The Shopoff Group wants us to believe they are interested in improving our community with their Gateway Warehouse. Mr. Ashley believes the project, as presented by William Shopoff and his Shopoff Group (TSG), can improve our lives. Our elected officials, who are supposed to serve us, some who now sit on Supervisor Ashley's Gateway Review Committee, have put the interests and the wishes of their citizens aside for now. They want to give Mr. Shopoff the benefit of the doubt and take a look at all the facts before they make a decision to endorse or condemn the 2.5 million square foot warehouse.
If you have any doubts about Mr. Shopoff's true intentions, let him tell you in his own words. Go to the following link and watch a ten minute interview published 5 days before the Gateway Review Committee held their first meeting and 3 days before our School Board put my children's interests behind the priority of a warehouse.
Did you watch it? Did you hear him say his company is only interested in adding value to land through rezoning? Did you hear him say The Shopoff group stays out of construction? William Shopoff told you in his own words that his intent is to rezone and repackage property and sell for profit.
What does this mean for Cherry Valley and the Pass? It means TSG can say or promise anything to the County and Marion Ashley's Committee to get the land rezoned. After TSG has done all the heavy lifting of the zoning change the next developer will be happy to pay a premium to TSG and then may or may not complete the improvements obligated to our community and the County by TSG.
You might think any obligated improvements made to the County of Riverside by Shopoff would be enforceable on future owners but there is nothing preventing the new owner from applying to the County for a different deal. Since the hard part, the zoning change, would have already been completed, there would be much less public scrutiny and an easier path to approval. You can read about such a case the Shopoff Properties Trust was involved with through their Lake Elsinore holding company's purchase and sale of the Winchester Ranch. The Gateway property will likely change hands more than once until the right developer makes the right deal with the county.
The Calimesa City Council and The Beaumont Unified School Board have decided to wait for the details of Shopoff's project before deciding to take a stand. Superintendent Ashley has asked the community, and his elected colleagues, to let the committee evaluate the details and then make a recommendation. Since Shopoff's only concern is the zoning change for their "entitlements" and quick sale, it doesn't really matter what he promises. For example they could even promise a bridle path and never have to deliver.
Once again I question the leadership in the Pass. If the Calimesa City Council and Beaumont Unified School Board wait to protect their citizens and our kids until they see detailed plans, plans that are likely to change with each successive owner, the zoning change will go through. Then, it will be too late to stop a future industrial project regardless of how bad the details might be.
Mr. Ashley, his staff, and the County officials are wrong when they tell us they can’t consider the zoning change separate of Shopoff’s project. This is not a packaged deal to The Shopoff Group. Mr. Shopoff and his group have no intentions of ever building this project and, if they are interested in the quick turnaround, they aren't going to make too many conditions on any future buyers. That's not what a new developer will be paying a premium for, they will pay a premium for the zoning and "packaging" of the project. William Shopoff told us so, in his own words.