Wednesday, December 2, 2015

• Planning Commission Meeting December 2015

There really wasn't much actual business in tonight's meeting. The agenda had a couple items that were approved by the county, before Wildomar became a city, that needed extensions. One being where the old Brown house was (Grand and McVicar) and the other on Monte Vista north of Cornerstone Church.
The red circle is where a traffic light is slated to go in. 

The only thing noteworthy was the public comment by Gina Castanon, a resident that lives in the area. I've uploaded a video to her 6 minute diatribe, so you can see her points as the rest of those in attendance heard them... a handful even applauded.

Where do I start here?

Do I sympathize with Gina Castanon?

A bit. She was here when Wildomar had a population of under 5000 and she's seen 30,000 people move into what used to be a vacant area. Across from her used to be Rancho Fortunado, a place that used to have a practice track for race horses. That property was still up when I moved here in 2001.

It's been gone for well more than ten years now, and had been slated for housing tracts before The Great Recession. It laid fallow until somewhat recently and is now graded and ready for nearly 200 homes. The project that was in question tonight is west of her home, and will have 108 single family homes, on 35 acres, once it gets built.

People tend to exaggerate when they are passionate, and passionate she was. Here are the parts I had to shake my head at.
  • 1:15 of the video she reminds the audience that she was part of the incorporation committee (WIN - Wildomar Incorporation Now).
Let me suggest to all of you that still have this high up on your Curriculum Vitae, please feel free to retire it. It's nice and all, but has very little meaning in the real world.
  • 1:26 "This is the most rural area of Wildomar."
Ummm... errrr.... again with the worn out "rural" hooey? Really? There? Take a look at the map at the top of this blog and you'll see that this vacant field is actually out of character with the rest of this part of the city. There are rooftops everywhere but there. 
  • 2:35 "The other conditions I'm going to put on this project..."
I'll just chalk that one up to nervousness. She can't really think that she's in a position to dictate to others how their already approved project can be... can she?
  • 4:30 "If you do go ahead and pass this extension, you better have some conditions on this project that they need to really work with this community. The city can't afford lawsuit after lawsuit because the planning commission doesn't get the job done."
Ouch... sounds kind of threatening to me. 
  • 4:50 "Why don't you work with the community, and the concerns we have, and maybe the lawsuits might go away."
Who says that the planning department, the commission or the council isn't "working with the community" here? 

Like it or not, the people that will be living to the south of you, and also to the west, are ALSO members of the community... or will be so, once the Bekins trucks unload them. 

Their voices will be every bit as important as yours is. I truly love hearing the stories from people that have been in Wildomar for a long time, but the length of your tenure here has no value beyond being able to win at Wildomar Trivial Pursuit. 

I've heard it said more than once before, from others that were on the vaunted WIN Committee that forming a city wasn't to prevent growth, but to have a say in how the city grows. 

The response of the applicant begins at the 6:30 mark of the video. His opening sentence is as follows.
Sometimes this city gets sued unfairly. They get sued by a little cadre of people, who I will not name, but it costs many thousands of dollars to resolve these issues. CV Communities resolved these issues in favor of the city and their project. We are now resolving another issue with another woman who sued the city. Specious lawsuit at best, and we've given them two days to dismiss their case. We're through having the city be bullied.

This item passed by a vote of 4-1 with Commissioner Gary Brown dissenting. Once it was settled the applicant's team, about half a dozen professionals, left the council chambers. Not long after they made it out the glass doors Gina Castanon stormed out and a loud exchange could be heard coming from her aimed at the applicants. They wanted no part of it and headed for their cars.

•      •       

The other bits on the agenda didn't have any opposition, being that one was another extension request approved 5-0 and the other were some minor changes to another long dormant project that is on the extreme southwest border of Wildomar and Murrieta.

Tonight was also the night that the Planning Commission chose the Chair and Vice Chair for next year. Usually the current vice chair slides over to Chair, but it looks as if Commissioner Dan Bidwell will be relocating next year. So current Chair, Veronica Langworthy, was nominated by Commissioner Stan Smith to keep the Chair for another year and it was seconded by Commissioner Gary Brown.

Gary Brown was tagged for the Vice Chair position.

•      •       

The talent for being happy is appreciating and liking what you have, instead of what you don't have.
― Woody Allen

Wildomar Rap tip of the day: if you're one that wants to angle for flies, remember honey is a better bait than is vinegar. Since most of us aren't interested in catching flies in the 21st century let me restate it. If you want something, try sweetness. No one likes to be wooed with lemon juice.


  1. Really? 108 homes on 35 acres doesn't concern you? It's not hooey to use rural as a description as that is what many of these spots are coded/zoned at. Using your logic we should just continue to pack in houses if houses have already been packed in? That seems somewhat illogical. Part of the reason for cityhood was to take back control from the county, which seemed intent on approving every tract. Hence why so much of the growth has been from projects approved of by the county. When I look at that picture I see a formerly lovely area of town starting to look like another cookie cutter tract home city. Yuck.

    1. Oh no... I had a great comment all written out, complete with bullet points and hit back instead of post. I'll try and recapture the essence of it.

      • Yes Really, I'm not concerned about 108 homes on 35 acres.
      • Yes of course it's hooey to intentionally misuse terms like "rural" for emotional effect. I've heard that word bandied about plenty in reference to Wildomar and not once has it been used, about modern times, in an emotion free and sober way.
      • "Using your logic we should just continue to pack in houses if houses have already been packed in? That seems somewhat illogical."
      Hmmm... come on man, you're better than that... right? The only thing illogical here is you coming to such a conclusion in the first place about my opinions.
      •I'm sure that many that were involved in early cityhood efforts did expend the time in hopes of derailing future development. Then there were the rest of us that didn't kick up our heels because we were fine with development. We wanted development. We came here for a nice place to live that was affordable. Our silence was viewed as not caring. I suggest that you consider viewing it as tacit approval of the build up that was happening.
      • The population of Wildomar is nearly 35,000. You can rest assured that the lion's share of the newbies, that have moved here over the last couple of decades, moved into one of those yucky cookie cutter homes that appears to bother you greatly.

      The days of farm houses on 2 acre lots, or even half acre lots, are in the past. First, people no longer want the responsibility of the upkeep. Second, they are increasingly becoming too expensive for the average family.

      I remember responding to a Miss Miller rant where she coined the word "Exasterbate." My response to her fretting over more and more housing was this: "Thing is, I do agree with her view that there are too many people in California. Problem is, people keep making more people and they're going to need someplace to live."

  2. In the interest of keeping this friendly and acknowledging the limits of debating via typing I am only going to rebut a few of your rebuttals:
    1- The idea that large lots or interest in large lots is in the past is one that I continue to hear however I think it is not only incorrect but short-sighted. Why? Real estate is cyclical and not everyone wants the same thing, we have areas, new and old, with large lots and the properties sell to people looking for that. We have plenty of teeny tiny lots and they sell also. Norco and other communities manage to keep a "rural" feel while increasing revenue through use of retail. Because as we all know- houses don't bring money they bring costs. Which is why we now have "mello-roos fees"(even though we don't call it that). Why wouldn't we want to attract people who can afford more expensive places?
    2. I would never assume silence as tacit approval, no matter the issue-too many make that mistake. If you start asking people what they want you find out quickly they don't want houses crammed in every where.
    3. I stand by my statement regarding your questionable logic that the area is question is already full of houses so we might as well build more small lot properties. There are a couple of tracts within a 2 mile radius of me but lots of larger lots interspersed in our area. Using an aerial view someone like you could easily argue for cramming small lots on acreage in that area because "there are already tracts there".
    I am getting tired of the other comments I hear about the general plan(which is really something we adopted from the county- and remember we didn't like what the county was doing?) and since we have not really had the money to fix it we are stuck with it. But lets not act like we should be treating it like something that should never change, we don't even treat the US Constitution that way.
    I am not opposed to more housing, I just disagree with the current definition of "more" that the city is using. So on that 35 acres I would rather see 70-90 homes than the 105 being proposed. And if someone says "well 105 isn't much more than 90!" My reply would be, "You're right, so why not lower it to 90?".
    I think this is a never ending debate...

    1. In keeping up the friendly banter...

      1) Fair points.
      2) Fair points, but in general it is the complainers that are vocal most of the time. Those that are happy with the status quo keep moving on with their lives. It's the unhappy customer that is heard, not the one that got what they came for without a hitch. The ones that were part of WIN had some skin in the game. An angle of some sort. I know many of them, and like them all, but they all had an agenda to push.
      3) My point was to ridicule the use of the term "rural" not to support any projects. Also, if my math skills don't fail me, 108 houses on 35 acres is about 3 houses per acre. I know that streets chew up some of that, but those lots are still on par with my area, and the adjacent tract to the north of it. I don't find those to be small, unless you're comparing them to older tracts that were built long ago (like the ones my mom lived in near Marna O'Brien Park).

      The number of homes don't bother me one way or the other. I can't remember how many are in Windsong, but if there were 20% fewer I really don't see how this area would be one bit different. Maybe so, but I don't see how it would matter to shave off a few houses. Once the field is built on, it's built on and unless you drive through it, you only will ever see the houses on the perimeter.

  3. I missed last night’s meeting because I was asked to attend the Lakeland Village MAC meeting last night. I am glad I went because Steve Manos, LE Mayor was there and stated statistics that Lake Elsinore is expected to outgrow both Temecula and Murrieta to about 350,000 by 2040. Those statistics scare the crap out of me. Right now, Wildomar is at about 37,000 with build out at hopefully only around 60,000 which is where LE is right now and they can't handle crime, code enforcement, and other issues now.

    I think you stated at the last Planning Commission meeting regarding the apartments that when you crowd more people in an area there are definitely more issues but that's okay because at least they are centrally located to deal with. And that’s okay, because it’s not in your backyard (Sarcasm). Well, crowding out the city is going to bring more issues all which will affect Gina within the next year and the rest of us sooner or later.

    I know that she, Gina, wanted to remind the PC that since incorporation there is a new sheriff in town. We don’t have to just pass through what was previously approved. We now have a local voice and should hold the developers to a higher standard than the Board of Supervisors did.
    We have one chance to build the city to the benefit of the entire community. It definitely is appropriate for us to look at what is happening in one person’s backyard because everything matters, whether it matters to you or not.

    It’s a shame that most of the sheeple are lumping all lawsuits into one pile of (use your own euphemism) because there are a few particular issues in some that need further investigation and mitigation. I don’t know who this developer is to speak on the behalf of the entire city. He doesn’t live here he just wants to make the most bang for his buck and walk away with his pile of cash, laughing manically.

    We need to make sure that due diligence is done because as citizens of a city it is each of our responsibility to be good stewards and make sure that the mess created today isn’t passed on to the next generation.

    It’s too late to start caring when they start impeding your coveted lifestyle.

    p.s…Gary A. and Gina went out to further discuss the project and exchange numbers and he was rude, condescending and called Gina a bitch.

    1. After a third editing of the comment....

      Hi Kristan,
      Thanks for your input. You make many good points.

      I'm not disputing the stats you were told about LE when I say, "those figures seem crazy and unrealistic," I'm just saying how staggering they are to contemplate. That is larger than Riverside's population (about 320K) San Bernardino (220k) or Corona (160k). I can't imagine how they think they'll squeeze them all in. I've heard that our build out is 50k though I don't know how such a figure is actually controlled. Also, our current pop hasn't hit 35k yet... if it has, the city council members are in for a $100 per month raise.

      As far as "crowding out the city" I don't see how the projects in question would do that. Why wasn't the city "crowded out" when the houses just east of David A Brown middle school were constructed? Or the houses on Palomar just northwest of Clinton Keith?

      I agree that there is a "new sheriff in town" but I don't know how that changes previously approved projects. My guess, and it's only a guess that could be dead wrong, is that if the city were to scuttle such projects it would bring litigation from the developers. It looks a lot like a lose-lose option for the city to me. We lose if we do "this" or we lose if we do "that".

      When you get to loaded words like "sheeple" you really start to lose people's attention and respect. You are basically saying that the "sheeple" are too dumb to get what "non sheeple" can easily see. Most people don't appreciate such castigation during discourse.

      "We need to make sure that due diligence is done..." Agreed. But I find such language to be intentionally vague. Can you define what that means in this case? The way I read it, "due diligence" means "do it our way or we'll cause trouble."

      As far as the old man that spoke for Beazer, he made some good points, but then went off into LaLa Land about having a disabled son, and then referencing the terrorist attack in San Bernardino. It appeared like a thinly veiled attempt to pull on heartstrings that were completely immaterial to the issue. I thought he was speaking way over his head when he said, "We're through having the city be bullied." He seems to have a touch of the Alexander Haig complex —"I'm in control here."

      Whether or not he called Gina names, I can't imagine why people at odds would look to confront each other outside of a controlled environment... which from my vantage point —he did not. There was nothing that Gina could have settled there by approaching that team, and though emotion often gets the better of us, that's one of those times that a person should override their impulses. One of those "Keep your powder dry" moments... for a proper battle on a proper battlefield. Don't you agree?


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