By Steve Dreyer
The City Council’s long-held dream of upgrading properties around Community Park into a “Town Center” pretty much died Tuesday night.
Last year’s termination by the state of local redevelopment programs, including the one run for nearly 30 years in Poway, means that several properties purchased over the years for possible inclusion in the Town Center plan will be sold, City Manager Penny Riley told the council.
The state-ordered sales represent “the first step in ending many of our redevelopment dreams,” Riley said. “It all stops here.”
Initiated by former City Manager Rod Gould and his staff, the Town Center concept called for redevelopment of run-down properties around the big city park into a mixture of residences, shops, businesses and walkways leading into a revitalized park. The idea was to have a never-found major developer partner with the former redevelopment agency to finance and build the improvements. Public workshops were held before the project was shelved largely due to the slumping economy.
Left unresolved were issues related to the future of a half-dozen Poway Road properties the agency had purchased. Those lots, along with one in the Poway Business Park, are now likely to be sold within the next year under the direction of the Oversight Board, comprised of representatives of governmental agencies that receive Poway property tax dollars.
The City Council has no direct say in which of 49 city-owned properties once owned by the RDA will be placed for sale; the decision rests solely with the Oversight Board, Riley said. The remaining 41 parcels include the sheriff’s station, skate park, Veterans Park, Fire Station No. 3, parking lots around Old Poway Park, the Big Stone Lodge property, a new car storage lot in the business park, and 17 parcels in flood control areas. The council indicated Tuesday night it wants to keep the storage lot in the business park, the Old Poway Park lots and the Big Stone Lodge site and would like to meet with the Oversight Board to share those views.
Meanwhile, several council members said they are hopeful that the return to public ownership of the Poway Road lots might result in some revitalization of the area.
Officially, the council voted 4-0 to accept and file a “Long-Range Property Management Plan” prepared for the Oversight Board. Mayor Don Higginson was absent.
The report recommends that the following eight parcels be eventually sold to the public:
• A vacant 1.54-acre lot at 13100 Poway Road. The vacant lot was once the site of a bank and later a fitness center. It is zoned for mixed use, with an affordable housing overlay zone pending. It was purchased by the former redevelopment agency in 2001 for $1.16 million.
• Two parcels at 13123-13125 Poway Road, on the south side of Poway Road at Terrascan. The parcels total .97 acre. They were acquired in 1997 for $690,000. An auto repair shop once sat on the now-vacant parcels. Zoned for Town Center/Mixed Use.
• A 1.83-ace parcel at 13033 Poway Road, currently used as a 340-unit storage facility, which leases from the city. It was purchased for $4.6 million (the report does not say when.) It is zoned for mixed use, with an affordable housing overlay zone pending.
• A .33-acre parcel at 13053 Poway Road that currently has a multi-tenant office building. The city receives rent from the offices. It was purchased (no date given) for $865,895. It is zoned for mixed use, with an affordable housing overlay zone pending.
• A .25-acre lot at 13029 1/2 Poway Road which has a two-story commercial building leased to Poway TV. The former agency paid $1.5 million for the lot (no date given.) It is zoned for mixed use, with an affordable housing overlay zone pending.
• A .14-acre vacant lot at 12430 Poway Road. A former auto repair use was torn down in 2004, after being acquired by the former agency for $248,950. It is leased to the Ramada Inn for landscaping.
• A 1.23-acre lot at 14028 Stowe Drive near Hampton Inn & Suites. The lot cost the agency $1.1 million. The city has been unsuccessfully marketing it as a restaurant location. It is zoned for commercial uses.
In other matters, the City Council:
• Agreed to turn over the responsibility of appointing the city clerk to the city manager. The city is currently looking for a new city clerk. The city manager will also technically have the authority to appoint a city treasurer, although it has been years since the city has had one.
• Proclaimed May 4 to be Valley Elementary School Day in recognition of the school’s 50th anniversary.
• Honored the following Reserve Park Rangers for 20 years of service: Tom Claus, Helen Reynolds, Jim Matlock, and Alice and Ed Ketchem. All are original members of the program.
• Postponed until May 7 approving a variety speed limit changes on local streets.
• Agreed with Councilman Steve Vaus’ suggestion to have city staff explore the possibility of giving veterans and active duty military in the city a break on paying business license fees.
Pre-recorded Poway City Council meetings can be viewed on Cox
Channel 24 and Time Warner Channel 19. Broadcast times are 6 p.m. on Monday, Thursday and Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.