November 24, 2018  |  By Karen DaSilva  |  Yucaipa/Calimesa News Mirror

Calimesa Planning approves 80 more Summerwind homes

More homes for the Summerwind Trails development were approved last week after Larry Smith recused himself from the Calimesa Planning Commission meeting.

Commissioner Smith recused himself from the Tuesday, Nov. 13, meeting because he ran for an at-large city council seat in the Nov. 6 election. Three candidates ran for two seats and as of Monday, Nov. 19, Smith had more votes than incumbent Jim Hyatt and Community Services Commission member Jeff Cervantez. However, thousands of mail-in and provisional votes remained to be counted in Riverside County.

Without official election results, Smith didn’t want to compromise any approvals.

“I had a decision to make. Do I sit here tonight and act on these agenda items before me or do I possibly be in a position to where there is an appealable action going up to the council? … With that being said, I decided to recuse myself from the public hearing. I think it is in the best interests of both the city and the applicant,” Smith said. “I am going to err on the side of caution and I am going to pass on the public hearing.”

With Chair Michael Brittingham, Vice Chair Mike Barron and comissioners Charles Hurt and John Keith voting, the Development Plan Review for 80 single-family homes in the Villas community of Summerwind were unanimously approved.

The Villas will feature three floor plans, with four or five bedrooms, in three styles – California Ranch, Craftsman and French Country – for single- or two-story homes by builder Meritage Homes. California-friendly landscaping with recycled water is also part of the plan.

Assistant Planner Maryn Wells pointed out one slight change from the specific plan that was requested. Meritage Homes wanted to switch the interior lot fencing from wood to vinyl for maintenance reasons.

“Staff is supportive of that request,” said Wells, who presented the item to the commission.

“I’m glad of the revision of the fencing,” Hurt said.

Vice Chair Barron agreed and was positive about the plan.

“This project hasn’t changed from 2005. It’s was as good then as it is now,” he said.

One concern for Chair Brittingham was the lack of fire services in that area of the Summerwind development, which is expected to bring 3,600-3,700 new homes to Calimesa at build out.

“Thinking long-term about fire safety, I know in Mesa Verde we kept one of the lots available for future fire safety for the city to purchase. Do we have anything in place, in case Beaumont doesn’t step up to the plate for something over at that end that we are going to be able to access?” he asked.

Planning Manager Kelly Lucia assured Brittingham those needs would be met as Argent Management, a real estate group which is planning Summerwind, is financially obligated to contribute to fire facilities.

Two one-year extensions were also approved at the meeting. One was for the Country Club Village project, a mixed-use development consisting of senior living, assisted living, a hotel, a medical office, retail and restaurants, all located near Desert Lawn Cemetery, Plantation on the Lake and Tournament Hills Elementary School.

The other extension adopted was for Rancho Citrus Business Park, a mixed-use commercial/light industrial business park and high-end RV storage.