Midway planners get smattering of legislative briefings on leasing confusion, water-rate hike
by Dave Schwab
Published - 10/30/13 - 02:31 PM | 4406 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The North Bay Community Planning Group (NBCPG) was briefed on the sports arena lease situation and heard reports from local government representatives on pending legislation and other matters during its Oct. 16 meeting.

The advisory group was also introduced to interim mayor Todd Gloria’s new community representative, Scott Barfield.

Rachel Gregg of state Assemblywoman Toni Atkins’ office spoke about new state legislation.

“Assemblymember Atkins has au-thored a fun bill that creates new license plates with Snoopy on them for an extra $50 registration charge,” said Gregg.

Gregg said money raised from the fee goes toward supporting the museums in California.

John Ly from District 2 City Councilman Kevin Faulconer’s office filled group members in on a proposed city water-rate hike, saying prices are proposed to go up 7.25 percent in 2014 and 7.5 percent in 2015.

“[The city buys] water from the county Water Authority and they buy from the Metropolitan Water District, which gets its water from the Colorado River,” said Ly. “Metropolitan is raising its rates and we are at the bottom of the totem pole. Last time this happened, the City Council opted not to pass on the rate increase, taking the money out of reserves instead.”

Ly said efforts are under way to explore using alternative water sources like desalinization, groundwater and toilet-to-tap advanced filtering.

“Our goal is to move away from using water from the Colorado River and use local supplies,” Ly said. “The idea is, with more of a local supply we can help blunt future water rate increases.”

NBCPG chairwoman Melanie Nickel said the group was surprised to find that several real-estate leases surrounding Valley View Casino Center (formerly the San Diego Sports Arena) at 3500 Sports Arena Blvd. are expiring at widely varying times.

“We thought they all expired by 2028, but some of the leases go much beyond that,” Nickel said. “We’d recommended that no leases be extended beyond 2028 so that we could look at the whole area as package.”

Businesses surrounding the sports arena, their size and lease expiration dates are: Stonewood Garden Apartments, 8.36 aces, 2024; Orchard II, 5.59 acres, 2036; ST Associates, 5.01 acres, 2032; Sports Arena Village, 17.61 acres, 2029; Tusch-Derbonne, 0.61 aces, 2035; AEG Management (sports arena), 33.58 acres, 2020; AEG Management (Sports Arena Square),

5 acres, month-to-month; Dixieline Lumber, 3.8 acres, 2015; Trend Furniture, 0.59 acres, 2015; Pier 1 Imports, 1.17 acres, 2014, Strauss Family Trust, 1.75 acres, 2033; and AEG Management (Retail Pads), 4.92 acres, 2032.

Nickel said the NBCPG is also opposed to month-to-month leases, noting those are unattractive to most tenants seeking long-term security, which creates a situation where businesses move out of properties left vacant and “literally falling to pieces.”

She cited the former Black Angus Restaurant site at 3599 Sports Arena Blvd. as a case in point.

“No one wants to move in there because it’s month-to-month,” said Nickel.

“How much are all of these properties tied to the long-term lease of the sports arena, and what is the sports arena’s role going to be?” Nickel asked Barfield.

“There is linkage, but to what extent I can’t say,” Barfield said.

Barfield said he would be the liaison with the interim mayor, adding “our administration is obviously in a holding phase, not launching any new policy initiatives until another mayor is in place.”

Barfield can be reached at (619) 533-6397, or by email at cbarfield@sandiego.gov.

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