight.

"The last election of Vice Chair wasn't unanimous and there was a bit of an issue due to it. Upon reflection I can now see that those that dissented on the previous Vice Chair nominee, had it right all along. There was reason to be concerned.
With that said, I suggest that you elect Dan Bidwell... it'll encourage 100% attendance in the future."
-Joseph Morabito

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Never look back unless you are planning to go that way. ― Henry David Thoreau


  1. To use your date analogy I think it is rather cruel to tell someone they can ask you for a date(that you know you are going to refuse), get their hopes up, and then tell them no. I think it is better to tell them please don't ask. Too often I have heard comments from various city officials that we really should let a project go through because of the money the person has spent developing it. Well lets stop it at the GPIP point when it comes to changing residential zoning or density. Many will talk about property rights but will support residents who complain about code violations on their neighbors property. And rightly so- because it boils down to a quality of life issue. I think of the general plan and residential zoning along those lines. Every time the city allows a project to proceed that changes zoning to increase the number of homes per acre it impacts the quality of life for the neighbors around them. Many of us voted for city hood because we were tired of the county approving projects without taking into consideration the impact on others and we had a vision of a city that was less cookie cutter tracts with postage size lots and more neighborhoods with large lots. Rezoning and approving changes that allow smaller lot sizes and more houses impacts the quality of life in a area much more than just a neighbor having a junky yard. Regardless of whether the houses are nice or not.

  2. I don't the GPIP either. Maybe I'll have to see if Matt Bassi can explain it to me again. From what I remember, this isn't done most places.

    Still, I've seen detailed questions asked by commissioners of the applicant, even though there are no plans drawn up at the time. In this meeting, I heard a question about details (like what kind of turf is going to be in the pool area) and that is akin to asking where the cuckoo clock will be going in a house that hasn't been designed yet.

    The keys of a GPIP are not in the details, but in the meat of the matter. If a commissioner is ok with the zoning change or not is all that should matter. Not if there are going to be window boxes or stamped concrete.

  3. I agree the questions about the minutae are not important. The bigger impact and view of the city is what is important.


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