Murrieta Costco becomes a hot topic for those for and against it

0
8288

Protect Murrieta Families filed an appeal on the final environmental impact report for two proposed Murrieta development projects: Costco, and Vineyard II; the city, however, adopted the report unanimously, Tuesday, Sept. 7.

On Aug. 26, a public hearing was held by the city planning commission to consider the project proposed by Costco Wholesale. It consisted of the preparation and certification of an environmental impact report that analyzes the environmental effects on the two projects: Costco and Vineyard II.

There were three comment letters included in the planning commission staff report and an additional three letters were provided to the commission either before or during the hearing.

The comments ranged from support of the project to raising concerns about traffic congestion, air quality, high school conflicts regarding children’s safety and traffic impacts.

The initial process for the project was in 2018.

The hearing also included the consideration for a tentative parcel map, development plan and a conditional use permit, specifically for the Costco development which occurs on the west side of Warm Springs Parkway.

It should be noted that Vineyard II also identified as a development plan, 2018-1656, and was publicly noticed for a decision at a later date.

The project site is located east of Interstate 215 and Antelope Road, and north of Clinton Keith Road. The tentative map boundaries extend to parcels on both sides of Warm Springs Parkway, while the boundaries for the development plan for Costco is located on the west side of Warm Springs Parkway.

The site has a general plan designation of commercial, and a zoning designation of regional commercial. The site is bordered by regional commercial with zoning to the north, south and west, while there’s multi-family zoning on the east.

The Costco site plan consists of a proposed 153,000 square foot warehouse retail building, a 32-pump fuel station, and 799 parking spaces.

As a part of this project, there’s also a conditional use permit; a conditional use permit is required for the tire installation services and for the outdoor vehicle display. Both of these uses occur at the southern side of the building.

The outdoor vehicle display is designed to provide a promotional display of up to two vehicles near the entry. It will have no on-site vehicle sales, and no display vehicles are permitted in the parking lot.

The Vineyard II site plan consists of an approximately 72,000-square-foot, multi-building retail center on approximately 8 acres. The project is designed with over 400 parking spaces.

During the time the notice of preparation was prepared, a meeting was held with attendees, as well as letters from the following agencies: Eastern Municipal Water District, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, Caltrans, the Murrieta Valley Unified School District, the City of Wildomar, the City of Menifee, Riverside County, Riverside Transit Authority and a number of residents who wrote letters as well as attended the meeting.

They raised issues regarding the concerns they had about traffic, noise and visual effects of the project. These concerns were incorporated into the EIR which then went out for public review in 2020 for more than the required 45 days by the state.

In response to that review, the city received comment letters. The final environmental report includes response to comments, changes to the EIR and responses sent to responding agencies.

The city has received numerous letters in support and against the project; staff has reviewed the letters and determined that the letters do not raise any new issues that were not already addressed in the environmental impact report or are not an EIR impact analysis related issue and does not warrant any new analysis or change to the EIR.

Staff recommended that the city council adopt the resolution to deny the appeal, certify the EIR, adopt the findings of facts and statement of overriding considerations and adopt the mitigation monitoring reporting program as stated in the agenda report.

After listening to public comments, staff comments and discussion from varying individuals involved with the project, Mayor Gene Wunderlich concluded with his thoughts, Sept. 7.

“…This project checks virtually every box the city has, it enhances our economic development, it is zoned appropriately, it’s been mitigated through a comprehensive EIR, it brings jobs to our residents and options for shopping which will increase the prosperity of our city, and that’s what we’re here this evening to decide,” Wunderlich said.

The motion passed unanimously.

For more information on the items discussed regarding Costco Wholesale, or the other agenda items, visit https://www.facebook.com/murrieta.infosys.9/videos/195224985449695.

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