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EIR approved for annexation, subdivision maps

June 21, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The El Centro City Council approved a final environmental impact report for the western annexation, pre-zone and tentative subdivision maps for 325 new homes to be situated on three parcels but sent other matters back to be resolved.

Despite several concerns by residents who live in the immediate area that the EIR's traffic study is flawed, the vote was unanimous.

The development is envisioned on 162.6 acres on four parcels of land to the west of the city. On three of the parcels would be built the 325 single-family residences. The fourth parcel is slated to remain under agricultural production for the immediate future and no plans for development exist. The area under consideration lies north of Ross Avenue, east of Austin Road, south of an extension of Orange Avenue and west of the Lotus Drain. The projects are the Desert Estates West, with 83 homes on 21.5 acres; Wildflower El Centro, with 115 homes on about 32 acres; and Santa Rosa, with 127 homes on about 40 acres.


On related matters dealing with the subdivision maps, the council sent the matter back to city staff and the developers to work out several issues. Those include how the extension of Orange will be built in the new development to its full 84 feet width without impacting an existing sewage treatment plant, an existing residential driveway, while including curbs, a sidewalk, turn pocket and parkway.

Other issues include specifics on what type of barriers are intended to be used to block off the existing Haskell Drive and Sunset Drive from new traffic and the need for a city park somewhere on the three parcels, not to be combined with a water retention basin. The issue of what to do about the Lotus Canal and Lotus Drain must still be resolved, also.

"Come back with a park that's suitable for the area," said Mayor Cheryl Walker.

Added City Councilman Jack Dunnam: "This council wants to encourage development and would like to see nails driven tomorrow" but the area needs master planning.

In light of those concerns, no actions were taken on the subdivision maps, although the council did approve the first reading of the three pre-zone changes from agriculture to residential.

In other business, the City Council:

· approved the addition of new territory to the Redevelopment Agency project area and its associated final environmental impact report.

· approved the $60,000 sale of city-owned land in the Centerpoint Business Park off Dogwood Road for the development of an inventory business, expected to result in the creation of 10-15 full- and part-time jobs. Total project costs are estimated at $420,000.

· approved the $278,000 sale of a parcel on South Hope Street near Ross to the Association of Retarded Citizens Inc. for use as a 20,000 square-foot office/warehouse. The project would retain about 260 local jobs and create 50 to 60 jobs.

· approved upgrading the position of recreation supervisor to director of parks and recreation to coincide with the city's search for someone to fill the position.

· granted power to the city manager to approve all grant submissions.

· rescinded its policy regarding notices and posting for land-use issues to only those required by the state. A potential $4,000 yearly could be saved.

· approved reconfiguring Swarthout Park to minimize the impact of baseballs and softballs on local homes. The changes are estimated at $50,000, to be funded by the Simplot settlement.

· set the next budget workshop for 6 p.m. Monday in the city library.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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