Eastvale officials and residents got their first glimpse this week of a revised plan that aims to create a town center and civic center for the young town – and some have expressed concern that more homes are now offered.

Over the next few months, further meetings are due to take place on the new plan for the 153-acre property in the heart of Eastvale where the Leal family operated a dairy farm. An open house-style community meeting is scheduled for April 4, an Eastvale Planning Commission public hearing for April 25 and an Eastvale City Council hearing for May 11.

The site plan bounded by 58th Street, Scholar Way, Limonite Avenue and Hamner Avenue provides for a city hall, library, police station and fire station, as well as nearly 600,000 square feet of business and commercial development, 14 acres of parks and open space and up to 2,500 homes, a city report says.

During a workshop with members of council and planning commissioners on Wednesday, March 16, Director of Community Development Gina Gibson-Williams called Leal’s development “the most significant project in the history of the city”.

Members of the public who spoke at the meeting generally lamented the increased emphasis on housing and the reduction of the commercial footprint.

Cheryl Zhang recalled the plan approved by the city in December 2017.

“It was a beautiful plan, just like a mini-Victoria Gardens,” she said, adding that she was disappointed with the review.

Some city leaders were also disappointed.

“Looks like it’s overrun with housing,” said Andrea Hove, a planning commissioner, according to the videotape of the meeting.

Council member Christian Dinco said he would “prefer to downsize some of these accommodations”. At the same time, he said he realized that Eastvale – like other towns in the Inland Empire – faced a mandate from the state to designate places for many homes. built to address a statewide housing shortage.

Dinco said the Leal project would be a good place for high-density housing because it would be close to commercial areas. Mayor Pro Tem Todd Rigby said people living there can walk to shops and restaurants.

Although the commercial component has been reduced, it would total 595,000 square feet if built as planned by The New Home Company of Irvine, which submitted the new plan.

“That equals 13 Hamner Squares,” said Peter Carlson, consultant in San Juan Capistrano for The New Home Company. “It also equals 70 restaurants sitting like a Lazy Dog.”

He said the Eastvale center could be bigger than shopping hotspots such as downtown Claremont, at 528,439 square feet; Old Town Temecula, with 488,103 square feet; and The shops of Chino Hillswith 375,000 square feet.

AJ Jarvis, president of the land companies division of The New Home Company, said the company is in receivership to buy the property from the Leal family, if the city approves the project.

As for the mall, likely concentrated near the Hamner-Limonite intersection, it would not offer big box-type retail stores, Carlson said.

“It’s not about large areas. This is not a target,” Carlson said, according to the videotape. “These are restaurants, shops, small offices. The commerce and retail landscape has changed dramatically with COVID and with e-commerce and we need to be responsive to these changes.

Carlson said e-commerce retail sales increased by more than 30% in 2020 and continue to increase. The U.S. Commerce Department’s Census Bureau reported last month that 2021 e-commerce sales – estimated at $870.8 billion – were 14% higher than in 2020.

At the same time, Carlson noted, shopping centers in the region and the nation are in decline.

Carlson said housing would come in a variety of types, from apartments and condominiums to single-family homes, for up to 2,500 units. The amount for each type of accommodation has not been determined, he said.

Carlson said there will be at least 14 acres of parks and open space. Wide sidewalks and double rows of trees lined the streets, he said.

” It is hot in summer. It’s just a reality,” he said. “And trees really make a huge difference in terms of promoting that pedestrian or cycling activity.”

Some board members made suggestions.

Dinco said the developer might want to allow certain department stores. Rigby recommended banning drive-through restaurants.

Mayor Clint Lorimore has requested an additional community meeting.

Council member Jocelyn Yow said generating a lot of activity would be crucial to avoid creating “a homeless hub at night” as some town centers have become.

Rigby said Eastvale needed a library, police station and civic center.

“I’m thrilled that this project is moving forward,” he said.

LEAL MEETINGS

April 4: Community meeting, 6 p.m., VantagePoint Church, 8500 Archibald Ave.

April 25: Eastvale Planning Commission, 6 p.m., Eastvale Town Hall, 12363 Limonite Avenue, Suite 910

May 11: Eastvale City Council, 6:30 p.m., Eastvale Town Hall, 12363 Limonite Avenue, Suite 910