THE COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY
FOR PORT ORANGE TOWN CENTER
SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES
1000 CITY CENTER CIRCLE
AUGUST 7, 2012
THE SPECIAL MEETING OF THE TOWN CENTER REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY was called to order by Chairman Allen Green at 7:40 P.M.
ROLL CALL: Present: Bob Ford
Chairman Allen Green
Also Present: Kenneth W. Parker, City Manager Margaret Roberts, City Attorney
Donna Steinebach, Assistant to the City Manager
Laura Tennant, City Clerk’s office
4. Extension of time for negotiations/RFP #12-2
Ken Parker, City Manager, said that the RFP had a specific time frame that expires on August 15, 2012. In order to complete negotiations Staff is requesting the CRA grant an extension for up to 120 days; the proposer has agreed to the extension.
Member Talluto agreed with the extension.
Member Ford said he does not know what is being negotiating for since the land being negotiated for is currently under development. He thinks this is strange and a colossal waste of time. He expressed concerns and does not agree. He expressed citizen suspicion that the delay is related to the election. He wants to know if the land is being developed, how the City can trade for it. He asked Mr. Parker why they are continuing to bargain. He said he has been told the person trading has threatened to sue and wants to know if it is wise to continue.
Mr. Parker said when the RFP was put out; Mr. Lacour told Council he would be submitting a development proposal. When the proposer responded to the RFP he indicated all the land was subject to negotiations. The Board authorized the City Attorney to draft the contract; which has been done. The process coming forward still has to go through the Planning Commission and City Council; the development is not a done deal. Mr. Parker discussed proposed ideas and zoning including a marina. He said it would be something for Council to discuss as they move forward.
Member Ford wants to know if they should suspend negotiations until the Board decides what is going to happen and if the developer is going to increase the value of the property so the City has to pay more. He asked if they should continue to negotiate with someone who is threatening to sue. Margaret Roberts, City Attorney, said the values were established as of May 1, 2012 which was commensurate with the receipt of the response. She said legally they can continue to negotiate, it depends on the people and issues involved how it can go. It is time consuming and there is no delay as a result of the election. Information requested in June made it to her office last week. Once received, she wrapped the contract up quickly. The developer is moving at his own risk; there is no guarantee the proposed request will be approved by the City Council. He does currently have ownership interest in a previously developed marina and can continue with that. She said the contract has been fashioned consistent with the RFP. She discussed the possibility of counter proposals. Member Ford urged his fellow members to take a step back and discuss what type of park they want to provide. He is committed to providing a riverfront park to the citizens of Port Orange. He does not know where to go with negotiations and is concerned about legal problems. He wants to know what his colleagues think.
Member Burnette said he does not have a problem with granting the extension and wants to know where they are with negotiations. Attorney Roberts said the contract sets forth the terms the City of Port Orange and the CRA would be willing to sign. She explained the process and requirements and said the baseline contract is ready. Member Burnette put emphasis on the dollars flowing through once they are done swapping lands. The City has to be made whole.
Member Pohlmann said up front he is good with the extension; he wants it done correctly. He said it has to be at least an even swap of property and hopefully the City comes out ahead. He is committed to a six (6) acre linear park. He wants negotiations done right and as transparent as it can be.
Member Kennedy thinks it needs to be an equitable solution for the City and citizens. He agrees with Member Ford that the park is one of the major motivators to get it developed; it cannot continue as stagnant as it has been for the last six (6) years. The park will allow flexibility to get development going. He asked if the extension allows for other proposals. Attorney Roberts said it is closed until this RFP is no longer of value. Member Kennedy said he does not favor extending it but additional time is needed so he will support it to see this move ahead.
Member Blahnik is fine with the extension and wants to follow through with it.
Member Talluto would like to get a negotiation status update. He wants it transparent but wants to be in a position to know where it is going rather than waiting until December. He supports an extension but wants updates in 30 to 60 days so they do not have to start over with a new City Manager and Council when the current people have been on the project for years. Attorney Roberts said she is happy to work with the City Manager to keep the CRA and City Council up to date.
Chairman Green asked how much of the negotiations can be done in public. He said there is only one party on each side of negotiations and either can walk away. He feels it can be done openly. Attorney Roberts thinks this was addressed early on and will check what the bottom line was. She said it is in an ordinance and they may vote to have an open session. She believes it was already said to keep it open and will check her records. Chairman Green said this has nothing to do with the elections, it has to do with time and there is no need to rush. He feels negotiations should be open.
Member Ford expressed concerns about Mr. Parker leaving in February since he is so intimately involved. He would hate for negotiations to continue with a new City Manager. Attorney Roberts said the developer is aware the document has been available since June and that he could have his proposal ready quickly. She thinks the developer is interested in moving forward in a timely fashion. She said he has not officially had the document until last week.
Chairman Green wants a motion for an extension and would like to negotiate openly.
Member Kennedy asked Attorney Roberts to check her paperwork.
Member Blahnik asked where the December date came from. Mr. Parker said it was counted out on the calendar and that the CRA has the authority to shorten it.
Member Talluto discussed negotiations and having a representative. Mr. Parker said the CRA authorized the City Attorney and City Manager to negotiate on behalf of the City. Chairman Green added that the Board could attend negotiations.
Member Ford said if it is going to be delayed, he wants assurance negotiations will move forward.
Chairman Green suggested compressing the time to 45 days. Member Ford added if progress is made they can vote again to make it longer. Member Kennedy agreed 45 days would work. Attorney Roberts said it works for her.
Motion to agree to the extension of the proposal for 45 days made by Member Kennedy, and Seconded by Member Pohlmann.
Chairman Green said he has known the Lacour family for years. He said that although he has not worked with them in years he will abstain.
Motion carried 6-0, 1 by roll call vote with Chairman Green abstaining.
Member Talluto asked about citizens using the property for fundraising while it sits idle. Chairman Green discussed safety issues as well as restrooms and lighting. He agrees it is valuable land to be used. Donna Steinebach, Assistant to the City Manager, said City Council has authorized uses in Riverwalk for special events which would be required to go through the approval process. She said sometimes the expense of hosting an event outweighs the revenue, but it is there for use. Mr. Parker said he has spoken to many individuals about use and bouncing off of other venues. He agreed it is an attractive place and discussed vender concerns.
Chairman Green discussed the openness of negotiations. All agree it should be open.
Chairman Green asked for public comments.
Ted Noftall, citizen, asked what negotiations had taken place to date. He asked what the acceptance period was for the offer prepared so far. Attorney Roberts said there had been none. There was a general meeting but they did not actively negotiate. It was her recommendation to put in writing exactly what was wanted in the RFP to fulfill the City’s legal obligation to get a contract consistent with the RFP. The acceptance period is open; the City may withdraw it if it chooses to do so. She discussed time limits and said the City cannot sign something until it has been advertised. Mr. Noftall urged setting a time frame. Chairman Green said they agreed to 45 days.
Attorney Roberts clarified she is to move forward to progress negotiations and not to wait. Chairman Green said that is correct.
5. Public Comments
6. CRA Member Comments
ADJOURNMENT: 8:18 P.M.
Chairman Allen Green