Menifee Town Center Gets Put On Hold

The "Town Center" project, dubbed as Menifee's future downtown, with shops, medical offices, business offices, restaurants, movie theater, courthouse, and condominiums, has been put on hold, at least until March 15th.

At issue is recent news that the courthouse the State of California is considering building there, will actually be a parolee processing center.

The city council was to consider the second reading of the Town Center Specific Plan, which if it had been approved, would have put the wheels in motion. The city council had actually approved the Specific Plan during its first reading, but last Tuesday ended up postponing the vote on the second reading.

"SB18 could dump 35,000 parolees on to our streets", said Tom Fuhrman, who initiated the motion to delay the reading, and went on to say that he had discussed this matter with officials at the State. "My concensus is that it will happen".

At that point, Daniel Gryczman, a representative from Regent Properties, the company responsible for the project, stepped up the podium to offer a solution. "When we heard there were parolees coming, we were concerned. We don't want that for our project", Gryczman said. "We'd be glad to offer the city a 50% discount on the land if we're not going to give it to the courthouse."

City councilmember Darcy Kuenzi added with a stern voice, "Our number one priority to this city is to bring jobs. Delaying this item is not good for this city. The parolee center, I certainly have concerns about that." Kuenzi further pointed out that concerns over the courthouse could be addressed in the Development Agreement, which the council is saving for last to consider.

"I disagree that this will bring more jobs to Menifee" city council member Fred Twyman countered. "Because it brings more residents to Menifee, there will be a net loss of jobs."

Mayor Edgerton raised the issue of timing, "The Planning Department felt they were pushed, and they complained." he said. "Had we pushed this on the first night, the ad hoc committee would not have gotten the concessions", he went on to say, favoring to spend more time before letting the project continue.

Back on January 18th, the city council voted to approve much of the components of the Town Center, with the exception of the development agreement, pointing out that they wanted to wait until the new city manager had a chance to evaluate. Since then, the city announced it had hired William Rawlings as its new city manager, and Rawlings was in attendance during this second reading.

Tom Fuhrman spoke, "I spoke to Rawlings if he was 100% satisfied with this project, and he said was not 100% satisfied." Mayor Edgerton added, "The city manager did look at this, and didn't agree with everything." adding fuel to the argument that delaying the second reading was necessary.

"The longer we delay this project, the more we risk losing those jobs!" Darcy Kuenzi said, pointing out that tenants slated to fill the proposed medical office building are also looking at buildings in Murrieta and Temecula. "I want those jobs for our city!"

In the end, the council voted 3 to 2 to delay the second reading the Town Center Specific Plan, with Fuhrman, Twyman, and Edgerton voting to delay, Denver and Kuenzi voting to pass.


  1. "Our number one priority to this city is to bring jobs. Delaying this item is not good for this city. The parolee center, I certainly have concerns about that." Kuenzi

    Shouldn't the number one item be safety and responsible development? I'm glade Regent offered an option for the land if the Courthouse is rejected...


  3. I was so excited about having a Menifee Down Town with shops, restaurants, a book store and a movie theater. Kids have no place to go.

  4. HELL NO! Are you insane! You actually want parolees in our city. Yeah, your kids will have a place to go, the hospital or the morgue! Spread the word to everyone in Menifee that our city council is actually thinking about allowing this to happen.

  5. I'd rather have no place to go and no increase in jobs than to have a Parolee release center in our city.
    This is totally irresponsible for our City Council to even consider this.
    Our crime rates would sky rocket and our families would not be safe.
    I will not stay in Menifee if this center opens.

  6. The Town Center WITHOUT THE PAROLEE RELEASE CENTER is a good idea. If, the parolee release center is a must, then the entire project needs to be quashed!

  7. Just another reminder, if you wish to submit an opinion or statement about an individual, you must provide YOUR full name.

  8. I have raised five boys in the menifee ares and agree it was tough at times keeping them occupied due to the fact that this is not a kid friendly town. I enjoy menifee and would like to see it remain a peacful town. I know growth is good if done right. Selling our souls to the state is not the answer. Bringing prolees to menifee will create jobs but what jobs. Public service jobs are paid with taxes so is the state going to help pay for the construction of a facility and then leave menifee to take care of the maintenance and expence to maintain the project. To sell this idea it would have to do more than just promise jobs. There has to be a major benifit to the city and surrounding areas. How about a waterpark/ amusementpark or maybe a convention center, something that brings in revenue to the city that would allow us to built our city the way we want without selling our selves to the state.

  9. Darcy Kuenzi, Councilmember City of MenifeeFebruary 21, 2011 11:48 AM

    I would like to add some clarification regarding the Town Center Project. I encourage everyone to read the project documents:
    "The Town Center Specific Plan is designed to create a landmark activity center that mixes commercial, residential, and civic uses in the heart of Menifee. The Town Center Specific Plan envisions a development at a scale, mix, intensity and level of detail that distinguishes itself from other developments in the City of Menifee and is a departure from the typical suburban development that was proposed under previous plans. The location of this site and its proximity to the Countryside Marketplace provides a unique opportunity to the City to establish a landmark place in the community
    that represents economic prosperity and serves as the City’s center of activity."

    The Courhouse is an "option" in the project and it is NOT a Parolee Center. It is unfortunate that misinformation has created alot of confusion. In regards to SB 18, this legislation that was passed last year and went into effect Jan. 2010. It will help California meet the Federal Court’s order to cut its prison population by 46,000 over the next two years. It is projected to save the state $100 million this year. You can read more here on the National Council on Crime page:

    I would like you all to know that I spend a significant amount of time reading documents and researching information in order to make good, informed decisions for our city.

    I welcome feedback from the citizens of Menifee and appreciate this website as a good source of information. (Thank you Steve!)

    Happy President's Day,

  10. I do not want a courthouse in any way shape or form as part of our city and/or town center. You need to read and understand the full context of what a courthouse would bring to the city. The is NO benefit from doing so!
    I challenge you to provide proof of anywhere in the country where a courthouse in the middle of a small town center did not increase crime! It's that simple folks. This is a complete lack of responsibility to the public safety within Menifee.

  11. This is public information available from the Menifee city website and I have provided it here for those who may not know how to contact the council members:

    Mayor Wallace Edgerton -
    Vice Mayor Fred Twyman -
    Councilmember John Denver -
    Councilmember Darci Kuenzi -
    Councilmember Tom Fuhrman -

    Please let them know how you feel about this situation as now is the time to voice your concerns.

  12. My wife and I are considering looking for a house to buy and move to Menifee.However this parolee talk makes us nervous and we will not move to a city where It seems that your city council Is more Interested In there Prestege and prominence by having all this in your city. We are looking for peace,safety,and community above growth that takes away these things.

  13. I became a resident of Menifee in 2006 at the height of the real estate bubble and have watched the value of my home drop in value over $150,000 of purchase price. Despite the real estate nightmare I have witnessed in my neighborhood of Menifee Greens I have decided to try to ride it out, but this news of greater expansion with the chance of introducing more criminal activity in our community is very concerning. I do not believe much forethought or planning when into the traffic patterns that have resulted from the Menifee Shopping Center or Domengoni Parkway throughway. Driving on Newport Rd is worse than the I-215 and getting worse by the day. I believe our City Council should address these traffic issues before approving anymore expansion in our city.

  14. I did what was suggected and did a quick scan of the Town Center Specific Plan and on Page 44 out of 154 pages (3-12) was the only mention that I could find that stated anything to do with a courthouse and it was in general....It did not mention what the courthouse was going to house along with a court...I'm assuming theres more than one department. They did suggest a City Hall and a community center...what they also suggest is an elecentry school if the district agrees. Great plan if they specify for certain the complete use of the courthouse. The plan does not clarify the complete courthouse use....Just how beautiful the complete project will be if built to specs.

  15. Councilwoman Kuenzi is quoted in the article as saying "The parolee center, I certainly have concerns about that". Now in her response she states, "The Courthouse is an "option" in the project and it is NOT a Parolee Center". These two statements have me a little confused.
    I would like to see a statement from the County regarding what would be going on this site. I think this will be the only way to put any question to rest.

  16. Typical politician back peddling. You're not confused because the statements contradict one another. I have received emails from Ms. Kuenzi that state the same contradictions. It's nice to see that once the truth comes out that we as citizens of Menifee are putting the pressure on.
    I completely agree that traffic issues need to be addressed before any further building is planned. The traffic over the past two years since the opening of the Countryside Marketplace has made my commute a nightmare. Now, with the addition of the new construction on the west side of the 215 on Scott Rd., it is really making for getting to the 15 freeway a pain. The hospital on Antelope is set to open very soon which will significantly increase the traffic over the 215 on Scott Rd, which is only 1 lane in each direction. Since that street is split between Murrieta and Menifee I believe there needs to be some plans in place between our two cities to address this situation.

  17. Just to chime in on this discussion, during the city council meeting, it was said that the Court House is optional. That is, the city doesn't have to put in a court house. And Regent Properties, the developer, is not making a court house mandatory. So let's not get too hung up on the court house. Eventually, the issue of the court house will come up for a separate discussion down the line, that's when it's time to say "yes" or "no".

    The real issue for now is residential density. The question I put on the table, is do we want more business and retail, and are we going to accept more homes in order to get that? Or can we just get the business and retail without the homes?

  18. After looking at the plan it looks great if they stick to the plans or improve on them. Great to have a Civic center and we need and financial foundation as a City but you can't get away without thinking about that courhouse and possibly an elementry school in the same area without knowing whats going in the courhouse. If the courhouse option was eliminated the sample pictures make the town center look very appealing. On the otherhand if we had assurances of what was going into the courthouse the project would really be appealing.

  19. Looking through the planning commission document, I see some mention of the idea of have a "work & live space," with the implication that people could conceivably walk between their work and homes. My question is this: will there even be high paying jobs or affordable housing in this proposed space? If all the jobs produced are retail and restaurant and all homes are single-family detached or "luxury" apartments, then no one working in the center will be able to afford to live there.

  20. How would you feel if your teenager told you "Mom/Dad I'm going down to the court house to hang out with my friends" or "Mom/Dad I going to the movies across the street from the court house" Come on people is this really something we want in an area where kids and families will be? I can tell you this I’ll make the drive to Temecula.

  21. Not to sound like a big courthouse proponent, but has anyone visited Prescott, AZ? that's a beautiful, vibrant downtown, built around a courthouse, with touristy shops and restaurants.

  22. Just a question.
    If the court house is built is it a guarantee that the county will never change it to a parolee center.

    Also, Why there? Why not make everyone happy and put it somewhere else. We still have a court house and it’s not where my kids hang out. That seems like a win win for everyone to me.

  23. Yes, my best friend was a deputy in Prescott, AZ and he says although it may look pretty it is a real crime ridden area. Have you ever heard the phrase "Don't judge a book by its cover"? What may appear to be so nice has a very dark side to it.

  24. My family and I will personally move as I am sure many other families with young children will. The end result of putting in a court house (that may at some point become a parolee center) will be a city with fewer families living here and essentially a city that no one will want to go to, to hang out it will end up being a city that everyone drives right by essentially loosing out on any type of money coming in except from the courthouse/parolee center which would also bring homes prices down as there will be people who rather rent thier house or just let go instead of living next to a parolee center... essentially Menifee will be screwing itself if this is allowed to happen

  25. I personally know 3 families including myself who would move out of Menifee.

  26. Count on a fourth familiy moving out. This would begin the dominoe effect. I am sure if this parolee center was built next to one of the city council members, that would go over well. I think the people that live in Menifee should be able to vote on this type of issue. What do you say Menifee?

  27. I believe if everyone had a chance to vote on this it would certainly not pass. My thoughts are what the heck are you thinking. Bringing a facility like that here to our town. 'NO WAY" this will only bring in people who have shown they have a problem obeying the law. Come on Parolee's living in our town. This would not be an improvement it would be a decline. I say Darcy Kuenzi needs to be removed if she thinks this is what our town needs for jobs. I agree yes we need jobs but not at the safety of others living here. We have a nice place to live here lets keep it that way and reject this parolee office from coming here and remove the two who are voting for it to pass. They are not looking out for the people who live here or there investments in there property. The first thing that will decline will be property values. The first rule to investment is location, location, location. With that said I would just like to thank the three who voted "NO" Furhman,Twyman,Edgerton.

  28. There is no need for a courthouse in Menifee!!! there is one in French Valley and one in Temecula, both are within 10 miles of each other on Winchester. There is no need to bring all of that to this area which is mainly residential, when the traffic courts are located in a strictly commercial area with no homes or schools near!!!

  29. Please take a minute of your time to send your concerns to the council members. Copy and past Mr. John Hall's email list. It is very simple.

    This news is concerning. We've voiced our opinions via email below, please do so yourself as this decision of a possible parolee processing center will affect many of us and our children.

    'With my wife and I being professionals, local business owner and residents of Menifee, we will regretfully move our family and livelihood if a parolee processing center comes to Menifee. We have decided to ride out the housing situation in our area believing that Menifee has much to offer. But if this comes to fruition we will be one of many credible, responsible and loyal neighbours to be packing up. Our neigbours have all weathered the housing crisis they find themselves in after buying homes in our area 3-4 yrs ago. They were all captivated by the bountifulness of Menifee. Please do not let them down as representatives of this great city.

    Many of you on the council probably have lived in Menifee for many years and have seen the city thrive without much government intervention. It is clearly evident that Menifee can thrive again without government intervention especially without a parolee processing center. Focus your energy on simple agenda items to beautify the city with developing more parks, easing traffic congestion, cleaning up sidestreets, incentivizing local businesses, etc that will entice families to relocate to such a desirable and safe place. If you are concerned about the income stream for our city, these small steps will generate the city revenue you are all hoping for as families continue to support and invest in their local community.

    Menifee has grown a great reputation among the many people we encounter at our respective work. These people who reside in other cities in Riverside County are envious of the beauty, peacefulness and abundance of Menifee. I hope that you take our city's reputation into account and do not be the very council members who 15 years from now will be judged and held responsible for the demise of Menifee. And please honor your city by disclosing in full what truly is behind many of your statements and your motives. You work for the people of Menifee. They are the ones that fund your livelihoods.


  30. “The real issue for now is residential density. The question I put on the table, is do we want more business and retail, and are we going to accept more homes in order to get that? Or can we just get the business and retail without the homes?”

    I believe we can get businesses/retail in that area without being forced to accept housing. It’s simply a matter of demanding it. Menifee shouldn’t allow a developer to dictate what will be built on our land.

    We also shouldn’t be in a rush to conclude a development agreement. The land will become more valuable over time as the city matures. Other developers will certainly be motivated to plan something that we really want.

  31. The roads should be fixed first ,the state is out of money and doesn't supervise the parolees now ,why bring them into the heart of our town ,we the people need to stand up and recall those on our city council who vote for this


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