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Assistant City Manager Talks About The Benefits Of Living in Temecula, CA

Dan Green
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Meet Greg Butler, Assistant City Manager of Temecula, California.

Tell us a little about yourself and why you choose to serve the City of Temecula?

I initially came to the City as a consulting bridge engineer overseeing the construction of two large bridge projects in 1998. I found the City to be well run, in a good financial situation with a very aggressive Capital Improvement Program. I started working for the City directly in 1999 overseeing the construction side of the Public Works Capital Improvement program.

I worked my way up to Director of Public Works in 2009, serving in that capacity until being appointed Assistant City Manager in 2013. The City has been and continues to be a great place to work as the culture within City Hall is that of mutual respect and support. The Council and staff all understand the role of a local government employee is to serve the citizens of the community. It is very rewarding to be a part of a team that routinely gets high marks in biannual citizen opinion surveys.

What do you enjoy most about Temecula?

Temecula’s small town feel and sense of community is what is valued the most by our residents and our staff, myself included. We’ve worked hard to maintain that character as we’ve grown into a more mature robust City of nearly 109,000.

Do you have a favorite local restaurant or eatery?

Temecula has many restaurants to choose from, providing every sort of cuisine you can imagine. I can’t narrow my favorite to a single one, but a few of my favorites include the Temecula Pizza Company, The Vail Ranch Steak House, The Public House and breakfast at the Swing Inn.

What does Temecula have to offer?

Temecula, known as Southern California Wine Country, was incorporated in 1989 as a small bedroom community. During Temecula’s early years, City leaders and residents engaged in a proactive community that has resulted in many significant accomplishments and cherished high quality of life. With vision, focus, planning and follow through, Temecula has evolved into an innovative, dynamic city and a regional economic powerhouse for Southwest Riverside County- all while retaining its small town feel and character even in the midst of strong population and economic growth.

A healthy and livable city is one that every person can appreciate- from a natural environment, economic and educational opportunities; access to arts & culture, religious, recreational and entertainment venues; and the ability to have a healthy and safe lifestyle. Temecula is a healthy city that displays high levels of civic pride, community engagement and a strong sense of place.

Temecula features 40 public parks with 315 acres of landscaped facilities for active and passive recreation, 3 public swimming pools, 27 tennis courts, 2 community centers, skate park, community garden, 2 libraries, community theater, children’s museum, senior center and history museum. We organize hundreds of special events for all ages throughout the year, including specific programs for Veteran’s, Seniors and those with special needs.

Temecula is within one hour drive of 22 private and public colleges and universities. California State University San Marcos at Temecula has recently expanded their program offerings and now offers various opportunities from an Accelerated Bachelors of Science in Nursing, Bachelors in Kinesiology, to a Bachelors and Master’s Degree in Business Administration. CSUSM’s recent partnership with Mt. San Jacinto Community College allows students to receive a Bachelor in Business Administration from a 2+2 program (2 years at MSJC and 2 years at CSUSM) – all classes are held in Temecula.

Temecula recently celebrated the one year anniversary of Temecula Valley Hospital, our first hospital built in city limits. The 140 bed hospital has been a welcome addition to our community and has spurred a flurry of new medical office constructed on adjacent properties.

Below lists a few additional Temecula highlights:

• Ranked one of America’s Safest Cities (per FBI Statistics)
• Retail Sales Tax Generation: Ranked 75 out of 539 entities in CA
• 1 of 60 Least Expensive Cities to Operate a Business in the US
• Temecula Valley Unified School District test scores in top 20% of CA
• Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community Award by the League of American Bicyclists

What is the most distinguishing characteristic of Temecula?

From our top notch school district, diverse shopping/dining options, our multi-faceted business park, to our beautiful master plan residential communities, Temecula is a premier City. There are two distinguishing characteristics that Temecula has 1) The City’s commitment to a high quality of life. You can literally see our commitment by driving around our well maintained and beautiful community. It has created a strong sense of place, therefore making it memorable and a major factor to our economic development. 2) Our caring community. Temecula’s residents, business owners, non-profits and community groups are friendly, involved and truly the back bone to Temecula’s success.

Why might a homebuyer want to consider Temecula?

Temecula has the right balance of small town feel and big city amenities. Temecula is the job center and retail core for Southwest Riverside County. Temecula also offers many desirable attributes for residents, such as community events and recreational activities along with an excellent school district. Last year the City of Temecula hired a 3rd party survey research firm to conduct a resident satisfaction survey. An overwhelming majority of respondents shared favorable opinions of Temecula’s quality of life. In fact, 95% of people surveyed rated Temecula’s quality of life as excellent or good. Our small town feel and community involvement ranked highest with 29% followed by our low crime rate (22%), cleanliness of city (21%) and quality of education (10.6%).

How would you describe the current housing market in Temecula, what is your outlook for the next few years?

For the month of July, the median home sales price in Temecula was $442,575, which is up 2% from this time last year. There are currently 527 homes for sale here in Temecula with an average of 61 days on the market. According to the Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors, the housing market remains positive as there is pent up demand coupled with home affordability and increased consumer confidence.

How would you describe the Temecula schools?

Temecula Valley Unified School District’s test scores rank in the top 20% of the state of California. Also, according to U.S. News and World Report’s annual list of the best schools, all three of Temecula’s public high schools were noted as one of the nation’s top high schools and received “silver” medals in 2014. TVUSD is the educational leader in terms of high school graduation rates and college preparedness for Southwest Riverside County.

Tell us about any notable developments which are currently underway, or planned for the near future which will be of interest to Temecula residents.

The City of Temecula continues to invest in public infrastructure- specifically building freeway interchanges. Fully funded and on track to go to bid by the end of the 2015 calendar year, the I-15 freeway/ Temecula Parkway off-ramp (SR-79 South) will modify the City’s most southerly interchange and will relieve traffic congestion.

New retailers and restaurants both trendy/upscale chains and local entrepreneurs continue to expand and grow throughout the City.

Various residential housing continues to be built. There is a diverse mix of housing stock; new detached single family homes in traditional neighborhoods are being constructed in a planned development called Roripuagh Ranch. A mix of apartments and condominiums are being constructed along Temecula Parkway/Margarita adjacent to large shopping centers for easy walkability to amenities. Altair, an estimated 1,500 unit higher density residential planned development located west of Old Town is also in the planning review process. Altair will transform the west side of the City, specifically Old Town.

The City is also working on Uptown Temecula, a specific plan that allows enhanced development opportunities for the oldest part of the City, Jefferson Ave, located just north of Old Town. Spanning a 3 mile stretch with over 300 acres of redevelopment opportunity, Uptown Temecula provides a long-term vision for Temecula’s future.

The City’s job base (non-retail) continues to grow. Within the past 18 months, the City has assisted/facilitated with a half dozen new company relocations and expansions creating over 300 jobs for the community.

What can a new or potential homeowner expect to witness in the next 5-10 years in Temecula?

Temecula remains committed to maintaining and enhancing our Quality of Life. Maintaining fiscal stability and planning ahead keeps our government foundation strong, thus allowing the City to continue to provide top notch public safety services and coveted hometown community events. Keeping our roads and public infrastructure in good condition is also a priority. Temecula residents and business owners will continue to see new opportunities/assistance in growing local businesses via our economic development programs; expanded higher educational opportunities and innovative arts/culture and health/social services programs and partnerships with local non-profits. In short, the best is yet to come!

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