The Murrieta Planning Commission has put the brakes on a contentious potential extension of Whitewood Road that would shoot through the newly-developed neighborhood of Creekside Village, south of Murrieta Hot Springs Road.
Residents and developers of the neighborhood came forward in earnest against the extension during the public hearing portion of Wednesday's Planning Commission meeting.
The recommendation to city council came as the commissioners were expected to vote on the city's General Plan 2035.
The commission voted 5-0 to approve the plan, with a few caveats:
One, that the Whitewood extension be taken out of the Circulation Element of the General Plan; two, that the council direct city staff to commence work on a specific plan for Los Alamos Hills immediately following the adoption of the General Plan and within one year's time; and three, that the city council reevaluate the implications that the proposed widening of Jefferson Avenue to six lanes past Lemon Avenue north to the city boundaries would have on property owners.
If city council reduces the Jefferson Avenue widening from six lanes to four, it could mean another Environmental Impact Report would need to be completed and recirculated, putting a four-month delay in the adoption of the General Plan.
Commissioner Harley Cohen made the motion, which was seconded by Vice Chair Gregory Goodman.
"I don’t remember having it in our discussion of traffic circulation, and I have some very strong concerns about how we will have to take people’s property," Goodman said.
The cities of Murrieta, Temecula, Wildomar and Lake Elsinore have ironed out a preliminary plan that would make Jefferson Avenue a six-lane transportation corridor from the south in Temecula to the north in Lake Elsinore.
Many residents off Jefferson Avenue north of Lemon spoke out against the increased traffic it would bring to their rural lifestyle, and about the potential loss of property.
Commissioners also wanted staff to reevaluate the rezoning of a parcel of property on Kalmia Street, across from City Hall. City staff recommended rezoning the area to office and research, which goes against what the owner of the property has said he intended to use it for.
Now that the bulk of the General Plan has been approved by the Planning Commission, it heads to city council for review, public hearings, and ultimately adoption.
Check back soon for more on this story.