FEBRUARY 28, 2005

 This was a special, regular meeting of the City Council, called expressly for land use issues. There were many items on the agenda, both the consent agenda and the one for discussion. All of them had to do with rezoning, master plans and annexations. At the end of the meeting came an appeal to a planning and zoning commission decision as well as a discussion period for still another zone change which needed to be presented before an actual vote. From what Mayor Mattiace said, I understood that general meetings centered on land use issues would be coming up regularly on the 4th Mondays of each month, or at least often. All members of the Council were present.

 The Consent Agenda was short, consisting only of two ordinances having to do with zoning changes. They were both accepted unanimously. The next three items on the agenda dealt with parts of two lots on north Valley which lie on the very edge of present city limits. One lot has a church on it, the other is a residence. It was recommended that the city limits be changed so that the lots would lie entirely within the city. Some recommended zoning changes made the annexed property and the parts of the lots already in the city more in line with the rest of the neighborhood. The two ordinances and resolution were passed unanimously.

 Moving on, the Council considered an annexation on the East Mesa which would become part of Sonoma Ranch. Along with that, there was a resolution approving a master plan and an ordinance approving various initial zonings for the annexed property. Patrick Lyon, State Land Commissioner, spoke in favor of these requests and urged the developers to make efforts to preserve the existing arroyos on those properties. These requests also passed readily.

 The appeal was a request from residents of Jornada South to reverse a decision of the planning and zoning commission for a development called Mesa Grande Estates which would be located immediately south of Highway 70 and immediately west of Mesa Grande Drive. Mesa Grande Drive is not even built there, yet, and there is no existing infrastructure near the plot of land. The developer has met with the existing neighbors in efforts to buffer his proposed development from the existing neighborhood, and to assure them that the road would alleviate traffic snarls before the building began. In the end, the appeal was turned down.

 NOTE: It was called to the League's attention, that we reported erroneously in our last issue of the Voter that the City property which was formerly the Solo store, was leased by the City. This is untrue. The building is owned by the City and the case in question was regarding a part of the building that was being leased to a private agency. The League regrets the error and apologizes for any confusion it might have caused. Thanks to Councilor Frietze for calling it to our attention.

Marnie Leverett

League of Women Voters