City Seeks Input on Another Development Plan at 'Missing Link'

The outlined section shown here between the planned Menifee Road extension and a hillside would ...

The outlined section shown here between the planned Menifee Road extension and a hillside would be the site of the Chaparral Senior Apartments. The previously planned El Dorado housing development would be built on the vacant lot on the other (east) side of the road.
Today it is a quiet, barren patch of land, about 100 acres on the eastern base of a hill in Menifee. Down the middle runs a partially graded path that has long been intended to connect sections of Menifee Road that dead-end at Simpson Road to the north and near Aldergate Drive to the south.

Off to one side of the "road" stands a row of giant sewer pipes, brought on site but still awaiting development. A young girl walks carefully along the edge of the path, taking the shortcut not available to motorists. A dirt biker roars past, sending squirrels scattering.

It's a small patch of rural Menifee amid the development that has marked this town's growth to more than 80,000. Yet if all projects are approved and the housing market continues to improve, this area will become a densely populated residential neighborhood split up the middle by a vital north-south thoroughfare.

Last week, it was reported here that city officials received a commitment from the Rancon Group to build a half-mile stretch of Menifee Road that will fill in the so-called "missing link" between Simpson Road and Aldergate. This would be the first phase in the construction of the long-delayed El Dorado development (right), a 48-acre tract planned for 269 single-family lots east of the road, according to plans listed on rancongroup.com. That tract is already laid out with at least one access road paved.

Now, the City of Menifee has announced a public meeting for this Tuesday, June 25 at 5 p.m. to inform residents about plans for an adjacent development -- a 253-unit senior apartment complex planned for the west side of the road, at the base of the hill.

The 46-acre Chaparral Apartment project (site shown at left) is in the early stages of the application process. It would require a zoning change from low to high density housing and an Environmental Impact Report must be conducted. According to Community Development Director Carmen Cave, if plans are approved, that developer -- Chaparral Menifee LLC -- would reimburse Rancon and/or the City of Menifee for half the cost of the Menifee Road construction.

"El Dorado is required to build half the road and the apartment project would be required to do the same," Cave said.

The $4 million road project will be funded both by Rancon through a bond and the city with funds reimbursable through the county's Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee program, said Interim City Manager Rob Johnson last week. He said the road is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 30. The timetable for the El Dorado and Chaparral projects would depend on the developers, but in the meantime, the increased through traffic on Menifee Road is expected to alleviate some of the city's traffic congestion.

City officials and the developer will be on hand to answer questions at Tuesday night's meeting at City Hall, 29714 Haun Road. Residents will have the opportunity to give input regarding the environmental impact such development would have. Another public information meeting will be held July 9.

"The Chaparral project is in the very, very early stages," Cave said. "The scoping meeting gives the public the opportunity to be included in the discussion of all the issues involved."

Sewer pipes line the path previously laid out for the Menifee Road extension between Aldergate Drive and Simpson Road.

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