Menifee City Council Meeting - Oct 21, 2008

This evening was the Menifee City Council meeting. You can find the agenda posted here...

This evening was the Menifee City Council meeting. You can find the agenda posted here...

There was a workshop at 6:00pm hosted by Larry Ross, a principal planner with the County. He was there to give a presentation on how the County goes about making changes to the zoning. The main meeting started at 7:00pm.

Planning Workshop

In addition to Larry Ross, there was also Ron Goldman, also with the County Planning department. I didn't get Ron's title, but he was talking like he was Larry's superior. Both of them gave a pretty good description of how they go about changing the county's general plan and specific plans. The presentation gave the city council an opportunity to figure out how to create their own similar process.

Sounds like there's quite a bit of detail, but Larry and Goldman provided some insight on why the County does what it does when it comes to changing the zoning and why things tend to take so long.

They carved up the entire county into "Foundation Areas". Foundation areas are basically the larger, more general zones. They have five different types, Agriculture, Rural, Rural Community, Open Space, and Community Development. Every plot of land managed by the County falls into one of these foundation areas. Within each foundation area, there can be several specific plans. Specific plans can be created for a shopping center, a housing development, a park, an animal preserve, etc.

Generally, the county uses a two-step approval process on all requests for planning changes. They'll review a request for a change, and then either authorize that developer to move forward, or deny the request outright. If they authorize them to move forward, it's not meant as a final approval, but only to let the developer take their plans into more detail, before finally getting the official approval. It's kinda like the County's way of saying, "Ooooh that sounds good, tell me more!".

They also said that State laws limit counties and cities to making no more than four zoning changes per year. That change could include anything from as small as one person wanting to build a new home, to a developer wanting to build shopping mall. So what they do is bundle up a bunch of these zoning change requests and submit them as one giant change. Hence, it can take several months to get an approval from the county on a zoning change request.

John Denver asked the planners if there was anything requiring the City to honor all of the existing agreements that the County had made with developers. Elizabeth Martyn, the city attorney answered that one with a long drawn out response, but basically saying, "No". There seems to be plenty of tools in the form of laws that allows cities to back out of previously agreed-to deals. Each deal has be to examined on a case-by-case basis.

Clean Up on Trumble Road

Darcy Kuenzi mentioned that the Riverside County Economic Development Agency is seeking grant money from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up some land along Trumble Road, that's at the north-western most point of the city's limits. That land had once been an auto dealership.

She asked the city council to send a letter of support to accompany this request.

Public Comments

Anne Pica - Advised the council on the creation of city council districts. She pressed the council to establish the district boundaries, rather than put the matter back to the voters for a second time. She threatened to take legal action if the council put it back on the ballot. The city attorney responded that at the next council meeting, there will be a workshop specifically on districts.

Grant Yoder - Started off by saying that the 3 minutes given to a commenter wasn't enough time to express everything someone needed to say. He also c