Report from School Board Meeting – 2/4/14

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Handouts and Slides from the Meeting:

Tonight (Tuesday February 4, 2014)  about 20 – 30 neighbors from the various neighborhoods potentially impacted by the JAHP attended the school board meeting.  Fortunately, the JAHP EIR agenda item was moved up in the discussion sequence to accommodate the group.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Ryan Pinkerton,  led off the JAHP session by referring to the meeting of last Thursday (City sponsored meeting).  He commented to the board that the meeting generated a lot of frustration from the neighbors with its less than adequate format; and that it did not produce a positive result for the project. (Ryan attended the Thursday meeting, not as a speaker or expert, was there most of the meeting and personally talked to several attendees during the meeting).

In his introduction, Ryan reviewed significant milestones from 2005 to the present for the board.  Further, he counseled the board that a more interactive dialogue with the neighbors would be a good idea and even suggested that the 45-day EIR comment period be expanded to make sure that sufficient dialog and information exchange was facilitated.

Carol Florence of Oasis Associates presented an executive overview of the EIR and stated that the results of the EIR were good news for the board in that there were no serious “Class I” issues that would require significant modifications to the project.  During a question from the board, Carol said that the major reason the city objected to the original SFR proposal was because of the impact upon the Needle Grass meadow.  “If we could not build on that area, then we were limited to the number of SFR homesites.”

The board, at least, paid a lot of lip service to considering a smaller project.  One question asked was whether the EIR would have to be redone if the project was downsized.  The response was that only if the project was expanded would the EIR need to be revised.

After their presentation, the floor was opened to Public Comments on the project.  Several speakers presented their thoughts and objections.  No one spoke in favor for the project.

After the public comments on the JAHP, during a break, Ryan Pinkerton wanted to chat with the neighborhood attendees and suggested at least one follow up meeting to create a dialogue between the school district and the neighbors.  A potential date next week was discussed.  The neighbors were concerned about scheduling a meeting when there were already two meetings – ACR and Planning Commission – to prepare for in the next couple of weeks.  However, subsequently, the Assistant Superintendent communicated that the originally scheduled date caused a conflict.  Stay tuned for more information as to the schedule of this meeting with the school district.

My take is that the school district is smart enough to recognize that they need to deal with the neighborhood residents.  Now are they smart enough to listen and respond to the needs of the neighborhoods?

Who is Ryan Pinkerton?

To get a feel for where he fits into the school district organization, I visited the SLCUSD website and found that Ryan maintains a blog to which he posts his thoughts frequently.  You can visit that blog at http://wordpress.slcusd.org/businessservices/.

It appears that Ryan is responsible for the JAHP  and that he has worked closely with Carol Florence (Oasis Associates) and Ty Green (school district legal counsel) on several revenue projects (JAHP and Avila Bungalows) for some time.  UPDATE:  Ryan says he has been in his current role only since August 2013.

See an excerpt form his post on those topics from September of last year:

Budget Meetings and Funding

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Revenue Enhancement
The district is constantly looking for ways to increase revenues to ensure we can continue providing our students with an outstanding education. At the September 17, 2013, Board Meeting we reviewed two projects that will become revenue streams for the district in the future.

The Avila Bungalow project is a mix of homes, time shares, and the renovation of the historic school house into a potential bed and breakfast. The district is leasing the property to a developer and will receive a portion of the income that comes from the development. As the project is built out, it will pay for itself, ensuring the financial stability of the developer as well as the district. While this project has been in the planning phase for many years, the developers have broken ground and a few units have been built, one of which recently sold.

The Johnson Avenue project has been in the planning phase since 2005, although it has recently been held up due to traffic concerns. Located on the portion of land near the District Office and San Luis Obispo High School on Johnson Avenue, the original plan called for 80 units in a multi-family development that would help the City with their long-range growth needs. The addition of so many units may seem like it would create a lot more traffic, but traffic projections have shown it will only represent a 2% increase to that area. Once the Environmental Impact Report is published, we will be able to look for potential developers and hopefully get the project off the ground.

While both the Avila Bungalows and Johnson Avenue projects will provide a sustainable, ongoing source of revenue and provide economic relief, we also receive revenue from leasing our unused sites.

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3 thoughts on “Report from School Board Meeting – 2/4/14

  1. I still have a problem with the SLCUSD being a property owner/landlord. They are only prepared to be part of school buildings on school property. Are we as taxpayers on the hook for any subsequent problems with this private apartment project? Who is responsible for liabilty issues? It seems we could be paying twice–through paying our personal property taxes, and direct District building and maintenance costs for nonacademic projects. Does the District have the money to take on this potential risk? What amount is the District considering would be the revenue stream? And, when might the District actually begin receiving these funds? Also, yes, the traffic is a much greater synergistic problem than the percentage mentioned here.

    I would like to meet with other neighbors on this project, independent of when we meet with the school board. please contact me below. thanks, dia hurd

  2. I am glad so many attended the school board meeting on 2-4-14. Thank you all.
    Question: The JAHP has been in the planning since 2005. How can this be that many of us are just finding out about it?
    Question: Are there any traffic studies done (current and over the years) ?
    Thank you in advance if anyone has answers. Susie

  3. I’m also concerned about the risk liability – I looked at the layout and saw that the Old Jr. High’s parking lot is VERY close to these units. I’m thinking the city/school district will be responsible for anything that happens on that property when people park there for parties rather than navigate the 200 space underground parking lot. Thanks, Mary Ellen Gibson

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