Unknown upgrade costs delayed a Hollister City Council vote on a parking license agreement for future residents and patrons of the three-story, mixed-use building planned to occupy the lawn area of the 400 block.
Residents of the future condominiums would get 24 reserved parking spots in the Briggs Building car garage, with another 20 being allocated to future businesses.
The parking license agreement includes a monthly $15 fee per parking spot. The majority of the spots are located on the upper deck of the third floor and bottom deck of the fourth floor. The agreement states the fee will change based on the Consumer Price Index, which is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ measure of inflation.
Mary Paxton, program manager of Hollister’s Development Services Department, said at the Nov. 19 council meeting that the parking license agreement is a product of the 2016 development agreement between the Community Foundation for San Benito County, the City of Hollister and developers Del Curto Brothers Construction, Inc.
On Sept. 27 the Hollister Planning Commission approved the design for a new foundation headquarters and the mixed-use residential/commercial building.
The first floor of the mixed-use building, planned for the corner of Fourth and San Benito streets, is expected to include a restaurant, six commercial units and a lobby.
The 400 block project has been controversial, with some community members joining Mayor Ignacio Velazquez in blocking the development with a petition and asking the City Council to allow the residents to vote on it. While the petition prompted the council to place a referendum on the ballot, they later repealed the referendum after State Attorney General Xavier Becerra ruled in April that the resolution to sell the 400 block property for development could not be subject to a referendum.
After stating that residents would have voted against the project if given the opportunity, District 2 Councilmember-elect Rolan Resendiz said the issue was being rushed and that it’s “highly questionable” that the city is taking away public parking spots.
Resendiz said he was also concerned that the fees would not be enough to cover parking maintenance and wondered whether there would be security.
Former mayor Gordon Machado, who ran for the position again on Nov. 6 and lost to Velazquez, said there have been misunderstandings about the parking garage, and that the federal government instructed the city to build the structure for the eventual development of the 400 block.
District 4 Councilmember-elect Marty Richman said his concern was with the lack of information in the staff report, a typical document included for every item in the meeting agenda packet. He said it needed to address the condominium residents’ ability to drive in and out of the garage at night since it’s closed at that time. He also said that the public, if they are charged for parking in the future, should not pay more than the Community Foundation.
Richman also said he didn’t know the appropriate fee amount, but felt $15 was not enough. He said he would have liked to see a detailed report of what percentage of the condominium parking covered the costs to operate the garage.
Paxton addressed Richman’s concerns and said the firm that installed the parking garage door told the city that it was a matter of installing a card reader, keypad or a device similar to a garage door opener to allow night access. Regarding the fee, Paxton said the revenue from parking fees was less than the maintenance costs, but the city landed on the $15 fee because of the lease with Gavilan College. She later clarified the community college pays for maintenance in areas where they have classrooms or administration offices like the Briggs Building.
City Manager Bill Avera said the city uses the revenue from the lease agreement to maintain the building and would take advantage of the construction of the mixed-use building to do “major rehab” on the Briggs Building. Avera said that included a paint job and upgrading the elevator’s hydraulics.
Councilman Karson Klauer asked Avera to find out what costs the condos residents would add to the garage operation after it’s closed to the public.
“I don’t see any reason why anyone else should pick up those costs,” Klauer said.
Councilwoman Carol Lenoir, a former Briggs Building manager, said the biggest cost was security until they installed security cameras.
Klauer and Councilman/District 4 Supervisor-elect Jim Gillio said they needed the costs before they could vote on the parking license agreement.
The item is expected to be brought back to the council as early as Dec. 3.
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