Temecula council adopts energy, historic property resolutions

Robert Visconti, regional affairs manager for Southern California Gas Co., addresses the Temecula City Council during the Aug. 27 meeting of the council. City of Temecula photo

At the Aug. 27 meeting of the Temecula City Council, the council unanimously approved a resolution supporting balanced energy and maintaining local control of energy solutions.

The resolution reads that the “city supports balanced energy solutions that provide it with the decision-making authority and resources needed to achieve the state’s climate goals and supports proposed state legislation and regulation that retains local control while preserving a flexible approach to greenhouse gas emissions reduction.”

The city had received a request from Southern California Gas Co., at the behest of former public affairs officer, Randon Lane, to adopt the resolution.

Rebecca Farnbach, former president of the Temecula Valley Historical Society, speaks in support of a resolution to adopt a Mills Act program for the city of Temecula. City of Temecula photo

“The state of California is considering mandates for electrification, thus moving toward a single energy source and not recognizing the risk to our communities through increased costs and the threat of diminished reliability,” Robert Visconti, regional affairs manager for Southern California Gas Co., said during public comment. “The proposals to force us to electrify are being made in the name of global warming, reducing greenhouse gases and carbon emissions. These are admirable goals, but a cost-benefit analysis and environment analysis does not justify such a drastic action.”

Two members of the Sierra Club also spoke in support of the resolution.

Councilmember Matt Rahn and Mayor Mike Naggar abstained from the vote, and the rest of the council voted in favor of the resolution.

The council also approved a resolution adopting the Mills Act Program which was requested by Mayor Pro Tem James “Stew” Stewart.

The Mills Act allows local governments the opportunity enter into contracts with local property owners to actively participate in the rehabilitation, reservation, preservation and maintenance of their historic properties, according to Lynn Kelly-Lehner, principal management analyst for the city of Temecula.

“Qualified property owners receive property tax relief from the county with the intent that the property tax relief may offset some of the rehabilitation costs,” Kelly-Lehner said.

She said the Mills Act is beneficial to the city because it can help preserve some of the city’s cultural and historic resources.

Mayor Naggar asked what the criteria are for buildings to make the list of historic properties.

“What qualifies something as being historic?” Naggar asked.

Luke Watson, community development director for Temecula, said there was no formalized process at this time.

Rebecca Farnbach, former president of the Temecula Valley Historical Society, spoke in support of the resolution, saying the society would help with the program.

Despite some concerns from council members Maryann Edwards, Rahn and Naggar, the motion to pass the resolution was unanimous.

“What we’re going to give you is something more robust than you even came in here wanting,” Naggar said.

The council also considered the methodology of appoints to the city’s boards and commissions and provided direction to staff. After a lengthy discussion, the staff said they would bring more information back in two meetings.

The council also approved the consent calendar which included approval of traffic calming measures identified in the Redhawk Parkway/Vail Ranch Parkway Traffic Calming Analysis, approved an agreement with SoftResources LLC for citywide financial system upgrade consulting services, approved the first amendment to a lease agreement between the city and Mt. San Jacinto College and approved the contingency increase for the Overland Drive Extension.

They also approved the Water Quality Management Plan Alternative Compliance Agreement for Truax Hotel, approved the Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee funds reimbursement with Western Riverside Council of Governments for the Diaz Road Expansion, approved agreements with Rancho California Water District for recycled water services, accepted improvements and filed notice of completion for traffic signal installation on Redhawk Parkway/Vail Ranch Parkway at El Chimisal Road/Tehachapi Pass and approved a sponsorship agreement with Michelle’s Place Cancer Resource Center for the Walk of Hope event.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com.