City Council Snippets
From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 4
January 22 Meeting
Hearing on the sale of a church building to Safran Senior Housing Project at 3215 E. 3rd Street and demolition of a residence at 304 Obispo Avenue to provide parking.
Director of Development Services Amy Bodek spoke. “The property has been on the market; has suffered an economic decline in recent years.” The plan is to “convert it into 24 senior apartments with one manager unit for 25 units; demolition of single family bungalow next to the church to use as a parking lot.
Both the church property and the single-family house are part of the historic district.”
The appellant to this plan, Glenda Gabel, who lives at 305 Obispo Ave. said, “It is not a blighted area of dilapidation. Parking problems in our neighborhood preceded this project; everyone knows that. It is the elephant in the room that was ignored in this process. When is historic not historic? Why destroy a perfectly fine home for six people to provide a parking lot for 48 people? There was an inadequate study of Obispo Ave traffic. Demolition of 304 Obispo will set a dangerous precedent for historic housing throughout the city.”
Applicant Andrew Gross, President of Development of Thomas Safran and Associates spoke. “We provide preferences for seniors without cars. It is sufficient parking for a senior facility, especially when you compare it to the alternative, and the alternative is more intensive use. Senior housing truly is the least intensive use.”
Former owner of the church building Mike Patchet testified, “I am the husband of the former pastor, Dr. Jane Galloway. We put $1.1 million in the building and it looks like it does now. It’s an eyesore.” About 304 Obispo, Patchet said, “the current tenant and the tenant before him were raided by the DEA for drug enforcement.”
Second District Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal stated, “I am completely comfortable for the number of parking for the residents. Senior housing does not diminish home values. Underuse of a property like that diminishes home values. They’ve proposed an acceptable plan for removal of the home next to the church.”
The vote to approve the senior housing plan was unanimous.
The recommendation to request city manager to work with the chief of police to explore the creation of a gun buy back program.
Police Chief Jim McDonnell stated, “we can send out a unit at anytime and take a gun away from a resident of the city who wants it held for safekeeping or to dispose of it. To do a gun buy back program would enable us to do a number of issues like that.
Ninth District Councilman Steven Neal asked, “What type of amnesty might be available?”
McDonnell answered, “We don’t encourage anonymity at all; someone wants to get rid of a firearm, we’ll be happy to take it off their possession; test it, do what’s appropriate from a policing standpoint to see if it was used in a crime, and take appropriate action from there, trace it back to the perpetrator; retain the ability to investigate crimes the gun may be involved in. If we get the funding, we offer whatever gift card to the individual turning it in. I think it’s peace of mind for people with weapons in their home who are not comfortable having them there.
Resident Larry Goodhue advocated “embrace the 2nd Amendment by requiring all gun owners to be conscripted into the militia, be it state and federal, all gun owners and guns will be implanted with tracking devices. Any individual convicted of using a firearm in a gun crime, other than killing a species for food, shall be subject to summary execution.”
The motion passed unanimously.