Yucaipa Refuses Church Variance, Insisting Power Lines Be Undergrounded

The Yucaipa Plan­ning Commission on October 7 turned down the Oak Valley Church’s petition for a “major variance” that would have allowed a previously approved conversion of a 60,000 square foot industrial building and separate 1,500 square foot block structure at 13553 Calimesa Boulevard into a worship facility, daycare, and administrative offices and gym.
At issue for the commission was allowing power poles to remain in place at the site, after the applicant, Pastor Tom Villalobos requested a change in how the existing electrical infrastructure at the site would be dealt with. Though the poles were to be done away with as a provision of the conditional use permit for the institutional use conversion given go-ahead in October 2012, Villalobos wanted to adjust the project on the fly. Director of development services Joe Lambert said the project as proposed and approved called for widening the street and undergrounding of the distribution power poles. The project approval, set to expire October 3, was given a three-year extension.
Nevertheless, the planning commission balked at allowing the project to proceed with a change to the development standards that would have allowed the poles to remain in place and the power lines to stay above ground.
According to a city staff report, “The granting of the variance would not be compatible with the objectives, policies, general land uses and programs specified in the city’s general plan and development code, in that granting the variance would allow the existing power poles along Avenue I to remain, contrary to Section 88.0405 of the Yucaipa Development Code.”
Lambert told the commission undergrounding utilities is a municipal, prioity. Commissioners refused to grant the variance, voting 3-2 against Villalobos.

Leave a Reply