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Wildomar's Largest Proposed Development Clears First Hurdle

If a general plan amendment is approved for the proposed project that's situated on 792 acres in Wildomar, there are still many required steps along the way to seeing the Springs Meadow Ranch Community come to fruition.

The proposed project would be located on the southeast side of The Farm in Wildomar. File Photo/Toni McAllister
The proposed project would be located on the southeast side of The Farm in Wildomar. File Photo/Toni McAllister

The proposed “Spring Meadows Ranch Community” situated on 792 acres near The Farm in Wildomar is the largest project considered by the city since its incorporation in 2008. And Wednesday night that project got its first green light from the Wildomar Planning Commission. 

With a 4-0 vote, the commission agreed to recommend to city council that it approve a request by project applicant Rancho Santa Fe–based Shapouri & Associates to amend Wildomar's general plan. Planning Commission Vice Chair Michael Kazmier resigned Wednesday and was absent for the meeting.

According to Ali Shapouri, principal at Shapouri & Associates, the company wants to develop a "world class" non-gated community that includes 403 acres of medium-density housing, a large equestrian center with boarding, a retail center, parks, community center, pool, clubhouse, and trails, all surrounded by open space. In total, the community would be 792 acres in size.

"We're going to take the time to do it right," Shapouri said, noting that his firm would be the master planner for the project with guest builders constructing in "well-planned out" phases.

Shapouri has completed several projects in Rancho Santa Fe and other communities, he said, most notably The Crosby, an upscale gated community with a private golf course located in north San Diego County.

Most commended the Springs Meadow Ranch concept Wednesday night, but some were skeptical.

"It's a beautiful project," said former Wildomar City Councilwoman Sheryl Ade. But she was doubtful Springs Meadow Ranch would pencil, given the needed infrastructure like roads, water, sewer, and drainage. 

She also argued that the site's massive size, its location, and Wildomar's identity, better suit the property to a ranch community with larger lots. Currently, 409 acres of the 792-acre site are designated as "estate density residential." If the requested general plan amendment is approved, that designation disappears.

Several people, including Ade, objected to the way proposed roads for the project would direct traffic. There would be a north-south thoroughfare constructed right through the development, but approximately 75 percent of Spring Meadows Ranch traffic would be directed in and out through Murrieta or Menifee, with only about 25 percent directed through Wildomar.

Former Wildomar Planning Commissioner Harv Dykstra objected to that idea, noting that sales tax revenues from services like gas stations, restaurants, retail, etc., would go to neighboring communities, not Wildomar.

"We're not doing Wildomar any good," he said.

Shapouri heard the comments and said he wanted to work with the community to bring the project to fruition. Optimally, he said he would like to see development start in 2015.

If the general plan amendment is approved, there are still many required steps along the way, including an environmental impact report, a tentative tract map, design plans, etc.

"We don't rubber stamp," said Wildomar Planning Director Matt Bassi. "We have to follow strict laws."

"If we do this right," Shapouri said, "I think it's going to be very beneficial to the city and neighboring property owners."



 



Ken Mayes November 07, 2013 at 02:26 AM
With CFD's the infrastructure is doable, just stick it to the new homeowners. What's not going to work is the public parks and trails as Wildomar has no General Plan Element for Parks, Recreation and Trails. When Measure Z locked in the current parks tax to three parks this means they would have to pass another citywide parcel tax to maintain these new parks along with a tax to maintain trails and unless some miracle happens with the current parks the voters will probably shoot it down.
Martha L. Bridges November 07, 2013 at 09:24 AM
No one dared to mention it directly, but if this project uses the newly approved developer agreement and does a Mello-Roos to finance the infrastructure and a CSD for the police and fire services, the actual cost of these housing units would easily double or triple. __________________________________________________________ This property has changed hands several times, and well-established builders have never figured out how to make a profit due to the high costs of the infrastructure. They would have to do water, sewer, all utilities and major new roads. I'm afraid this project is just more "pie in the sky" thinking and doubt it will ever be built...or at least not in the foreseeable future. The Farm doesn't want it and neither does Murrieta nor Menifee. __________________________________________________________ It is poor judgment to say that it's OK to allow the developer to get zoning changes and make-up fanciful plans thinking that the costs will all fall on them. However, the city will waste a lot of time on the project and the result will be raising false expectations as we head into an election year.
lotsahelp November 07, 2013 at 10:03 AM
If they want to spend their money it is no skin off my nose. It seems to me they have the right to spend/waste their money as they see fit. Or are we taking that right away from people/business now? they have so many steps to go for this project to get off the ground. The project is not an eyesore or a blight. And even if Wildomar only gets a portion of the spending dollars of the residents it is more than we are getting now from the empty fields.__As long as they follow the laws (which most of these developers know pretty well)! __But this feels a little like arguing in may who is going to the Super Bowl. Too many variables to get knickers in a knot just yet. ___Lets see what their initial study shows, what mitigating factors they will have to overcome, what they will work out with the farm, or the neighboring cities, and on and on and on.
Martha L. Bridges November 07, 2013 at 11:37 AM
Martha L. Bridges November 7, 2013 at 08:35 am That currently empty property does not demand a whole lot of expensive publicly funded services as it stands now. Nor does it produce traffic and pollution from cars moving up and down non-existing roads or create demands for sewers, utilities, water and extensive infrastructure maintenance and the need for public safety services to what is a remote rural area. __________________________________________________________ To equate the decisions about a potential project that would be so impactful to Wildomar to mire speculating about who is going to the Super Bowl is simply preposterous and nonsensical. It wrongfully diminishes the essential role of planning to something akin to a causal fishing expedition!

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