Thursday, March 16, 2017

• Planning Commission Meeting March 2017

The meeting started with the swearing in of new planning commissioner Michele Thomas, appointed last year by then new councilmember Dustin Nigg. The oath was administered by city clerk, Debbie Lee.

Surprisingly there were no public comments. I say surprisingly because over at the social media site called there was a lot of excitement about a proposed project called Camelia Townhouse Project, 163 townhouses on the border of Wildomar and Murrieta on the east side of Palomar. 

There will be a community workshop at 6pm, Monday March 27th, at Sycamore Academy if people want to hear about it in the early stages.

2.1 Bundy Canyon Resort Apartment Project
This came to the planning commission in April of 2016, here's a blog link to it

The take away from this item is that the developer wants to put in 140 apartment units tucked away, mostly out of sight, off of Bundy Canyon. The site is 28.8 acres, and according to Larry Markham, 17 of those acres will be "open space". 

Ten of those acres were promised to be left natural, and they aren't removing any of the existing oak trees. 

There was some wrangling over the looks of the apartments, and the carports (whether or not to have solar on them). It sure sounded like the developers wanted the solar, but commissioner John Lloyd thought they weren't too attractive. 

Which brought the head honcho, Richard Darling, to the mic. Obviously a businessman that just wants to get his project moving forward as he said, "We can go back to shingles (on the carports), I'm not tied into solar. [...] Truth of the matter is, whatever the commission wants to do, I'm ok with."

Kenny Mayes brought up an interesting point, one that I thought had been cleared up last year: the Measure Z tax and multi unit projects like this.

A quick refresher, Measure Z is a PARCEL tax, and everyone in Wildomar with a parcel, pays $28 per year towards park maintenance. 

Last year it was suggested that some projects were only paying $28 total, even though there were hundreds of units involved.  Then it was explained by Assistant City Manager Dan York, that they do pay their park tax, just collected differently.

As it turns out, that only applies to condos for sale, not apartments that are rented out. 

Why is that?

I remember a conversation with a council member last year and it was explained to me. There is a difference between a parcel tax and other such taxes. At the time, the prevailing opinions were for a parcel tax, nothing that might smell like a Mello-Roos tax, and that's why we have what we have.

Just know that this project, with 140 units, will be paying $28 per year towards parks, IN TOTAL. Let's do the math...
If you own a home in Wildomar, you'll be chipping in the same amount of money to the Measure Z fund as ALL 140 families in the "RESORT" apartments slated for Bundy Canyon.

I'm guessing that the parks could use the extra money over that ten year time frame (which happens to repeat every ten years). Make no mistake about it, that resort apartment complex, will be charging top dollar to live there.

Based on current rates, there won't be a single unit in there that goes for less than $1500 (more like $1800 to $2200), but let's pretend that they only rent those places for $1000 a month. (STOP LAUGHING!!!) 

This should be looked at by the Wildomar City Council that needs every dollar it can get. This is the case with all the apartments in town. 

2.2 Sign Ordinance
This was a follow up to a request by the city council to have uniform signage at construction sites, and when such signage should be displayed, alerting the public to any public hearings about it.
This is a sample of what you'll be seeing in front of future developments.

Such signs will serve as a notification for public hearings, at least two weeks before meetings in question.

3.1 Capital Improvement Programs
This was by far the most relevant part of the meeting for the average Wildomartino. This item covered the various major projects (road improvements) in the city.

Key notes included:
• Sedco sidewalk project

• Almond St sidewalk project
• Bundy Canyon road improvements
• Grand Avenue bike lanes and multi use trails 
• Malaga Road/Mission Trail park project

The first 10 minutes of the video are packed with a lot of good information. If the projects mentioned above are important to you, give it a listen. 

Public Comments
• Kenny Mayes (at the 25:10 mark of the video) discussed wheel chair access to both Windsong Park and weekend access to the cemetery. 

3.3 Election of New Planning Commissioner Officers
The end result is that Stan Smith is taking another term as Chairman, and John Lloyd will be taking on the Vice Chair position.

What I don't get is that John Lloyd only got a vote of 4-1 in the process. It's not as if anyone else wanted the position, but outgoing Chair Veronica Langworthy chose to thumbs down the Lloyd nomination anyway, after she had nominated both of the new commissioners in attempts to block Lloyd from the position. 

I just find such nay votes to snag at the fabric of what needs to be a cohesive group. What could possibly have been the point in doing that? 

Obviously nothing that had to do with John Lloyd's time as a commissioner or his ability to do the job. C'est la vie.

The last bit of news was that the Westpark Promenade project was sued on January 16th, the last day to file, but it has already been settled out of court.

It was from the awkwardly named Golden State Environmental Justice Alliance, but they sure are efficient at settling lawsuits. I wonder if any money was involved?

The Nova Homes project, which is 77 condos on the east side of George St, was sued this week. (This is where the whole Measure Z loophole started... for me anyway.)  My guess is that it will be settled too... after a fist full of greenbacks change hands that is.

•          •          •

"Poor Mr. Baxter. Too ambitious to be honest, and too timid to be crooked."
– from CBSRMT "The Head of a Pin" 1981

Wildomar Rap tip of the day:
Don't get your tips from local blogs.

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