Whitewater, CA: Residents in an uproar over proposed Jail

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with CELLing Realty CalBRE #01445865

A $300 Million Dollar Jail in Whitewater's Backyard has the 200+ Residents in an uproar. We didn't know about this proposed Jail until the latter part of September.  An emergency meeting was called for residents to try to get some of their questions answered, but actually there are more questions than answers.  Apparently the County was going to do a "Presentation" to the Residents, but the jail plan was found out before this official "presentation" was given.

 Whitewater Jail

 

 

 

"It's right in the middle of the county,"  Marion Ashley said of the site of the proposed jail in White Water. "It's just an ideal spot because if we didn't choose it, we would have to build a new jail in the western portion of the county and a new one in the eastern portion." That was his response, and what has many Residents writing letters, signing petitions, and driving to the Tuesday Supervisors meetings in Riverside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Currently Banning has a Jail, The Larry D. Smith Correctional Facilityy (the old Banning Road Camp)., and the County has approved around 600 additional beds to that facility.  Banning is just down the road from Whitewater, about 15 minutes west. So all of the 6,000+ beds that are needed in the County will be within 15 minutes of each other.  Our Backyard....Whitewater.

 

Several Whitewater Residents have gone to the weekly Supervisors Meeting in Riverside to voice their concerns.  Although all the Supervisors agree that our area is perfect for their jail, they didn't notify current Residents.  When asked about why no one was notified the answer was:  Whitewater is an unincorporated area, and they don't have to notify anyone unless they live within 500 feet of the proposed  jail project. Bottom line Whitewater "jail" already had Architectural Drawings, an EIR (Environmental Impace Report) either completed or in process,  and before any Residents even knew about the plans for a jail, the process of approval  appeared to be well on its way.

 Residents don't want a jail in Whitewater, CA

 

 


The proposed Whitewater jail site is an appx. 140 acre county owned site right on the main Street, Tamarack, the only ingress and egress for  Residents of Friendly Estates.


These Residents and all the School Children would have to pass this jail several times a day. The Residents of this section of  Whitewater only have one way in, and one way out....and that is from the Haugen-Lehmann exit off the I-10 Freeway, or the  frontage road that runs on the south side of the Freeway.

 

 

 

 

Road to proposed new jail site in Whitewater Ca

 

The jail traffic, resident traffic, school transportation, and construction traffic would be using that one intersection Haugen Lehmann and Tamarack.  There are no sidewalks for the kids or pedestrians, and hopefully the County will pay for some of the  local neglected infrastructure to help mitigate the effects of this jail on the residents of Whitewater.

 

We hope that the traffic portion of the EIR (Environmental Impact Report) is seriously looked at, and if the county is dead set on putting their jail in our backyard, let's find some ways to help mitigate the effects of this.

 

 

 


A few of the concerns from residents that have written letters are (in no particular order):


  • The Lights from a 24/7 Facility of this size will ruin the Desert Sky Viewing-it's beautiful out here for stargazing, and many of the Nocturnal Desert Animals and fowl would be adversely affected.
  • Ingress and Egress- Tamarack is the only way in or out of Whitewater for the families that live off Rushmore.  There are 2 distinct areas that would be the most affected by building this jail.  Residents wanted to know why the County can't build a new exit off the Freeway at Rushmore.  In the past there have been people that tore down the fence to the Morongo Indian Reservation to try to get out in an emergency.
  • Property Values- People are concerned that their property will decrease in value even more than it has right now, in this economy.
  • Why Doesn't the County build their jail in Eagle Mountain- there are already 1500 homes and a school that are abandoned.  Eagle Mountain is about 12 miles N. of Desert Center.
  • When did the County buy the additional 100 acres  - Apparently the County owned 37 acres (not verified) and assembled more land for this jail that supposidly isn't approved?
  • Concern over Water Shortage, Sewage, and Fire- Cabazon just built a new Fire Station but that is still a distance away, and  this is a desert....we have to conserve water.
  • Why didn't Home Purchasers get any type of Disclosure about this plan from Real Estate Agents-  We couldn't disclose what we didn't know, and what was never verified.  The Rumors I heard  was the jail was to be built in Cabazon.
  • Dumping Criminals in our Backyard- The Banning Jail has been releasing inmates in the community, and Whitewater Residents are afraid that this new "Hub Jail" will do the same thing.  The difference is this Jail is supposed to have a reported 7,000 beds at build-out, which means more releases, not counting anyone that might escape.
  • A large jail in White Water would affect the Gateway to the Desert- who wants to see a large jail right off the 10 freeway going to Palm Springs, Palm Desert, and the other communities of the Coachella Valley.
  • Safety for Children at Bus Stops- children are going to school, and standing at bus stops in the dark ( in the Winter) with no lights, benches, or shelter and unknown people coming in and out of the community. 

 

 

A Jail in Whitewater........if you ask the residents they will say "Not in my Backyard!"

Comments (27)

Mara Hawks
First Realty Auburn - Auburn, AL
Inactive-2012 REALTOR - Homes for Sale Auburn Real Estate, AL

Oh Kathy, what a terrible place for a jail...maybe they should just STOP the crime and that will be then end of it!

Oct 22, 2008 12:42 PM
Kathy McGraw
CELLing Realty - White Water, CA
Riverside County CA Real Estate

Carole- Honestly I thought this jail was going on the other side of the freeway, a few miles west.  I was shocked to learn about this, and even more shocked that even if it's the letter of the law, it wasn't in the spirit to not notify residents.

Your question about people having to be released to someone- the answer is no.

Bill- thank you....I hope the County listens and at minimum helps mitigate some things and actually puts a few dollars into the community.  Whitewater has been neglected for many many years.  Only recently they have had code enforcement, and Sheriffs patrolling.  Before that it was a neglected community.

Oct 22, 2008 12:48 PM
Kat DeLong
Realty ONE Group Mountain Desert - Prescott, AZ
REALTOR

Kathy: Maybe they should open Alcatraz again for the HARDENED Criminals and 3 Strikers. From all I've heard about that place when it was ran, those creeps did NOT get pampered.  They were NOT even allowed to whistle or sing.   Oh, God, get me off my soap box.

 

Oct 22, 2008 12:57 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Kathy about 20 years ago they proposed a new prison here in the town that I live in.  Residence came out against it for many reasons, with the main one being that we were already the home for most of the states needs in other areas and did not need another or want another state facility in our town, especially a prison.  I was Vice President of the group that lead the charge against it, and the only reason that we were able to stop it is that we discovered that the location that they were going to build it was on top of our aquifer protection zone.  Apparently the state in all their studies had ignored that, but once we made it known it was the end of the prison.

Oct 22, 2008 01:42 PM
Kathy McGraw
CELLing Realty - White Water, CA
Riverside County CA Real Estate

Kat- I visited Alcatraz....that was some Prison.  Someone that wrote one of the letters wanted to know why they didn't do a tent city.  I have heard of these, and if they did that then they could go further East and set up in an area that isn't developing.  There are plenty of places out here in the desert....like further over by Chirico Summit...no development there :)

 

George- So, you were successful, that should give the residents some hope.  I don't know if that would be the case on this land, but it's worth checking.  I'm going to mail you.

Oct 22, 2008 02:45 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Kathy, Seems that many towns have not much respect for their residents anymore and I'm so sorry to believe that.  To me it's also unbelievable that they just set them free.......

Oct 22, 2008 03:25 PM
Kathy McGraw
CELLing Realty - White Water, CA
Riverside County CA Real Estate

Carole- Reality isn't always as we would like it to be :)

Oct 22, 2008 04:03 PM
Renae Bolton
Marketing 4 Realtors - Garfield Heights, OH
I'm your Professional Real Estate Marketing VA!

Interesting. We voted against our city building another jail here as well. They wanted to build a jail with an ungodly amount of amenities, also in the middle of the city. I just don't get it. First of all, isn't jail supposed to be a bad place to go? Why then would the inmates receive free cable and basketball courts the size of an NBA stadium?  And chefs from some of the finest hotels around? One of our jails here as a "recreation room" for every 6 cells. The rec room has games, a big screen TV, lounges, etc. And this isn't a minimum security jail either.  Second, why would you place a jail right in the center of your communities? Again, I don't get it.  Maybe it's just me though.

~Renae

Oct 23, 2008 05:11 AM
Kathy McGraw
CELLing Realty - White Water, CA
Riverside County CA Real Estate

Renae- I loved your question "Isn't jail supposed to be a bad place to go?"  Wow, jail must have really changed if they have good chefs, Rec. rooms for every 6 cells, etc.  To be fair this Jail isn't in the middle of a Residential area at this point, but it is right in the middle of Whitewater...Tamarack is an E/W St. that connects 2 residential to the other areas of Whitewater.All the Residents including school children will have to pass this jail-there are no other options at all.

Did your jail get built, and if not why not.....the Whitewater Jail proponents need all the help they can get with info.  And you guessed it....I wrote this so they could get more ideas, and exposure to help mitigate some of the concerns whether they're in an Official Presentation or not.

Oct 23, 2008 11:58 AM
Ann Hayden 636-399-7544
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties-St. Louis Missouri - Chesterfield, MO
SelectAnn.com

Kathy,

All I can say is, keep fighting for what you want.  Eventually maybe they will listen.

Ann

Oct 23, 2008 03:20 PM
Kathy McGraw
CELLing Realty - White Water, CA
Riverside County CA Real Estate

Ann- thanks...there are several people that are trying to gather info, and see what they can do.  I am just doing my part in getting the info out.

Oct 23, 2008 06:02 PM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Kathy -- what types of offenders do they plan to have housed at this jail?  I think you have summarized the concerns in a concise, easy to understand fashion.  Keep us posted on what is happening.  It doesn't appear all of the concerns have been addressed at this point.

Oct 24, 2008 03:47 AM
Kathy McGraw
CELLing Realty - White Water, CA
Riverside County CA Real Estate

Joan- This jail would have all types of offenders.  People that end up in Prison start off in Jail, this is the first stop.  I know the Larry D. Smith Jail has people that got arrested while Drunk Driving while traveling through the area, as well as everything else.  One concern is that the County has not been forthright in this process....and their reply was  they hadn't done their "presentation"yet.  And you're right, there are a lot of concerns that haven't been addressed.

Oct 24, 2008 04:20 AM
Renae Bolton
Marketing 4 Realtors - Garfield Heights, OH
I'm your Professional Real Estate Marketing VA!

Unfortunately, our jail was built, right on the outskirts of downtown.  I don't know why it was built in spite of vigorous protestations.

I think with the uprising of "legal rights," the bad guys are treated better than we do.  They've got so many rights that their rights put them in a higher tax bracket than the rest of us.  It affords them luxuries that many hard-working, law-abiding citizens can't afford.  And to me, that's just sad.

~Renae

Oct 24, 2008 08:31 AM
Ann Hayden 636-399-7544
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties-St. Louis Missouri - Chesterfield, MO
SelectAnn.com

Kathy,

I wish you good luck in getting the word out.  I also hope it does not fall on deaf ears...

Ann

Oct 24, 2008 03:15 PM
Todd Clark
eXp Realty LLC - Tigard, OR
Principle Broker Oregon

I can certainly understand their concern with having the jail right in the middle of town. I've never understood why they don't build these things out in desert where there are no homes for miles. Area 51, looks like a nice area to build a lot of prisons!

Todd Clark, Helping Families Home - www.IFoundYourNewHome.com

Oct 24, 2008 11:58 PM
Kathy McGraw
CELLing Realty - White Water, CA
Riverside County CA Real Estate

Renae- I think you said it well, with the litigation over "rights" many people have it better in jail and prison than in the community.  Don't get me wrong I think having someone tell you when you can do anything and just being locked behing a gate is enough for me.......that keeps me following the rules.  And that was what jail was a long time ago.....somewhere you didn't want to go to.  Now, heck it stilll takes some of your rights away, but not all.

So how has your jail affected property values.....that's what all of out here want to know.  We've been hit pretty hard these past 2 years.

Ann-Oh thank you Ann.....just getting the word out helps.  And it is very helpful that several people including George have already fought this battle.  This will be good for others to see. 

Todd-I think that's what the County thought they were doing putting the jail out in the Desert....problem is Development and Affordable Housing came to Whitewater while they were planning this jail location.  Seems like updating their info might have been a good idea, if they didn't do it that is.

Oct 25, 2008 03:55 AM
Anonymous
Concerned

Area is near a major earthquake fault?  Such an event would possibly expose residents to escaped inmates, as well as tax the local rescue resources with such a large number that would possibly need aid.  Other areas in the county would not have the earthquake issue to this degree.

Dec 31, 2008 05:58 AM
#25
Kathy McGraw
CELLing Realty - White Water, CA
Riverside County CA Real Estate

Concerned- Yes the jail is by a najor fault.  This is a good point to look in the EIR for, and ask the county at the meeting on the 8th.

Jan 04, 2009 07:51 AM
Anonymous
white water land owner

If all we hear is how many people there are in riverside county that need to be locked up and crime is always at an all time high. Put someone else in charge that can do something positive. You spend one fourth the money your puttin' into the prison into the schools instead, you'll have less need for prisons. this place is quiet we don't need any of your complications, dangers and problems it will bring. I've heard very little about this matter and only in the last 9 to 12 months.

Mar 17, 2010 09:26 AM
#27