Feb Task Force: Oak Park land removed as possible library site

Pleasant Hill Library Task Force Meeting Notes Meeting Date: February 22, 2016
Large Community Room, Pleasant Hill City Hall, 100 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

Attendees:
 Michael Harris, Pleasant Hill City Council
 Sue Noack, Pleasant Hill City Council
 Lisa Chow, Supervisor Karen Mitchoff’s Office
 Sandra Bonato, PH Rec & Park District
 Sherry Sterrett, PH Rec & Park District
 Jack Prosek, Pleasant Hill Library Fund
 Ann Luke, PH Chamber of Commerce
 Patrick Remer, PH Library
 Katherine Bracken, PH Library Commissioner
 Susan Weaver, Friends of the Library
 David Mc Donald, Friends of the Library
 Jeff McDaniel, MDUSD
 Wendy Lack,
 Kim Brandt, resident
 Terry Gerbracht, resident
 Jim Kennedy, Consultant, Contra Costa County
 Karen Laws, Contra Costa County
 June Catalano, City Manager
 Martin Nelis, City staff

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Public Comment
There was no public comment.

Update from County staff
Jim Kennedy, consultant to Contra Costa County, reported that Dahlin Group and Keyser Marston, consultant groups to the County, were continuing to work on the land use and entitlement process for the County owned sites. The County Board of Supervisors approved a new lease two weeks ago for County Library Administration in Martinez. The Administration staff will be moving to the new location this summer/fall time period.

He stated that the Board of Supervisors has also directed County staff that the 1700 Oak Park Blvd. (former Oak Park Elementary site) should be removed as a candidate site for the new community library. He stated that possible sites for the new library would include the current library site, the Beatrice Road site and the track and field area at PH Middle School but that this site proposal still needed to be presented to the MDUSD school board if there was a desire to pursue this option.

He later noted that if the Recreation and Park District were to purchase the site, the County would have no objection to having a library on the site.

Karen Laws stated that the County received two letters from the PH Rec & Park District regarding the former Oak Park Elementary site and that the County had responded formally in writing to these correspondences. In response to a question from Chair Harris, she stated that the County had reiterated its position that that the County had the legal right to pursue the entitlement process for this site and receive fair market value for the land. She stated that if the District was in a position to acquire the property at fair market value the County would consider their offer and that the County would continue to discuss the possibility of acquisition with the District.

In response to a question from David Mc Donald about why Oak Park Elementary site was being withdrawn as a possible site for the new library, Jim Kennedy replied that the reason was primarily the development potential of the site – that it lends itself to immediate marketability.

Sherry Sterrett stated that the District had completed its own independent appraisals of the property and asked County staff about their appraisal process. Karen Laws replied that the County, as the seller of the property, is not required to do an appraisal to market the property. However, she stated that they had been using the residual land value of the property which had been accurate the last time they marketed it, and using information from their real estate consultant on what they think the property is worth.

In response to a question from Chair Harris, Karen Laws stated that deadline for exclusive negotiation with the Rec & Park District regarding acquisition of the Oak Park Elementary site had not been extended but that the County would continue to engage with the District should it arrive at a position which would enable the District to acquire the property.

Kim Brandt stated that there had been only one meeting between the County and District during the 90-day exclusive negotiations period and that she believed it was disingenuous of the County to end these exclusive negotiations without extending the period. Karen Laws replied that these issues had all been addressed in the formal response from the County to the District. Sherry Sterrett stated the District Board was meeting March 2nd to consider a response to the County.

In response to a question from Kim Brandt, Chair Harris noted that the City Council would be informed of the decision by the County to remove the Oak Park Elementary site as an option for the new library. Mayor Noack also stated that the Task Force recommendation regarding sites was that the two preferred sites for a new library was the current library site and the Oak Park Elementary site.

In response to a question from Chair Harris regarding a commitment from the County to donate the required land needed for the new library, including parking, Karen Laws stated that once there is more clarity regarding the final site selection and funding mechanisms to build the facility, staff would be in a better position to make recommendations to the Board regarding the land needed, and provide more formal assurances to the City.

In response to a question from David Mc Donald regarding possible developer contribution towards the construction of the new library, Jim Kennedy stated that this was always a possibility but that it was premature to go further on this at the current time.

In response to a question from Jack Prosek regarding Monticello Avenue, Karen Laws replied that Monticello is essentially a private driveway owned by the County from Oak Park Blvd. to the rear of the Library administration building and that any development of the sites would include improvements and possible reconfiguration of the road.

Chair Harris suggested that at the next Need Assessment Subcommittee meeting the committee discuss the three possible sites available for the library with the intention of choosing one site for recommendation to the Task Force.

Reports from Subcommittees Needs Assessment
There was no report from this subcommittee.

Outreach Subcommittee
Susan Weaver reported on the draft language for the document “Imagining a new Library” by Patrick Remer. The document was attached to the agenda packet. The subcommittee also discussed their conversation with EveryLibrary, a national campaign organization, which can provide advice and support on a possible campaign in support of a new library.

Funding Subcommittee
There was no report from this subcommittee.

In response to a question from Mayor Harris regarding the survey being conducted by the City of Pleasant Hill voters, Nelis stated City staff had met recently with Bryan Godbe of Godbe Research, the polling consultant contracted to do the survey. Godbe Research was now working on the draft questionnaire for the survey which the City is hoping to receive later this week. The current schedule is for the survey to be in the field polling mid to late March with the summary results expected in early April and a full report to City Council on the results at the second meeting in April.

Future Meetings
The Task Force agreed to meet again at 11:00 a.m. on March 14, 2016 at 11 a.m.
Chair Harris also scheduled the Needs Assessment meeting for Monday, March 7th at 11 a.m.
The Task Force adjourned at 11:47 am.