Council continues Plaza Amistad appeal hearing despite CEDC’s objections

May 15, 2009
Santa Paula City Council

The City Council continued the public hearing on their appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of the Plaza Amistad project at a special meeting Monday, despite objections from representatives of Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThe City Council continued the public hearing on their appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of the Plaza Amistad project at a special meeting Monday, despite objections from representatives of Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation. The Council was due to address the appeal - the only item on the agenda for the special May 11 meeting - but citing the lack of Councilmen Dr. Gabino Aguirre and Fred Robinson, it was voted unanimously to continue the hearing until June 3.Cabrillo and the city have been locked in legal combat since the developer filed a lawsuit against the city targeting the Council’s August 2007 rejection of the 150-unit low-income apartment complex. A judge rejected the lawsuit and CEDC appealed and also filed a second action centered on discriminatory practices in denying housing to the poor.Negotiations between CEDC and Council representatives - a majority of whom cited high-density and safety issues as their main project concerns - were launched in recent weeks. The Council had announced at their regular May 4 meeting that the May 11 session would be continued to the absence of the two councilmen.City Attorney Karl Berger reminded the Council that at the time the appeal resolution was adopted it allocated only 60 minutes for public comment. He asked if public comment taken at Monday’s meeting would be deducted from the allocation, and the Council all agreed it would be.Karen Flock of CEDC said she wanted to state for the record “that we did not agree to the continuance,” and asked that the Council schedule the next hearing “sooner rather than later.” She suggested the Council consider the issue at the May 18 meeting or at an earlier special meeting.
Attorney Barbara Macri-Ortiz said CEDC was ready and have been ready for the hearing. “For the record, CEDC was very disappointed by the continuance of this hearing because this project simply involves a ministerial density bonus application and a by right development project” and, she noted, does not involve the Council’s legislative powers.The Planning Commission, Macri-Ortiz noted, approved the density bonus application and the project is under their purview. The Council’s de novo review is “limited to application of state density bonus law and the Housing Accountability Act to the existing facts.”The continuance is viewed by CEDC as “one more step to delay the inevitable approval of this project” that has already experienced “many unwarranted delays that the City has imposed on this project,” which Macri-Ortiz listed. “Time,” she added, “is of the essence here” as CEDC has a funding application deadline of June 9 and “performance requirements are impacted by this delay. Delay obviously puts any development at risk, and in this case places further exposure upon the city.”Macri-Ortiz said it is “unconscionable to delay this matter another three weeks,” and she requested a hearing as soon as possible.The hearing is delayed because “two councilmen were unable to attend,” said Mayor Ralph Fernandez, who made the motion that the hearing be continued to June 3. Vice Mayor Jim Tovias and Councilman Bob Gonzales approved Fernandez’s motion.



Site Search

Tel: 805 525-6048  marydeines@roadrunner.com
E-Subscribe

Subscribe

E-SUBSCRIBE
Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.

webmaster