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Planning Commission



MARCH 20, 2007


The Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission of the City of Highland was called to order at 6:12 p.m. by Vice Chairman Hamerly at the Donahue Council Chambers, 27215 Base Line, Highland, California.

Present: Commissioners John Gamboa, Bob Moore and R. Paul Scott and Vice Chairman Randall Hamerly

Absent: Chairman Richard Haller

Staff Present:John Jaquess, Community Development Director

Lawrence A. Mainez, City Planner

Linda McKeough, Administrative Secretary

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Vice Chairman Hamerly.


There was none.


There were no items.


There were no Public Hearings.


5.1 East Highlands Ranch (EHR) Agreement - 2006 Annual Review.

Vice Chairman Hamerly introduced the item and called for Staff's presentation.

Community Development Director Jaquess announced prior to the Meeting there may be a potential conflict of interest for those Commissioners living within the EHR Ranch and Association and requested the Commission take the Agenda items out of order and proceed with Announcements then follow with the Legislative Item.

Chairman Hamerly and the Commission concurred and proceeded with Item 6.0 (Announcements).


City Planner Mainez explained before the Commissioners is a copy of the revised General Plan Amendments to Chapters 6 and 11 of the General Plan which includes the entire said Elements and requested the Commissioners remove those that are in their binders at home and replace with the ones they have just received.

Staff explained the items tentatively scheduled for the April 3, and April 17, 2007, Commission Meetings.

Staff reminded the Commission of the upcoming Citrus Harvest Festival on March 31, 2007, from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. located in the Highland Historic District and invited the Commissioners to come and enjoy the festivities.

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the status on the Gardner Project located on Boulder Avenue / Base Line with the blue / white checkered roof. Staff explained the color is off and should be of a greyish blue rather than a cobalt blue and the Developer still needs to install the canopies. Staff indicated it is not the direction to bring this item back to the Design Review Board, at this time, and allow the Developer to "tone it (the colors) down".

Further discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the status of the Farmer Boys Project located at Fifth / Meines Streets. Staff explained how approximately two (2) weeks ago, the Developer indicated the Project was going to be submitted for plan check, but nothing has been submitted, at this time.

There being no further announcements, the Commission returned to Item 5.1.

5.1 East Highlands Ranch (EHR) Agreement - 2006 Annual Review.

Vice Chairman Hamerly explained there is a potential of conflict of interest between Commissioner Scott and himself and further explained there would be a lack of a quorum and further explained the process the Commission needs to take in order to participate. The affected Commissioners would be drawing cards and the one drawing the high card draw would remain to participate in order to have a quorum. The one drawing the low card would excuse themselves from the Dais.

Community Development Director Jaquess stated this conflict interpretation was due to a memo from the City Attorney addressing the conflicts of interest and the affected Commissioners.

Vice Chairman Hamerly and Commissioner Scott drew cards and the results were Vice Chairman Hamerly would participate in order to have a quorum and Commissioner Scott left the Dais / Council Chambers at 6:20 p.m.

Vice Chairman Hamerly re-introduced the item and called for Staff's presentation.

City Planner Mainez distributed a colored map rendering and then gave the presentation from the Staff Report and provided historical background of the EHR's Certificate of Compliance, for the record, EHR was under San Bernardino County's jurisdiction and gave various number of residential units, as well as the acreage for commercial uses from 1992, 1998, 1999, 2006. Amendments to the PUD were approved reducing the number of residential units. He further explained the trails, the Planning Areas, outstanding COAs / provisions, Natural Open Space and Park Dedication to the Commission. City Planner Mainez further explained the Natural Open Space area(s) which should be given to the San Bernardino National Forest Service and how the Findings would then be taken to a City Council Ad Hoc Subcommittee before being provided to the City Council for consideration. In addition, he explained the San Bernardino Mountain Land Trust as a possible candidate for acquisition of the Spring Pacific East Highlands, LLC Open Space property on a temporary basis until such time the property could be deeded over to the Forest Service. He went into further detail about trail preservation, parks, and Natural Park Space and possible transfer of trails (located between the yellow and purple areas of the distributed Map). City Planner Mainez indicated the City is making progress and concluded all parties are making a good faith effort, including environmental issues, etc. He then concluded his presentation and stated Staff is recommending the Commission Receive and File the East Highlands Ranch Agreement Annual Review Report and direct Staff to record a "Certificate of Compliance" (COC 007-001) for the East Highlands Ranch Owner (S-P East Highlands, LLC). He then asked if the Commission had any questions of Staff.

Vice Chairman Hamerly asked Staff to clarify what triggered the original approval process / requirements for the Annual Review.

City Planner Mainez responded and gave the historical background which included, but not limited to the following: how the County of San Bernardino placed COAs on the Project, how the City incorporated in 1987, and how the COA's affected densities, condominiums, down zoned areas, street provisions, hillsides and wildland fires, infrastructure of streets, sewer water and streetscapes that had to be in place before certain construction phases. He also explained the Park Dedication and Open Space requirements that came into effect. At 2,500 units, the Developer would offer Park Dedication and Open Space. The issue was who will maintain the Open Space property when Spring Pacific "walks away" and then explained the feasibility of conservancy group(s) maintenance.

Further discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff on the trail maintenance process; the process when the trails are deeded / dedication over to the City; trail head that are part of the EHR that lead up to the Forest Service land. Staff stated the Forest Service would not maintain trails, but possibly of implementing an Adopt-A-Trail, Boy Scouts, etc. who would monitor and maintain trails. The City needs to minimize its obligations concerning future trail maintenance in the San Bernardino Forest. There are no new trails proposed because plan will utilize existing fire roads / maintenance roads. San Bernardino Mountain Land Trust (SBMLT) had walked the trails and which should be part of the dedication. With regards to motorcycle usage, the is a need to avoid motorcycles up in the blue area of the Map and needs to be addressed. There are potential natural and biological resources up there; riparian area(s), Elder and Plunge Creeks are a diverse area and there is a need to educate the community about those important water sheds. The red shaded area is San Bernardino County's jurisdiction and Staff indicated there is a possibility of a lot merger, hopefully, by the end of this year would then go to City Council for consideration on Open Space disposition.

A question was asked by a Commissioner regarding if the Mountain Land Trust would be the best to facilitate the Open Space transaction during escrow. Staff responded that is a good idea, but the burden is on the property owner with approval of City Council on the land donation.

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the various shaded areas of the red, yellow and blue areas of the distributed EHR Natural Open Space Map.

There being no further discussion or questions of Staff, Vice Chairman Hamerly then asked if there was anyone in the audience who would like to speak on the item.

Mr. Mike Sorba, 29785 Stratford, Highland, California, who is a resident and a Reporter for the Highland Community News newspaper, addressed the Commission. He asked questions regarding San Bernardino Mountain Land Trust and the duration when the land would be turned over. Staff responded how City Council has to approve the SBMLT and is contingent upon the Council. SBMLT does not own the property title now - Spring Pacific Properties, LLC does who is the Master Developer for the EHR PUD. Staff further explained how the City Council may want another other than SBMLT and is a City Council Work Program Item that is to be completed later this year.

Mr. Sorba asked about the EHR PUD Agreement's Annual Review process and the Open Space north of Highland Avenue. Both the Commission and Staff responded when the number of units exceed 2,500, that is what triggered the Natural Open Space disposition and Park land dedication and there are still approximately 300 units that still have to be built out on Greenspot Road. Staff then explained the Table which is included in the Staff Report to Mr. Sorba.

Discussion ensued between Mr. Sorba and Staff regarding maximum housing units are approximately 2,887 and the Agreement expires in 2014, or the Agreement can be extended, with City council approval. Mr. Sorba then asked what is the goal and Staff responded Natural Open Space in perpetuity.

Mr. Joe Nelson, who is the Reporter for The Sun newspaper, addressed the Commission. He stated about the current process of letting go Open Space land to a non-profit conservancy agency and asked who the contact is at San Bernardino Mountain Land Trust (SBMLT). Staff responded Mr. Peter Joris is the Director and will provide a telephone number to Mr. Nelson after the Meeting.

Mr. Nelson asked about the process of the Open Space property being "let go" at the end of the year from the Developer. Staff responded the process is still in negotiations with Spring Pacific Properties, LLC to donate the 958 acres excluding the dedication to the City for Natural Park Space. The SBMLT would acquire the property temporarily with the intent to transfer to the United States Forest Service. The public needs, benefits, bio-diversity and approximately eight (8) specific findings the Forest Service needs in order to accept the property.

A question was asked by a Commissioner if the yellow area on the Map is dedicated Park Space. Staff responded that is part of the negotiations for the Park area and there is land / deed descriptions, legal descriptions, etc. that need to be prepared. Staff further explained alternatives to Park configuration are under review and the Map illustrates the preferred option since it is close to Base Line and Plunge Creek.

Mr. Nelson asked about the land space for the Park Space. Staff responded there was approximately 140 acres specified in the 1990's, but we are looking at alternatives for Park Space. The configuration, accessibility, what is on the acres are factors and looking at approximately seventy (70) acres +/- on Base Line. Mr. Nelson then asked about the ratification process to City Council. Staff responded affirmatively, but can change since negotiations are still going on. Mr. Nelson then thanked the Commission.

Mr. Sorba asked what is the sole purpose for tonight's Meeting - want to dedicate land? Staff responded no, it is for the PUD Agreement Annual Review. Mr. Sorba then asked if the red lines on the Map are Highland trails. Staff responded those are proposed access for the public, but needs more details. A comment was made by a Commissioner they are basically fire roads. Staff added one is a man made trail. Mr. Sorba then asked for an explanation of a PUD. Staff responded would be able to discuss after the Meeting the explanation of a PUD. Mr. Sorba asked about the EHR Impact Agreement if it coincides with the EHR Development Fee Agreement. Staff responded the EHR Development Agreement is separate from the Impact Agreement and explained the difference to the Commission, as well as to the audience, which included, but not limited to infrastructure, reduced rate as an incentive, open space. Mr. Sorba asked if it was initiated by the City and if the EHR Development Impact Fees were going to the Parks. Staff responded the Fees are not specific to the 140 acre Park Space, but are used City-wide. Mr. Sorba then thanked the Commission. Staff added these are all good questions.

There being no further comments or testimony, or discussion amongst the Commission, Vice Chairman Hamerly called for the question.

A motion was made by Commissioner Gamboa and seconded by Commissioner Moore to Receive and File the East Highlands Ranch Agreement Annual Review Report and direct Staff to record a "Certificate of Compliance" (COC 007-001) for the East Highlands Ranch Owner (S-P East Highlands, LLC).

Motion carried on a 3 - 0 vote with the abstention of Commissioner Scott and Chairman Haller absent.


There being no further business Vice Chairman Hamerly declared the meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.

Submitted by: Approved by:

Linda McKeough, Randall Hamerly, Vice Chairman

Administrative Secretary Planning Commission


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