Answers to Marinapark questions coming

February 05, 2004

June Casagrande

Questions and confusion about the proposed Marinapark resort project

could be cleared up as soon as next week.

City Councilman John Heffernan has requested a detailed accounting

by staff regarding the process and timetable for approving the

110-room luxury resort as well as a basic understanding of the

question that will be put to voters.


"There are a lot of questions even I have about this," Heffernan

said. "And if people are going to be voting on it, they need to

understand what they're voting on."

Among the questions floating in Heffernan and others' minds: What,

exactly, will people be voting on? When and how will it be determined

how much developer Sutherland Talla Hospitality will pay to lease the

city-owned property? Will a vote of the people to approve the project

mean that city officials can't later change their mind about the

developer or the plans? Will there still be public hearings on the


Assistant City Manager Sharon Wood will present the answers to the

council on Tuesday.

Most notable among the details she will report is that, contrary

to popular belief, the project will still require a public hearing at

the Planning Commission.

The question that will be put to voters, likely in November, is

whether the city should amend its general plan to allow a hotel at

the site of what is now a mobile home park. But amending the general

plan is just one part of the process, Wood said.

A draft environmental report should be available for public review

in April on the resort slated to be built at the site of the

Marinapark mobile home park on the Balboa Peninsula adjacent to the

American Legion Hall.

The project will still require a use permit, which the Planning

Commission must grant. Planning Commission meetings will probably

take place in June or July. The Coastal Commission will also have to

approve the project in a public meeting sometime after the Planning

Commission hearings. Then, the City Council will decide in a public

meeting, likely in July, whether to put the matter on the November


Lease negotiations with the developer will take place in closed

session, but details will be made public afterward.

During this process, a lot of details about the project will come

to light, Wood said. For example, a fiscal analysis being done by

consultants will give voters an estimate of how much money the

project will bring to the city. The developer has submitted revenue

estimates to the city, but the city uses outside consultants to come

up with official figures. Also, Wood said, a yes vote by the people

will not compel the council to see the project through to completion.

The vote will only be to amend the general plan, not to authorize the


The rooms will bring in about $1.1 million a year in tax revenue

to the city, according to documents filed by Sutherland Talla. The

project's restaurant and meeting hall rentals will bring in another

$714,000 a year, the developer estimated. No estimates yet exist on

how much rent the developer might pay to the city.

More information about the project, including a site plan, are

available on the city's website,

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