Supervisors adopt MND for new Menifee library

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The Riverside County Library System in conjunction with a private-sector contractor will be constructing a new library in Menifee, and Tuesday, March 17, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors adopted an environmental Mitigated Negative Declaration for the project.

The supervisors’ 5-0 vote also adopted the Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program which will address any discovery of Native American cultural resources.

The Riverside County Library System includes 36 branches and two bookmobiles. During fiscal year 2018-2019 more than 3.7 million visits were made to these facilities. RCLS staff conducted a review of library operations and determined that additional branches in Menifee, French Valley and Desert Hot Springs were desired to meet increased visitor demand and provide efficient library facilities.

The new Menifee library will be located on a 4.73-acre parcel at the intersection of La Piedra Road and Menifee Road and will measure approximately 20,000 square feet.

The new French Valley library will be approximately 25,000 square feet and sit on an 11.33-acre parcel at the northwest corner of Winchester Road and Skyview Road. In July 2019, the county supervisors voted 5-0 to approve a private-public partnership agreement for the three new libraries which will be built on county-owned land.

Capital Facility Partners will design and construct the facilities, maintain and operate the building facilities, complete all on-site and off-site improvements and be responsible for all environmental aspects. The county will pay rent for the facilities on a semiannual basis. For the first 10 years, the rent will be $3.90 per square foot per month. The ground lease and facilities lease will be for a 30-year period, although the county will have the option to purchase the facilities and improvements after the sixth year.

The July 23 action also authorized lease revenue tax-exempt bonds to finance the construction of the libraries.

Although Capital Facility Partners will be responsible for the environmental actions, the county’s Facilities Management department is the lead agency for the environmental review. An initial study was followed by a draft Mitigated Negative Declaration which was circulated for public review between Dec. 16 and Jan. 4. The initial study indicated that the identified mitigation measures would eliminate any significant impacts on the environment.

Consultation with Native American tribes took place between July 2019 and December 2019. Mitigation measures were developed to address concerns about the accidental discovery of cultural resources and ensure that any inadvertent discovery of such resources does not create any significant impacts.

Construction on the Menifee library is expected to begin this month and be complete in February 2021.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at jnaiman@reedermedia.com.