Fairgrounds Sale - The Fit Hits The Shan
Well, that didn't take long...
CITY INSTRUCTED STAFF TO PREPARE SPECIFIC PLAN
On Tuesday the Costa Mesa City Council instructed the staff to prepare a Specific Plan for the 150 acres the Orange County Fair and Events Center sits upon - obviously, to influence the potential sale of that property. If the city is successful in restricting the uses of that property to the current mix of uses - Fairgrounds, Orange County Market Place, Equestrian Center, etc., that will almost certainly make it a much less attractive property to potential salivating buyers.
SPECIFIC PLAN WILL REDUCE VALUE
Without the opportunity to, somewhere in the future, develop that land as commercial/residential or other lucrative uses, almost any buyer will put on the brakes and put their purchase efforts into a screeching halt. Except, perhaps, those devious folks on the current Fair Board who have put together a foundation to buy the place and "retain the current uses". Ha!
THE STATE SIGNS IN - BIG TIME!
So, last Friday, October 23rd, Teresa Bierer, Acting Deputy Director, Real Estate Services Division of the state Department of General Services, sent a scathing letter to Mayor Mansoor and the City Council demanding the city "thoroughly consider the State and local economic ramifications that could result from the preparing and adopting of the Specific Plan, and refrain from taking any further action that could reduce or otherwise negatively impact the Fairgrounds' value."
After getting our attention with that line she goes on to say, "But if the City moves forward with the Specific Plan and the Fairgrounds' value is diminished, the State will consider whatever options may be available to preserve the Fairgrounds' value." Gulp!
GUN TO OUR HEADS
Basically, she's telling us she's got a gun to our municipal head and, if we persist, she will cock the trigger. I don't know about you, but this really has me steaming!
ARTICLES AND "THE LETTER" HERE
The Daily Pilot posted an article on this issue today, HERE, and the Daily Voice posted one this afternoon, HERE. I've posted the entire letter at the end of this post so you can read it for yourself. It includes Bierer's telephone number and email address... I've placed a call to her, to get some clarification on just what kind of "options" they have in mind.
PR GUY RESPONDS
After my second call to Bierer I received a call from Jeffrey Young, Deputy Director for Public Affairs in the Department of General Services late this afternoon. He, of course, couldn't respond when I asked exactly what the "options" might be. When I asked if one of them might be to simply take the Fairgrounds off the table, he told me that's up to the legislature. The Department of General Services simply prosecutes the legislatures wishes. I told him to find a better word... Anyhow, apparently no one in Sacramento is going to give us any idea what they have in mind until the City does, in fact, adopt a Specific Plan for the property.
CITY SHOULD MOVE FORWARD BRISKLY
Since that's probably the case, and since the bids for the property will be opened on January 8th, it seems prudent for the city to get the lead out and get a Specific Plan in place immediately. Otherwise, I suspect there might be some legal issues with bidders who assumed a certain value when they put in their bid, only to have that value knocked for a loop by the Specific Plan. And, I still wonder just what the State has in mind for us if we go forward. I don't know what punitive actions they might take if we do go forward.
LET OUR LEADERS KNOW HOW YOU FEEL!
In the meantime, it seems entirely appropriate for us to communicate with our elected leaders, both at the local and state level, and let them know how you feel about the sale of the Fairgrounds. I also think that a good turnout at the planned hearing on November 9th at 9:00 a.m in the Costa Mesa City Council Chambers might be instructive for our state leaders. Reservations for a seat at that party can be obtained by calling John Nam in Assemblyman Solorio's office at 714-939-8469. I'm thinking this is going to be a sold-out affair. It will be televised live in Costa Mesa on Channel 24 and also streamed live via the city web site for those outside the city.
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