The Highland Planning Commission approved the conditional use permit for the establishment of Highland Lighthouse Church in the Highland Civic Center Plaza, 27194 Base Line, Suite D, during its Nov. 19 meeting.

The permit was approved 2-0-1 with amendments made to address concerns over parking at the business plaza while the church is in service.

Michael Hall was absent and Tamara Zaman recused herself from the discussion and vote as she lives within 1,000 feet of the church.

Planning Commission Vice Chair John Gamboa stated that he was under the understanding that the item would be continued until the commission was in full attendance as that was how it was worded in the minutes for the Oct. 1 meeting and he declined to vote.

City staff shared that with three commissioners in attendance and able to vote a quorum was met and action on the item could be taken.

Previously, at the Oct. 1 meeting, a tie 2-2 vote, with Richard Haller absent, led to no action being taken and the item continued to the next meeting.

At the Oct. 1 meeting Gamboa voted against the permit, based on parking concerns.

In an attempt to address the commission’s parking concerns, the permit was amended to reduce the number of parking spaces from 21 to 18, reduce maximum occupancy to lower parking demand, add overflow parking at Kay’s Café and add a requirement for 1-year review of the permit.

These amendments were enough for Haller and Planning Commission Chair Randall Hamerly to vote in approval of the permit.

Manuel Perez, the applicant for Highland Lighthouse Church, shared that, unaware of the CUP requirement, the church began meeting in January and has not impacted the commercial complex in regard to parking, noise or retail.

The church services are held 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and on Sunday mornings, when most businesses in the center are closed.

In other action, after considerable discussion, the commission approved 4-0 to recommend the city council to approve a request to amend the conditional use permit and tentative tract map conditions of approval for the Mediterra planned development.

Mediterra is a 316-unit, 178-acre residential plan approved by the city council in March of 2016 and given a 3-year extension in March 2019, through March 8, 2022.

The plan site is on the north side of Greenspot Road, directly across from East Valley Water District headquarters.

The development is to be built in eight phases.

The amendments included revisions to the planned development document, the planning department conditions of approval and the engineering conditions of approval.

Among the amendments were the transfer of one unit from one project area of the tract map to another, the postponement of a private park to a later phase of the development and the changing of some block walls to vinyl fencing.

A key amendment was delaying the requirement for submittal of covenant, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) from the recordation of the final map to first occupancy.

City staff and Camile Bahri, president of the Sunland Communities, shared that this amendment would provide greater flexibility for builders as approval of final map predates many other construction decisions.

Hamerly expressed concern over ensuring homebuyers have full disclosures available to them before signing purchasing and other contracts.

Bahri assured him that the real estate processes and requirements for filing pink reports and white reports must be completed prior to homes going on the market, making full disclosures available before anyone has the opportunity to sign.

There was also detailed discussion as to what system the city would use to enforce landscaping maintenance of the landscaped areas not part of homeowners’ properties.

Bahri expressed his openness to using the system preferred by the city.

The amended conditional use permit and tentative tract map conditions of approval will now go before the city council for final approval.

(1) comment


I think the city staff found a loop hole in order to get the Church approved. The commissioner who recused herself had previously vetoed the idea of this church die to lack of parking and distance of ancillary parking at a near-by restaurant.

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