A couple of tract extensions and a conditional use permit to establish an early childhood daycare facility were approved at a special meeting Monday, July 22, by the Calimesa Planning Commission.

With little or no discussion, the commissioners approved one-year extensions for a 45-residential tract on approximately 54 acres off of County Line Road and Holmes Way, and a 27-home tract near the Fourth Street Community Park.

“I am guessing our big hang-up is still drainage?” Vice chair Michael Brittingham asked Jorge Alvarez, representative for Far West Industries, which is developing the Heritage Oaks Equestrian Community, off of County Line Road.

Alvarez confirmed Brittingham’s suspicions.

“We are trying to develop different solutions,” he said. “We met with planning and engineering about a couple months ago now. We are working on new solutions. Hopefully, we will have something that will be viable. Like everything else, it’s a money issue.”

Originally approved in August 2007, Heritage Oaks features large lots and open space.

“We really, really think it is one of the most wonderful properties we have ever dealt with,” Alvarez said. “We are proud of what we have created.”

“It is a great location,” said Brittingham, who served as chair in the absence of Mike Barron. “I’d love to see you get moving on that sooner rather than later.”

Planning Manager Kelly Lucia reminded the commissioners the Heritage Oaks extension was made possible because last month the city council amended its municipal code to increase one-year extensions from three to six.

“Just recently we did pass Ordinance 366, which is effective Aug. 15, 2019, to allow all subdivisions the opportunity to apply for six one-year extensions of time on tentative maps,” Lucia said during her presentation.

This was the fourth of six extensions allowed for Heritage Oaks. The subdivision near the park had its third extension of time granted.

Daycare facility

Michelle and Evan Stavness received a conditional use permit to establish the Stavness Early Learning daycare facility on Singleton Road, near the Sharondale senior mobile home park. The plans include turning the two existing structures into classrooms for about 35 students, plus parking spaces and traffic flow.

Lucia explained the two existing structures are legal but non-conforming. The conditional use permit will convert the existing residential structures into conforming commercial land use.

“It is a good thing,” Lucia said before the unanimous vote.

Previously, the Stavnesses lived in one of the residences and used the other as an in-home daycare. The couple has since vacated the property and is working on updating it for classes in the fall.

“We want to expand,” Evan Stavness said to the commission. “Our goal is to use the building that we were living in … and turn that into two extra classrooms.”

He also committed to increasing the size of the address numbers so they can easily be seen from the street, a concern voiced by Commissioner Charles Hurt.

“We plan on making our numerics highly visible,” Evan said.

Michelle spoke on why she wants to expand the daycare.

“I grew up wanting to be a teacher. I actually used to work for the school system and I found a love for early childhood education,” she said. “The more and more I learned about it, the more I treasure it, with all the brain development that goes on from newborn ages all the way to age 5, and even 6, 7 and 8. I found that it is a very special occupation to be in.”

New commissioner

Also Monday night, Eric Cundieff attended his first planning commission meeting since taking over the seat vacated by Jeff Cervantez’s appointment to the city council with the unexpected passing of Jim Hyatt. Cundieff was approved and sworn in at the July 15 council meeting.

“I just appreciate all of your help and the comments,” he said after being welcomed to his new post. “I am glad to be here.”

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