Wildomar to intervene in LEAPS hearing, amend tobacco code

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As the Sept. 11 meeting of the Wildomar City Council began, city attorney Thomas Jex announced that in closed session, the council unanimously gave direction to intervene in a pending administrative hearing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regarding the Lake Elsinore Advanced Pump Storage Project.

It means the council stands in opposition to the project.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced it accepted Nevada Hydro’s Lake Elsinore Advanced Pump Storage Project, more commonly known as LEAPS, for filing.

The agency made the announcement, Friday, July 26, in a notice issued by FERC secretary Kimberly D. Bose, saying staff had determined that LEAPS qualified as a major infrastructure project “pursuant to the memorandum of understanding implementing one federal decision under Executive Order 13807” effective April 10.

The move will allow for LEAPS, proposed to be located on Lake Elsinore and the San Juan Creek near the city of Lake Elsinore and occupying roughly 845 acres of federal land in the Cleveland National Forest to move forward in the application process.

Should the project be approved it would consist of a new upper reservoir located in Decker Canyon with a 200-foot-high main dam and a gross storage volume of 5,750 acre-feet at a normal reservoir surface elevation of 2,792 feet above mean sea level, a powerhouse with two reversible pump-turbine units with a total installed capacity of 500 megawatts and about 32 miles of 500-kilovolt transmission line connecting the project to an existing transmission line owned by Southern California Edison located north of the proposed project and to an existing San Diego Gas and Electric Company transmission line located to the south. The existing lake would be used as a lower reservoir for the project.

“The city will be joining neighbors, such as the City of Lake Elsinore, which has already filed a motion to intervene,” Jex said to the council members on the dais.

The council also unanimously approved the city’s Tobacco Code Amendment that prohibits tobacco retailers, hookah lounges and vapor lounges from being established or operating 600 feet or closer to a school, park or church.

The issue became a big one in the city when a hookah and tobacco-related business was approved to be opened less than a city block from Wildomar Elementary School.

In general business, Mayor Pro Tem Dustin Nigg announced the appointment of Arrin Banks to the city’s planning commission, which was approved by the council.

“The biggest thing I look for is the show up and care piece, essentially this is a service to the community,” Nigg said. “And she will, in my eyes, do well.”

The consent calendar was unanimously approved by the council and included the adoption of municipal code in regards to mandatory spaying, neutering and microchipping of pets with city limits.

They also approved a resolution repealing and replacing resolutions and establishing the time, date and location of city council meetings, adopted a resolution accepting a fire station remodeling project as complete, and approved the purchase of shade structures for local parks.

The council also made final tract map approval, a subdivision improvement agreement, and a stormwater management/BMP facilities agreement for the tentative tract map 32024. They awarded a contract for security and patrol services in the amount of $147,672, and another for janitorial services with Golden Touch Cleaning Solutions, Inc. for city parks.

The council also agreed to continue to participate in Western Community Energy through the launch anticipated to occur in the summer of 2020.

They also approved a third amendment with Parsons Transportation Group for the Bundy Canyon Road Project and supported the Regional Housing Needs Assessment Allocation Option No. 2.

Kim Harris contributed to this report.

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