A large housing development that will bring about 1,750 residential units to the foothills west of Old Town Temecula is slated to come before the city’s planning commission, Nov. 15.
The project, known as Altair, would bring a variety of residences to that area, including detached single-family housing, multiplexes, rowhouses and live/work spaces that combine residential and commercial purposes into a single dwelling. It would include an elementary school site that would be donated to the Temecula Valley Unified School District, open space and trails.
San Diego-based Ambient Communities, the developer of the project, would also build the Western Bypass, which would run between Temecula Parkway and Diaz Road.
The planning commission will hold a public hearing at 5 p.m. where they are being asked to approve resolutions recommending the city council certify an environmental impact report, approve a general plan amendment, approve a tentative tract map and approve an agreement with Ambient Communities.
The city of Temecula has long planned for the development of the hills west of Old Town, according to a city staff report written by Director of Community Development Luke Watson.
The report notes that the city’s first general plan, created in 1993, specified the importance of providing complementary land uses to Old Town to increase the vitality of the area and to increase the number of housing opportunities west of the 1-15.
According to the report, the new community is aimed at bringing foot traffic to nearby Old Town.
“The proposed project is located to take advantage of the shopping, dining and entertainment venues of Old Town and is designed to encourage a strong pedestrian connection to both Old Town and planned open space within the development,” the staff report said. “An extensive network of bike lanes and trails are proposed to connect to the city’s overall and regional network.”
A finalized environmental impact report did find that there were several “significant and unavoidable” impacts to such things as greenhouse gas emissions, noise and vibration and traffic. The I-15 southbound ramps as well as Ynez and Rancho California roads were mentioned as areas which could possibly be affected by the development.
There has also been much concern in the community about the possible impact the housing development could have on the migration of mountain lions in the area.
The city may still approve the project if the benefits outweigh the adverse impacts.
A Statement of Overriding Considerations, which would still need to be adopted by the council, finds that the benefits of approving the development outweigh the environmental impacts.
Some of the benefits listed included the creation of the Western Bypass, the establishment of a 5-acre central park and “Grand Staircase” connection to Old Town and additional funding up to $500,000 for conservation efforts.