SJB council postpones dog park decision, approves cannabis consultant

City to continue consideration of adding dog facility at Abbe Park; Victor Gomez adds another local government agency to his cannabis consultancy
dog park.jpg
Victor Gomez. File photo.
Victor Gomez. File photo.

A corner of Abbe Recreation Park proposed for a dog park will remain a youth sports field for now after the San Juan Bautista City Council postponed a decision on the new use pending more input from citizens.

City Manager Roger Grimsley said the cost of securing the area for a dog park would be $2,970 to cover a spring gate, dog waste stations and an identification sign.  

Councilman Dan DeVries, in support of the installation of a dog park, mentioned the high cost of dog playthings. He spoke to a local contractor who he said agreed to build something and wouldn’t charge for the work.

That brought up the issue of litigation if a dog was injured, but DeVries didn’t see that as a problem, while others questioned it.

Councilman Tony Boch raised the issue of the deed restriction on the property, saying the park was given to the city for recreational use. 

Boch also said he didn’t see why the city should spend the money when half of the people who would use a dog park wouldn’t clean up after their dog.

Councilman John Freeman agreed with Boch, saying that children play T-ball in that part of the park.

DeVries said children could warm up in another part of the park, and he added that the dog park would be good for the city, bringing folks off of the highway to use it.

San Juan resident Rachel Ponce and others in the audience mentioned that the small part of the park is used for little ones, to prepare for the Junior Giants baseball program.

A few other dissenters addressed the council until Mayor Chris Martorana said he had a serious concern, and asked the staff to contact all organizations to find if they would be using the T-ball field. The action item was the continued to the next meeting. 

Cannabis consultant

Former Hollister City Councilman Victor Gomez of Pinnacle Strategy was approved as the city’s consultant on cannabis policy for an amount not to exceed $9,000 for nine months, an agreement similar to the ones he has with the city of Hollister and county of San Benito.

Gomez received positive comments from several council members, an audience member and City Attorney Deborah Hall.

DeVries said Gomez was hired because “We, as a city don’t really know what to do” regarding cannabis policy.

Gomez said he was trying to stay in the time frame that the State of California installs its ordinance on Jan.1, 2018, but, according to Martorana, the council needed more time to make a determination on policy, therefore, the cannabis issue will be brought back to the to the next council meeting. 

 Sheriff’s report

Sgt. Adam Lobdell of the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office gave a report on the hours of work the deputies have put in covering San Juan, which were 187 in May and 168 in June. 

There were 738 activities for deputies in the city of San Juan Bautista during the past month, and Lobdell stated that the department is implementing a better tracking system, with some historical data to be entered into the system.

Complaints were made about automobiles coming off of the intersection Highway 156 to Highway 101. 

Freeman said he had heard that Google Maps directs cars away from the high-traffic areas.

Lobdell said he knows of the situation, and he and other deputies have received complaints regarding that intersection.

People not wanting to get into the traffic that is often backed up on 156 will bypass that intersection and drive on the back roads east of San Juan, which are now causing other traffic concerns with speeding and tying up traffic in those locations, Lobdell noted.

During another discussion, Councilman DeVries mentioned a seminar he attended, where he learned that Cal Trans does not have plans for that intersection. 

 City manager search

In a discussion item, it was agreed the hiring of a new city manager to replace the retiring Roger Grimsley would allow a 60-day window to receive applications. The screening of applicants will take place at the end of August, with the hiring start date, designated for Oct. 15. 

 Impact fees

Regarding impact fees, which are charged to developers or home-buyers when new properties are added, Freeman and Vice Mayor Jim West were appointed an ad hoc committee to research all areas of concern and bring back to the council at next meting.

Freeman brought a proposed change in the fee structure to the previous meeting. The fees are established based on the impacts on the projected development and the facilities for which they are imposed. 

"We don't want this to go on forever," said Freeman. 

Other items

Other action items that were approved included a social media policy for the city, a city logo design and the design for the website revision. 

Social media will be managed by staff, including the website and other sites to maintain transparency.

















































































































BenitoLink Staff