Thursday, July 19, 2018

• Planning Commission Meeting July 2018

A couple of small things came out of this meeting, but no new projects or anything else along those lines. 

The first thing of note was a new sign that will be going in at the hospital along the freeway, and the ordinance that will allow it. It'll be a 430sf LED display that got local astronomer John Garrett's seal of approval. (This item begins around the 3:00 mark of the video at the bottom of the blog)

Night simulation was done by John Garret. The odd lighting is from taking a photo of the monitor.
Commissioner Kim Strong made some good points about this sign being a precedent that would allow more LED displays.
My concern is the LED big screen sign on the freeway, and how many more are we going to end up with? If we approve it for you, even though it's for medical buildings, how many more are we going to end up with on the side of the freeway? 

We have three offramps, could we possibly have four signs on the three offramps? That is concerning to me. And does this open up for other businesses to come through and ask for amendments to the ordinance to allow them to also have this type of signage?
—Commissioner Kim Strong
Planning director Matt Bassi responded to Commissioner Strong's concerns, "Anybody can submit a code amendment request. We take each case individually on it's own merits. I can't foretell who may come or not come. That was a concern when the Wildomar Square LED sign went up because we have a number of shopping centers but the existing shopping centers aren't going to spend four or five hundred thousand dollars to tear down their [existing] sign and put up a new one. No one has approached us in the year since we approved [the Wildomar Square LED display]."
Wildomar Rap opinion time
I think it would be pretty hard to deny Albertsons or Stater Brothers an LED display when the time comes for them to upgrade their signs. 

That won't happen tomorrow, but count on the signs needing to be upgraded within the next 20 years or so. The current sign at the hospital was installed in 1986 (32 years ago), and Albertson's has to be 20 years old by now, with Stater Bros being the new kid on the block at about 12 years old.
The second notable item was Wildomar Crossings, which is on the corner of Clinton Keith and Stable Lanes Road. 

If you're not sure what Wildomar Crossings is, check out this April 2018 blog about it.

This came back to the planning commission with a new look. The changes are cosmetic only (which is what was asked for), the original plans were rather blah, and the commission was very pleased with the make over. 
This, and similar drawings, can be seen in the agenda packet at this link, starting on page 3.
While the subject of Wildomar Crossings was the topic, I asked about the stores that are slated to be going in. Three national chains: Dollar Tree, Wendy's and AutoZone.

I've heard many people talk about their dissatisfaction with proposed stores, and I wanted to hear the official reasoning behind the process again.

Assistant City Attorney Erica Vega explained, "Simply stated, the law gives the city, and the city council has given the [planning] commission purview over uses, not users; there's a difference. You look at commercial uses, but not the individual users."

She continued, "To break that down further, you don't have to treat all commercial users the same way. You can have sub categories, but you can't get into you want 'this particular restaurant' but not 'that particular  restaurant'. [Example] We don't want a McDonald's but we want a Burger King, but you can treat all fast food the same way, but you can't treat individual users differently."
The last key item was the property across from the Bundy Canyon Arco. (This item starts at about the 51:30 mark in the video below)

Some of you may remember a sign that promised a Farmer Brothers many years ago (different time, different owner). Back in 2013 the applicant went to the trouble of getting this past the CEQA stage, approval of both the planning commission and the city council, and has just sat on it since. 
This was originally approved in 2013.
I've never understood why a person would go to all that trouble and expense, to then just let it sit idle for so long that they need an official extension of time (EOT). 
A look at the basic layout of the project.
They got an EOT in 2016, and now they're looking for another EOT that will stretch until 2021. Again, it's their land and money, I just don't get the point of it. So when it was time for public comments, I asked, "What happens if you deny this EOT?"

I added that "I think there needs to be repercussions, like having to start the project over, for those that continue to seek EOTs..." and that "we're not in the recession [any longer]."

Planning director Matt Bassi addressed my issues, 
"In terms of time extensions, each individual application is going to come before you (the Planning Commission), and based on it's own merits. Sometimes the reasoning behind not recording the final map is that they're just not ready to do that. In some cases they're still working on the improvement plans, and meeting all the conditions of approval for a final map; they're very extensive. With the street improvement plans, grading plans and things like that."

The question was asked, "What happens if the time extension is denied?"

"If it is denied, then the applicant would have to start the entire process over. With a new parcel map, and go through a whole new CEQA analysis and review."
—Wildomar Planning Director Matt Bassi
Thank you Mr. Bassi, it's always good to get info from the source. 

My perspective is from that of an outsider, an average Joe.
Wildomar Rap opinion time
I don't mean to upset any developers out there... errr... actually, I'm not really concerned with the feelings of developers... either start your project(s) within a reasonable time frame, or face starting the process all over again... and yes, I know that will be costing you a grip of money. You should have considered that from the get go like the rest of us when we begin a project.

A couple of EOTs are fine, things happen, but six years (sometimes more)? 
This EOT (that goes to July of 2021 if they choose) is just the first of three that they can ask for. They can get (up to) three more years if they ask before the 2021 deadline. 

Mr. Bassi made another point about this item, "They do plan on moving forward here in the near future, with some kind of retail development. We don't know what yet, but the new owners are anxious to get going. If I had to venture a guess [as to the delay], it's probably waiting for Walmart [to begin their project]."

Below is a video of the entire one hour meeting from start to finish.
The August planning commission meeting is cancelled, and the September meeting will be a workshop establishing commercial design guidelines, the public is invited to participate. In total, there will be three such workshops.

Be looking for an email reminder the closer we get to September 5th. If you're not signed up to get city emails, use the link below to get to the correct webpage.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."
– Albert Einstein (May 25th,1946)

Wildomar Rap has to wonder if Mr. Relativity would care to revise his post-WWII comment if he were able make a quick pitstop in our day and time.

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