Saturday, December 15, 2007

The right thing

I've been so busy I haven't had time to publicly thank the Monterey City Council for doing the right thing with the Catellus Property near Wharf #2. Until now.

For the uninitiated, here's the background story. The Catellus property once belonged to the Southern Pacific railroad, which leased two buildings to two local businesses. One was Adventures by the Sea, which uses the facility for indoor/outdoor beach parties. Monterey Bay Kayaks was the other. After the city bought the property, there was a call to demolish these buildings and put their tenants out of business. A previous city council came close to doing so.

The arguments against the businesses were to open up views from Del Monte Avenue, and keep private enterprise out of public  parks. Arguments in favor of the businesses were that they provided the public with social and recreational opportunities that otherwise would not exist.

I watched the council meeting live on TV. I was relieved to see the council agree that these were valuable businesses. A motion was made to evaluate the feasibility of moving them into a new structure at the foot of Wharf #2. The Mayor, concerned about costs, argued that alternative plans should also be explored, such as expanding the Adventures by the Sea building to accommodate both businesses. The motion also included a provision to extend the leases ten years, with the understanding that Monterey Bay Kayaks might move into the an expanded Adventures building.

It was a good decision. The "viewshed" people will probably get to see the Kayaks building torn down someday, and maybe the Adventures building, too, but not until an appropriate on-site alternative is available for them to move into.  

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