The San Juan Bautista Strategic Plan Committee held its regular meeting to report on the progress of its subcommittees and to consider potential new members.
It was announced at the meeting that the city of San Juan had hired a new assistant planner, and committee members expressed the hope that he would be participating in their committee as did those who preceded him. It was also announced that committee member Dave Medeiros resigned from the committee, though he still intends to participate in the subcommittee work.
Here are recaps from each committee:
Arts, Culture, Recreation and Wellness Subcommittee:
Teresa Lavagnino reported that her group is working on improvements to the San Juan School recreation fields. She thanked Committee Chair John Freeman for his connection with San Benito County Water Resources Manager, Shawn Novak, who came out and assessed the watering needs for the fields and is looking into funds for sprinklers and timers. The group will be putting off planting and re-seeding the school’s sports field until next spring, due to the current drought and water restrictions. Novak was supportive of that decision and noted that there will be a big reduction in water use.
The San Benito County Board of Supervisors has set aside money for the San Juan School tennis court lights. There will be a request that the county split the funds between the Verutti Park project and the San Juan School sports field renovation. They will be requesting $12,500 of the $25,000 for each project.
Lavagnino invited everyone interested in improvements at Verutti Park, or to the school’s sports fields to attend the at the San Benito County Board of Supervisors Budget meeting on Monday, June 15 at 1:30 p.m. at the Board of Supervisors’ chambers in Hollister.
There was discussion about when the city was going to be able to utilize the reclaimed water system for irrigation. There seems to be difficulties with testing the water for suitability.
Agriculture, Environment and Land Use Subcommittee:
Jolene Cosio reported that there was concern about getting input from the Planning Commission about the signage at the gateways of the city. Discussion continued on a potential modification to the Draft General Plan after Wanda Guibert mentioned that the Department of Transportation (DOT) had guidelines for gateway signage. Guibert reported that there is a policy and a program for way-finding In the General Plan which needs to be consistent with the DOT guidelines and consistent with the branding of the the city. She also announced that a public hearing for the Draft EIR of the General Plan would be at the Community Center on June 17.
There was discussion about the legality of the left turn onto Highway 156 from Monterey Street because there was no acceleration lane. It was reported that the city had received a communication from the Council of Governments (COG) Interim Executive Director Mary Gilbert that it was legal, due to the traffic volume on the road.
Business, Development, Tourism Subcommittee:
Beverly Meamber reported that the trailer idea discussed at the previous meeting was presented to city council for discussion by Councilman Chris Martorana. The trailer would be used to promote San Juan.
At the merchants’ meeting, business owners were informed by the city manager about the updated sign ordinance. The merchants seemed, in general to be more aware of the sign ordinance. She reported that the San Juan Committee has joined the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce and that they likely have a location for an visitor center, which has not yet been announced. The San Juan Committee will receive $6,000 from the TOT money for the promotion of San Juan.
Donna Holmes reported that they had held their first meeting last week. She said the youth were very happy about an article in the paper in which they were each interviewed.
She shared that she had a good feeling for what they are each interested in. They had discussed the fact that summer is a tough time to schedule events. They are beginning the process of planning a soccer festival, for which they must get permits and find out what they are going to need. They are promoting the STAR program at El Teatro Campesino as something that kids can be involved in this summer.
There was discussion about what to do when adults approach kids about being involved in activities in terms of liability. She suggested that, since this was a new group, it would be helpful to have guidelines. It was suggested that this be a topic of discussion for the next Youth Subcommittee meeting and that the city manager be aware of any activities that are happening in terms of possible liabilities. It was recommended that the subcommittee look at the guidelines created by other cities to address such concerns.
Holmes reported that the San Juan Bautista Luck Library is having a two-week camp for kids ages 8-13 and Youth Commission participants may be assisting.
There was discussion about potential new members, in addition to the new assistant planner. Steve Eckman, a new San Juan resident who has purchased a historic home on Third Street, was present and expressed an interest in participating, though he was still trying to determine where he might best fit. He expressed his enthusiasm for living in a small town and hoped that he might be able to leave some sort of lasting legacy of his work in San Juan.
San Juan Bautista Strategic Plan Committee members in attendance were: Chairman John Freeman, Shawna Freels, Donna Holmes, Jolene Cosio, Wanda Guibert, Eric Gredassoff, Rachel Ponce, Beverly Meamber and Teresa Lavagnino. Steve Eckman was in attendance as a visitor.