Commission Holds Off on Thornton Avenue Zoning Change

The debate over a proposed zoning change involves this vacant lot at the corner of Murrieta Road and Thornton Avenue.
The Menifee Planning Commission voted against a zoning change for a residential parcel on Thornton Avenue this week, opting to ask city staff to come back with a new resolution for its next meeting on April 8.

This was a victory of sorts for residents of the neighborhoods surrounding the 2.65-acre vacant lot on the northwest corner of Murrieta Road and Thorton Avenue. Many of them packed the meeting room at City Hall March 24, and 14 residents spoke out against a proposed change of the parcel to commercial property.

According to the original proposal, the parcel was designated as commercial retail as part of the recently adopted general plan, but there has not been a zoning change to make that possible. After hearing the passionate pleas of several residents, planning commissioners have decided to take another look at the issue.

"A lot of residents were very vocal about not having a commercial project in their back yard," said Planning Commission Chair Matt Liesemeyer. "They are concerned about their nice, quiet neighborhood. I understand and I'm glad they came to voice their opinions."

Many residents expressed concern about a business parcel in the middle of a residential neighborhood with the possibility of late-night traffic at a convenience store or fast-food restaurant. Liesemeyer said that after hearing the concerns of local residents, the commission asked city staff to come back to the April 8 meeting with an alternative proposal.

"Maybe there's a way to zone the area for less intense commercial use," Liesemeyer said. "We don't want to deny the property owner their rights. We've asked the staff to rewrite the resolution and bring it back to us."

The April 8 meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at City Hall.


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