Jul 28, 2014

Protesters To Converge On Council Meeting

A group of local activists and Los Alamos Hills residents plan to appear at the Murrieta city council meeting this afternoon to push back against an initiative they say would authorize officials to illegally take property.

Protesters To Converge On Council Meeting Protesters To Converge On Council Meeting Protesters To Converge On Council Meeting

A group of Los Alamos Hills residents are mustering support for a protest to be held at today's city council meeting.

The property owners are gathering supporters over email and through local conservative activist groups to fight against a city land-use proposal they say will lead to illegal land seizure and devaluation of their homes.

Murrieta city council members are set to discuss the Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP) at their 4 p.m. meeting at City Hall. Click here to read the council's full agenda.

The MSHCP is a unified plan adopted by the city in 2003 to streamline the sometimes-lengthy environmental impact study process that precedes most building projects. Under the plan, city land was separated into 160-acre squares representing major habitats for local endangered species.

Click on the gallery to the right for a map showing the different "cells" established in Murrieta by MSHCP.

Murrieta joined Temecula, Hemet, Canyon Lake, Lake Elsinore and a number of other local governments in implementing the environmental plan, which calls for 500,000 acres of conservation area countywide.

The 1,960-acre Los Alamos Hills development, a loose-knit rural community located at the far north-east edge of the city, was identified in the plan as a key area for conservation, according to city documents. The city already owns 564 acres of open land in the community designated for wildlife conservation.

Under MSHCP, Los Alamos Hills property owners who choose to subdivide their plots could be forced to give up land to the city for conservation use, according to the resident protesters.

Diana Serafin, a 23-year Murrieta resident and activist who opposes MSHCP, said the plan amounted to "a land grab."

"(The city is) trying to take land without compensating the people, and it's going to affect all of us," Serafin said. "This is totally wrong."

A group of MSHCP opponents met earlier this year to strategize and consider their options in fighting the initiative. The group said the environmental plan was part of a larger global movement, spearheaded by the United Nations under their Agenda 21 initiative, designed to force people into highly-urbanized developments.

To read more about the group's concerns, .

Susan Marsh, leader of a local Tea Party group, told meeting attendees, "Agenda 21 wants to get you off your land, and move you to the city and stack you up."

Planned and in-progress projects in the city could face big delays if the council were to repeal MSHCP as the protesters want, according to a city report. Projects would still be required to meet environmental guidelines under state law, but would have to prepare costly new environmental impact reports to satisfy regulators. 

Infrastructure projects would be delayed, and Murrieta would lose $1.5 million in expected funding for improvement of the Los Alamos Road bridge over Interstate 15, the report detailed.

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