Reply To: Too Expensive

Home Forums Share Your View! Too Expensive Reply To: Too Expensive

Lynn Autumn

I am grateful that the City is purchasing Pacific View, we hope for a true community arts and learning center. But because the City is paying so dearly, and because EUSD never offered the property to public agencies at a discounted price, as required by the Naylor Act, which tolls from when the property was first leased to the City of Encinitas, effective December of 2003, after the auction is cancelled, the City should renegotiate the MOU, or add to it, as enumerated, below.

EUSD didn’t do it’s homework, over the years. Pacific View is 2.82 acres; .846 acre of the former school site should have been offered to the City and County at 25% of the fair market value of the donated land, when the City paved over the playgrounds and playing fields. The State Legislature enacted the Naylor Act to preserve public open space on surplus school sites, which open space is to be made available at a very reasonable cost to cities, counties, recreation departments, etc, according to Education Code.

Up until February of 2012, past and present superintendents of the school district have insisted that the Naylor Act doesn’t apply, because it was the EUSD’s intention to exchange Pacific View, after first upzoning it, for a commercial property with a revenue stream. In February of 2012, Superintendent Tim Baird put out a Request for Proposals, asking for proposals for lease or purchase of Pacific View in the current public/semi-public zoning.

Envision the View, with the cooperation of the Artists’ Colony and DEMA, submitted a proposal to lease the property, whereby volunteers would rehab and maintain the existing classrooms, which are in good shape (rain gutters need repair, etc., but the buildings are structurally sound, don’t contain asbestos, or problematic asbestos has already been removed), and don’t need to be retrofitted for earthquakes, either. But Baird rejected that proposal and another proposal from a Charter School to lease the property, and accepted a proposal to purchase the property after John DeWald and April Game got the City to create an entirely new zoning classification, mixed use/commercial/residential/art center.

When the City Council didn’t vote begin the process of upzoning, before John DeWald’s deadline to get back his $100K deposit, on a $7.5 Million escrow, DeWald dropped out of escrow, before October 31, 2012. He was then able to get back his entire deposit and didn’t have to pay into Escrow, and additional $200K, with the entire $300K non refundable.

The point is, a series of baits and switches were pulled. The Naylor Act tolls from when the property was initially leased. The “exchange, not sell” excuse that the Naylor Act didn’t apply was a red herring. Now, the claim is that “it’s too late,” for the Naylor Act to apply. That’s also untrue. Also, the zoning, for Baird’s February RFP was to REMAIN within public/semi-public. That was the other bait and switch. Baird/DeWald/Game’s plan was to upzone to construct monolithic structures that were not in keeping with our community character. The planned design would have obliterated an irreplaceable, historical asset, which includes not only the Old Schoolhouse, but the land that it sits on, which was donated for the children of our early settlers in 1883, to Encinitas School District, which had been formed to raise money through an initial school bond of $600, a huge amount in 1883, and to accept the generous land donation of J.S. Pitcher. 1883 was 60 years before Encinitas Union School District was formed.

The bottom line is not always about short term profit. The greatest value, and the greatest common good, would be for a true community arts and learning center to be opened at Pacific View. Because EUSD failed to abide by the intention of the State Legislature, to preserve open space on former public school sites, and because the purchase price the City is paying is so outrageous, over three times the only appraisal in the current time frame, using local comps, the City of Encinitas and EUSD should negotiate to add the following terms of purchase to their existing Memorandum of Understanding:

1) EUSD shall carry the $10 Million loan at zero percent interest for 30 years, so that the district will receive its long desired revenue stream, and the taxpayers will not be burdened by more bond debt, which is likely to reduce the City’s credit rating.

2) .846 acre will remain open space in perpetuity, which can include fields, trees, and community gardens, which could also provide a revenue source as a venue for small weddings on weekends, for example; the gardens could also provide opportunities for teaching horticulture and landscape design. This mandated .846 acre open space, according to Education Code, which contains the Naylor Act, shall not include on-site parking.

3) Our historic Old Schoolhouse shall remain on site in perpetuity

4) The land shall remain in the public domain in perpetuity; the public/semi-public zoning shall not change.

Next Post

Comments are closed.