Pickleball Courts and Del Rio Project approved to move forward

ATASCADERO — Atascadero City Council met on Tuesday, Jul. 13, for their regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m., following a closed session with nothing to report.

The meeting began with a presentation by Mayor Pro Tem Heather Newsom in which she read a proclamation by the council, whereas July 2021 was declared Parks Make Life Better month.

The council’s declaration was followed by the approval of the consent calendar by a 5-0 vote, followed by a series of updates from the City Manager, Rachelle Rickard.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

Beginning Aug. 10, city council meetings will adopt a hybrid model by which citizens will have the option of attending council meetings either online or in person.

City Manager Rickard highlighted the imminent opening of GoGo Thai, which is currently in its soft-opening stage.

A slew of events are planned throughout the summer, including the Farmer’s Market Summer Sizzle Series, the Ice Cream Zoofari, the Summer Concert Series, Cruisin’ Weekend, Dancing in the Streets, Movies in the Gardens, and the Annual Cornhole Showdown.

Public comment opened up for any items which were not on the night’s agenda, and the public offered no comment.

The meeting then moved on to the public hearings regarding the proposed annexation of Community Facilities District No. 2005-1.

Draft Resolution A authorizing the levy of a special tax and submitting the levy of a special tax to qualified electors was approved 5-0.  

A special election was conducted in which landowner ballots were collected and counted by the City Clerk. The landowners voted unanimously in favor of the annexation, and Draft Resolution B declaring the results of the special election was approved 5-0.

Public Works Director Nick DeBar presented a fiscal impact report on the pickleball courts at Colony Park. The bid was awarded to Kirk Construction, and a Bid Protest was made by competitor R. Burke Corp. who took exception to an administrative omission. Director DeBar attested that the “omission” was determined rather to be more of an irregularity after consulting the City Attorney. It was further determined that this irregularity did not give any particular company an advantage in the bidding process. The motion was made therefore to reject the bid protest of R. Burke Corp. and award the bid to Kirk Construction.

The bid from Kirk Construction will result in an estimated expenditure of $173,143, with a potential total project cost of $240,000. Funding sources are expected to include $150,000 that the City had committed to the project in Parkland Facilities Impact Fees and $47,000 in donations from the Atascadero Pickleball Club (APC). The council then heard and discussed options for how to go about securing the funding shortfall of $60,000.

The options presented by Director DeBar included:

• Option A – Reject the Bid

• Option B – Delay the Project

• Option C – Loan Pickleball Club Funds

• Option D – Charge Court Fees

• Option E – City Covers Funding Shortfall

• Any combination of Options B through E

Other suggestions included continued fundraising by APC, the eventual hosting of a pickleball tournament, and exploring the use of TOT funds. APC President Barbara Sims called in and committed to covering the cost of compaction and soil testing as well as the provision and maintenance of club equipment. She also assured the council that APC would continue fundraising efforts.

After much discussion, a proposal was made to direct the City Manager to work with APC on an agreement by which estimated shortfall costs would be split between the City and APC, with the understanding that any contingency costs would be covered entirely by the City. The proposal was approved 5-0.

A zoning map amendment to the Del Rio Ranch General Plan was approved 5-0.

The Atascadero General Plan update was introduced by Community Development Director Phil Dunsmore and discussed in very general terms, as it will be an ongoing project. Resident Terry Lawrence called in to express concern over the stretch of US 101 north of the Del Rio exit, where the freeway makes a relatively sharp bend, especially considering the expected increase in traffic as the Del Rio Project comes to fruition. Director Dunsmore responded to the concern with an assurance that “careful evaluation of the roadway system is a part of any large project.”

Council Member Susan Funk suggested that the General Plan update take into account certain issues, including the impact of short-term rentals on neighborhoods, childcare, broadband, and the burden being placed on one specific Atascadero neighborhood as a result of having only a single designated homeless shelter.

Council Member Bourbeau suggested that the General Plan update take a look at “the Amazon effect,” by which many small commercially zoned buildings have been vacated and will probably never again house commercial businesses.

Director Dunsmore affirmed that “things have changed a lot,” citing the rise in remote work and delivery services. All of these concerns are expected to be addressed as the General Plan is updated.

Director DeBar then discussed the fiscal impact of the Improvement and Reimbursement Agreement made with M P Annex, LLC—the Madonna Enterprises company that purchased The Annex property in 2014, the proposed shopping center that Wal-Mart once expected to call home. The latest cost estimate for the Reimbursable Improvements is $733,000 and includes a 20 percent contingency. The council approved the agreement, 5-0.

There was no report from closed session.

The next meeting of the Atascadero City Council will be held on Jul. 27 at 6 p.m. for open session, and the meeting agenda will be posted on the City’s website when it becomes available.