Sal’s lease extension, concession stand repairs, Firefly on tonight’s Council agenda

MARTINEZ, Calif. – Decisions on a restaurant’s lease extension, Waterfront Park’s concession stand repairs and an ordinance amendment to accommodate the company whose cannabis dispensary application had been put on hold are on tonight’s Martinez City Council meeting agenda.

Also under consideration tonight are an employees’ compensation plan and a Capital Improvement Program amendment related to ballfield improvements.

The extension of a lease with Sal’s Family Kitchen, 825 Escobar St., through July 31 would let owner Margarita Perez De Garcia have more time to make improvements to the eatery’s new home, 823 Main St.

Last year, the Council authorized the purchase of the building at 821-825 Escobar St. so it could be demolished to expand parking.

In addition, the Council agreed to a lease agreement with the restaurant so it could operate through February 28, to give Perez de Garcia the chance to find a new site. That lease was extended to May 31, during which the restaurant owner signed a five-year lease for the new space on Main Street.

Applications are complete and all required permits are ready to be pulled, Economic Development Coordinator Zach Seal wrote in his report. Given that extensive work needs to be done and the restaurant hasn’t pulled building permits, he wrote, a July 31 move-in date appears challenging “but possible.”

The restaurant received $37,500 once the settlement agreement was signed, and will receive the remaining $37,500 once the lease is terminated, he wrote.

The Waterfront Park’s concession stand wasn’t renovated as part of the park’s renovation, and the 40-year-old building needs work if it is to pass Contra Costa County Environmental Health Program standards.

In addition, the building’s roof has started leaking, wrote Michael Chandler, deputy director of Administrative Services and, in one of her last reports to the Council, Patty Lorick, who has retired from her job as recreation supervisor.

He wrote that city staff has been working with the county’s health department a commercial kitchen designer, a private contractor and a plan checker to determine what improvements needed to be done.

Estimated costs are $45,000 for the concession stand’s remodeling and $17,000 to reroof the building, Chandler wrote. While city staff sought mobile food trucks to serve the ballfields, vendors declined, saying they weren’t certain they’d generate enough profits.

Chandler said staff is recommending the Council use $65,000 in unassigned reserved to pay for the work.

The second reading and possible adoption of an amendment to the city’s commercial cannabis ordinance also is before the Council. It’s on the consent calendar with several other items.

Firefly Health Corp. had submitted its dispensary conditional use permit application just before the Council placed a moratorium on commercial cannabis businesses to give city staff members time to draft an ordinance to regulate those companies.

The application was challenged by the owners and users of a gym already operating in the building where Firefly wants to open its business. Supporters said the gym caters primarily to minors and offers youth-targeted program.

That forced the Planning Commission and Council to create a local definition of “youth center,” which was done in the commercial cannabis ordinance. That definition describes youth centers as places catering exclusively, not partially, to youth.

Meanwhile, since the city enacted its new ordinance that replaces the laws under which Firefly had applied, the company was concerned that after paying application fees and providing information to the city, it would have to start a new application from scratch.

The Council agreed Firefly had spent “considerable” money and time on its earlier application, and sked staff to make accommodations. The ordinance amendment, which was introduced April 17, would waive application fees and staff time payments for Firefly’s new application, and promised the company that city staff would help them determine what information would be needed in addition to that already provided.

The Council also will consider authorizing a Management Compensation Plan (MPC) that would be effective May 1.

Finance Director David Glasser wrote in his report that the city recently concluded negotiating amendments to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Martinez Police Officers’ Association.

Similar amendments have been proposed for the Management Compensation Plan. Those amendments were reviewed and approved April 17 as part of that meeting’s consent calendar.

The plan is for employees who are not included in a recognized bargaining group who are unrepresented management and confidential employees. Starting May 1, base pay of sworn MPC employees would be raised 11 percent, and starting in October, they’d get another 3 percent increase in base pay. Cost in Fiscal Year 2019-20 would be $72,000, and would come from unassigned General Fund reserves.

Another consent calendar item would close out the ballfield renovation project and transfer the remaining $703,890 to the city’s Measure H (park bond revenues) fund.

Chandler and Interim City Engineer Randy Leptien wrote that the 2017-2022 five-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) that included a $750,000 allocation of Measure H funds for the Ballfield Renovation Project No. C5032 especially for work on the Hidden Lakes baseball fields.

However, Public Works Superintendent Bob Cellini nominated the Hidden Lakes fields for the TLC for Kids’ Sports Program, a non-profit community outreach corporation that improves Bay Area children’s sports fields.

Two Hidden Lakes fields primarily used by the Martinez Youth Little League were accepted by TLC, the pair wrote. While Martinez supplied $50,000 toward the project, Oct. 4, 2017, volunteers from throughout the city met Nov. 4, 2017, to sod the fields, plant new trees and paint dugouts and backstops.

“Given the success of the TLC project, staff recommends closing out Project C5032 and transferring the available fund of $703,890 back to the Measure H Fund Balance in order to support other park priority projects,” they wrote.

During its April 16 meeting, the Parks, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission (PRMCC) has recommended several park priority capital improvement projects, replacing Hidden Lakes’ restroom and concession building, replacing Ignacio Park’s lights, completing the Susana Park interpretive panels; and replacing Cappy Ricks Park’s play equipment.

The Council and the PRMCC will have a joint meeting May 15 to discuss those projects in greater detail, they wrote.

The Council will hear proclamations recognizing the volunteers who worked during the recent Paradise Fire, the Cleaner Contra Costa Challenge and the beginning of the Contra Costa County 2020 census and will hear presentations from Team Willpower “Will’s Walk for Autism,” the Alhambra Creek Watershed Council and the Cemetery Preservation Alliance.

The Council will meet in closed session at 6 p.m. today to discuss lease price and payments for the Bisio Building, 636 Ward St., home of the Campbell Theater. The city began leasing the property from the Bisio Trust in January 2015, and began subletting the property to Onstage Repertory Theater Oct. 17, 2013.

The regular meeting will start at 7 p.m. today in the Council Chamber of Martinez City Hall, 525 Henrietta St.

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