April 10, 2006
Marina Planning Commission
211 Hillcrest Ave.
Marina, CA 93933
We implore you to finish what began at your October 13, 2005 meeting in which the commission, at the urging of city staff and Tallen & Keshen Holdings, amended the use permit for 150 Beach Road (The Marina Landing Shopping Center) and adjourned the meeting with confidence that a synergistic, multi-use shopping center would be developed that Marina could be proud as part of our city’s downtown revitalization, the cornerstone of our tourism trade, and concurring with the Marina General Plan.
Many arguments have been put forth that Tallen & Keshen, at the very least, negligently provided false material information in their testimony at that meeting which led to your decision to amend the use permit. Conversely, arguments have also been put forth that Tallen & Keshen acted in good faith and within the letter of the law by leasing the property to Wal-Mart.
Only you, our Planning Commission, can ultimately decide the truth pursuant to Marina Municipal Code, Sections 17.48.010 and 17.48.060 (see Appendix A: Applicable Marina Municipal Code).
When Tallen & Keshen presented testimony concurrent with the Marina General Plan and City Council directives, to you, our Planning Commission, they were providing testimony to all Marina citizens. As our representatives and legislative body tasked with implementing our city’s General Plan and vision for our future, you have our confidence and trust that those comprehensive and well-conceived plans will be implemented.
Unfortunately, Marina city staff and City Council have repeatedly attempted to make this determination for you, referring to you only as an “advisory body to the City Council.” The Marina Municipal Code clearly provides the Planning Commission with full authority to act on behalf of its citizenry. The possibility of litigation resulting from your action either way is immaterial and should not enter into your decision-making process.
This issue began with our Planning Commission and we believe it must end with our Planning Commission. In accordance with the California Brown Act, Section 54954.2 (see Appendix B: Applicable California Brown Act), any single member of the Planning Commission may “direct staff to place a matter of business on a future agenda.” Nowhere in the Brown Act, the Marina Municipal Code, or Commission procedures is this right subject to review or consent by city staff, legal counsel, or City Council.
We believe that due process has not been afforded the Marina citizenry and city officials, and Tallen & Keshen Holdings to fully present their arguments before the appropriate authority, the Marina Planning Commission. We have many unanswered questions as to the expectations of the Planning Commission upon amending the 150 Beach Road use permit, the intentions and actions taken by Tallen & Keshen to improve the property and solicit tenants, and city staff’s awareness of Wal-Mart’s possible interest in that property earlier in 2005. We, as citizens, look to you, our government representatives, to ask questions and demand answers where we, as citizens of Marina, have no power individually or as part of a citizens collective to do so.
2005 Planning Commission Chairperson Bob Drake stated to Tallen & Keshen upon passing the amendment to the use permit, “Go forth and do good things in our community…If you fail we have ways.” On behalf of Marina citizens, we ask you to exercise your rights as our civic representatives by placing a hearing on your agenda to hear testimony by all sides, ask questions, evaluate the findings, rule on this issue, and explore those “ways.”
Thank you for your consideration of this pivotal matter in our community’s future.
Appendix A: Applicable Marina Municipal Code
A. Use permits, revocable, conditional, or valid for a term period may be issued for any of the uses or purposes for which such permits are required or permitted by the terms of this title.
B. The planning commission shall have the power to hear and decide applications for, and issue use permits, for all uses for which a use permit is required or permitted.
C. As used in this chapter, the words “appropriate authority” means the planning commission when the application for a use permit is one which is within its power to issue. (Zoning ordinance dated 7/94 (part), 1994)
A. Where one or more of the conditions of the granting of a use permit have not been, or are not being complied with, or when a use permit was granted on the basis of false material information, written or oral, given wilfully or negligently by the applicant, the appropriate authority may revoke or modify such use permit following a hearing thereon. Notice of such hearing shall be given in writing to the permittee at least ten days prior to said hearing. Notice of such hearing shall be given as described in Section 17.48.030. Following the hearing, the appropriate authority may revoke or modify the use permit.
B. An appeal may be taken from such revocation or modification in the same manner as described in Section 17.48.050.
C. All use permits issued by the appropriate authority shall be valid until the date of expiration stated on the permit, or if no date of expiration is stated, or unless otherwise specified by the appropriate authority, all such permits shall expire one year from the date of granting said permit unless construction on, or use of the subject property has started within this period. (Zoning ordinance dated 7/94 (part), 1994)
Appendix B: Applicable California Brown Act
54954.2. (a) At least 72 hours before a regular meeting, the legislative body of the local agency, or its designee, shall post an agenda containing a brief general description of each item of business to be transacted or discussed at the meeting, including items to be discussed in closed session. A brief general description of an item generally need not exceed 20 words. The agenda shall specify the time and location of the regular meeting and shall be posted in a location that is freely accessible to members of the public.
No action or discussion shall be undertaken on any item not appearing on the posted agenda, except that members of a legislative body or its staff may briefly respond to statements made or questions posed by persons exercising their public testimony rights under Section 54954.3. In addition, on their own initiative or in response to questions posed by the public, a member of a legislative body or its staff may ask a question for clarification, make a brief announcement, or make a brief report on his or her own activities. Furthermore, a member of a legislative body, or the body itself, subject to rules or procedures of the legislative body, may provide a reference to staff or other resources for factual information, request staff to report back to the body at a subsequent meeting concerning any matter, or take action to direct staff to place a matter of business on a future agenda.