Beaumont approves plan change to accommodate school district

The area in gray depicts the property set aside for Beaumont Unified School District to build a future school.

Beaumont’s city council has approved an amendment to the Fairway Canyon Development agreement that proposed revisions to Planning Area 20, subdividing Planning Area 20B into two separate areas.

The amendment change request was predicated by the need to set aside a 12-acre site at the request of the Beaumont Unified School District, as well as a change in the grading ordinance having reduced the percentage of grade applicable to the project.

The property is northwest of Sorenstam Drive in Phase 4 of the Oak Valley and SCPGA Golf Course Specific Plan, which was adopted by Riverside County in August 2001 and annexed by the city in April 2003.

The Oak Valley SCPGA specific plan covers 1,747.9 acres with 4,355 dwelling units west of Tukwet Canyon.

In November 2003 Meritage Homes purchased 13 planning areas, and assumption of development agreement rights from Irvine-based SDC Fairway Canyon LLC to Irvine-based Meritage Homes of California, Inc. were approved on Sept. 21, 2021.

Last May Meritage Homes requested to amend the existing development agreement governing Planning Area 20, which has three sub-planning areas.

Amendments were agreed to in order to accommodate a request from the school district, and they slightly alter acreage by 0.2 acres due to boundary line updates, as well as revise the dwelling unit count to 3,014, far below the 4,355 homes previously outlined.

David Henricks, a consultant project manager for Meritage and the Fairway Canyon project, explained that the decision was based on the school district’s analysis of a site within Planning Area 25. That previously sought property had been zoned for residential use, and the remaining site that could accommodate the school district’s request was within area 4C.

The school district chose the location and approved the site plan and has lined up funding and approval from the state, according to Hendricks.

Councilman Mike Lara expressed concern that the decision would mean density increases in other planning areas, particularly if the city loses control over housing and accessory dwelling unit (ADU) proliferation. (Recent state legislation has limited cities’ ability to regulate and restrict accessory dwelling units.)

Hendricks explained that, due to property setback restrictions, it would not be possible for too many ADUs to be added in the area.

No one else from the public participated in the public hearing, and the request was unanimously approved by Beaumont’s city council during its Jan. 17 meeting.

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.

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