Parking Requirements for Counter F&B Dominate Council Meeting

Councilmember Bill Sandke gave a proclamation for “World Lymphedema Day” to Barbara Harmer, Chris Harmer, Flora Albrecht, Carol Long, Sharon Horan, Christine Lieber, and Mary Merrill

At the City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 5, Councilmember Bill Sandke presented Barbara Harmer, Vice Chair, Lymphatic Education and Research Network California Chapter, with a proclamation naming March 6, 2019, as World Lymphedema Day. Lymphedema is a disease that affects up to 10 million Americans and 170 million people worldwide and can be hereditary or acquired as a result of cancer treatment or physical trauma, such as veterans suffer. The Lymphatic Education and Research Network is an international organization that fights Lymphedema and lymphatic diseases through education, research, and advocacy.

The most discussed topic of the evening was on adopting a policy to reduce off-street parking requirements for counter-oriented eating and drinking establishments.  Rich Grunow, Director of Community Development, gave a presentation on the background of this process that started with the November 6 Council meeting when staff was directed to prepare a report, and on to the December 4 meeting where the Council grandfathered in eight businesses, including: Coronado Beauty Lounge, Wine A Bit, High Tide, Avenue Subs, Central Liquor & Deli, Park Place Liquor & Deli, Clayton’s walk-up window, and Yogurt Escape, and directed staff to solicit feedback from stakeholders.

The Chamber of Commerce then sent out a survey resulting in 105 participants who were owners, managers and employees at restaurants, retail, and hospitality. Sixty-two percent supported the elimination or reduction of parking standards, with 38 percent opposed. A stakeholder meeting was held with representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, business and restaurant owners, and a former City Council member. Although the meeting was not well attended, concerns were raised with regards to special treatment for counter-oriented uses and skepticism that comprehensive parking changes could succeed.

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The staff gave a no-change alternative or the following proposed staff policy:

  • Counter-oriented eating/drinking uses with 250 square feet of customer area or less would be treated as a retail use for parking (1 space per 500 feet).
    • “Counter-oriented” is defined as primarily providing prepared food and/or beverages for off-site consumption or which provides food/beverages as an accessory to the primary use.
    • “Customer area” defined as the interior space dedicated to seating, standing, and consuming food and beverages.

Staff also offered alternatives for the council to consider:

  • Allowable customer area could be increased or decreased
  • Allowable customer area could include sidewalk seating areas
  • Exempt sidewalk dining areas only if associated with a primary retail or personal service use
  • Establish maximum seat limit, but there are monitoring and enforcement challenges

Eleven community members spoke on this issue, with an overwhelming positive response for Bay Books. Angelica Muller, owner of Bay Books, indicated that she will be moving to the former Bullshirt location and said, “Running a bookstore is like being in charge of an endangered species. You feel a tremendous obligation for the store to survive.” She pointed out that the margins are low, especially with the competition of Amazon, and without coffee and grab-and-go foods, she will not be able to survive with the increased rent.

Cafe MadridLuis Madrid, who has been the owner of Café Madrid (the coffee cart outside Bay Books) since he was 20, said he has a great relationship with Bay Books and also utilizes storage and refrigeration space inside MooTime Creamery. He highlighted that they actively support the community by providing a scholarship program and giving donations to schools and other organizations. He said that they are being forced to move. “It’s a decision of the new landlords and we hope it all works out  We want to provide the local feeling. It helps make Coronado what it is. Where else can you go to a coffee shop and say I don’t have any money. Can I pay you tomorrow?” he emphasized. [And on a personal note, I am one of his most loyal customers.]

By the end of the discussion, everyone seemed to agreed with Councilmember Donovan’s comment that “this makes my hair hurt” with regards to this issue. City Manager King said, “We are not seeking to change the Orange Avenue Corridor Specific Plan but are seeking a policy which will guide staff for a definition of what is retail and what is an eating and drinking establishment. We are attempting to facilitate the survival of retail businesses in this era of online sales. “

Councilmember Donovan recommended to approve the 250 square foot size, but wanted it to encompass the kitchen and prep area for the parking variance. Councilmember Sandke pointed to the size of the new Poke 123 at 199 square feet of customer area for reference.  Councilmember Heinze felt the new policy was well intentioned but missed the mark, and suggested rewording it to incorporate retail establishments that have eating as a minor adjunct part. Councilmember Sandke asked about deciding by percentage of where sales come from, but both felt that would be hard to enforce.

The mayor emphasized, “When the Orange Avenue Corridor Specific Plan was developed, one of the tools used to create diversity was the parking. I think as we have seen the economy evolve and see what consumer preferences have done, consumers are moving towards more of an experience destination. I don’t want to see vacant store fronts.”  Everyone agreed that they support a diversity of business and eating establishments.  Councilmember Donovan pointed out that the discussion evolved into two separate issues, one being the original counter-oriented restaurants, and now the new issue which has changed to a retail shop that wants to have some food and beverage service. There was much discussion on the allowable size for the parking requirements for restaurants.  Councilmember Sandke emphasized, “We are building for our people. I agree that our goal should be a vibrant, engaged business community serving our residents. If visitors happen to enjoy it, so much the better.”

Councilmember Heinze made the motion to approve the policy as written, but change the wording to pertain only to parking requirements for retail establishments with adjunct counter-oriented eating and drinking services and it was unanimously approved.

Mayor Bailey, later in the evening, published this update about Bay Books:

During tonight’s City Council meeting, the Council addressed parking requirements for retail outlets that also offer a small amount food and/or beverage service. Good news!

The action that the City Council took tonight will allow Bay Books Coronado to move a few doors down and still offer coffee services at a new location. We believe this policy will be helpful to our downtown business community and is a win for Coronado.

sub-surface void repairs. Image: City Manager’s Update March 1, 2019

Councilmember Donovan asked for a report on the manhole subsurface void repair project at the corner of 8th Street and Coronado Ave before authorizing the emergency provision. City Manager Blair King provided an overview detailing that a variety of techniques have been used to combat the high ground water in the area, including a perforated pipe, but that was found in conflict with the standard of the Regional Water Quality Control Board, so the pipe was then lined. Due to persistent problems of inflow and infiltration into the storm drain system, a process was started to help this, but hydrological pressure increased, and a weakness developed at the corner of 8th St. and Coronado Ave. “We discovered that water was entering there when a large amount of sand appeared in a wet well within the storm drain system in the Parker Pump Station,“ he said. He went on to say that they are starting a three-step process beginning with dewatering the site, then they will work to remove the existing manhole structure and then replace that entire piece, which is a 25-foot concrete cylinder. The cost is estimated between $100,000 and $150,000, and by authorizing this emergency provision, the City can bypass the bidding process and complete the project in a timely manner.

Councilmember Sandke asked if this was an isolated incident or are other areas negatively impacted, and Cliff Maurer, Director, Public Services and Engineering, answered that there are other concerns and they will be bringing those vulnerabilities forward in the coming months. He said, “We understand we are in the middle of a residential area. We have put up fencing with visual screening and we are doing our best to limit noise and taking necessary precautions.” The council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution to declare an emergency and forego the competitive bidding process for this project.

The Multi-Year Financial Forecast was given by Jim Krueger, Director of Administrative Services and was unanimously approved by the council. The purpose of the report was to identify trends and evaluate the city’s financial risk; to assess sustainability of services at the current level; identify the level of capital expenditures for future years, and to identify future commitments and resource demands. Krueger highlighted that conservative revenue and expenditure estimates were used in the forecasting, which projected revenues to grow $57 million in fiscal year 2019 up to $66.3 million in fiscal year 2024, accounting for a 3.1 percent increase. He showed the total expenditures would grow from $56.8 million to $66.2 million due to an increase in personnel expenses, services, supplies and transfers and flex points in budget, which include capital facilities replacement, the capital improvement program and pension stabilization.

The biggest expenditure of the night was for a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system from Tyler Technologies at a cost of $1.4 million, with an additional implementation management service contract of $250,000. The council directed the city to complete a detailed needs assessment and solicit proposals back in August 2017 and they unanimously approved this after Jim Krueger gave a presentation on this proposal. He pointed out the current Legacy system used by the city is 20 years with old technology and security issues, which is now more expensive to maintain than a new system.

The analysis completed by the consultant indicates that the city waited too long and is spending far more resources than is warranted in attempting to utilize outdated software components to fulfill its financial and management responsibilities.

The consultant found the following benefits to be included in implementing a new single ERP system:

  • Thousands of labor hours will be freed up per year to be utilized in other ways • Faster invoicing and purchasing processing will be afforded in a new system • Greater integration across applications • Centralized access to information • Elimination of information silos and duplication of data entry • Improved streamlined processes • Improved operational consistency, efficiency, and accuracy • Improved online access to information • Improved reporting to support operations and decision making • Improved citizen experience with online services and information • Built-in integrations between the Land, Work, Financial, and People Management application suites • Newer technology platform (processing, capacity advantages) • Real-time notifications/queues • Task tracking • Improved data integrity • Centralized location and customer account maintenance • Workflow capabilities • Centralized cash receipt capabilities • Efficient revenue collection • Reduced operating costs • Improved internal communication • Foundation for future improvement • Potential reduction in annual maintenance and support fees

Krueger pointed out that next steps include a three-phase implementation process with the Financial Modules executed first within 12 to 18 months. The Enterprise Asset Management module will be active in the second phase with the Community Development Permitting module starting in the third phase.

Councilmember Marvin Heinze asked for clarification on the implementation of the zero-emission electric tool policy. Maurer presented that compliance was voluntary for contractors, and the timing of the commercial market equipment had changed at that point and conversion went way better than expected with electric tools meeting duration and power needs. He highlighted that the contractors were compliant with most equipment, including weed whips and blowers for both public services and the golf course, with the exception of heavy-duty chainsaws and edge trimmers, because there is not an electric equivalent. Councilmember Heinze said, “I commend my predecessors. This is an environmental and noise win for the city.”

 

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Jennifer fell in love with Coronado as a teenager while visiting a college friend. She vowed that someday she would make it her home, and that dream has recently become a reality. Fast forward through completing college with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations and Communications, she then went on to work with a variety of clients. She also taught Journalism and coordinated fundraising for her children’s school, and was a staff writer for San Diego Family Magazine and contributed to other parenting publications. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@coronadotimes.com