City’s Word Usage Has Citizens Concerned

City Council meetings have a tendency to become quite heated particularly when the council is covering sensitive subjects that affect the ge...

City Council meetings have a tendency to become quite heated particularly when the council is covering sensitive subjects that affect the general happiness of Menifee residents.

Mayor John Denver opened up the March 6th meeting with a compliment to the City staff saying, “You are doing a wonderful job improving the city…assisting the city in moving forward…thank you.”

Councilmember Darcy Kuenzi agreed, reiterating, “The success of the city relies on our staff…” What followed, however, was a not so pleasant debate concerning the intentions of the city with regards to the general plan draft land use map.

Last night’s meeting had concerned landowners up in arms regarding the classification of their rural properties. If the title were changed from rural residential to estate residential they worried subsequent changes would follow thus jeopardizing their currently content rural quality of life.

Many are also concerned about the density specifications and what that means for development, and seemingly packing more people into Menifee.

Well over a dozen apprehensive citizens made several poignant points regarding the current and future state of the city. One even-tempered speaker stood up to simply state (in regards to his rural property), “This is the way we raise our children. This is the way we bought it, and this is the way we would like to pass it on.”

Another passionate resident Jeff Dyke posed the question to the Council, “How many empty houses are in the city now? Why are we going to build more homes when we already can’t fill the ones we have?”

Mayor Pro Tem Tom Fuhrman made a recommendation that the terminology should not be changed to estate residential, and for the time being, the property zoning would stay the same as well. After his statement, many who had planned to reason their case were satisfied and decided against a lengthy argument.

Questions were then posed to Community Development Director Carmen Cave concerning the state funding in relation to density ratios. Councilmember Wallace Edgerton pushed to keep the number at 20 while the modification on the table sought to change it to 20.1 to 24 density.

The argument indicated that state approved housing density needs to be increased in order to maintain state funding. Edgerton insisted on clarification asking, “Are you telling me we won’t get state funding if we stay at 20 and not at 20.1 to 24?”

To which Cave replied, “I don’t understand the question.” It was uncovered that in fact the qualifying number for state funding is actually 20, but that this number could change to 20.1 to 24 come October.

What it comes down to is the fine print; the specific terminology used in official city documents that directly affect residents. A slight change in verbiage or the decimal placement in a number can make all the difference to those being impacted by said wording.

As Kuenzi so accurately identified, "The devil really is in the details."

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