The City of Calimesa was incorporated on December 1, 1990 and is a “General Law” City. It is governed by a Council-Manager form of government. The five-member City Council is directly elected to staggered, four-year terms. The city is not comprised of districts or wards and the Council members are therefore elected on an "at-large" basis and the Mayor is elected annually by a vote of the Council. The Council is responsible for policy development and appoints a City Manager to oversee policy implementation and overall City operations.
Pursuant to the 2020 Census, Calimesa's population is approximately 10,026 and encompasses 14.8 square miles. It is located in the northwestern portion of Riverside County, between Yucaipa and Beaumont. It is within the Yucaipa Valley section of Southern California's Inland Valley, and at the western edge of the San Gorgonio Pass between San Bernardino and Palm Springs. Calimesa is located in the region known as the Inland Empire, which covers San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Situated within the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, at an elevation of 2,392 feet, the city enjoys cooler temperatures and cleaner air than its neighbors, yet is located in the center of a growing population with excellent transportation access. Residents enjoy small town living with easy access to big city amenities. The area is rural and light urban in nature characterized by agriculture, open space, single family residential and general commercial. The population is somewhat older than average, is predominantly Caucasian, and generally lives in owner-occupied housing.
While the City values its open space, it also welcomes thoughtful growth. Four major residential subdivisions were approved before the economic turn in 2007 that will add thousands of homes to the City in the future: Summerwind Ranch (PDF), Mesa Verde Estates (PDF), Heritage Oaks (PDF), and JP Ranch (PDF). There is ample commercial land available (PDF) for development ranging from neighborhood shopping to a regional lifestyle center to free-standing big box stores:
To encourage economic growth, the City commissioned a Downtown Business District Market Analysis Report (PDF) in addition to a Retail Positioning and Market Analyst Report (PDF) in 2009 to document the retail leakage occurring in the community. In addition, the Calimesa Redevelopment Agency will partner with a major retailer to the extent possible to encourage significant new retail experiences in the City. Incentives can range from expedited entitlement processing to waiver of fees to assistance with public infrastructure.