Government / Politics

Timeframe to receive proposals to develop 400 block extended 90 days

City council extends time to receive proposals to develop the lot at the corner of Fourth and San Benito streets in downtown Hollister
Ruben Lopez asked the council to consider naming the 400 Block after Marley Holte.
Marty Richman said it's a mistake to publish development proposals too early in process.
Councilman Karson Klauer said there will continue to be shortage of multi-family housing in Hollister.

Four members of the city council members voted Jan. 19 to extend the time period for the request for proposals 90 days to develop the 400 block in downtown Hollister and continue the item to the March 21 meeting. Mayor Ignacio Velazquez recused himself because of his ownership of The Vault, which is located adjacent to the property.

The original request for an extension was 45 days. Councilman Raymond Friend wanted to know if there was more than the one proposal submitted.

“We do know that there is a least one other person considering this and the proposal that was submitted, due to the holidays, they explained they had a difficult time packaging the proposal so the request is for at least 45 days,” said Mary Paxton, program manager for the city’s Development Services Department. “We have discussed with the other party a request for 90 days.”

When Friend asked Paxton if she was requesting a 45-day extension, she responded, “Unless it’s the pleasure of the council to extend that to 90 days.”

City Manager Bill Avera assured Friend that the department wasn’t asking for anything other than an extension and said if the council wanted it to be 90 days the staff was OK with that and would like to have the clarification as part of the motion.

Counciilwoman Mickie Solorio Luna wanted assurance that more than one organization was expected to make a bid. Paxton said the original request for propoal was emailed to some 30 individuals and if the extension was granted it would be sent again. Friend recommended the 90-day extension.

Public comments

Darin DelCurto said he had submitted a proposal and would like to have an extension of 60-90 days.

“We want to propose a first-class project as it is the gateway to downtown,” he said. “We’re going to need at least that much time to put our renderings together. I also wanted to bring up in the list of potential tenants that we submitted listed Community Foundation of San Benito County. There was a missed communication so they won’t be one of the potential tenants.”

Keith Snow wanted to read the details of the proposals and was reminded by Friend that the business at hand was an extension so more proposals could be submitted.

Paxton said, “The request for proposal does clarify that it should be a building at least two stories and should be for a catalyst project to stimulate new economic development activity in downtown Hollister, and they would need to acquire all of the property.”

Snow continued to question why he could not look at the contracts online.

“Once we receive the proposals the public will have numerous times to have input as to what they think of the proposals before we select one,” Friend said. “It hasn’t been decided if we will select any of the three.”

Marty Richman said it was a good idea to extend the period by 90 days in order to get as many proposals as possible. He added, however, that there may have been an administrative error.

“We should not have published the proposal that came in,” he suggested. “I don’t think it’s fair for the people who will come behind. Since it was not a complete proposal, and just a sketch, I don’t think a lot of damage was done, but had it been a complete proposal it would not be fair for somebody to put their cards on the table to say what they’re going to do. We ought to adopt some rules about keeping the proposals private until we decide it’s an open issue.”

Ruben Lopez said he would like the block to be renamed after longtime educator and holiday community meal organizer Marley Holte.

“I drove by Dunne Park today and was also on Beverly Drive where Frank Klauer Park is. I see Fremont Peak every day. There are all kinds of places named after individuals,” he said. “I think Marley Holte deserves to be recognized. He was quite an active member of the community in the Rotary Club in Hollister and San Juan Bautista. He started a dinner for the poor and the homeless.”

He described his vision for the block to include an area for concerts to draw people downtown. He said he hoped in could be called Marley Holt Plaza.

None of the council members objected to the 90-day extension and the proposal was passed.

Other agenda items

  • Fourth quarter 2015 employee service awards were handed out to Rudolph Rodriquez for 15 years of service and Mary Paxton for 10 years of service.
  • Councilman Victor Gomez was elected as vice mayor.
  • The motion to authorize an additional assistant planner position passed.
  • Extensions of contracts with the administrative services director, fire chief, police chief and city clerk passed.
  • The resolution to approve and authorize the execution of a revised capital expenditures agreement with the Community Food Bank of San Benito County passed.
  • The resolution to approve a contract to provide continuing fire protection services to San Juan Bautista passed.

Individual Council Reports

  • Luna said she attended the Homeless Coalition holiday dinner Christmas day. On Jan. 14 she met with the Hollister Downtown Association. She has invited 25 people to tour the wastewater treatment plant Jan. 26, at 1 p.m. She also spoke to the California Board of Equalization on what kind of sales tax revenues the city is receiving back from the state.
  • Friend said the city has received applications for the student advisory committee and he hoped to have appointees by the first or second meeting in February.
  • Councilman Karson Klauer said having a recent earthquake study in place is creating an economic opportunity for downtown. He said there continues to be shortage of multi-family housing and that it is not an easy fix. He said he looked at the Council of Governments’ Traffic Impact Study which seemed to indicate that 2,000 multi-family units would be built in 20 years. He said that will never happen and it’s more likely only a couple hundred will be built.
  • Gomez said he had asked the city council to draft a travel policy.
  • Velazquez said he had been to the San Benito River and said the homeless had begun to move up to the winter shelter on Southside Road and had been helpful in cleaning up the camp. He said he wanted to organize a clean-up event in the next couple weeks to remove the rest of the debris from the riverbank. He congratulated the staff and others for their efforts to refinance sewer bonds and reported there will be an approximate savings of $20 million over 20 years. He wants to work with the planning department to take a look at the city’s growth. He said the city can’t continue to grow as quickly as it is without suffering consequences of further impacting schools and declining roads. He said it would be a mistake to become a “big suburb of Silicon Valley” and warned “when Silicon Valley hits that depression we’re the ones who are going to suffer.”

 

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John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a BenitoLink reporter and an author. He has many years experience as a freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God's Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime that are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: johnchadwell@benitolink.com.