During the Coronado City Council meeting of Tuesday, May 7, 2019, the council spent one hour and 17 minutes of their three hour and 33 minute meeting discussing Community Grant policies and procedures. Combined with the one hour and 31 minutes of discussion from their April 16, 2019, meeting spent on the same issue, the council has covered the waterfront on the concept and then covered it again.
What is now in force is a grant policy that is five and one-half pages long, with an additional five page application, which includes examples and a scoring mechanism to grade the submittals. What was once a policy friendly to local non-profits and in need of some level of tightening, has morphed into an ordinance that is adversarial and overly complex.
During the discussions among the council, Councilmembers Marvin Heinze, Bill Sandke and Whitney Benzian all expressed the wish that the $1 million cap on the grant total have some level of flexibility. The cap remains a hard cap, at least in the language of the policy. Perhaps reality will intrude if a worthy project presents itself to the council in the future.
Another area of confusion is the council, at the suggestion of Sandke, applied new policy restrictions for seed money which are, ‘Funding is limited to no more than three consecutive years and must include reductions in City funding each year,’ to organizations with the expressed purpose, ‘To fund the execution of specific, non-profit services.’ Taken literally, that will eliminate funding to most existing, worthwhile non-profits in the city within three years. Seemingly, that clause will need to be re-visited or re-vamped. Yes, legislating on the fly from the dais can have unintended consequences.
The council did take the positive step of approving a three-person committee, comprised of non-profit professionals, to review the Community Grant applications. Their report to the City Council is advisory in nature and the council is under no obligation to accept their recommendations. Although the motion to approve the five and one-half page Community Grant policy passed 5-0, and the council has invested a total of two and one-half hours in public discussion of the topic, a betting man would figure more discussion on this topic is on the horizon.
The other major concept brought forth at the May 7, 2019, meeting was a well-orchestrated appeal by supporters of the proposed Logos Youth Center for the council to reconsider their recent 2-2 vote for a special permit to allow construction of the 9,900 square foot facility to be located at 970 C Avenue. The 2-2 vote meant the council didn’t approve the recommendation from the Planning Commission to allow construction, as there was no consensus on the council. The vote effectively killed the project, at least in its current form.
A total of 29 speakers addressed the council under the Oral Communications portion of the agenda. A diverse mixture of students and adults spoke in favor of Logos, with 27 of the speakers in favor of the facility. The vast majority had positive motives and positive stories to tell, although a few made the not-so-subtle point that condominiums would be built on the location if the youth center wasn’t approved.
For the matter to be re-considered, any of the four councilmembers (Sandke recused himself from the deliberations due to a conflict of interest) can request the matter be agendized. Once agendized at a future city council meeting, it will take a 3-1 vote for the Logos Youth Center to be approved.
In other city council actions:
As part of the Consent Calendar, the Council accepted the report on the emergency repairs made to the storm drain and the street at Eighth Street and Coronado Avenue. The total project cost is expected to be at or below $475,000, with the cost for the work to be shared evenly among the Storm Drain Enterprise Fund, the Streets Operation and Maintenance Fund and the Wastewater Fund. According to the staff report on the subject, the project included replacement of two sections of sewer main, a sewer manhole and approximately 24 feet of storm drainpipe.
By moving the agenda items to the Consent Calendar, the Council approved the appointment of Sue Godwin to a second three-year term on the Discover Coronado Board. They also approved the appointment of Helen Kupka to fill a vacancy on the Cultural Arts Commission.
The council approved the addition of signage at the entrance of the Coronado Cays, aimed at making the intersection safer for bike riders and drivers alike. The signs would say ‘Cross Traffic Does Not Stop’ and would be combined with pavement markings with a similar message.
Following a brief public hearing, the Council decided to accept the staff recommendation and pursue a Mitigated Negative Declaration for construction of the South Bay Sewer Force Main Alignment Project. The project includes 14,500 linear feet of sewer force main to run to the new Naval Base Coronado Coastal Campus, as well as bypass connections, and odor control system improvements. The project itself was not being approved with this vote, just how the city should proceed to meet their CEQA requirements.
Just before the meeting concluded, Mayor Richard Bailey, who represents the city on the SANDAG Board, said that Coronado’s portion of new state-mandated housing may reach level of 1,800 new units, which he characterized as ‘catastrophic.’ In contrast, the last state-mandated target for additional housing units was 50. Bailey said the City Staff was preparing a document to help educate the SANDAG Board on the limits facing Coronado in this area.
The next meeting of the Coronado City Council will be held Tuesday, May 21, 2019, at 4 p.m. City Council meetings are held at City Hall, located at 1825 Strand Way in Coronado.