By NOELLE KIELY Two-and-a-half hours of public comment opened the city council meeting on Monday, Sept. 12 with a standing-room-only crowd.
One item of discussion was the recent approval of a rent increase for the property owner of Yucaipa Village Mobile Home Park. Residents expressed their displeasure with the decision.
Resident Eric Lasser began, “The owner has received a sizable increase in rent. Please, whatever the rent commission does. Turn it back to them. It’s not the responsibility of the council.” Lasser also said the council has not received good direction from the city attorney stating, “In the last three years the counsel you’ve received has been wrong.”
Cheryl Barnett, of Yucaipa Village MHP said, “After we got notice of the rent increase we got threatening letters from the owner. We have toxic carpet in the clubhouse and nothing has been done to improve the conditions.”
Yucaipa Mobile Residents Association President Len Tyler spoke on the issue, “We had to pay $17,000 to defend our position and we have no money left to challenge the decision. You threw residents to walls when you approved the increase.”
Tyler continued, “The park owner failed to provide proof of improvements and it should have been denied. The park is in below average condition and I don’t know why that wasn’t taken into account.”
Resident Brian Lared spoke on the El Dorado Ranch project. “We are afraid it will open up the area to be a trash pit. The Mexican drug cartel has a marijuana ranch up there and we are concerned. Last week tractors started working on the job.”
Lared added, “All property owners including, Five Winds Ranch, Cherrycroft, Bear’s Den, Oak Glen Estates and Sample’s acres are voting no on the entire project including the bathrooms that just started last week. We are all adjoining ranches and we don’t want to see this project continue.”
Jan Leja also addressed the council on behalf of Betty Burkle. “Our main objection to this project is its proposed use. The agreement to eliminate overnight camping was a good compromise, but encouraged trail use will have undesirable impacts on our property including trespassing, damage to our property, lighting and lack of monitoring the restrooms and trails.”
A third item of discussion was opposition to the Wilson Creek Business Park and Basin Project. “We understand the city of Yucaipa wants manufacturing jobs and we also know there is a desire for the Wilson Creek Business Park. The problem is the city is trying to develop the property there for a private business (Ingen Technologies).”
Greg Harrington reported of internal problems at the business and criminal allegations by the company’s CEO. “It doesn’t make sense for the city to partner with a business with so many red flags,” and ended, “We do not want Wilson Creek development.”
Yucaipa Mayor Dick Riddell addressed the crowd at the conclusion of public comments. “The comments on all the issues tonight did not fall on deaf ears.”
In regards to the Wilson Creek Business Park objections, City Manager Ray Casey said, “The Second Street extension has been part of the plans when the county ran the area.” Additionally, the drainage component is necessary to get the Dunlap area out of the flood plain. “We could take another look alternative uses for the Institutional component,” Casey said.
“In view of the concerns expressed here tonight, it would be wise to address alternatives in the environmental study,” Riddell said to the applause from the audience and added, “In regards to the Second Street extension, that’s been part of the General Plan since incorporation, but we will look at alternatives for the Institutional part.”
Riddell closed the public comment section with “Again, thank you for coming and just know your concerns have not fallen on deaf ears.”