Thursday, April 30, 2020

• Planning Commission Meeting Announcement

There are two items on next week's planning commission agenda, commercial cannabis, which is scheduled to come to the full city council on a special meeting date of May 28th, and a briefing on the Wildomar cemetery master plan.
The key issue is commercial cannabis. Something that has been batted around since at least 2010 and been delayed over and over again since the voters of Wildomar voted in favor of Prop 64 back in 2016. 

Though I would have preferred that this meeting be held in the traditional format (live at city hall) I'm satisfied with the extraordinary measures that staff has taken to ensure that the public will be able to participate in real time during these strange times we're in. Please read the details of how to participate below.



The following email was sent out to those that have signed up for city emails. Use this link to sign up if you haven't already done so. 

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Good Afternoon,
The agenda packet for the Planning Commission meeting of May 6, 2020 has been uploaded to the city's website and is ready for review.  Please click on the link below to access the PC agenda webpage and then click on the "packet column" to review the agenda packet and all staff reports and exhibits.
The City of Wildomar encourages your participation in this Planning Commission meeting; however, in order to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus, this meeting is being conducted utilizing video and teleconferencing.  
The City Council Chambers will not be open to the public.
The public may view the meeting on television and/or online and may participate via ZOOM video conferencing.  You may also view the meeting live on the City of Wildomar’s website at http://www.cityofwildomar.org or on cable TV through Frontier Channel 36 or AT&T channel 99.  To view from the website, select the live stream link on the top of the front page.

Instructions for Electronic Participation:
If you would like to make a public comment and/or a comment on a specific agenda item, please follow these steps:
1.        Before joining the call, please silence your other communication devices such as your cell phone or desk phone.  This will prevent any feedback and interruptions during the Commission meeting.

2.        Log in or call into “ZOOM” via your desktop/laptop/tablet, smartphone, or telephone.  You must first download the “ZOOM” app to access the link via an Apple smartphone.

Join Zoom Meeting from your PC, Tablet or Laptop:
(Meeting ID:  863 1522 2943)
Join Zoom Teleconference Dial In:  +1 669-900-6833 (US)
(Meeting ID:  863 1522 2943)

Please Note:  During the meeting all participants video will be turned off during the entire meeting and you will be placed on Mute by the host.  You will not be able to mute or unmute your lines manually.  The host will unmute your line when the Chairman calls on you to speak.

Please review the May 6th PC agenda for additional guidelines and instructions about the electronic participation.
If you have any questions about the agenda packet or individual agenda items, please contact me at your convenience. The special meeting will begin promptly at 6:30 pm. 

Thank you 
Matthew Bassi, Planning Director
951.677.7751 x213
City Hall Hours:
Monday – Thursday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Closed Fridays

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

• Press Release: Continue Practicing Social Distancing Through June 19

UPDATE INCLUDED FURTHER DOWN
A look at our brave new world.
Health Officer orders amended; face coverings, social distancing continues...
Governor Newsom’s stay at home executive order still in effect
Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser is extending his order requiring residents to wear face coverings when outside and to continue practicing social distancing through June 19. The county is also moving to fully align with the governor’s “stay-at-home” order until amended or rescinded.
“While we work within the governor’s plan for re-opening the state, people must be mindful that COVID-19 has not been eliminated,” said Kaiser. “The new normal in Riverside County will still require social distancing, facial coverings and other precautions. Summer will only slow the virus, and we are already thinking about what will happen in the fall.”

Riverside County residents are still required to remain in their primary residence under Governor Newsom’s existing “stay at home” order unless they are engaged in an essential business or activity, such as grocery shopping or visiting the doctor. The governor’s order does not have an expiration date.

Kaiser issued his orders as part of the county’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused more than 140 deaths and about 3,750 confirmed cases. The moves were necessary to “flatten the curve” and slow the spread of the illness, which threatened to severely impact the county’s health system. Prior orders included the closure of public and private golf courses in Riverside County, along with the prohibition of in-house and drive-up worship services.

Kaiser recently allowed golf courses to open – with various restrictions. The State of California later clarified that drive-up religious services could be permitted, although in-person services are still not allowed.

“Residents are answering the call to stay at home as much as possible, practice physical distancing and wearing a face covering to protect everyone. I thank you all for that,” said Board Chair V. Manuel Perez, Fourth District Supervisor. “It is making a difference, and this progress is a credit to everybody doing their part and using the best tools that we have right now to overcome this pandemic. As we begin to turn the corner, it is important that we also flatten the unemployment curve and work towards economic and social recovery.”

Kaiser’s orders closing Riverside County schools and limiting short-term lodging until June 19 remain in effect.




*****UPDATE*****
Clarification of local health officer orders 

The County of Riverside issues the following clarification for today’s amended public health officer order: The County’s current health order prohibiting gatherings outside the home expires April 30. 

Beginning May 1, the county will fall solely under the governor’s stay at home order as it pertains to gatherings. The governor’s order states that all California residents must stay home unless they are engaged in an essential business or activity, such as grocery shopping or visiting the doctor. 

The governor’s order does not have an expiration date. As soon as the governor releases the stay at home order, Riverside County will be ready to move into the governor’s second phase of reopening businesses. 

The newly amended health order continues to allow for certain recreational activities in Riverside County, including the use of trails and parks for hiking, biking and equestrian uses. Golf is also permitted in Riverside County with certain limitations. 


This amended health order continues to require face coverings and a six-foot social distance through June 19. 

Link to update



Riverside County
NEWS RELEASE  
Contact:
Riverside County Joint Information Center
(951) 955-5087
Riverside County Covid19 stats as of April 29th.

Wildomar Rap opinion time


For those that haven't already heard my views on our approach to combating this virus, here's what I've posted countless times before.

If I had been consulted on how to approach this, I would have done nothing more than we've done in past virus scares. There would have been no school closures, no park closures, no business closures, no restrictions like we've seen. 

They cancelled baseball!?!? Even World War II couldn't manage that one. 
(Yes that's insignificant in the real world, but it is a strong indicator that the crazy train has lost its brakes).

Mind you, my wife is someone that is so ill that she breezed through being medically retired at the age of 50. That's because her lungs are so torn up that she'd have less than a 50% chance to survive a regular bout of pneumonia. Her pulmonologist has made it abundantly clear that she would die if she got this.

I tell you that because neither she nor I have ever thought our worries and concerns should be shouldered by the rest of the community. We should be sheltering in place, along with others that are high risk, I don't believe that should be mandated to everyone else too.

About 50 years ago we faced the Hong Kong Flu

It killed a million people around the world and 100,000 Americans... that was when the world population was half of what it is today, and there were 130,000,000 fewer people calling America home.

Please read up on that pandemic, it's very interesting and they didn't stop the world over it like it was radioactive fallout from a nuclear blast. (LINK)

I feel for those that need regular/normal life to resume, which is most people. We need to get back to normal.

At the same time, I can't abide all the conspiracy theorists that suggest this is some diabolical plot to enslave Americans in a communist gulag run by nazis. (gotta love that imagery)

Seriously, we're Americans and this is America. I've willingly agreed to comply with the recommendations and orders from the governor. I've not lost a single right, and neither has anyone else.

If you're not sure of the definition of lost, compare this: I lost all four of my grandparents in death. They are gone and never coming back. All I have are old photos and fading memories to remind me of their existence.

Are you seriously suggesting that our rights are in the grave alongside my grandparents? If so, there's no reasoning with you. 

I've never been much of a fan of our elected leaders in high office, be it governor or president. We've survived worse leaders, and America will survive these too.

I suggest that concerned people email their local elected representatives and not just post diatribes on Facebook; starting with our county supervisor, Kevin Jeffries

I know that he's a champion of the average person, but it would be good to let him know your views just the same. Here is a link to his contact page, or use the info below.
district1@rivco.org

(951) 955-1010

You can also consider emailing Melissa Melendez your concerns at this link.
District Office
41391 Kalmia Street
Suite #220
Murrieta, CA 92562
951-894-1232

Monday, April 13, 2020

• Wildomar Trail Signs Installed

Following my dear grandmother's sage advice, I will only be making complimentary statements about the new signs. 

No negative comments. No sirree... not from me. 

Please take a look at some of the new signs that have been installed. They are sure to make the local residents stand up straight and thrust their chests out with a pride of ownership feeling reminiscent of when we got our first cars!
This is the new sign. It's brown and has a compact cowboy style font.
The new signs are like works of art. As with other works of art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder... and they are something to behold alrighty!
This is the old sign. It was green with a large, very basic font. 
Had I been the one tasked to oversee this project, being the persnickety artist that I am, I probably would have opted for something a bit my eye popping and tad easier to read from more than 30 feet away. Maybe next time.
Our new Wildomar Trail signs are so cute. They're sure to put a smile on your face just by looking at them. You couldn't ask for more complimentary colors than those. I bet they're awesome with a nice sunset behind them too. ☺
Though my first preference would have been better legibility, these new signs are sure to get the residents talking about the new name of the street for years to come.
This is an artsy-fartsy photo of both the old and the new signs. Pretty cool, huh?

Down comes the Central sign.
Up goes the Wildomar Trail sign.
Uh oh, looks like the photos are out of sequence. This sign was changed before the other one.
The good news is that Wildomar Trail is scheduled for proper road repairs "after the rainy season" (not sure what that means, but we'll eventually find out). The project will go from Grand Ave to Palomar. No timetable as of yet for the part of Wildomar Trail that goes east from Palomar to the freeway.

This rugged part of Wildomar Trail will soon be nothing more than a happy memory.
For those that haven't seen Gramps argue with his grandson about Wildomar Trail... hurry up already and watch it... even if you hate cartoons, just do it. 
I was able to post a whole blog about these new signs while being positive. My grandmother would have been extremely proud and impressed at the same time. It was no easy feat to be sure.
•                •                •


To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.
– Marilyn vos Savant

Wildomar Rap has done so much observing that there is now too much wisdom on board, and it's crashing around the friendly confines my skull looking for a way out.


This blog was produced for viewing on a desktop or a laptop. Though it's been optimized for smartphones, the formatting can look odd on a smartphone or if you get this delivered through email (such as missing video links). Link to proper format.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

• City Council Meeting: April 2020

Well, that was a first. The meeting was held through the video meeting app called Zoom. Mayor Dusting Nigg was the only council member in the actual council chambers and the other four of us, and most of the staff, were present by way of two way video.
The view from my monitor.
Considering that there were no presentations, only a couple of public comments on non agenda items, which were read into the record by the Mayor, and it appeared to be a light agenda at first blush... I was surprised how long it lasted. 
3.1 FY 2019-20 3rd Quarter Budget Report 
(16:10 mark in the video)
It's far too soon to tell, but my humble prediction is that the fallout from the Covid19 restrictions on business will have a long lasting effect. Not only on local businesses and the employees of such, but on the city's budget too, which relies heavily on sales tax (about a 20% to 25% chunk of it).

3.2 Suspension of Certain Enforcement Activities to Address COVID-19 Crisis
(29:25 mark in the video below)
Some of this made sense, and other parts didn't make sense. I was against this the way it was originally presented. It relaxed many things that, in my opinion, had ZERO to do with the current Covid19 crisis and shouldn't have been attached to it. 

Things like suspending the new guidelines on temporary banners, which also included allowing the developer billboards seen all over town, for developments NOT in Wildomar mind you, to remain up.
There are several such examples of this throughout the city.
 Also, for some inexplicable reason, project site signs (see image for example) were going to be omitted during the self isolation period too.

This sign is 100% more effective in letting the community know about a project that will be coming to the planning commission, or city council, than 1000 emails that get deleted before being opened. These signs only came about a handful of years ago, and have been greatly appreciated. Yes, they cost the applicant money. I heard they're near $500 to have put up, and that could be a hit they take twice if they have multiple meetings, but if the price tag is the problem, looks like we need a new vendor to put them together. 
There is a streamlined way for businesses to put up a temporary banner letting the public know that you're open for business during these Covid19 times. The permits are free so if you need this, contact city hall and take advantage of it. 

Another thing that was thrown in there was suspending the newly enacted rules about storing your RVs/boats/trailers in the street.

If you need to quarantine, and you have an RV, we all get it and wish you well. There will be no restrictions on such things. However, on the other hand, those of you that think the street is an extension of your backyard, and you can park your eyesore anywhere you damn well please... it's on. 

That's still not ok!

Your rights to park your monstrosity end where your driveway ends. Have some respect for others and store it properly... which is NOT in the street, or hanging over into the sidewalk.

A modified version of this item passed 5-0. 

Removed from the original were the developer billboards, project site signs, most temporary banners (especially the ones that have long since faded and turned to threads, but the business owner cares so little that they leave them up anyway), and reined in the time the suspensions were to be in place to that of 30 days after the city's state of emergency is declared over.
Wildomar Rap opinion time


I understand the sentiment in coming up with the suspension of those items, we all feel somewhat helpless and want to show that we're doing everything we can to mitigate the real economic pain that is hitting much of our community, but the measures that were first suggested were NOT things that I agreed with.

I want to point to this item as a model of how things should be done in Sacramento and in DC. 

This item came full of things that I wasn't in favor of. I'd say that is also true for other members of the council too. 

We discussed it, we mulled it over a bit, and we compromised. The final wording isn't 100% the way I would have made it, but the same is true for each member. Give and take, aka "compromise" is the way to get things done. 
3.3 COVID-19 Update
(1:08:20 mark in the video)
This was a rather lengthy item, with updates from several departments. It was all interesting, but if you've been paying attention, you already know most of it. If you haven't been paying attention, they you probably have already stopped reading this far down in the blog. I suggest that you watch the video for the full item.

3.4 Directly Elected At Large Mayor 
(1:48:30 mark in the video below)
This was probably my favorite part. First, this came about from the January meeting's "future agenda items" segment. At that meeting, Mayor Nigg asked that we discuss the merits of an at large mayor, along with city council districts instead of five.

I love discussions and I came prepared with several paragraphs of concerns. You can read them below, or cue up the video for them as I read them at the meeting.

Item 3.4 Directly Elected Mayor at Large

Like with many other topics I see both good things and bad things in this item.

Let’s start with the good. It would allow residents a chance to vote for TWO members of the city council instead of just one.

That is a good thing.

It would also allow for continuity that doesn’t get interrupted year after year by rotating the position, which requires at least weeks, if not months to readjust to.

The negative aspects of this include getting a mayor that is in over their head or, possibly worse, one that becomes headstrong.

Those are things that would have to be endured for four years instead of the remainder of a given year. I believe it would be less likely for a Mayor in a rotational system to start thinking they’re above the council… and if the mayor isn’t really up to snuff, their time in that position would also be limited.

Like most things in our city, this is something that, if pursued, needs to be done reflecting the will of the people.

For me to vote in favor of this, we would need to agree to hold at least one special meeting.

Perhaps a workshop where all five members of the council attend, but being a less formal meeting than a city council meeting where people could freely express their thoughts and views, and ultimately having it end up on the ballot.

As an aside, I won’t be in favor of spending any amount of money on a survey that is looking to divine what the voters might think about it.
A serious concern when it comes to electing a mayor at large is which year will the election be in?

In most cases, we can expect at least one of the candidates for mayor to be a sitting city council member, which would then create issues of fairness to consider.

If It’s in a presidential year, such as this year, that would put council members from districts 2 and 4 at a disadvantage. If it were in an off year, that would put council members from districts 1, 3 and 5 in a bad position if they chose to run for mayor.

I came up with three suggestions to consider.
First, a “resign to run” mandate. If you want to run for mayor, you need to resign your seat first if it isn’t already up at that election, and no running for both mayor and a seat on the council at the same time.

Second option, make it a two year term similar to a member of the state assembly or a member of the US Congress.

Third, Though it would cost more, put the election either in an odd numbered year or make it during the primary instead of the general election.

However, if this does go forward, I’d like to announce my candidacy for Mayor of Wildomar now, and I’m looking for endorsements from my colleagues on the city council… Who can I count on? All of you?

Side note: Though my declaration of running for Wildomar mayor was somewhat tongue in cheek, I was serious. I'll be running for that seat if it gets established.
This wasn't a formal topic requiring a traditional motion, second and vote. This was just to let staff know whether to keep working on it or not. This passed 4-1 with me being the lone no vote.

I'm all in favor of further discussion, but only AFTER the public gets brought into it... and I was against spending any additional money or staff time on it, but I was overruled. 

It was going to be 3-2 to spend up to $10,000 on this, but once it was obviously going to pass, the second "no" vote change to a yes. If you want specifics (like who voted which way) watch the video below. 



•                •                •

"The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins."
– Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935)

Wildomar Rap prefers to hang out with people that don't make a habit of swinging their fists about in the first place. Come on Ollie, shake yourself!


This blog was produced for viewing on a desktop or a laptop. Though it's been optimized for smartphones, the formatting can look odd on a smartphone or if you get this delivered through email (such as missing video links). Link to proper format.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

• Press Release: Notice of Preparation Revised Baxter Village Mixed-Use Project

First thing you need to know is that this just a notice, nothing has been brought to the Planning Commission or City Council, and certainly NOTHING has been approved.
What's your opinion. Does this look like Wildomar to you?
Jump down a few paragraphs to where you see the words Proposed Project: for the details.

If you're you have questions or concerns or simply hate it because that's your right as an American, I encourage you to take a few moments and compose an email, sending it to Planning Director Matt Bassi.

Conversely, if you love the idea, or are just so-so about it, send an email making those points. This is your chance to participate. You have a whole month (Due no later than May 7th), and considering that most of us will be cooped up most of that time, you have NO excuse. 

Write an email even if it's just to say, "Hello, how's it going?"
All the drawings are preliminary, but looks like they didn't consult the Wildomar design guidelines before punching this up on the computer.
Below is the NOP we all received as an email. (you are signed up for such emails aren't you?)

NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY FOR PUBLIC REVIEW OF A NOTICE OF PREPARATION (NOP) FOR A SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT

Orientation of the proposed buildings. This is part of several images found at the web address below.
A Notice of Preparation (NOP) has been prepared by the City of Wildomar for the revised Baxter Village Mixed-Use project (Plot Plan No. 14-0002-R1) Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR). The NOP is available for public review and can be downloaded from the City of Wildomar website at 

The purpose of this NOP is to fulfill legal notification requirements, and to inform the public and Responsible and Trustee Agencies that a SEIR is being prepared for the proposed Revised Baxter Mixed-Use project (Plot Plan No. 14-0002-R1).  

This NOP solicits agency and interested party concerns regarding the potential environmental effects of implementing the proposed Project. 

Proposed Project: The proposed project would eliminate the approved 75,000 square-foot retail center in order to permit the construction of an 84,000 square-foot (3-story, 50-foot high) outpatient medical office building (MOB) on 7.2 acres, and the construction of a 102-room (5-story, 50-foot high) hotel building on 2.4 acres. The approved residential planning areas of the project will remain as originally approved. While a single proposal for processing by the City, the proposed project requires two (2) distinct development actions described as follows:
1)    Plot Plan – The proposal requires approval of a single Plot Plan for the entire project site with updated conditions of approval for the proposed medical office building (MOB) and hotel development (APN: 367-180-057).
2)    Parcel Map – The project will require approval of a Parcel Map to subdivide the commercial parcel into two parcels, one each for the hotel and MOB.

I added the green highlight to these images. Isn't it easier to spot the key points?
The City has determined that the following environmental topic areas will be discussed in the SEIR as the proposed project may lead to new or more significant environmental effects when compared to the original project: Air Quality; Greenhouse Gases; Hydrology and Water Quality; and Transportation.  

Using the certified EIR as a base, the SEIR will revise only those portions of the environmental analysis that would be affected by the proposed project. Mitigation measures from the certified EIR will be applied to the proposed project as appropriate and may be modified by the new analysis. 

The CD to this NOP includes the DEIR, FEIR, Appendices, and approved Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program (MMRP) of the certified EIR, as well as the project applications, development plan package, and technical studies for the proposed project. Except as modified by the analysis in the SEIR, all of the measures in the existing MMRP will be included in the SEIR.

Based on the time limits defined by CEQA Guidelines, this Public Notice is posted to officially notify the public, public agencies, responsible and trustee agencies, that the required 30-day public review period will commence on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 and conclude on Thursday May 7, 2020.  Any written comments (via email or letter) on the NOP must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on May 7, 2020.
It was first known as Baxter Crossing, then Baxter Village... I wonder if they know the road's name has been changed or not? I'm using an old graphic, that's why the street names are off here.
Written comments may be mailed to Matthew C. Bassi, Planning Director, City of Wildomar Planning Department, 23873 Clinton Keith Road, Suite 201, Wildomar, CA 92595.  Email comments can be sent to mbassi@cityofwildomar.org.

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