Menifee city staff members announced in a press release Tuesday night that they have "found a way to improve and pave" a dirt section of Holland Road that has become a source of great frustration among residents recently.
This announcement, however, was not shared with at least one city council member -- Tom Fuhrman, who is directly involved in the Holland Road issue.
After Tuesday night's city council meeting -- in which the Holland Road issue was not mentioned -- Fuhrman said he had not been informed of the city's announcement. Fuhrman -- one of four residents who own portions of that stretch of road -- indicated the situation is not yet resolved.
"I have been told by the city that the property owners and stakeholders will receive a letter in the next two weeks, stating the issues that have to be addressed and what additional property has to be purchased," Fuhrman said.
But Rob Johnson, senior manager of community improvement and outreach for the city, said a deal was reached that did not require purchase of that land from the property owners.
"The city met with the city of Lake Elsinore and the developer," Johnson said, referring to Pardee Homes, which built the Canyon Hills housing project and paved the west end of Holland Road leading toward the new school across the Lake Elsinore border. "We got a deal to get the road paved. It's simple."
Asked for details on how the deal was reached without involving the property owners, Johnson deferred to Joe Fletcher, the city attorney. Fletcher, who left City Hall right after the council meeting Tuesday night, could not be reached for comment. Additional explanation of the city's plan is expected Wednesday.
Meanwhile, city officials published the press release on the City of Menifee Facebook page and residents were already commenting on the issue Tuesday night.
For years, the stretch of Holland Road west of Murrieta Road has been used as a public thoroughfare by motorists -- first on a paved stretch beginning at Murrieta Road, then on a 1,200-foot stretch of narrow, hilly dirt road that leads west toward Lake Elsinore.
The road has become much more traveled this fall, however, because of its path leading Menifee students to the new Herk Bouris Elementary School. Since discussions over the need for widening and paving the road have escalated, Fuhrman said he and the other land owners have sought negotiations to sell the right of way to the city.
Fuhrman said he met with about 40 concerned residents of the affected area Monday night. Many expressed concern that even though stop signs had been placed at crossroads along the dirt stretch of road, motorists had actually made the problem worse by jogging over to a parallel road at Corson Street and speeding through that stretch, which has no stop signs.
Fuhrman said he is concerned about any plan to pave the road without widening it and leveling it, which he says would need permission of the property owners.
Another concern expressed at the community meeting was the need for a stop sign on Murrieta Road where it intersects with the western portion of Holland Road. There is a stop sign on Murrieta a few hundred feet to the north, where it intersects with an eastern portion of Holland Road, which jogs at that point. The lack of a stop sign at the other intersection has resulted in a massive traffic backup on Holland of motorists waiting to turn onto Murrieta Road.