Marina’s Big Move
City leaders, CSUMB advance annexation of east campus housing.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
The 3,000 people living in student and staff housing east of CSU Monterey Bay’s main campus don’t belong to a city. Their address says Marina but the former Fort Ord property is technically in unincorporated Monterey County. The residents may shop in nearby Marina, but they can’t vote in city races or run for office. This could change if Marina decides to annex the jurisdictional no man’s land into city limits.
The City Council on Feb. 9 voted to schedule a study session to explore the benefits and drawbacks of annexing CSUMB’s east campus housing into Marina. Mayor Bruce Delgado says the council’s move was a “baby step” on a steep climb that could strengthen Marina’s college town character. “The main impact would be enabling Marina to become more of a university town, having more students and faculty and staff involved in the economy and leadership of the town,” he says.
In addition to adding an estimated 1,300 registered voters to the city, Delgado says the move could bring property tax perks and draw more people to downtown. “It might be fiscally positive, and we’re looking for new revenues,” Delgado says.
Councilman Dave McCall says he’s all for annexation—just not now. The city is 25 percent short on staff, with revenues expected to dip another $550,000 this fiscal year, city expenses are outpacing revenues by $3.7 million, and the council is debating whether to raise taxes. “We don’t have the resources, manpower or budget to begin an annexation process that’s going to take a better part of a year to do,” McCall says.
CSUMB hired consultants to study annexation, but it’s up to Marina to prep the application to the Local Agency Formation Commission and hold an election for residents to choose whether they want to be part of the city. “[CSUMB is] ready to pass the ball to somebody and they didn’t leave any purse strings attached,” McCall says.
CSUMB would continue to provide police services and contract with Presidio of Monterey Fire Department, says university spokesman Scott Faust. Already, about 640 students living North Quad are Marina residents and can vote if registered, Faust says. “It’s really about creating the opportunity for the people that live [in east campus housing] to participate,” he says.
East campus residents currently vote in county races, and annexation would require an agreement with county leaders. Although Supervisor Jane Parker backs the plan, county spokeswoman Maia Carroll says discussions are still in preliminary stages.
The unincorporated housing areas are located off Abrams Drive and include Frederick and Schoonover parks. Schoonover is home not only to CSUMB employees but to teachers and staff from local school districts.
While letting his dogs run around in Schoonover’s dog park, Bob Gutierez says he likes the prospect of being able to cast a vote in Marina elections. “You combine Marina with here and it will be like a little city,” Gutierez says. “I think it would be a benefit.”
Marina resident Katie Thornton says she thought this area was already part of the city. “I don’t mind that there is going to be more residents,” Thornton says. “I think it’s great.”