There were two items on Wednesday’s closed session of the Escondido City Council that caught my attention, both property negotiations. First was the City’s property at 2269 East Valley Pkwy, and the Negotiating party the American Heritage Charter Schools. That property is now leased by one of the Escondido Community Child Development Centers (ECCDC). I was concerned that once again the City was evicting a needy tenant to supply space for Heritage Charter. But, no, turns out that the ECCDC initiated the negotiations with Heritage. I wrote about the takeover by Heritage of what was once a branch of the Escondido Public Library. https://ablueviewescondido.com/2014/11/06/a-post-mortem/
The second negotiation was for “[a] parcel on the north side of West Valley Pkwy between City Hall and the California Center for the Arts.” The Negotiating parties: the City of Escondido, Craig Clark and Atwater Infrastructure Partners, LLC. The City Council’s Action plan did include trying to attract a downtown hotel. Looks like they’ve only received interest from Craig Clark again, for the umpteenth time. I wrote about this also: https://ablueviewescondido.com/2015/08/17/a-brief-history-of-the-downtown-hotel-dream/ . Sometimes it feels like I’m living in the movie Groundhog Day.
The regular Wednesday meeting had no surprises. The Staff had asked to pull Consent Calendar item #8: Notice of Completion for Fiscal Year 2014-15 Street Maintenance Project. They had a slide show of the improvements made. Councilman John Masson took the opportunity to complain about wastewater treatment regulations that will complicate the repaving of streets.
Robroy Fawcett asked to pull consent calendar item 9: Employment Agreements – City Manager and City Attorney. His basic complaint was that the City Attorney and Manager were paid too much, and that lead to paying the City Treasurer too much, since the Treasurer’s salary was a tied into what the Attorney and Manager were paid. He claimed that private sector professional salaries had taken a dip during the recession, but the public employees had not so suffered.
Fawcett also pulled item 13: Extension of the ERTC Development Agreement. He claimed the ERTC was not able to market its properties, because there were significant problems with the way the land had been graded, and there were too many restrictions on the uses of the properties as demanded by the Palomar Pomerado Hospital District.
Item 14: Master and Precise Development Plan and Tentative Parcel Map for the Development of a Mixed-use Project in the PD-MU Zone, was a sort of love fest for Solutions for Change organization. It does look like a good project, with 33 units to house Escondido’s homeless. https://www.escondido.org/Data/Sites/1/media/agendas/Council/11-18-15CCAgendaPacket.pdf
It will be interesting to see what sort of proposition Craig Clark has for a downtown hotel this time around. How much will he ask the City to contribute this time? Watch this space.