Murrieta shares data and information on projects and funding including canceled or postponed events amid COVID-19 impacts

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Murrieta Mayor Gene Wunderlich and councilmember Jonathan Ingram review agenda items at the special city council meeting, May 19, held online and at Murrieta City Hall. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Murrieta announced the release of its “Reopening Resources Guide,” May 19, online at the Murrieta special city council meeting.

The e-book can be accessed on the city website at http://www.MurrietaCA.gov/reopening and through social media and will be distributed to over 1,000 local businesses in the area. It provides a guide for businesses on safe practices as they begin to reopen to the public, following state and county guidelines and input from local businesses, other cities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“As we move toward this long-awaited reopening, we are all eager to get back to normal,” Kim Summers, city manager for Murrieta, said, “But the reality is much more complex. Our goal is to help the business community cut through the clutter and get back to work as efficiently and safely as possible. We are doing this through a mix of information sharing, connection-building and collaboration.”

As the city works to comply with restrictions, Murrieta announced that it canceled its 29th Birthday Bash and Firework Spectacular, which would have taken place June 27.

“Like many of you, we are saddened to pull the plug on this year’s Birthday Bash,” Brian Ambrose, senior program manager for Community Services, said, “But our focus is community; and the health and safety of residents remain our top priority. We are committed to moving through the reopening process thoughtfully and in-sync with state and local guidelines, but we will continue to creatively connect with residents to celebrate our city’s 29th year.”

The city plans to celebrate its 30th birthday in 2021 with Queen Nation as a headlining band. For more information on canceled or postponed events, visit http://www.murrietaca.gov.

The special meeting moved on to discuss a general plan amendment to a project site in Murrieta.

The 8.37-acre project site is located in the south-east portion of the city near Winchester Road and Murrieta Hot Springs Road, as outlined by staff, and has a general plan designation as commercial and single-family residential and would like to change that designation to multi-family residential.

The project development consists of eight residential buildings and a one-story clubhouse, and according to the Development Services Department’s site plan, the residential buildings will be made up of six three-story buildings and four-story buildings along with garages, covered parking and open parking.

The primary entrance is proposed to be located off Date Street, while the secondary access will available for emergencies only on Rising Hill Drive.

The project also proposes recreational amenities, including two picnic areas, a clubhouse, pool and spa.

Another proposal included in the project shows the possibility of approving 12 low-income units.

The Development Services Department recommended to approve the development plan for the construction of 234 multi-family residential units and associated improvements and to approve the 12 low-income units.

The project was initially required to provide 234 garage spaces for residents, but with an allowance from the state, staff said they are providing 112 garage spaces.

Councilmember Kelly Seyarto brought up projected traffic impacts in regards to the project.

“The traffic impacts are actually offset by, I think it’s the neighborhood commercial actually has more traffic impact because of the commercial use. If it’s viable, I don’t know, and that’s one of the reasons I think they’re doing this is it just hasn’t proved to be a viable piece for commercial,” Seyarto said. “If commercial were there, that could certainly potentially have higher traffic impacts than the apartment complex, if I remember some of the numbers correctly.”

His comment was confirmed by staff, which stated that their traffic study did analyze a comparison between the commercial zoning versus the proposal, and it did identify that there would be more trips with the current commercial zone. The residential project would produce less trips than the zoning that is there, staff said.

Staff also said that they hoped by putting families near retail and commercial areas, it will help promote those businesses.

“My comments on this, and just to let the public know, is while the presentation was very concise as a summary,” Mayor Gene Wunderlich said. “There were about 400 pages of data that we were provided on this specific project including a number of maps and so forth, and there’s a lot of work that goes into this from staff, so thank you very much for a very comprehensive job of putting this together.”

Wunderlich said that this project falls in accordance with housing requirements, particularly multi-family for the area, but it also meets requirements put in place by the state in terms of smart growth or smart building plans for a city.

Wunderlich asked for a motion to approve as there was no further discussion. The motion passed unanimously.

For more information on this item, the third quarter budget update as it has been affected by COVID-19, including a general fund update with significant revenue reductions due to temporary business closures and other matters, can be found at http://vimeo.com/cityofmurrieta under “May 19 Special City Council Meeting.”

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