Cypress Council: $330K for Race Track “Vision?”

(Cypress, CA, 2/25/2017)   [Editor’s Note:  There are at least two causes for concern about Cypress’ City Manager’s proposal:  1) Is it a good use of taxpayer money, which George Pardon addresses first.  2)  Under what conditions might it be a good use of taxpayer money?  & 3) What should be the City’s goals for such a study, both of which I will address at the end of George’s article.]

1.  Is this a good use of taxpayer money?

By George Pardon:  At this Monday’s Cypress City Council Meeting (2/27/2017)  Agenda Item 9 under New Business proposes spending $330,000 of the City’s money to develop a vision for the future development of the race track property.

When the school district sought a zone change to rezone MacKay School and the District Office, the city didn’t pay for it.  Most recently, the city has asked two developers to propose plans for the city’s 13 acre site but the city isn’t paying for it.

While there might be some value in the city taking the lead on how the race track property should be developed in the future, the implication is that the city and the residents didn’t provide any input into the last process.  Just like the city takes the lead on Environmental Impact Reports, the property owner reimburses the city.  After all, who is the primary financial beneficiary of the rezoning of the property if not the property owner?

If the city has an extra $330,000 to spend, maybe they need to hear from the residents as to how they think it should be spent.

One statement in the agenda item may indicate the catalyst behind this push by the city to have this property rezoned: Continue reading

Fiction Or Fact: A Measure GG Analysis

fictionorfactSo, Cypress residents awoke to this letter on their doors. Is it FICTION or FACT? We analyze the letter below:

Statement: “Measure GG gives us a voice in what will be developed”

Fiction.

Today Cypress residents already have a voice in what can be developed there, and it is very limited. In the late 1980’s Cypress residents voted for Measure D. Measure D set all that land aside in a specific zoning called PS, or Public Space. This zoning LIMITS what can be built on the land to a specific set of very clear set of possible uses. There can be no housing. No office building. No retail. No commercial. No industrial. current zone allows things like a golf course, a race track, parks, cemeteries, religious institutions. The People of Cypress already said, back in the late 1980’s, what they wanted there.

Continue reading

Cypress Measure GG: No free park?!

(Cypress, CA, 10/18/2015)  By George PardonA free park? Think twice before you swallow this hook.

Nowhere in the Measure GG initiative does it say that the race track is going to donate the 20.7 acre park area to the City of Cypress. While Measure GG restricts the zoning on the 20.7 acres, all of the race track property currently allows a park as a permitted use. Maybe the race track will donate the property to the city or maybe they will sell it to the city or?

The initiative does allow for a performing arts center to be built on this ‘park’ property with a conditional use permit. Again, the initiative doesn’t say the 20.7 acres ‘park’ property will be a donation to the city. It could be a small park with the rest sold off to a developer to build a performing arts center.

It’s time to vote. Why isn’t the initiative more specific on such an important issue to the residents? It’s interesting to see all the projects that the property owners chose to put in the initiative but then chose not indicate they were going to donate the 20.7 acre ‘park’ property to the city.

Also, a number of people have indicated they didn’t know that Measure GG rezones more than just the race track and golf course property. Here is a breakdown of the property proposed for rezoning: Continue reading

Measure GG: What’s the History?

(Cypress, 10/12/2016)  A well researched look  at recent changes affecting Measure GG and what’s gone before it by long time Cypress resident George Pardon:

Insufficient changes last month:

At the Cypress City Council Meeting on September 26, the Race Track submitted deed restrictions that lowered the height of projects in the Mixed Use Area along Cerritos to 60 feet and agreed not to put refueling stations in the Town Center.  While these are welcome changes, it is important that residents know that there are still a significant number of allowed projects in the initiative that vary dramatically from what the Race Track is presenting in their flyers and in the conceptual plans shown on their website.

Some important history, Measure D, 1987:

For the benefit of some background, it’s important to remember that there have been a number of rezoning efforts on the Los Alamitos Race Track/Golf Course property (LART) since Measure D.  Measure D was passed by voters in November 1987 for the purpose of assuring “the maintenance of the quality of life in the City of Cypress and to preserve for the citizens and future generations of Cypress that adequate open spaces and greenbelts shall be available for their use and enjoyment.”

At the time Measure D was passed, the LART property was approximately 300 acres with its borders going from Katella to Cerritos and from Denni (Lexington) to Walker.

1990: 75 acres upzoned:

Continue reading

Park evaluation, Senior Housing on Monday Cypress City Council Agenda

(Cypress, CA, 10/25/2015) by George Pardon:  Click here for the Cypress City Council Agenda  for Monday, October 26:

http://www.ci.cypress.ca.us/administration/2015_agd_,min/2015_agendas/102615_agenda.html

In addition to the Cypress City Council considering approval of the 33 acre Senior Housing/Commercial Retail development called Barton Place (Agenda Item #1), the City Council will also consider approving a scope of work for a study to assess current park space, recreation facilities and current and projected community needs to guide future capital improvement planning. 

The scope of work for this assessment includes the evaluation of sports parks, neighborhood parks, and the Senior Center.  The need to conduct this study was included as an objective of the City Council’s March 2015 update of the City’s Strategic Plan.   Agenda Item #10 provides valuable information about existing  park space and recreation facilities that I think you’ll find to be a beneficial read.  http://www.ci.cypress.ca.us/administration/2015_agd_,min/2015%20_staff%20_reports/102615%20Staff%20Reports/10_Facilities_Assessment_102615.pdf Continue reading

City Council considering options for that $900,000

money-from-heaven

The meeting was moved, one member teleconferenced it in, but a lot of progress appears to have been made last night.

(Los Alamitos, 6/24/2015)  At last night’s City Council meeting, everyone agreed it was at least worth investigating ways to spend an estimated $900,000 the City might be able to borrow in the process of refinancing the Laurel Park Loan.

Mayor Murphy emphasized the importance the importance of leveraging   the borrowed money to get as much grant money as possible.   Great idea, but that could be challenging given the conflicting time constraints of most grants (1-3 years out) and the requirement for spending the money within three years.

They gave it to us once. . . and we declined. . . Continue reading