Murrieta City Council moves to change zoning after public request

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Murrieta City Council and city staff discuss changes to zoning on Jackson Avenue after requests were made by the public at the city council meeting, Tuesday, July 7. Valley News/Courtesy photo

During the Murrieta city council meeting, Tuesday, July 7, a consent item was removed from the calendar for continued discussion by public request, regarding a zoning request on Jackson Avenue.

After two public comments, city staff who had previously presented the general plan update and environmental impact report for areas throughout Murrieta, agreed to revisit the area in question.

“So we’re talking about Area 2; in the city this is the area along the I-15 freeway from just south of the Sam’s Club down to the border of the city of Temecula,” senior planner Carl Stiehl said.

The current zoning is for an office research park and with some commercial space.

“The existing underlying zone is actually not the office research park zone; the existing underlying zone is office, which is even more limiting than the office research park zone so that might be part of why it’s difficult to develop over time,” Stiehl said.

The most recent action three weeks ago changed the proposed land-use Area 2 to innovation throughout most of the area, and there was some change to open space as well.

“The innovation doesn’t add more office, the change to innovation and the ORP added a number of employment-based uses,” Stiehl said. “Expanded business-support type uses; expanded manufacturing and processing type uses; expanded uses that would go with a hotel or a large office complex; things like some commercial and retail that would be allowed like on the first floor of an office building for example or a hotel; things like restaurants and also some expanded transportation-related uses for future employment based uses. So, more of an expanded office commercial industrial zone is how we would categorize the innovation.”

They did study commercial as part of the project, and that option was included in Alternative 3.

They studied allowing for community commercial, and that’s what members of the public requested during the comment period.

Council member Jonathan Ingram asked city staff if it would be possible to zone Area 2 for commercial, retail and innovation.

Staff said the council could consider designating the areas west of Jackson Avenue as commercial and leave the remaining space in Area 2 as innovation, splitting it along the road.

Council member Kelly Seyarto suggested designating the area north of the rehabilitation center as innovation, the lot near Temecula RV as commercial and everything on the other side of Jackson Avenue would be commercial.

Because the council covered both options in the environmental impact report in a previous meeting, they were not required to open it to the public for comment following on this change.

To clarify, the council cannot assign two zoning designations to a single property, such as both commercial and innovation. They must designate either commercial or innovation. The designations can be adjacent to each other, however.

Seyarto made a motion, and city staff agreed with it in a recommendation, that on the east side it might be easier to just have the change to commercial where they switch from open space to commercial, on the southerly portion, and commercial zoning would go to the parcel that the assisted living facility occupies.

Before the motion was voted on, the city clerk clarified there were two ordinances open for a second reading, and the current action related to Ordinance 560 which puts the zoning in place; Ordinance 559 only addresses the definitions of the innovation zone.

The city clerk requested that the motion included the option of Ordinance 559.

The city clerk also requested that at the ordinance’s second reading, they also adopt a resolution addressing the general plan land use, which was adopted previously as a resolution. It did not appear on the agenda for July 7, so it couldn’t be addressed during the meeting.

Accordingly, the general plan land use would come back at the second reading as a resolution to address the land use component under the general plan, the city clerk said.

The motion passed unanimously.

For more information on the information discussed, visit https://www.facebook.com/CityofMurrieta/.

Lexington Howe can be reached by email at lhowe@reedermedia.com.