After a couple of tweaks, two crucial Pacific View items received unanimous approval from the Encinitas City Council at its April 8 meeting. Both items received 4-0 votes, with Council Member Mark Muir absent and on vacation.
Pacific View Activation Plan Subcommittee members Tony Kranz and Lisa Shaffer’s recommendations for the process of selecting an Operating Partner grew from their observations, staff and independent evaluations of the property, plus input from city staff and members of the public. Their two-step application process for Operating Partner candidates involves groups first sending a letter of intent, then a detailed proposal for the site, following written guidelines.
Kranz and Shaffer worked to create a balanced framework with specific requirements, but not so restrictive that they would stifle a group’s creativity. “We want to be surprised, inspired and enchanted” by the proposals, Shaffer remarked. Based on zoning limits, they suggested that a versatile, modern-day “museum” was the best umbrella category for potential uses.
Most of the subcommittee’s suggestions were accepted after a robust series of comments and suggestions from council members and the public.
Nearby property owner Don McPherson and his attorney Felix Tinkov voiced concerns about the limitations of categorizing Pacific View’s interim use as a museum, potential noise issues, and making sure that aspiring Operating Partners are clear about allowed uses on the site.
Garth Murphy, whose Encinitas Art, Culture and Ecology Alliance group is preparing a proposal seeking to become Pacific View’s Operating Partner, was also skeptical about the museum label, saying that most of the potential Operating Partners he has spoken with will be submitting proposals based on educational uses.
Mayor Kristin Gaspar shared their doubts about the museum moniker and suggested that the subtitle of “Arts, Education and Community Gathering Place” be used instead, and all council members agreed.
The second item was a vote on city staff’s recommendation to select Westberg+White, Inc. of Tustin and San Diego to draw up a Preliminary Design Report for the rehabilitation of the Pacific View site. Some speakers felt the council was “putting the cart before the horse,” and that it was premature to pay $70,000 for an architectural report when an Operating Partner had yet to be chosen and the site’s final uses hadn’t been determined.
Garth Murphy said his group’s architect had determined that getting the site ready for an Operating Partner would cost “north of $2 million,” and that some of the architectural work done in the preliminary report would be wasted. He urged that the hiring of an architect be postponed until more is known about the site’s specific use.
Murphy also suggested that the age of the buildings allowed the city to make improvements based on state historic code instead of what he termed as the “punitive” 2013 code. This idea stimulated much interest among council members.
Westberg+White’s Frisco White answered several questions from the council, and when asked by Shaffer what he would do if he were in their place, suggested that an initial architectural report was a good idea because Operating Partner proposals would need to reflect the limitations, readiness, safety and code compliance of the buildings and grounds. He also promised to work with staff to cut costs and put in more effort than the architectural proposal calls for. After the thorough exchange, the council voted to hire Westberg+White.
In her newsletter the following morning, Lisa Shaffer said, “I was persuaded to go ahead with the architect first so that the City has an objective assessment of the building in order to evaluate proposals from potential operating partners.”
Video of the April 8 City Council meeting’s Pacific View business can be viewed here. The Power Point presentation shown by Tony Kranz and Lisa Shaffer at the meeting is here and the architectural services Power Point document presented by Deputy City Engineer Greg Shields is here.
The City of Encinitas website has a page devoted to Pacific View, which may serve as a clearing house for people to post their interests and capabilities and find potential partners.
Several interior photos of Pacific View’s buildings can be found here.
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