by Nels Westman, CVRA Board President
For over five years the City of Capitola has envisioned building a 3-level, 554 space parking structure behind City Hall. The challenge has been funding. Recently the City raised the possibility of selling the current city hall site to a private developer who would build an 80-room, 3-story hotel. The proceeds of sale of the city hall property plus fees to provide hotel parking in the parking structure would reduce construction costs somewhat. An unknown amount of future hotel tax revenues could pay a portion of the debt service on construction bonds.
The sale of the city hall property, however, would require the city to build a new city hall somewhere else. The construction of a parking structure would enable the city to ultimately remove the temporary parking lot in lower Pacific Cove and convert that land to public uses such as parkland. No funding sources for the cost of building a new city hall and developing the parklands were identified.
This complicated and expensive proposal was broadly introduced to the citizens of Capitola in a citywide newsletter in early June, followed by a city-sponsored Workshop at New Brighton Middle School. Over 100 members of the public attended the Workshop. There was almost universal disapproval of the concept of selling the city hall property and building an 80-room hotel. There was almost universal disapproval of the consequent construction of a new city hall in Pacific Cove. Many expressed concern about any new development in the Village that would increase congestion or impair the character of the community in which we have chosen to live.
There was a little support for exploring ways to improve the safety of the police department in the event of a flood or tsunami (such as moving them upstairs in the current building or moving only the police to another location on flat land). There was a little support for some sort of parking structure which would in turn free up the lower Pacific Cove area for park lands or similar uses but tempered by concerns over increased development in the Village.
In response to public input at the Workshop the City Council voted on July 9 to stop further exploration of selling the current city hall property, building an 80-room hotel or building a new city hall in Pacific Cove.
The Capitola Village Residents Association kept its members informed about these developments and the various meetings. Many members participated in person or through emails to the city. If you would like to be included in future notifications, please join the CVRA by emailing email@example.com. Membership is free and our email list is strictly confidential. Check out www.capitolacvra.org.