Thursday, April 1, 2010

Meeting to rebuild the Old Waste Water Treatment Plant


Follow-up comments from the 3/31/2010 meeting.

No April Fool, last night there was a joint study session of our City Council, Planning Commission and the Economic Committee to discuss what direction our city might take to begin to thinking about developing the Old Waste Water Treatment Plant one square block, located on Beach Boulevard in West Sharp Park. And, the joint session consensus seems to be to move forward with a "highest and best" use study, which includes not only the site but also the area.

All this sounds so logical, a step forward in the backdrop of an election year where Councilmember called the meeting. Researched and stated by Commissioner William Leon: 20 years, 13 proposals. Whereas, Councilmember DeJarnatt continues to insist "no one is interested in the property." It may be true that no formal regulatory agreement to build was completed, but there have been plenty of interested parties, including the 13 proposals and more.

The "highest and best use" discussion included logical assumptions of a suitable site for a hotel, restaurants, a business or mixed-use anchor compatibility with an improved Palmetto Avenue business location.

Citizen follow-up comments included several constructive suggestions leading to the need for this city to sustain itself economically. These comments were generally compatible and consistent with those of the joint study officials. Also suggested for "highest and best use" was the Ocean Discovery Center http://www.oceandiscoverycenter.org/ about.htm previously rejected in 1997 in favor of a hotel development by Barry Swenson Builder http://www.barryswensonbuilder.com/. Some of you may recall the city accepted an ongoing financial retainer from Barry Swenson project for 5 years then dropped the builder, as Councilmember DeJarnatt put it "contract terminated." Moving forward lets hope that the Old Waste Water Treatment Plant is developed as a productive commercial asset for the benefit of West Sharp Park and the entire Pacifica community.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the write-up, Kathy.

Can someone explain what "highest and best use" means in this context? I mean, it obviously has some sort of special bureaucratic meaning, because to this layman's thinking, what's the alternative, "average and mediocre use?" ha.

For the record, I think it's a spectacular location and very, very special care should be taken in considering what goes there. I think it would be a travesty to use the site for some non-income generating City Hall Super Site.

Would the ocean discovery center generate revenue? God, I hope so.

Lois said...

Can't help myself. Let's put the council members in the building and let them have their council meetings there with maybe a coffee shop where people can sit and watch the ocean. Although, according to Vreeland, it is not ocean front property.

Highest and best use means putting something on the property that will generate income to the City. City Hall? where people come and try to get permits to build something or add to their property?

Sickening. I hope something good actually happens there. I love Pacifica and own property in Pacifica and only want good things for Pacifica. Although I have flown the coop for warmer weather, I have a vested interest in Pacifica.

Steve Sinai said...

I thought the Ocean Discover Center was a good idea when it was first proposed about a dozen-or-so years ago, and I even contributed $50 to the cause, but it was abandoned after people started to realize the city was going to have to subsidize it.

Lance said...

Like a train wreck, I couldn't restrain myself from watching a replay Thursday nite of this meeting. The hubris of The Vreelander is unbelievable. Mayor Sue opens the meeting, then Vreemeister lets all know that he called the meeting to form a new committee to study the site. BARF OUT!!! Not once did it come up that he berated council into spending in excess of $250,000 to study the feasablility of putting city hall on the site so he could have his phallus for all to see with a bronze plaque on it. Planning Commissioner Nathansan, thank god, pointed out that an impartial highest and best use study of what would actually work on that site and generate some economic value for this town is the correct direction to pursue. Seemed this was the desired path to pursue until vreelicious decided to make a political stump out of it. Once again, wasted time, money, and energy. I'm glad to say it seemed that the balance of the council, commission, and EDC committee were in agreement with that proposal. Then guess what? It was now exactly what Little Jimmi wanted all along. Holy Toledo!!! Nathansan didn't look all too pleased with Vree. Can this town really afford another election year with the Vreemeister's grand plans and studies?

Steve Sinai said...

A morgue seems practical at the moment.

Don't shoot the appraiser said...

Remember City Hall would not release the appraisal for this property!!!

Many people requested the appraisal to see the highest and best use.

Remember Pete and Jimmy V. saying how unsafe the current City Hall is.

More BS and studies the Council never listen too..

I call BS!!!

Kathy Meeh said...

Loved the at the meeting comment by William Martin. To city council "you are the worst possible neighbors..the building is an eyesore..tear it down...want to develop it...put a For Sale out..someone will buy it and develop it". As EDC member Sue Vaterlaus responded to a Councilmember comment prior: if you want someone to buy the property "you have to ask".

My opinion, the Ocean Discovery Center is a project for GGNRA property-- nice but not viable for this city, because this city is already the victim of 8 years inadequate and incompetent economic planning by this city council. Plus what about the neighborhood?

In addition to highest and best use of ocean front property, this 1 square block area is also part of a neighborhood and should anchor and enhance the Palmetto commercial district.

Kathy Meeh said...

I am scaring myself. I am starting to make sense!

don peebles left nut said...

vreeland, hall, leone, curtis, dejarnatt . . . were the biggest roadblocks to developing that site and now after wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars they need a study session to extract their heads from their asses? these fools will never put anything there, more smoke and mirrors.

don peebles right nut said...

@ don peebles left nut:

Who's that prick in the middle?

Kathy Meeh said...

Comment, 12:37 PM above is not me.

And, if you're the same weasel hiding in the shadows making unseemly comments this afternoon maybe Merriam-Webster can help you "start to make sense" of you you are: DEFINITION OF WEASEL.

"I'm starting to make sense!" Thanks.

Lionel Emde said...

"I thought the Ocean Discover Center was a good idea when it was first proposed about a dozen-or-so years ago, and I even contributed $50 to the cause, but it was abandoned after people started to realize the city was going to have to subsidize it."

Steve,
It was the only good idea I ever saw for the property. My recollection is that what the ODC asked from the city was a one-year agreement to back the ODC in its efforts to obtain money through grants, etc. It would have cost the city nothing, but without their imprimatur, no one would have taken ODC seriously and looked at grant proposals. It's sort of like the $75,000 that the city has funded the Resource Center with; it's multiplied times over because granting agencies want to see the city's committment.
There was lots of money floating around ten years ago, but not now. A great shame on that do-nothing council majority of that day.

Mitch Reid said...

"I thought the Ocean Discover Center was a good idea when it was first proposed about a dozen-or-so years ago, and I even contributed $50 to the cause, but it was abandoned after people started to realize the city was going to have to subsidize it."

Steve,

I would like to personally thank you for your generous contribution to the PODC at the time.

Lionel painted a fairly accurate picture of the situation at the time. We were turned down at the time because we were told "Swenson can write a millon dollar check today". Which he never did, and in fact wanted the city to give him the property. The City was to receive revenue from the hotel tax it would bring in.

We wanted an option on the property so we could raise funds, without it and commitment from the City we could not do capital fundraising. We never asked the City to subsidize the project.

We offered a three phase development that would put the property in use in the first phase. The financial analysis by Oppenheim Lewis showed that we would be successful and the property would have been paid off by 2010. Oh well.

Thanks again to our supporters
Best fishes for the future.

Steve Sinai said...

Thanks for the info, Mitch. You can probably give credit to Barry Snitovsky, who was helping me buy my house at the time, and got me interested in the PODC. I thought a unique project like that would have been perfect for Pacifica.

You're right in that I don't remember anyone actually asking the city for money for the PODC, but I do (vaguely) remember speculation about the project not being self-sustaining and that the city would likely need to contribute to the operation at some point. Whether that would have happened - who knows?

I remember it because it's what caused me to go from a being a supporter to being ambivalent.