(3/6/13) – IE Transit Talking Points Short
Last May, a massive development project dubbed The Villages of Lakeview was struck down in court due to potential pollution and increased traffic congestion. The development was proposed along the Mid County Parkway corridor in the heart of Lakeview, a small agricultural town located between Perris and Hemet. The project called for the development of 11,000 residential units and 500,000 square feet of commercial space.
It’s quite clear that this project would initiate a conversion of the small town of Lakeview into a robust city, and to be fair to the developers, efforts were made to include a privately developed bus transit center, a park & ride, and open space areas along the hillsides and wildlife corridors. However, commuters well know that the I-215 and 91 Freeways certainly do not need 11,000 households worth of cars in these already congested corridors. Superior Court Judge Sharon Waters rightly agreed that this traffic impact presented in court had enough merit to warrant the invalidation of the project’s EIR.
So how can The Villages of Lakeview be developed right? It’s quite evident that both the Lakeview and Nuevo economies rely on the agricultural and farming sectors. A better growth plan would be this:
- Develop business-friendly zoning policies for the existing ranches south of the Ramona Expressway so that their owners have more options to generate income on their properties which would stimulate economic growth with minimal traffic impacts.
- Designate the existing agricultural areas north of the Ramona Expressway as agricultural. Permit dwelling areas for property owners, but no tract housing, golf courses or shopping centers.
- Designate a central area of Lakeview as a specific plan which would incline developers to invest in a small downtown district with mixed-use development to support the existing economy. Lofts and apartments would be developed over pedestrian-friendly small business retail.
- Designate portions of the central downtown area for a park, school, bus transit station and park & ride, and essential government services.
This type of smart growth would certainly be more environmentally friendly and would strengthen--not disrupt--the agricultural and farming economies. That's how Lakeview can smartly evolve into a robust city.