The Riverside County Planning Commission approved the conditional use permit for the Idyllwild Community Center site. The commission vote was unanimous, although it did add one additional condition to the CUP.

After several months of delay and unexpected postponements, the San Jacinto Mountain Community Center board, led by President Janice Lyle, has obtained the approval for its plans.

The county’s board of supervisors must also approve the amended CUP and that is expected to be on the board’s agenda after New Year’s.

Presenting the plan to the commission, Principal Planner Larry Ross recommended that the commission adopt the mitigated negative declaration and approve the CUP. 

Ross described the project and the SJMCC’s plans to develop the site in four phases. The first phase — site development with parking and an amphitheater — is fully funded, Lyle told the commission.

Among the numerous local residents attending the meeting in support of the project was Pete Capparelli, who said, “We finally have the opportunity to have a community center and recreation in Idyllwild. The last building for this purpose was built in 1946, and just about everything is substandard now. We’re at the 99-yard line and hope you’ll support us.”

However, the local support was not unanimous. Ann Humber, Sue Nash and Tom Paulek all spoke solemnly and grimly in opposition to the plan’s approval.

Humber who lives across Strawberry Creek was concerned that the noise from the amphitheater’s concerts would be highly disturbing and disruptive. In response, the commission added a new condition requiring additional landscaping along the creek to create a greater noise buffer for residents on the other side of Strawberry Creek.

Nash and Paulek raised issues regarding the legality of the county’s approval and review process, public input and several environmental challenges, especially about the availability of water.

After the commission vote, Lyle said, “I’m really happy and very pleased.”

JP Crumrine can be reached at [email protected].