More archeological tests are required to determine if tribal artifacts are located at a potential Temecula site for affordable housing.
Temecula City Council is scheduled to vote tonight during its regularly scheduled meeting to award $13,580 for additional archeological assessments at the site of the proposed Bella Linda Residential project.
Bella Linda consists of 23 acres on the northeast corner of Pechanga Parkway and Loma Linda Road. It includes the proposed development of 325 multifamily apartment units, according to the city website, along with a cluster of 49 single-family homes for senior citizens.
The city published a notice of preparation of a draft environmental report in April, after it contracted in March with Environmental Science Associates to perform the report at a rate of $249,580, according to a staff report.
"The city has determined, through consultation with ESA and the Pechanga Tribe, that additional archeological testing must be conducted for the project," wrote Lynn Kelley-Lehner, senior management analyst for the city of Temecula.
According to an initial study published in February, the Temecula Band of Luiseno Mission Indians wrote a letter to the city expressing the project area was located within Luiseno Ancestral Origin Landscape Area—one of the most sacred areas to the tribe.
The Tribe wrote, "...it is almost certain that resources and sacred items, including burials, will be found on the property..."
The Tribe disagreed with a 2006 finding from a previous and scrapped project which showed there would be moderate impact on cultural resources such as tribal artifacts, city Planner Eric Jones wrote.
The Tribe requested a new assessment be completed that takes into account tribal interpretations of any archeological findings and their cultural values, Jones wrote.
There were also concerns from the county's Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan that the protected Stephen's Kangaroo Rat and Burrowing Owl may be found on the site. These issues are also to be studied as part of the EIR.
The developer, Markham Development Management Group, Inc. of Temecula, plans to include a meandering trail adjacent to the property.