Enviro Heads Marina Committee
Fitz to chair Marina development panel.
Thursday, February 13, 2003
A group of 19 Marina citizens and city officials met Monday night to outline their responsibilities in the selection of a developer for the largest building project in the city''s history.
Tasked with finding someone to oversee the massive, mixed-use University Villages project on Fort Ord land, the newly formed group will review what the city wants from a master developer, then sort through the proposal packages. Eventually, the group will pass along recommendations to the city council.
Eight development outfits have qualified to respond to city requests for proposal, or RFPs. Final selection rests with the city council.
Primary in the group''s actions on Monday was choosing Chris Fitz, deputy director of LandWatch Monterey County, a conservation group, to chair the panel.
Former city council candidate and regular council meeting attendee Ted Elisee was chosen as vice chairman. Also on the panel are city councilmen Bruce Delgado and Dave McCall; city manager Anthony Altfeld, city planning director Jeff Dack; Michael Houlemard and Steve Endsley of the Fort Ord Re-Use Authority; John Wilmot and Gary Wilmot, county and city planning commissioners, respectively; Grace Silva-Santella, a former planning commissioner; as well as an assortment of other citizens and officials.
University Villages North and West are planned as mixed-use developments and will be located between the existing city and the CSU-Monterey Bay campus on abandoned Fort Ord land. When it is complete, the project will change the city completely.
What are now derelict army buildings on the site will become a modern community with housing, stores, offices and so on.
As Houlemard described it, the Fort Ord land is the "premier development site on the California coast." Councilman Delgado went so far as to express his hope that after tourists go to Fisherman''s Wharf in Monterey they''d come to University Villages, to which Councilman McCall asked, "Can you reverse that?"
Mainly what the group will do is review developers'' plans against what fits city criteria. For example, Chairman Fitz says that developers with previous projects that emphasize car-use and segregate residents deserve note.
"If that''s the kind of projects they''ve done, I want to know about it," he told the panel.
Still undetermined is the role the university will play in the planning of University Villages. The school does not have a representative with the group, despite the fact that the site is adjacent to campus and is envisioned as being a somewhat intertwined community.
On the heels of the controversy over the planning process for another huge city development known as Marina Heights, the panel is seeking a high volume of public input for University Villages.
The committee has invited the public to the Marina Community Center on Feb. 26 and March 11 at 6pm for workshop sessions. Also, the public will be invited to tour the site on Feb. 22, starting at 10am. The tour will begin at the FORA conference center at the 12th Street entrance to the base. The panel meets again on March 24.