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Council backs Gulf Coast Village expansion

By Staff | Jun 2, 2015

Gulf Coast Village’s expansion project earned the full support of City Council Monday night by a unanimous vote.

The Proposed Development Project includes a three-story, 137,000-square-foot building with 128 assisted living units and a separate 10,000-square-foot facility for adult day care, thrift store and health care center in Phase 1 of the project. The long range proposal will be completed in five different phases expected to take 15 years. Representatives said they are ready to start construction on Phase 1 right away.

The expansion will sit on vacant property adjacent and south of the existing facility on Santa Barbara Boulevard. It is the third expansion since the original construction in 1984 and plans call for the preservation of the current mature tree canopy and landscaping buffers to the surrounding properties.

“I’m happy to see the amount of collaboration between the staff and the developer on this project,” said Councilmember Jim Burch. “I’m looking forward to this project, excited and glad to see it come here.”

Gulf Coast Village employs a staff of about 420 and anticipates adding another 60 full-time jobs when the first phase is completed.

A companion resolution to the project to issue senior housing revenue bonds in an amount not to exceed $85 million was unanimously approved by council. Being a not-for-profit corporation, Gulf Coast Village is eligible to tap the city’s Health Facilities Authority tax free bond financing.

“There is no impact on the city’s funding, debt or bond rating,” said city Finance Director Victoria Bateman.

Other council action

Council also approved the city’s strategic plan Monday night containing steps to improve economic development and redevelopment as well as financial sustainability measures. The document also addresses infrastructure investments, utility expansion and quality of life issues. It also stresses measures to constantly monitor the plan’s performance.

Implementation of the plan takes effect with the start of the Fiscal Year 2016 in October.

Council followed the recommendation of Community Development Director Vince Cautero to hire the firm of Calvin, Giordano & Associates to analyze and rewrite the city’s Land Use Development Regulations (LUDR). The firm was the only qualified bid received in the process and council unanimously approved a contract of $198,000 for the work.

The Zucker Report in 2013 recommended the LUDR rewrite as many regulations are now outdated and no longer beneficial to the city. Calvin, Giordano & Associates will begin the project immediately with no timetable established for completion.

Public hearings were set for June 15 for council to discuss and receive public comments on the series of changes to the City Charter as recently recommended by the Charter Review Committee. The charter amendments, if approved, will be placed on a referendum for public vote in November.

The charter amendments include establishing an annual salary for council members and mayor; limiting the severance pay for employment termination of city department heads and managers; regulations for enacting emergency ordinances; decreasing the number of signatures required for citizen initiatives or referendum petitions; and reducing the number of Charter Review Commission members from nine to seven with two alternate positions.

Council meets in a workshop session at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Nicholas Annex building to discuss the city’s stormwater rate. The current rate of $75 has not changed since 2006 and stormwater funds are projected to be depleted in 2017.

Council’s next regular meeting is Monday, June 8, at City Hall.