Marina Starts From Scratch With Cypress Knolls
October 12, 2011
The Marina City Council voted 3-2 Oct. 11 to scrap plans for the Cypress Knolls senior community and seek a new round of proposals for a smaller project on less than half the initial footprint.
“In today’s economic condition, big projects don’t seem to be working,” said Councilmember David Brown, who voted in favor of the start-from-scratch motion made by Frank O’Connell.
“We don’t want another Dunes or Marina Heights,” added Mayor Bruce Delgado, citing two large development projects that have been slow-moving and stalled for years, respectively.
The decision ends a years-long competition between Santa Ana-based Coastal Rim Properties and Salinas-based Peninsula Housing Partners for the right to develop a 772-unit project on 188 blighted acres.
The council voted 3-2 Aug. 24 to move ahead with Coastal Rim, but then Brown, the swing vote, asked the council to reconsider the decision.
The two developers may submit proposals for a smaller, 400-home project on 90 acres. But while Peninsula Housing is willing, it’s unclear whether Coastal Rim is in. “It’s been a long, trying process,” said Coastal Rim representative Miguel Vasquez.
The city issued a request for proposals in October 2009, received plans from Coastal Rim and Peninsula Housing in March 2010, and held public hearings on the projects before abruptly suspending the process for six months so the FBI could investigate bribery allegations.
City staff estimate it will take until spring 2012 to select a new developer; the price tag for another proposal process is $145,000. That’s on top of the nearly $870,000 the city’s spent on Cypress Knolls since April 2008, when it severed its ties with initial developer Front Porch.
“I don’t believe we have $200,000 per year to be spending on blighted land,” said Councilmember Nancy Amadeo, who along with Jim Ford voted to move ahead with the Coastal Rim proposal. Added Ford: “We need to get this project off the ground.”
But Brown stuck to his guns: “It’s better to delay a bit more and get it right.”