(Published Dec. 21, 2017)
The Planning Commission’s decision to recommend approval of or deny a developer’s request for a zone change to build 83 condominiums was continued from Dec. 20 to the Wednesday, Feb. 7 meeting. The continuance was requested by the developer.
The project, to be built on 14.81 acres on Temescal Canyon Road just north of Campbell Ranch Road, has been opposed by residents who believe the current commercial office zoning would better serve the community.
Decision on condo project continued
(Published Nov. 7, 2017)
County planning commissioners at their Nov. 1 meeting made no decision on a proposed condominium project, but instead set a new meeting date to give additional time to the developer’s consultant to address concerns they have with the project.
Michael Naggar, a consultant representing the property owner, agreed to the meeting’s continuance to Wednesday, Dec. 20 when he will submit redesigned plans for the 83-condominium community his client wants to build on Temescal Canyon Road just north of Campbell Ranch Road.
The 14.81-acre property, of which only nine acres are usable for the project, currently is zoned for commercial office and the property owner is requesting a zone change to medium-density residential. The property was originally zoned residential, but in 2011 the same owner sought a zone change to commercial office which was granted by county.
About two dozen concerned citizens attended the three-hour public hearing — 11 speaking against the project and seven speaking in favor. A primary objection raised was the earlymorning traffic congestion on Temescal Canyon Road and that the estimated 838 daily vehicle trips generated by the project would add to the gridlock.
A traffic engineer representing the project said that future county improvements scheduled for Temescal Canyon Road would mitigate the current traffic congestion. The completion of the road’s first widening project, planned on the east side of the freeway north of Dawson Canyon Road, is expected in Fall 2019.
Other concerns included public safety and the possible necessity of an evacuation in case of a fire or other natural disaster. Plans call for one road as an entrance into the project and the same road serving as an exit from the project.
Other speakers said that the best use of the property was the current commercial office zoning because Temescal Valley has enough homes, but residents lack services such as medical and dental offices, child care, and assisted senior care.
HOA OPPOSES PROJECT
The project was opposed in a letter submitted to the Planning Commission and signed by all board members of the Butterfield Estates Homeowner’s Association, the closest neighborhood to the proposed project. The primary concern was the traffic congestion and current mountain views to the east that would be obstructed by the two-story condos.
Paula Hook, president of the Butterfield Estates HOA, also questioned agreements that were being made with each of the 14 Butterfield property owners whose homes back up to the condo property. She questioned whether the agreements would require adjustments to the homeowners’ back yards that would require HOA approval and, if so, that the developer work with the HOA board and not each homeowner.
The majority of those speaking in favor of the project were Butterfield residents involved in the agreements.
After the public comment portion of the hearing was closed, Naggar refuted some of the comments made by speakers opposing the project.
He said the commercial office use of the property was not a viable alternative for the owner as that market had declined during the recession and has not recovered. He also said there were too few “rooftops” in Temescal Valley to support services offered by commercial office tenants.
He questioned why the Butterfield HOA would have any involvement in improvements made to the back yards of the 14 residents closest to the project. He said what he was offering these residents in each of the agreements was a “good neighbor” gesture on behalf of his client.
PLANNERS EXPRESS CONCERNS
Commissioners, reviewing the project tract map, had concerns about the streets ending in cul-de-sacs and no way to navigate through the community without dead-ending at a cul-de-sac. Another concern was the number of homes built on each of the narrow motor courts.
A commissioner said he felt eight homes per motor court was excessive and if residents didn’t park vehicles in their garages, firefighters would have difficulty gaining access because of vehicles parked curbside on the motor courts.
The same commissioner asked for a group of homes built closest to the freeway to be relocated because of emissions data cited in cancer infant mortality rates.
Another commissioner asked for a wider buffer between the condos and the 14 Butterfield homes that backed up to the project.
Naggar agreed to their suggestion for a tract map redesign and a request that he again contact the Butterfield HOA board about its concerns. He said continuing the meeting until Dec. 20 would be sufficient time for him to comply with their requests.