March Air Reserve Base – Perris Housing Project Proposed for Airport Zone

A proposed 341-acre residential development that airport officials have warned would pack too many homes too close to March Air Reserve Base will go to the City Council in two weeks.

Called Harvest Landing, the north Perris project would fill about 90 acres with businesses and build up to 1,860 housing units — a mix of single-family homes, condominiums, apartments and parks — within three to four miles of the base’s southern boundary.

The property is currently an expanse of wheat stretching from Interstate 215 east to Perris Boulevard and mostly south of Orange Avenue. The land has been farmed for decades by the Coudures family, which has owned it since the 1920s.

Perris Councilman Mark Yarbrough said that, because of March’s excellent safety record, he and other city officials think the project poses no safety risks despite the military planes frequently circling the area. He added that two Val Verde Unified School District campuses and housing tracts in other cities sit much closer to the base.

“This project by the book is on the tail end of any accident potential zones,” Yarbrough said.

In 2009, the Perris City Council cleared the path for development around March Air Reserve Base by rejecting development limits recommended by the Riverside County Airport Land Use Commission, the agency charged with guarding against overdevelopment around area airports and military air bases.

A year earlier, the Riverside County Airport Land Use Commission found that Harvest Landing would put too many homes per acre too close to the base’s “accident potential zones.”

Perris City Council members have defended the city’s right to shape its own destiny and questioned the science supporting current land-use restrictions that were created in 1984 and only allow one home per 2.5 acres near the base.

Since then, a coalition of officials from March and its neighboring cities called the March Joint Powers Authority has been crafting new development guidelines that would permit up to three homes per acre. The Harvest Landing project proposes more — up to 22 housing units per acre in some patches set aside for apartments.

Officials with the March Joint Powers Authority are proposing allowing the Harvest Landing project thought it wouldn’t abide by the new development restrictions in the works. Perris officials likely will vote on a development agreement for Harvest Landing before the new rules take effect, said John Guerin, a principal planner with the Riverside County Airport Land Use Commission.
(CalPilots Editor’s Note: The SOCAL area is well known for disregarding the avaliable airport land use compatibility guidelines, then blaming the airport.)

“The questions the city’s going to have to decide would be does the project result in a safety hazard to people on the ground or aircraft in flight?” Guerin said. “And will the project result in excessive aircraft noise exposure?”