Here's a recap of the city countil meeting this evening.
It was a long one, starting at 5:00pm with a two-hour workshop on "ethics". I opted not to attend that one, figuring it wasn't necessary for me. The main meeting started at 7:00pm, and ran until 10:00pm.
First Babies of Menifee
The main meeting started with awards of recognition to two of Menifee's first citizens under cityhood, Adam Gabriel Gonzalez, who was born during the cityhood inaugration ceremony, and Taylor Michelle Dannenberg, who was the first person born after the inauguration ceremony.
Eagle Scout Award
Boy Scout Troop 444, of Menifee, awarded one its own with an Eagle Scout Award. Christopher W. Goode carried out an act of heroism after his cousin choked on a piece of egg. He did the heimlich manuever, which the Boy Scouts taught him, and effectively saved his life. His cousin, also a scout, pinned the medal on him. He also received an award from the City.
Sun City Library Expansion Plans
Nancy Johnson, the librarian for the entire Riverside County Library System, was on hand to announce plans for the Sun City Library currently undergoing renovation. Johnson, who interestingly described herself as the only employee of the library system (everyone else is contracted labor), handed the microphone to two County EDA workers, who held up artist's renderings of the future library. See photos below...
Construction of the new library will begin this January, and is expected to complete November 2009. Fred Twyman asked if the large trees surrounding the existing library would be saved. Johnson said "no", that they'll be taken out to make way for a new landscape design.
Paloma Valley High School Work Mentoring Program
Tom Anderson, who heads up Paloma Valley High School's work mentoring program gave a presentation. He said the program places senior students into the work place, either on paid, or unpaid positions, giving them valuable work experience.
If you're an employer in need of free labor, here's a solution. But based on hearing Anderson go over the employer's responsibilities, it's not without its portfolio of supervisory duties. If you're going to pay the students, then you have to provide them workers' compensation coverage. If you're not going to pay them, then the school absorbs the workers' comp. Seems like a no-brainer there. However, it's obvious that students will want to be paid, so it's likely that students will not remain at unpaid posts for very long.
Contact Tom Anderson at (951) 672-6030, ext 1024, if you'd like to mentor a student employee.
Robyn Rogers - who I wrote about earlier (link), gave a presentation about the charter school she's trying to get started. "Aberdovey School", will be located here in Menifee, and will hopefully open its doors in 2010. It focuses on a teaching framework called, "Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound". Last month she held an open house, and attracted about 15 people, several of which are educational professionals who have signed on to help her build it. She mentioned to me that she met with officials from Menifee Union School District, and was surprised to find that they already built up a dossier on her.
Anne Pica - Anne asked the council about their last meeting, where they talked about hiring a consulting firm to look into the subject of creating districts. The Mayor responded that they don't want to hire a consulting firm because of all the money it would cost. Anne then asked about the cost of holding a special election to give districting a second vote. The Mayor said that they haven't decided on holding a special election. Anne also asked about what law allows the council to ignore the first measure that voters passed to create districts, and call for a second measure. The city attorney responded that there are no laws specifically allowing measures to be circumvented, but that there are laws that define districts, and that she would give Anne a copy of these laws.
Bill Zeidlik - Bill seemed to use his three minutes of commentary on a wide variety of issues, which made it very difficult for me to follow along, particularly because he spoke so quickly. He knew he was on a timer, so he tried to pack in as much stuff as he could. But all it seemed to do was cause much of his words to blur together to the point where I had trouble hearing him. He mentioned something about $42 million dollars that the county owes us, and that he wants the council to create a committee on community economic development.
One Year Extention of County Ordinances
The council did a second adoption of the county ordinance extension by another year. Bill Zeidlik, a city resident, commented on why the need to extend this another year so quickly, when the ordinances as they stand now won't expire until February. City attorney Martyn said that there's no way the City can adopt all of its own laws between now and February.
Oak Hills Subdivision
The city council approved the final tract map on a subdivision of 246 residential parcels, west of Valley Blvd, and north of Ridgemoor. But it wasn't without a lot of discussion.
First Bill Zeidlik, commented that the community needs more time to review this project, and suggested it be postponed another 2 months. Fred Tywman commented that this is the first time the City has ever seen this project, that it has thus far been all discussed at the County level. He cited some topographical issues, including a rather unsightly water tower.
The City Manager interjected that the issue currently on the table is the approval of the final map. Meaning, the city council has no other option but to approve it. Current law requires that if all the requirements of the tentative map have been met, then a city council is required to approve it as the final map.
Fred Twyman made a motion to delay the final map approval so that he could have more time to examine it. Wallace Edgerton seconded the motion. However, Scott Mann intervened by saying that this project has been through the county system for a long time, and there's no reason to delay it further. City attorney Martyn added that if the council doesn't approve this as a final map, the developers could sue for damages, and that the developers would also incur additional taxes as time went on.
Thus, the council went ahead and approved it.
Bradley Paseo Shopping Center
This is a proposed shopping center on the corner of Bradley and Newport Rds. You can see the plans on an older article (link).
The issue on the table was an extension of this plot plan. I'm not sure exactly what the details of this issue is. Fred Twyman asked our city planner if all the ingresses and egresses have been met. A representative of the developer was on hand, and answered "yes". Bill Zeidlik, stepped up to comment, asking if our council has read the 76 pages of conditions. He also mentioned a beer & liquor license, but didn't explain what the issue was about the beer & liquor license.
Ryan Residential Subdivision
This is 8 acres of land at 32633 Bradley Rd, in the area of Paloma Valley HS, being subdivided into 3 lots. Bill Zeidlik, commented against this project, citing a trail that used to be there, that won't be there after this project. The city council approved the final tract map.
Hidden Hills Development
This is a new housing development by KB Homes, consisting of 523 single family homes, located along Murrieta Rd, right by Menifee Middle School. This project is currently at a tentative map, which means the council isn't obligated to make any approvals until the developer has satisfied all of their requirements.
The issue on the table is the developer wanting to modify the tentative map to build this development in three phases. The current housing market is such that the money isn't there to build this thing under the current proposal.
At the center of this issue is that the developer has agreed to make road improvements to Garbani and Murrieta roads. Allowing the developer to build this in phases will allow them to address the road improvements more quickly. Scott Mann cited this in his commentary on why he plans to vote in favor of the request.
Bill Zeidlik stepped up the comment podium and spoke in vehemently against this project as a whole, arguing that these 523 single family homes in out of context with the rural neighborhood. He said, "This is one I would like to kick out totally".
Barbara Spencer, president of the Menifee Valley Historical Society also spoke against this project, saying that they filed a lawsuit against this project because it sits on what used to be horse trails, and that the developer didn't provide for these trails.
Fred Twyman then responded that he agreed with Zeidlik and Spencer, that this development is way out of context with the rural nature of the community it's located in.
Scott Mann, however, included that this development is already 50% built, and that changing the plan is out of the question.
Mike Freeman, who's with KB Homes, stepped up to lend some ammunition in his favor, that they've already invested millions of dollars thus far, and intends to see this project through. He said he'll entertain a brief delay in exchange for spending more time with council members, but that he didn't come to this meeting to defend the project as a whole and doesn't intend to change the number of homes or lot sizes.
Fred Twyman made a motion to delay the project for more time, and Wallace Edgerton seconded. However, Mann, Kuenzi, and Denver voted that down. Another motion was made to grant KB Homes this phasing request, and Mann, Kuenzi, and Denver passed it.
The Shops at Scott
This is a new shopping center located on Scott Rd and Zeiders Rd, near the I-215. The issue on the table here is to approve a tentative map, allowing the developer to begin the process of building this. Here's a drawing of the plan...
Deanna Carbinelli, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, commented that she wants the council to approve this because she's been having trouble getting people to buy homes here in Menifee. The predominant complaint is that people will have to travel to Temecula to do their shopping.
Joe Daugherty, the guy who presided over the Menifee Cityhood Incorporation Committee, lent his stamp of approval on this project, noting that the developer donated a lot of money to the cityhood effort.
Barbara Spencer, cited that Scott Rd and I-215 are "scenic corridors", and with that comes requirements that signs be of a certain small height to allow people to enjoy the scenic beauty of Scott Rd and the I-215. However, a representative with the County responded that these roads are in fact "county illegible scenic highways", which have different requirements, and that the signs accompanying this shopping center are allowed to be bigger.
William Ruffalo, who owns property near this shopping center, argued that he received no advanced notice of this project, and that the developers are going to put a road right through his property. Fred Twyman pointed out something, which I didn't totally understand, but sounded like no such road will be allowed to be built as long as Ruffalo continues to own and occupy his property. It's only until he sells it to someone else that this road can be built.
Outside of all those comments, everyone seemed to be in favor of this shopping center, and the city council approved it. At which point, about six people from the developer, Menifee Partners, LLC, began to shake hands, congratulate each other, and gathered up all their displays, and made quite a bit of noise and they exited out.
Five Year Capital Improvement Plan
The city council approved the Five Year Capital Improvement Plan, which is a plan to make a bunch of infrastructure improvements. Among those is the paving of Holland Rd out to Canyon Hills (I didn't quite hear this right due to the noise of Menifee Partners LLC making noise on their way out of the room). Also included is the paving of Menifee road between Freedom Crest Elementary School out to Simpson Road.
Prima Facie Speed Limits
The city council adopted an ordinance to adopt a "prima facie speed limit" as the default city speed limit. Basically, the prima facie speed limit is whatever speed that most of the people travel at on roads that don't have a posted speed limit. The city engineer described something like the 85% percentile of drivers. He cited a figure of 55mph, but I don't necessarily think that's a solid number, just an example.
On any roads in Menifee that don't have a posted speed limit, the speed limit will be this 85th percentile of drivers and whatever speed they're driving at. This now gives Menifee Police a legal footing to cite fast drivers. Prior to this, such roads could be legally travelled at any speed.
Bill Zeidlik, not to be kept silent, argued that the city council hasn't established a maximum speed limit for trails. He suggested a speed limit for all vehicles at 15mph.
City Code Violations
The city council adopted an ordinance that allows their city code violations to supercede those of the county. John Denver pointed out that they have the same city codes as the county, with the only difference being that this ordinance will allow them to collect fines from these violations, instead of the fines being collected by the county.
Bill Zeidlik took the podium with arguments seemingly against this, though not necessarily stating that. However, his arguments were that of not wanting the city to rush towards busting people, and asking for notices instead of levying fines right away.
Removal of Abandoned Vehicles
The city council adopted an ordinance allowing them remove abandoned vehicles.
Bill Zeidlik, again, took the podium to comment, arguing that this ordinance will criminalize him for having a tractor on his property, or having a couple of junk cars that he keeps around for spare parts. However, the council again noted that the county already has this ordinance on their books. The city's ordinance simply allows them to do what the county has been allowed to do already.
City attorney Martyn noted that this ordinance is intended to deal with "vehicles" which she defined as not including tractors.
Regulating Massage Parlors
The city council adopted an ordinance that levies tough requirements and restrictions for massage parlors. What happened is that Temecula and Murrieta recently enacted ordinances that got tough on massage parlors, designed to kick them out of their city limits. Therefore, our city council didn't want them finding refuge here in Menifee. So it enacted this ordinance to keep them from coming here.
Council Member Comments
Scott Mann said that he wants to create a Menifee Veterans Memorial to honor military veterans. He said it could be used to a central location for various functions. He wants it to be erected and dedicated on November 11, 2009. He asked the Mayor to create a new committee to establish this memorial. The mayor did so and appointed Mann as chair, and Kuenzi as vice-chair.
Kuenzi added that I-215 freeway widening is moving closer.
Denver said that he witnessed illegal signs being taken down. He asked the City Manager to expedite the Police Explorer Program.
Here's a recap of the city countil meeting this evening.