Tuesday, April 7, 2015

"Museum" designation at Pacific View a sham to avoid public input on commercial use?

Sure sounds like it. But we're guessing this is an ends-justify-the-means kind of council.

From the North Coast Current:
I own the property at 643 Fourth St. in Encinitas, across from the Old Schoolhouse on the former EUSD Pacific View school site. My attorney Felix Tinkov and I have submitted written inputs and testified at almost every Pacific View meeting, since the first before the Planning Commission in July 2008.

At its Wednesday, April 8, meeting, the City Council will consider a procurement for an operating partner to take control of Pacific View.

Regrettably, the city plan cuts the residents short for education in the arts, at the expense of benefitting various local art groups.

Moreover, the city proposes to violate the municipal code in order to make this happen. For Pacific View, the city plan recommends the principal use as a museum, which does not require a conditional use permit. Thereby, the city avoids a public hearing before the Planning Commission, as well as skipping the attendant due-process noticing to nearby residents.

The proposed museum has no validity as a principal use, but serves as a front, cover or fa├žade, to permit uses prohibited by code in the public/semi-public (P/SP) zone applicable to Pacific View. The “museum” principal use also shields accessory uses, such as the farmers market and outdoor events, from scrutiny at public hearings for the use permit process. The city plan proposes a number of accessory uses under the “museum” blanket, among them 1) farmers market, 2) cafe*, 3) artists’ studios*, 4) store sales of artists’ works*, and 5) outdoor musical events. The municipal code prohibits the asterisked uses for the P/SP zone. The farmers’ market and the open-air theater require use permits. The municipal code requires the accessory uses to be “necessarily and customarily associated with” the principal use, in this case a museum. For example, a farmers market neither meets the “necessary” nor the “customary” standards. In a letter submitted to the city council, attorney Felix Tinkov identifies which of the Pacific View accessory uses will violate the municipal code.

More significantly, the municipal code also requires the accessory uses to be “incidental” to the principal use. The staff report for the April 8 hearing resorts to a euphemism for describing the principal use as “a museum to reflect the historical aspects of the site,” the latter being the Pacific View school site. Thus, the principal-use museum comprises the existing Old Schoolhouse and its archives, and nothing more. Obviously, the accessory uses in the 10,000-square-foot buildings and on the 75,000-square-foot parking lot will totally eclipse this 1,000-square-foot “museum,” designated as the principal use.

Bottom line, the accessory uses will take most of the building floor area, rent free, greatly benefiting the artists, but providing little for the residents regarding education in the arts. The April 8 staff report employs another euphemism to describe the art education offered to the public as “features to enable the public to observe and learn about the activities being undertaken.”

At the February 11 council meeting on Pacific View, the staff report acknowledged the artists’ studios as visual entertainment for the public, namely, “where you could see amazing art created by local artists who you could also watch as they create their works.”

Presumably, it will not please taxpayers to pay $15 million-plus in mortgage and interest payments to provide a home for artists to conduct their businesses, with the residents merely reduced to entertainments, such as the farmers market already operating on Vulcan Avenue, outdoor musical events and watching artists work.

Don McPherson
Manhattan Beach
April 6, 2015

64 comments:

  1. If the Encinitas City Council and staff can maneuver and manipulate to skirt local ordinances, why can't they do the same with HCD, the Housing Element and the state Density Bonus law?

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  2. Heck, that is easy to answer. Developers and real estate interests and their slimy lawyers with the BIA thrown in.

    Calling PV a museum I thought was discussed recently at a council meeting and thought the consensus was they were not going to use that term. My how things change behind closed doors in no time, relatively speaking.

    I thought PV's tenants were to be income producing renters to help pay for the purchase. What am I missing here?

    Tomorrows council meeting all things should be answered. Yea right.

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    1. I guess it will be legally a "museum" in order to render all zoning laws irrelevant, just like non-agricultural general office use is now legally an "accessory" allowed in agricultural zoning.

      Orwell said something about this with Newspeak: he who controls the language controls the world.

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    2. There's a letter written by McPherson's lawyer available with a public records request at city hall. It lays out a very strong legal argument against the city's bending of zoning laws for a desired end. The blatant misapplication of the Municipal Code on the Leichtag property to allow corporate offices as an "accessory use" on agriculturally zoned land is being repeated here. It was wrong the first time and is wrong again. The letter ends with a very strong suggestion of a lawsuit against the city.

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    3. Ironic that the letter comes from a non-resident who owns property across the street, and that the specific owner comes from the one city in Southern California that is most noted for the act of "Mansionization", ie putting a huge, inappropriate size building on a normal lot.

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    4. So what else are you going to do with your $10M investment plus costs for site improvements and building renovation/reconstruction. Sounds like buyers remorse.

      "Oh, but we didn't mean that." Ducking responsibility for this mess is becoming SOP (standard operating procedure) here. Not to mention the funding trade-offs that we're beginning to see as the council discusses the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) projects.

      Thanks a lot.

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    5. Kranz and shaffer assured the City no future Active Transportation Projects by purchasing PV. Can't wait until 2016.

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    6. Personally I don't care where the letter cam from. All of the facts in it are true. You can hate him, and Manhattan Beach for that matter, but it still doesn't let the City Council off the hook. Perhaps the only person who would not get slammed by the CIty is a person who doesn't live here. At least it didn't come from Vina's 28.

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  3. This place will sit idle for the next decade as a tribute to Tony Kranz.

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  4. Truly a waste of taxpayer's money. Much, much more money will have to go into this atrocity. Thanks for nothing city council.

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    1. No. Thanks council for rescuing precious acreage set aside for education instead of letting it fall into a crowded stack and pack bedroom community. We know the agenda of the complainers and who they are. You can stay the parade and they can stay the rain.

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    2. 3:45 No one knows yet what the end use of this property will be. I think you are a little premature that it will be used for education. It might turn out to be a place for the homeless.

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  5. I had a feeling that the City Council would try to do an end run around Prop. A. Looks like this is just the beginning.

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    1. Maybe at some other time, but this one isn't an end run. It's a touch-down for Prop A.

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  6. Don lives next door, but signs his note Manhattan Beach. Encinitas must be his oceanfront weekend getaway. Just picture the sad scene as Don lights a cigar with a c-note on on his oceanfront patio, only to be disturbed by those damned farmer's market vegetables making all that infernal racket. He grabs his cell phone: "Felix, I thought I told you to stop this insanity. I can hear children and artists. CHILDREN AND ARTISTS GODDAMNIT! You make this go away or I'll hire a second lawyer to sue YOU for malpractice. I'm so mad my handlebar mustache is crooked."

    Reuben H Fleet Science Center (Museum) http://www.rhfleet.org/: IMAX and Digital Shows; 300 seat domed theater, Birthday parties, private events, private screenings, Girl Scout sleepovers, North Star Science Store, Galileo's Cafe, Group Events (perfect for groups of 10 to 1000+), Private meeting rooms, public events, exhibitions, Saturday Science Club for Girls, Gift Cards, Young Scientists, Adult Programs, Youth Programs, School Programs, Teacher Professional Development, Nieman Challenger Learning Center, Blog, Podcast, Project Connect, Community Partners, Family Science Saturdays.

    Yup. There is a lot of stuff a museum can do besides dioramas and static displays.

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    1. The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is not in the city limits of Encinitas. Different jurisdiction with different code requirements. Check the City of San Diego Municipal Code and get back to us.

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    2. Nope.

      If you want to know what accessory uses are customary, you look at other museums.

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    3. Have you noticed that the Reuben H Fleet Science Center is a much larger facility, plenty of parking (relatively), and is in setting conducive for public gathering? It is a vague comparison at best to associate its uses with those potentialities for Pacific View.

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    4. Quantitative vs qualitative.

      No one is suggesting that accessory uses at PV be done at the same scale as RHF. A 300 seat IMAX is clearly out of the question. But projecting some kind of video demonstration in one of the class rooms is qualitatively a similar accessory use. Most museums have an appropriately scaled gift shop and cafe. Most of the programs and events at RHF are not being proposed here. The point is, the modern operations of a museum support a broad array of accessory use options.

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    5. Reuben H. Fleet is a real museum.

      Lisa Shaffer has already publically admitted in open council that Pacific View isn't really a museum.

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    6. 9:28 I remember Shaffer wanting to call it a "living museum".

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    7. At least the letter writer was honest about where his home base is.

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    8. 7:51 I watched the meeting last night- City staff and the Shaffer-Kranz axis of mismanagement are trying to again pull a fast one.

      It is clear that Shaffer-Kranz are constitutionally incapable of being honest with the public. It is disheartening the Kathleen Lees of Leucadia and the LTC council are in bed with these two-

      The city and Shaffer-Kranz axis of dishonesty are seeking an end-around the process.

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    9. 8:15, 8:57, 9:14 and 8:25 it totally went over your pointed heads. 9:28, PV isn't anything yet. 7:51 & 9:26, great points

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  7. If the use is prohibited as a use it is prohibited as an accessory use.

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  8. Does it bother anyone that the "resident" who wrote this actually doesn't live here??

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    1. Yup, so noted. Not really a good platform to start discussion on the outcome form the use of Pac View. Clearly this guy is concerned with A.) His Property Value and B.) His Property Value. As for whether the city should have bought PV, that's one question. What the hell they'll do with it and how they'll pay for it is the other big one. I'm not sure we'll ever approach any kind of resolution on this blog..

      -MGJ

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    2. 11:07

      I hope you watched the meeting last night- what the 'guy' is concerned about is the council seeking to mislead the public and do an end around the process-

      kind of the same way Stocks-Bond-Dalager and Barth did an end around the Naylor Act by repaving the playgrounds and then calling it a storage yard not a palyground

      Shaffer-Kranz are no different the Stocks and Dalager-

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    3. 8:27, if the city is making an end-run around anything, its the bullshit, time and money consuming processes and obstructions not being a museum would entail. It surely not rocking Prop A, just some of its supporters who will forever have a bone to pick with council. But in this case, they're making good moves.

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  9. What bothers me is not that he doesn't live here, but that we have been manipulated by this and other City Councils to purchase some pretty big ticket items without really knowing what they are worth, or how we are going to pay for them. The owner of the property does pay property taxes here, so he has a say as well. I do wish we could live within our means. It is beginning to remind me of Orange County around here. And I for one, left OC to be rid of that life.

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    1. I generally agree, although I find it ironic that you support an Orange County resident's say here and then complain we're becoming more like Orange County.

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    2. 5:10, hey, developers will try to thwart PV no matter where they live, any way they can. Is that so unpredictable? Let them have their best shots till they're blue in the face.

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  10. So....when the then Hall Property was purchased (with no stated predetermined plan), the public went to workshops, and a park was designed with amenities for for all, some sports fields, and some quiet trails and park areas. City Council went ahead and built a sports park. We have a different council now, but it seems no matter what the public wants, the public may not have a say.

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  11. Our mayor believes she is a financial wizard so all she needs to do is wave her magic wand and all will be well.

    Really, how many places for artists do we need in this small city? They could all work from home. Can you imagine the thrill one will get when they raise their brush to begin a painting? I can hardly wait.

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  12. The Park was a disaster from Day 1. So many things wrong. So was purchasing the now Public Works Dept. that was supposed to be turnkey. We didn't need PV, and now that we have it, the City will find a way around Prop A. They have to.

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  13. LETS PUT IN SOCCER FIELDS WITH 90 FOOT LIGHTS. Every museum needs that as an accessory. Perhaps a zoo, a couple of restaurants and maybe a large outdoor organ.. That is what is next to RHFST.

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  14. During the MOU (Memo of Understanding) between the City and EUSD, the agreement was that the property would be in the public domain for 10 years. After that, they can and will do what they want. The entire idea that Pacific View has been "saved" by the council is and always has been a political ploy since we may see it developed with housing yet.

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  15. The park fight is over. Let it go.

    The decision to purchase PV is over. Let it go.

    As my dad used to say: "Are you upset? Here, let me punch your 'tough shit card' for you. You know what you earn when all ten spots have been punched on your 'tough shit card?' You get a brand new card."

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    1. 2:02 Sounds like you need a "tough shit punch". I would be happy to oblige.

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    2. 2:02. I agree in a lot of ways with your take, with the exception that we need to not be in the mode of purchasing large parcels without a plan to pay for them. The Hall property is long over with, and now that it's open, it's better to try and enjoy it. PV though, could be a massive white elephant. They have to figure out a plan for the property and a revenue source to support it, or we'll all be footing the bill for the next 50 y ears...

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    3. Absolutely true. My comment was about rehashing arguments for and against buying the property at all.

      That ship has sailed.

      Debating the interim and permanent uses, as well as project funding options is a good idea.

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    4. Its never over. Thinks change over time. Just like public support for the Victory in Iraq and Afghanistan!

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    5. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

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    6. 9:38 there was victory in Iraq- AQ had admitted defeat-

      Then Obama pulled out the troops, released 5 Taliban Leaders, abandoned Israel, armed ISIS, contributed to the assassination of the US Ambassador to Libya and allowed IRAN to expand its power in the region.

      9:42- Nedemeyer- dead!

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    7. 2:02, I love your Dad!

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  16. Anon 2:02, It is true that the horrible negotiation went through--despite all that other council members and members of the public tried to do. What people don't know is that the use of this property as a public space will last only 9 more years and then they can sell it off or do something different.

    There is a difference between "tough shit" and "bull shit" that some dish out to enhance their own political standing with questionable benefits for those who have to pay for it!

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    1. 2:23,

      Don't get me wrong. I was actively involved in trying to get the city to design a park with a better balance of passive and active use. But that fight is over. I lost--the neighborhood lost. Still, a flawed park is better than no park, and many people are enjoying the new park, including me. I hate to see people whine about things that are done deals. Get your card punched and move on to the next issue. Can't carry around the baggage of every defeat you've ever had.

      As for PV, I trust the voters not to ever rezone PV for housing. If they ever move in that direction, I'll be right next to you fighting it.

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  17. If the city's past failures and grossly unpopular actions are ignored, they will be repeated.

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  18. Accepting that ten year clause in the PV deal was a boneheaded move and has never been clearly answered even when asked directly to a council member or two. The only response was that Baird demanded it and that is a lie. He got his money out of the deal and that was not his doing. That rotten clause is a giveaway for some future council to do whatever they want later.

    The majority that approved the deal and let this clause remain are lacking some of the sincere claims they used to bolster their intentions with this purchase. If they were serious for keeping this for the future, they would have gotten rid of this ten year clause.

    Most of the support for purchasing this was to deny another gross product like Pacific Station or private homes from going in there and to have income producing tenants that would help pay the costs of the purchase while ideas come forward on longterm uses. I don't trust any of this if that ten year clause remains and it looks like it will at this late date.

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    1. Actually Barth answered it by saying she wanted to let other City Council's in the future decided what they wanted.

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    2. How soon they forget.

      The school district wasn't satisfied 'rolling' Councilman Kranz for $25 million dollars, so they demanded the 'caveat' of not allowing the city council to grant themselves the up-zoning EUSD asked for for 10 years: believing that Kranz's friend Tom Cousins had convinced the council to buy the property and then 'turn-it-over' for a profit to the longtime local realtor.

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    3. 3:29,

      When you bought your home was there any binding agreement between you and the seller restricting what you could do with the property for any period of time?

      My guess is no, because the default--the way most properties convey, is not to encumber the property with any restrictions. I bring this up, because you seem to imply that the default is an encumbrance in perpetuity, and that the City negotiated for a reduction to 10 years. Not so.

      So if the default is no restriction, which party in the PV transaction would have an incentive to encumber the property with a restriction on rezoning for 10 years? Certainly not the city. It's in the new owner's best interests to have the most flexibility with what to do with the property in the future. Imagine that the city is buying the property in a good faith effort to establish an arts center/museum/cultural tourism hub (whatever that is). But lets say that over the next few years, there is an emergency, and things change. The economy tanks, a mega tsunami hits, an earthquake, or major financial fraud is exposed. If any of that happens, the city might want to raise cash fast by flipping the property to a developer. Not suggesting it's likely, but it's in the cities best interests to keep all options open just in case. The truth is, Tim Baird (EUSD) is the party who benefits from a ten year restriction on flipping the property. If the city were to make a profit on the flip, people would question whether Tim Baird sold the property to the city too cheap. People would rightly question whether he is acting as a good steward of district resources that he has a duty to maximize for the benefit of the students.

      So EUSD would probably be happiest if the restriction was permanent and the city would be happiest if there was no restriction at all. The compromise between those two extremes is a restriction that expires after a set period. Like, say--I don't know, 10 years.

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  19. It's interesting to me that some commenters support an Orange County resident's say here and then complain we're becoming more like Orange County.

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  20. Interesting non sequitur........

    - The Sculpin

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  21. Manhattan Beach isn't in Orange County if that is what you are referring to. It's in Los Angles County, but nice try.

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    1. The point is the same. I don't care what county it is. (The smarmy attitude of your reply indicates you might be from up there, or used to be ...)

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    2. 3::37- Define smarmy if you wouldn't mind.

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    3. Smarmy? One look at the city attorney for your answer.

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  22. PV was a huge mistake for the City. Dalakranz is gone in 2016.

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  23. Manhattan Beach is what Orange County aspires to be in terms of density. Huntington Beach isn't too far away....

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  24. Anon April 8 @ 5:33 p.m.: Okay, so it's Los Angeles, that doesn't make a difference. The "nice try" comparison is the same. And judging from the attitude you cop in your reply, I have no doubt you know the area up there well.

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  25. 3:50-Oh my- I didn't know people could actually be so psychic. All of this time I only thought it but I guess you know it. Actually I was born at Scripps La Jolla, before we had the hospital here in Encinitas. But no worry, you keep up your psychic powers.

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  26. I guess this all comes comes to no surprise - if Leucadia residents view Olivenhain residents with suspicion, and "no one" pays any mind to New Encinitas residents, then clearly there's no love lost for anyone (property owner or otherwise) who resides out of the city limits!!

    - The Sculpin

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