In front of about 75 people Tuesday night, the Lake Elsinore Planning Commission gave its approval of the city's 2011 Comprehensive General Plan Update.
The Plan Update addresses long-term development in the city and replaces the existing Comprehensive Plan approved in 1990.
In a unanimous vote, the commission made a recommendation that city council certify the Environmental Impact Report for the General Plan. In a separate 4-1 vote, commissioners also approved the General Plan Update.
, who was sworn into office Tuesday, was the lone dissenter. His vote against came after Commissioner Rick Morsch and Vice-Chair Mike O'Neal successfully argued to strike Chapter 2 of the Climate Action Plan. The Climate Action Plan is one of several documents comprising the General Plan Update.
"I couldn't buy it," Morsch said of the second chapter. "I don't think we need to perpetuate a 'philosophy' ..."
Per state law, the Climate Action Plan identifies goals to achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions in the city. Chapter 2 of the document outlines climate change science and policy, including scientific background and effects of climate change.
City Attorney Barbara Liebold explained that the chapter serves as background and could be modified to clarify that the science presented was sourced and does not necessarily reflect city views. She said it is unclear whether elimination of chapter 2 is defensible.
Click here to read the General Plan Update and all its components.
During Tuesday's hearing, the commission also heard public comment from John Messina Jr., an attorney representing a developer interested in building a waterfront resort on Lakeshore Drive at Main Street. The 11-acre resort, Messina told the commissioners, could possibly include a hotel, card room and condos.
Messina asked the commission to hold off making a recommendation Tuesday night pending more information on what he said is a $50 million world-class project.
"I'm asking that the city perhaps move things around to make it happen," Messina said.
Commissioners said they supported such a development but without anything more than expressed interest they couldn't hold up a vote on the General Plan.
"I'm sure your project is great but you should have been here a long time ago," O'Neal said.
Messina conceded there have been no plans submitted to the city.
"We've been in this process for seven years," Morsch told Messina, noting that there are several projects waiting to go forward pending approval of the Plan.
The process of the drafting the General Plan Update began in 2005.
City Council is expected to vote on whether to approve the General Plan at its next meeting on Dec. 13.