Monday, March 2, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Vacaville makes plans to fight state over downtown parking lots

vacaville parking lots 7_23_13

A pedestrian crosses Main Street in Vacaville. Vacaville could lose nine downtown parking lots which were previously owned by the now-defunct redevelopment agency. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | July 30, 2013 |

VACAVILLE — City and business officials paint a bleak picture of a very real scenario in which Vacaville is forced by the state to part with nine parking lots in the downtown area, as well as a number of other properties that were owned by the city’s now-defunct redevelopment agency.

It’s a situation that goes back to the state doing away with redevelopment agencies, which cities in California used to help attract new businesses and spur developments.

“We went to the City Council in mid-May to let them know we received a formal letter from the (state) Department of Finance,” said Cyndi Johnston, city director of Housing and Redevelopment. “The state is not allowing us to consider them government properties. They’re saying, ‘You can’t transfer them to the city.’ ”

As a part of the 2011 budget act, the state government sought to eliminate the state’s 400-plus redevelopment agencies. The state Department of Finance’s website says the move was intended, “to protect funding for core public services at the local level.”

But it also created headaches for cities such as Vacaville that rely on the properties previously owned by its redevelopment agency.

The city adopted a number of resolutions to transfer ownership of the various redevelopment properties to government use or other appropriate public jurisdictions. A number of the resolutions were approved by the state Department of Finance, but many were not, meaning the city cannot transfer them to government use and must sell them.

City staff reports say the Department of Finance told the city that parking lots “open to the general public are not considered governmental purpose assets.”

Parking lots just the start

Losing just the nine parking lots, which consist of 361 parking spaces, creates all kinds of headaches for the city.

Without the lots, the city would be left with street parking and eight city-owned lots that total 588 spaces – and 127 of those are only available on weekends, holidays and after 5 p.m. weekdays.

That’s just the start of the problems.

In addition to the parking lots, the city was denied transfer of three undeveloped parcels and a pair of developed parcels, specifically the Harbison Events Center and the Carnegie Library, which is home to the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce.

The city has vowed to fight the state on the property transfers.

“There’s a couple things that we’re doing,” Johnston said. “We are actually preparing a letter requesting reconsideration. We’re asking them to take a look again and sit down with us and go through them and see why we consider them government properties.”

Johnston said the city has limited hope that will work, though.

“A few have been successful, a few have not,” she said. “The second thing, we’re preparing a long-range property management plan. It was mandated as part of the dissolution of redevelopment. We’re taking that to the oversight board in September.”

That long-range plan allows the city to describe how the properties in question are to be used, sold for future development or transferred for government purposes.

After the city oversight board – the City Council serves as the oversight board for the successor agency – the state Department of Finance will look at the plan.

“We’re never done until the state takes a look,” Johnston said.

What losing lots would mean

The effects on the city could be dramatic if it has to part with the nine parking lots.

“It essentially results in a loss of 44 percent of (our) parking spaces,” Johnston said. “So it is very, very significant.”

Because Vacaville’s downtown is particularly active, this could be a serious problem.

“We’ve got a situation where parking has always been a key component of downtown,” Johnston said.

Losing the lots creates a host of problems for the city, she said.

“Making sure we have enough for downtown and for special events,” Johnston said. “That’s kind of the right off the bat.”

The city would have to revisit its core parking standards.

“Our parking requirements are now, if you tear something down and rebuild, you do not have to have on-site parking,” Johnston said. “We’ll have to revise that because there’s not enough parking.”

Long range, the prospects for the city are not great if the parking lots must be sold, she said.

“We would expect our downtown property values go down due to lack of parking,” Johnston said. “We can’t build as much. Sales tax could go down because people want to shop where it’s easy to park. It would have a negative impact on the businesses themselves and on the lives of Vacaville residents.”

There hasn’t been an attempt to quantify the potential losses to businesses and to the city in terms of sales tax revenue from the potential reduced parking situation.

“We haven’t done that piece of it yet,” Johnston said. “We expect it to be part of getting ready for the long-range plan. It’s still pretty fresh.”

Chamber: ‘It would be devastating’

Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce, which would be directly affected by the forced sale of the redevelopment properties, is concerned for its own home as well as how the situation could affect its members.

“It would be devastating for downtown Vacaville, especially with a new theater coming on line in late November,” said Mark Creffield, president of the Vacaville chamber.

Loss of parking will cause major problems for businesses, Creffield said. For example, the Gold’s Gym parking lot is one of the lots the city stands to lose.

“Who will buy it?” he said. “Losing parking in an already-crowded downtown Vacaville could have a severe effect.”

Then there’s the question of what happens to the parking lots if the city sells them.

“What are people going to do, develop on these parking spaces?” Creffield said. “Turn them into private parking lots?”

Losing the Carnegie Library could leave the chamber in a quandary, too. Creffield said there’s no real plan yet for what the chamber would do if it needed to leave the Carnegie Library.

“In theory, (the city) could be forced to liquidate the building, which would then mean the chamber would have to move out,” he said. “We still have a lease.”

Chamber would get notice

The lease agreement states that the city must give the chamber 10 months’ notice to vacate the property. If the chamber needed to be out by December 2014, the city would have to give notice in February.

“So it’s not really something we’ve given a lot of thought to because we have a lot of time before this move would have to happen,” Creffield said. “But it is on our minds.”

According to that lease, the chamber paid the redevelopment agency, and now the successor agency, which is overseen by the City Council, a dollar a year for rent.

Creffield said the chamber also pays $1,500 per month to the successor agency for a redevelopment loan, plus it pays the property taxes on the Carnegie Library. Additionally, the chamber collects some rental income from businesses that are in the building.

“It would be pretty devastating if the chamber would have to leave,” Creffield said. “I hope we would still remain a downtown fixture. My hope is that we could still find a home somewhere in downtown Vacaville.”

It’s been about 15 years since the chamber moved into the Carnegie Library.

Creffield said he’s had conversations with Johnston and City Manager Laura Kuhn about the redevelopment properties.

“There’s a lot of frustration on the city,” he said. “They feel that the properties should just be rolled into the city.”

Creffield mentioned the possibility of a lawsuit against the state, which is an approach the City Council discussed at its May 14 meeting.

“At some point we have to say enough is enough,” City Councilman Curtis Hunt said at that meeting. “(We should) do all that is being asked of us, but I wouldn’t have a problem with having a lawsuit attached to this. I don’t think we need to soft pedal to the Department of Finance.”

Before any suits are filed, the city must complete the Long Range Management Plan, which is due to the state by Oct. 12.

“Under the Long Range Management Plan, we’ll propose plans for transfer (of the properties) to the city for government use,” Johnston said. “We’re just not confident that the process will allow us to do that. But we’re hopeful.”

Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 4 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Eugene borghelloJuly 30, 2013 - 10:57 am

    Lets see if the city backs off on the parking citations issued a day or steps it up to increase revenue. Then we will really see just how much the city cares about the downtown businesses

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Solano Business IncubatorJuly 30, 2013 - 5:44 pm

    California cities need these parking lots. Fairfield needs theirs as well.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The MisterJuly 30, 2013 - 6:39 pm

    Agenda 21

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • FredJuly 30, 2013 - 8:28 pm

    Didn't the City of Fairfield fork out big bucks for parking lots & other pieces of property’s like the Fairfield Police Departments Special Investigation building (the old bank on West Texas) to retain ownership of these property's. At a heavy cost to the reserves? All while cutting public works & non-sworn PD positions, and having FEA employees and others on furloughs?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Whiteside ready to take Travis school board seat

    By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    World War II spy shares tales of work behind enemy lines

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    I love to ‘read’ audiobooks

    By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

     
    PublicStuff, an online app, set for Fairfield

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

     
    Beginning gardening series starts in March

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

    Literacy celebration returns this month

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

     
    Council to hear budget scenarios

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

     
    Fairfield High School celebrates black history

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

     
    Warm winter afternoon at Lagoon Valley Park

    By Steve Reczkowski | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

    Free medical series targets senior health issues

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

     
    Pena Adobe hosts natural dye-making presentation

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

    IHOP takes part in National Pancake Day

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

     
    Local governments schedule meetings this week

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

    Vacaville 4-alarm house fIre

    By Steve Reczkowski | From Page: A4, 2 Comments | Gallery

     
    Weather for Monday, March 2, 2015

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

    Corner Store Gallery schedules open house

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

     
    .

    US / World

    Kerry tries to dampen fuss over Israeli PM’s speech

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Hundreds of bills introduced by California lawmakers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Lawmakers tinker with crime measure recently OK’d by voters

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Storm brings rain, thunder, hail to Southern California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    California GOP recognizes gay faction of party

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

     
    Iraqi premier gives ultimatum ahead of hinted Tikrit attack

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Activists say Islamic State releases 19 Syrian Christians

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Sierra Leone’s vice president in quarantine for Ebola

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    30,000 marchers in Moscow mourn slain Putin foe

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Spacewalking astronauts finish extensive, tricky cable job

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Survey: Parents increasingly ask doctors to delay vaccines

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Newspaper: Nurse who survived Ebola says hospital failed her

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Myanmar captures rare white elephant in western jungles

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Crowd kills girl suspected to be suicide bomber in Nigeria

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    New plane tracking to be tested after Malaysia jet mystery

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    .

    Opinion

     
    A night with a King

    By Delon Jackson | From Page: A8

    Your right to work for less

    By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8, 8 Comments

     
    Right fight in DC, but wrong reason

    By Colbert I. King | From Page: A8

    Editorial Cartoon: March 2, 2015

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Living

    Today in History: March 2, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: March 2, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Why timeouts only prolong the problem

    By The Washington Post | From Page: B5

     
    Horoscopes: March 3, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

    Horoscopes: March 2, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

     
    It’s never a good idea to point out how big a pregnant woman is

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

    .

    Entertainment

     
    Will Smith’s ‘Focus’ tops box office with $19.1 million

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    Lady Gaga, Vince Vaughn take charity polar plunge in Chicago

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    TVGrid March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

    TVGrid March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

     
    .

    Sports

    Curry scores 37, leads Warriors from 26 down to beat Celtics

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Jimmie Johnson pulls away for another Atlanta Sprint Cup win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Giants reliever Strickland insists he’s tranquil on mound

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Lillard, Aldridge lead Blazers past Kings for 3rd in a row

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Major league baseball’s 1st black Latino star Minoso dies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Seller’s market for NHL teams as trade deadline nears

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Andy Sullivan wins Joburg Open for 2nd title this year

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    South Korea’s Amy Yang wins Honda LPGA Thailand

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Hannah hurls Bulldogs to 2-0 win over Campolindo

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

    Oregon women upset No. 19 Stanford 62-55

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Indians open season with 12-4 win over Falcons

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

    Oregon beats Stanford 73-70, clinches bye in Pac-12 tourney

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Process gets underway to carve up $60 million Sandusky fine

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Cal’s big run lifts Bears past Oregon State 73-56

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Former Washington basketball star Christian Welp dies at 51

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Sharks trade Sheppard to Rangers for draft pick

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    4,000 attend Jerry Tarkanian tribute in Las Vegas arena

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Garnett buys 1,000 tickets for fans for next T-wolves game

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Poulter, Casey share lead at rain-delayed Honda Classic

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Blatter concerned by Russian soccer racism before World Cup

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Broadcasters propose FIFA election debate to Blatter, rivals

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    This date in sports history for March 2, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez nearing 1st spring game

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    Fast and furious: Rousey looks to future after 14-second win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    Mimi’s adds breakfast items to menu

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

     
    Samsung ditches plastic design, adds mobile pay in new phone

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    In Apple’s latest update, emojis get diverse

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Jacqueline Mendes

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Lester Singer

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Blondie March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    For Better or Worse March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Wizard of Id March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Pickles March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Peanuts March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    B.C. March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Baby Blues March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Rose is Rose March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Baldo March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Zits March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Garfield March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Sally Forth March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Get Fuzzy March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Frank and Ernest March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Dilbert March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Beetle Bailey March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Crossword March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Sudoku March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Cryptoquote March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Word Sleuth March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Bridge March 3

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Garfield March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Get Fuzzy March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Frank and Ernest March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Blondie March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Sally Forth March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Wizard of Id March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Baby Blues March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    B.C. March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Beetle Bailey March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Peanuts March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    For Better or Worse March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Dilbert March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Baldo March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Zits March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Rose is Rose March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Pickles March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Crossword March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

    Cryptoquote March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Sudoku March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

    Bridge March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Word Sleuth March 2

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7