San Jacinto City Council continues hearing on Luiseño Village project

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San Jacinto Fire Chief and Calfire Division Chief Bill Weiser accepts the San Jacinto City Council's Fire Prevention Week proclamation during the Oct. 2 council meeting. From left is Councilman Alonso Ledezma, Mayor Russ Utz, Weiser, Councilwoman Crystal Ruiz, Councilman Joel Lopez and Mayor Pro tem Andrew Kotyuk. Tony Ault photo

The San Jacinto City Council heard a proposal from the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians to build a 9.46 acre Luiseño Village center in the city in its Sept. 17 meeting during a public hearing will continue the hearing until its next meeting Oct. 23.

The project’s public hearing continuation was requested at the regular Oct. 1 council meeting by city manager Rob Johnson.

The council learned Sept. 17 that the tribe is requesting approval on a new retail project that will include a commercial building, a convenience store with alcohol sales, a 24-pump service station, car wash, two fast food restaurants with drive thrus and a regular food restaurant.

The center will be located on city land between Main Street and Donna Way that connects with the Ramona Expressway. Since the building proposal is not on reservation land, the stores and service station would be subject to city property taxes.

The staff was asked to review the plan at the initial hearing to determine if it would include necessary infrastructure to assure it would not affect the current water quality of the city’s water supplies in the area. The tribe is asking that the number of gas pumps that are currently restricted to 15 pumps be increased to 24-pumps.

A tribal spokesman told the council at the Sept. 17 meeting that the tribe was as concerned with the water quality as the city and would work with Eastern Municipal Water District and the city water department to maintain the water quality in building the project. Other issues concerning the proposal were also under study by the staff and the tribe.

The council publicly viewed proposed project with approval and have praised the tribe for their cooperation in many city events and their help with local nonprofits and schools in recent years.

In special presentations at the Oct. 1 city council meeting, the council announced that October is National Heritage Month and presented a proclamation to the San Jacinto Unified School District for its contributions to city history and its many Hispanic and Latino American families.

The council joined with Cal Fire, the city’s contracted fire services, in proclaiming October as Fire Prevention Month. San Jacinto and Cal Fire division chief Bill Weiser presented a video on what residents should know and do in the event of an emergency. He urged all residents to have a home emergency plan in place and practice it as often as possible.

The council also proclaimed the week as Code Enforcement Officer Appreciation Week and praised the local code enforcement officers for stepping up their activity in cleaning up the city.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.