Due to potential conflicts of interest that led to lack of quorum—three or more people—Temecula City Council will wait to appoint two of its members to an ad hoc subcommittee for the development of Winchester Hills.
The 90-acre property is vacant land adjacent to Interstate 15 and Ynez Road, near the Mercedes Benz of Temecula dealership currently under construction. The land also sits near a bridge being constructed to connect Ynez Road in Temecula to Jackson Avenue in Murrieta.
Once two Temecula City Council members are selected, the Winchester Hills ad hoc subcommittee would meet on an as-needed basis to review the
possible land use policy issues for the build-out of the property, meet
with staff and the property owner, Steve Bieri, and report back to the
City Council on land use policy direction for the build-out of the
property, according to a city staff report.
“The owner has expressed interest in beginning the process of developing the property with a mix of commercial/residential and visitor settings,” staff wrote.
Councilman Jeff Comerchero was the first to excuse himself from the discussion Tuesday night because of investment property he owns in Harveston, just east of Winchester Hills.
According to California government code: "No public official at any level of state or local government shall make, participate in making or in any way attempt to use his official position to influence a governmental decision in which he knows or has reason to know he has a financial interest."
Comerchero said although the property in question lies outside the specified distance of 500 feet, he decided to abstain from the discussion or the possibility of serving on the committee after speaking with city legal counsel and administration.
“I tend to agree with their opinion,” Comerchero said. “It is too close and too major; it would have a potential effect on the value of my property.”
Councilman Chuck Washington did likewise, saying because he cosigned for a family member on a Harveston property, he too wanted to avoid the appearance of any impropriety.
Because Mayor Pro Tem Maryann Edwards had left the meeting prior to the agenda item, the two remaining Council members, Mayor Mike Naggar and Councilman Ron Roberts, were not enough to create a quorum.
It was agreed that the matter would be postponed until the next Council meeting.Other Council business included but was not limited to:
—The award of a $90,519 contract to replace existing wine barrel style trash and recycling receptacles in Old Town with 76 new ones matching the style of those near the Civic Center.
—Approval of financial statements for the city’s fourth quarter ending June 30, which included two line-item general fund transfers: $29,000 from the public works fund to the legal fund to cover legal costs associated with employee union negotiations and costs related to litigation against Riverside County regarding the fast-tracking of the Liberty Quarry project; and $82,000 from the police fund to the fire fund due to unplanned overtime experience during the high fire season, according to a city staff report.
—The award of a $137,500 contract to Irvine-based Peterson-Chase General Engineering to seal cracks in the cement decks of three city bridges: Margarita Road over San Gertrudis Creek, Redhawk Parkway over Temecula Creek and Butterfield Stage Road over Temecula Creek. The work is necessary to ensure the bridges meet structural requirements set out by Caltrans, according to a city staff report.
Temecula City Council meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at the Civic Center, 41000 Main St. The next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 8.