Menifee City Council Meeting - May 5, 2009

The first part of the public meeting was a study session that started at 5:30pm. The study session was two parts, one involving land annexa...

The first part of the public meeting was a study session that started at 5:30pm. The study session was two parts, one involving land annexation for a housing development called "The Shores at Menifee", and the other involving a commercial development called, "Menifee Lakes Plaza".

The Shores at Menifee

This matter is more about the city annexing some extra land, than it is about the development itself. The development sits right on the border of Menifee and county land, as noted below...

the shores at menifee
The part that is in Menifee is the upper-left portion containing the three yellow parcels. The rest of it lies on county land. That's Briggs Road running north and south separating the two jurisdictions, and that's Salt Creek running through the middle, with Domenigoni Rd running east and west in the bottom.

The developer wants the City of Menifee to annex the county portion so that it'll be much easier for them to manage. As it stands now, they'd have to work with two different authorities, and two different plans, and two different bureacracies.

A representative of the developer stood before the council and gave a lengthy presentation on why the City should be totally excited about having this development 100% within its limits. He showed countless photos of how beautiful this thing is going to look. He also stressed the fact that right now, Menifee is really losing out because the City of Temecula has the more attractive market for housing.

However, IF the City of Menifee annexes this chunk of land, and approves this housing development, then Menifee will command the all the housing dollars that Temecula is getting right now. The developer did his best to really sell the council on this project.

He also said that because this development sits on Salt Creek, there will be green belts along both sides of Salt Creek, consisting of grass that could actually be used as park space.

John Denver responded right away that this proposed development must come with a really high HOA fee. The developer responded that it would not be anymore than Harveston, Heritage Lake, Menifee Lake, or Centex at the Lakes.

Wallace Edgerton asked if the home prices would be priced lower or higher than in competing developments. The developer said they would be priced around 17% lower than in similar lake developments.

Fred Twyman noted that the lot sizes are rather small, and the homes are pretty compact. In fact, these homes don't have streets, rather the developer used the word "alleys". Twyman went on to say that the areas on the borders of Menifee, such as this area, are typically where the 1 acre and multi-acre properties are, and that having such small cramped homes in this area is against the existing community make up.

The developer responded to Fred by saying that the existing economy, as bad it is right now, just won't support 1 acre lot sizes. He said that home builders won't even bother with it, and that the only way to sell homes these days is to build 'em small, and sell 'em cheap (he didn't actually use those words).

But the developer did use the words, "self-sustaning residential lifestyle community" to describe this place. In other words, it's going to have a shopping center, some restaurants, and a lake.

Scott Mann responded that he really liked the creation of green belts on both sides of Salt Creek, and that's he generally in support of this project. However, he was of the opinion that this presentation would discuss more about the annexation of land, and not so much the development.

Darcy Kuenzi seemed to say the same thing that Scott said, liking the green belts, and the project in general.

Note: because this was presented during a study session, the council did not make any decision on this.
My Opinion: We don't need anymore homes, we need more jobs! I recommend the council have the developer revise the plan so that the portion that's in Menifee become the shopping center, and leave the homes on county land.

And I don't understand this need to compete against Temecula. Why are we building a town for people who have yet to move here? City council members would do better to focus on those of us who are already here.
Menifee Lakes Plaza

This a shopping center on the corner of Newport Rd and Antelope Rd. It's the only empty space there is on that intersection.

The developer was simply giving a presentation on an issue that the city all too familiar with already. In that sense, he basically just flew through the details.

It'll be 16.29 acres total. 120,848 sq ft of retail space.

There will be hotel with 71 rooms, comprising of four stories. There will be a gas station with car wash, and convenience store, along with restaurants, but not certain if these are just fast-food, or what.

There will be traffic light built at Pampas & Palm Villa.

There will also be a 75 foot tall sign sitting by the I-215 freeway. This sign is apparently higher than what the law allows, however, the developer wants an exception to be made. It seems every commercial development has a sign that's taller than what law the allows, and the developer always wants an exception to be made. Makes you wonder why they have a law.

Menifee Lakes Plaza
Scott Mann asked if the developer conducted any community outreach, particularly since the hotel will be 4 stories, instead of the 3 stories that the law currently allows. The developer said they met with folks from the Palmia community, and that they were all very receptive to it, but I didn't quite hear what his definition of "receptive" was. He said they plan to meet with folks from Oasis on May 12.

Fred Twyman said his family loves to eat at restaurants with outdoor dining patios, and wondered if there would be any such restaurants here. The developer said that they have plans for restaurants to be there, but didn't go so far as to say what type, how big, or if they'll have outdoor patios.

Darcy Kuenzi said that she was concerned about the sign being "very visual". But she clarified that to say that she wants the sign, and the overall look of the development to have a very unique look. She described what drivers along the I-215 would see as they came from the north, coming over the hill, and down towards Newport Rd. She wanted this sign to cry out "Menifee", and not "Temecula". Perhaps she was referring to the "agrarian look" of Countryside Marketplace across the freeway.

It'll likely be June or July when the city council will be asked to make an tentative approval on the map.

Todd Friedman, a resident of Tierra Shores, spoke up with a public comment, asking about the traffic this would create. He noted the hotel would create more traffic, and that hotels typically attract crime. The council did not answer, with the Mayor explaining that they had run out of time on this study session, and that Fred Twyman had already expressed concerns about traffic also.

City Council Meeting

And then the actual city council meeting started at 7:10pm.

Public Comments

Terry Freeman, who lives in Tierra Shores, complained about the stench in that neighborhood. He said it's not coming from the Dairy, but from the RV Park. I presume he's talking about Wilderness Lake. He said they have their own sewage treatment plant, and that the smell comes from gases "burping" out of the treatment plant. He wants the city to get with the "water quality control board", to create more strict rules. He said the RV Park has made no changes to its sewage system since 1995. The Mayor deferred the matter to the City Planner, who promptly talked to Terry.

Chuck Ruetter, asked the city council to adopt rules that require home builders to install drought tolerant plants instead of lawns. Interestingly, I just got an announcement from Eastern Municipal Water District the other day that this Saturday, May 9, they will host a "Water-Wise Demonstration Garden Grand Opening" from 10 am to 2 pm at its Perris headquarters (2270 Trumble Road) to showcase water-efficient landscaping and irrigation methods.

I agree with Chuck, if the council is going to approve every new home development, they have to be responsible about the water implications, and force these builders to install drip irrigation, and xeriscaping.

Anne Weston, said that the county Planning Commission is going to hold a public hearing at the Eastern Municipal Water District office on May 13, 9:00am, regarding some zoning issues that may affect Procinctu, the private military training facility that's supposed to be going in just north of Menifee's boundaries. She also mentioned that the land where Procinctu is going drains into a watershed, and that lead bullets from the firing range will create lead poisoning in the water.

Abatement of Public Nuisances

This is a new ordinance the council approved at the last session, and is approving again for a second time. This time, Darcy Kuenzi asked the city attorney how this law could be enforced, eluding to some kind of vagueness in the wording.

The city attorney spoke up saying that this ordinance was created for a specific issue in a specific area of town, where off-road vehicles are making a lot of noise. This will give cops a means to bust those people, but that the law wasn't intended to be enforced regularly.

Planning Commission

The council adopted an ordinance that will create the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission will consist of city residents who will be referred to as "planning commissioners". Each city council member will be allowed to appoint one planning commissioner.

An argument discussion broke out over the process by which planning commissioners can be removed. Edgerton was of the opinion that they had agreed a commissioner could only be removed by the city council member who appointed him/her. The council members disagreed, that a planning commissioner could be removed by a 3-to-2 vote of the council members.

This apparently was a big bone of contention.

I'm not sure if there was anything to read in between the lines on this, but considering we have some city council members who are pro-development, and others who seem to scrutinize development, the potential removal of a planning commissioner could have political implications. And in fact, Edgerton stated that he did not want council members voting out a planning commissioner for political reasons.

The mayor wanted to know that the only way a planning commissioner could be voted out was for reasons of "cause". The other council members noted that this was a very difficult subject to define, and asked the city attorney to clarify. Edgerton ended up having a lengthy discussion with the attorney on what exactly "cause" could mean, and she explained that it's very unclear, and that it could create a legal nightmare for the city, should a planning commissioner decide to sue if removed for such reasons.

At one point, John Denver accused the Mayor of arguing with the city attorney.

This was probably one of the most heated debates between city council members I've seen, while everyone tried their best to keep their cool, and look professional. But the frustration was pretty well evident.

They finalized the discussion by saying that tomorrow, an application form will be on the City's website that folks can use to throw their name into the hat for consideration.

Curfew and Truancy

The city adopted an ordinance on curfews and truancy. The city had previously used the county's ordinance, and simply replaced it with their own, and it's actually the same law. Kids are supposed to be off the streets by 10:00pm.

Scott Mann asked if they should change this to 11:00pm instead, noting that his 17 year old son often drives to other schools because he's active in sports, and that many times gets back to town late, and needs to stop at a fast-food joint for some chow. There was some discussion on this, and I forget who said it, but one council member said that Scott's son wouldn't have a problem because he was such a good kid. I didn't necessarily see how that comment would help the other parents of this town.

Nonetheless, Scott shrugged it off and accepted the 10:00pm curfew.

The city attorney also chimed in and said that neighboring cities also have 10:00pm curfews, and that setting Menifee's curfew to 11:00pm would create some confusion.

City Manager's Report

The city manager presented the council with a proposal to create an ordinance against parking one's car on their front lawn. Apparently, they've been getting these complaints.

The council sounded in support of such an ordinance, but wanted some clarification on the definition of "front lawn" noting that some properties have a lots of acreage, and that parking one's car in front of the house could be construed as a "front lawn" if there wasn't enough definition to the ordinance.

Veterans Memorial

Scott Mann reported that progress is being made on the Veterans Memorial. They have designs in the works.

Also, he said if any veterans out there want to get involved in this, to contact him at his e-mail:


City-Council 5755915078661758941

Post a Comment

  1. The developer "selling" his project along salt creek says that the HOA dues for his developement will be no more that Menifee lakes of Centex on the Lake??

    Centex is now at $185.00 per month while Menifee Lakes continues to be at only 45.00 per month.

    So which is it?

  2. I agree with Steve. The City Council should concentrate less on building homes for people who have not moved here yet. There are plenty of homes available for sale in neighborhoods all over Menifee. If we are going to build anything, how about a Sports Park, another Middle School, or High School? The one thing I don't want to see is a massive build-out like Orange County. If the City Council is not careful, that's where we will be heading.

  3. I agree with the NOTE part. We don't need more homes built,put those on county land and the shopping center in Menifee. I think this whole gang of councilmen and the mayor are so caught up in their own ego's that they don't care about us residents. Also, the hotel and fast food restuarants on Antelope are going to create so much more traffic. How can we deal with more traffic on Newport Road. People sit thru threee lights at times just to get to the 215 exit now. Lets make the developers improve the roads first before building any more stuff that we don't want or need.

  4. Does the city council actually care? The seal should of gone to a vote at a council meeting that allowed residents to voice opinion to help the council make an informed choice and not operate in a vacum! Just like the planning commission. The council will appoint some lackey and not a real concerned citzen. Also, build infrastructure WE DON"T NEED MORE HOUSES. We need parks. when is valley wide going to offer more adult sports aside from softball? TEMCULA SUCKS, that is why I want to live in Menifee. lets keep our limited ID.

  5. We have enough empty homes and empty construction sites already. We do not need anymore homes in Menifee yet. Get more shopping and employment in the city first so that the employees will have a place to live first.
    We've got a huge apartment complex going up and that small home with alleys concept is the same damn thing as apartments or condo's.
    We moved out here because of the lot sizes and design of the homes and neighborhoods.
    If we fill this city with small homes/apartments we are going to be just like any other city.

  6. Let us concentrate on what we already have, and use our resources better on the existing roads, schools, and empty shopping centers, etc. We can not sell the empty houses that we have now. Why approve building more.

  7. I live in Ashton Hills and would be very unhappy with a hotel at Antelope and Newport. I agree with the citizen that stated that hotels bring crime and lets be honest with ourselves, are we enough of a "tourist" attraction that we warrant a 4 story hotel/motel?? I'd like to see a gym and some more restaurants, perhaps a pharmacy, seems all the pharmacies are on the otherside of the 215. A hotel is a laughable idea.

  8. We were supposed to get a Walgreen's at the corner of Antelope and Scott Rd. The unit is completely built and the windows are boarded up. I asked the other Walgreens at Murrieta/Newport and they informed me that due to the economic crisis the opening of this new Walgreen's has been put on hold.
    For how long though?

  9. Love Terry Freeman's comments re: the stench from either the dairy farm or the Camp Ground. Something does need to be done because there are times when it is absolutely sickening. It is not just Tierra Shores that is affected... the revolting smell extends all the way into Menifee Lakes, Callie Kirkpatrick, South Shore Elementary etc. It is disgusting and needs to be addressed. There is no way that it is healthy for anyone to be breathing that in..

  10. Supporting the smell issue, yes it does bother more communities than just T.S. The smell is not from cows, it is from Wilderness Lakes and their poor sewage treatment. If this smell bothers you, please get involved and contact the local government offices to do something about it. Some places to try are the County Environmental Health office and the agency that Terry referenced. You can make complaints on the Environmental Health Dept. website.

  11. Thank you BigTony. I will DEFINITELY follow up with those agencies. FYI I sent two emails to City Hall months ago and got no reply at all.

  12. In regards to Air quality near TS. A good place to start complaints is with AQMD (Air Quality Management Department) They dont mess around and they LOVE to hand out big whoppen fines. Here is a helpful link to start.

  13. Considering the State is short on money, it seems logical the AQMD will levy fines.

  14. I heard that Walgreens at Scott and Antelope will be opening in July. Walgreens wanted to hold on the opening but supposedly the owner of the shopping center threatned to sue. I heard this from 3 different sources but then again I heard from more that 6 or 7 sources that a fitness center was opening in Menifee and that never happened. We'll see. FYI ... I read that the Menifee Red Robin is the #1 money maker in the chain. Menifee can support a big chain restaurants. This should prove to BJ's and TGIF'S if they come, so will we.

  15. The shopping center under construction at Scott and Antelope is not in Menifee. It and the existing one west of Antelope are both in Murrieta.

  16. After seven meetings, Menifee's Blue Ribbon Committee on Governance Structure has recommended that citizens revote on how they elect the city's council members. (from PE)

  17. Anyone get a "surprise" in thier recent water bill?

  18. "Anyone get a "surprise" in thier recent water bill?"

    Was it a white powder?

  19. The "surprise" was the amount of the bill, based on factors EMWD estimated.

  20. MORE TRAFFIC ON NEWPORT AND THE 215? What are they thinking? It is amazing how we sell out our peace of mind, efficiency, and quality of life because some developer wants to make a million and live somewhere else. We do not need a 4 story hotel. That is excessive. It took me 15 minutes to get from Bradley to the Postal annex the other day. Inexcusable!
    As for Scott Mann's son, give me a break! These sports kids nor any others need to be "chowing" down that late on fast food. Stock the fridge with Hungry Man's and get these kids home where they need to be. No exceptions unless they are traveling home from work.
    How many people have to say, NO MORE HOMES for the councel to listen? Let's be conservative, make what we have better and not rush ahead until the economy and the flow of traffic is better.

  21. All those against the hotel on Newport and Antelope, I urge you to contact our elected officials. I sent an e-mail to Mayor Edgerton and received a timely response. Council meetings are on the first and third tuesdays of the month. Let's voice our opinions. Also, it appears that a planning commission will be in charge of our "fate" so apply to be on it. The application is on the city's website. A hotel is BAD idea. Do we really want a criminal element fro neighboring towns taking up residence here? Because a hotel in a city without tourism may bring that fate. Even if the hotel is "upscale", if it fails to bring a steady flow of visitors it can turn trashy really quick. BAD IDEA!!! If you agree, tell our council-MAY 19!!!

  22. If you agree, tell our council-MAY 19!!!

    I think the meeting has been moved to the 20th?

  23. Yeah, Heaven forbid we build a nice hotel for our families and friends to stay at during the holidays, weddings or family events. Never should a tired highway traveler stay in Menifee, that would be awful, because undoubtedly they are trained assassins sent here to ruin our pristine community with just one nights stay.

    You guys are right, the last thing we need is a nice hotel and a nice restaurant next to it, if we had that then it would stop to globe from turning and every druggie and gangbanger would 'live' at the hotel. There would be old west style shootouts nightly and anyone would be able to go to the hotel and buy some crack or heroin from the hundreds of dealers who would 'live' at our new upscale hotel.

    Without doubt, don't build a nice hotel here, cause if we do it would only create more jobs for our local economy. The last thing we need in this town is more jobs.

    The other thing we don't need, that a new hotel would bring, is tax dollars to our new city. Studies have proved that new cities never need an increase in sales tax revenue, in fact an increase in sales tax revenue is sure to ruin any new city, so don't ever build anything - EVER.

    In conclusion, it is highly evident that the construction of a hotel, a restaurant and some shops would create a black hole of crime, filth and depravity that would cause the depletion of the ozone layer, the rupture of our collective faith in God and locusts would swarm our homes and kill us all within moments of the first person checking in to their hotel rooms on the night of the grand opening.

    Thank you for your time,

    Mrs. NIMBY

    (Yes folks, that is SARCASM - build the hotel already!)

  24. And Mrs Sarcasm, where do you live? In the proposed neighborhood? Because I do. Do you think we would honestly fill up a whole hotel with families?? Right sure...I'm sure its families that are staying at that really nice motel in Sun City right? This isn't file of dreams, just because you build doesn't mean they'll come. And none of us are saying we don't want the tax dollars, but it is not a zero sum game: we can get tax dollars from more suitable projects. Looks like pro-development is planting comments on 247! Mrs that is your real name...If you want a hotel, move somewhere where it makes sense to have one. I moved to Menifee for the Family atmosphere. If I wanted a hotel in my neighborhood I would've moved next to Disneyland. And yes we can recognize sarcasm when we see it, we can also recognize blind ignorance too.

  25. We can barely drive down Newport as it is. It takes numerous light changes to even cross Antelope. We also have quite a few vacant and foreclosed homes. Why on earth do we need more homes (which equals more traffic) here? Don't even get me started on a hotel. Thank you. As for the water bill, if you will notice, your bill is based on you having just a certain number of people in your household. If you have more people actually living in the home and can prove it you can obtain a variance request for increased water allocation from EMWD.

  26. As for the smell here, when you purchased or rented your home, you never ever visited it or came to see it? If you did, even once, you noticed the smell and should have seen where it was located. You chose to move here, live here and smell that. We did and we live over across from the Oasis.

  27. Posted on Craigs list:
    "They are proposing a 4 story hotel on Newport and Antelope in Menifee. Does anyone see the problem here? Ah yes, there is nothing to DO here! So who do you think will come to this hotel? Well, true, on holidays we may get some families visiting but what about the OTHER 350 days a year? Parties? Meth labs? Prostitutes or erotic masseuses from Craigs list? Proponents of the hotel project will tell you that we're "anti-development" if we don't want the hotel; that we need the tax dollars. THIS IS PATENTLY UNTRUE! We want development, but we want development that makes SENSE. We have little or no tourism here nor do we want it. Lets put something for the families that LIVE here, not for the transients that will come here "in between holidays" if we build a massive hotel. We can get tax dollars just as easily from a gym, a movie theater, a book store, or