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New Library, Sheriff's Contract, Seacoast Flooding on Council Agenda

City Council will also consider approval of ways to improve unpaved alleys, the housing element of the city's general plan, a sewage fees study and closed session to discuss lawsuits and the 9th and Palm shopping center.

The Imperial Beach City Council will have a busy agenda Wednesday for their first meeting in more than a month.

Topics to be discussed include Seacoast Drive flooding, a new library, alley improvements, approval of the housing element of the city's general plan and much more.

Before the start of the public meeting, a closed session meeting will be held to discuss price and terms of payment for various properties in the 700 block of Palm Avenue and 8th Street related to a new shopping center. Lawsuits will also be talked about in the closed session, among them Robert Brians v. City of Imperial Beach.

Brians was arrested for allegedly threatening code enforcement officer Tommy Simmons in July 2011. As a result of a restraining order filed by the city, he was unable to go to City Hall except for City Council meetings. Brians was found innocent on charges against him last June. According to court records, Brians filed a lawsuit last July against Simmons, San Diego County and the cities of Imperial Beach and San Diego.

Shortly after winning reelection, one of the first things Supervisor Greg Cox said he wanted to get done in his next term in office was find funds for a new library in Imperial Beach.

"They have a facility that's vastly undersized for the community," he told Patch.

The county needs an estimated $6-8 million to pay for a new 14,000 square foot Imperial Beach branch library, a staff report states.

Agenda item 6.6 at Wednesday's meeting will ask City Council whether or not to approve a feasibility study, which Supervisor Cox has offered to fund with Neighborhood Reinvestment Program money.

A steering committee has been formed to review the study to determine whether money can be found to pay for the library. If a fundraising campaign takes place, the committee may continue to meet in order to raise the money.

The sheriff's contract for the next five years, the city's largest single expense, will be considered Wednesday.

Adoption of a resolution would allow the mayor to execute the agreement that would apply retroactively from Oct. 2012 to June 2017.

Negotiations between the County of San Diego, Imperial Beach and eight other cities with sheriff's department contracts took place last year.

Despite an operational costs cap, contract costs are expected to increase in the coming years, reaching $6.2 million, or near $200,000 more by the 2015-16 fiscal year.

This is agenda item 6.8.

Following a sand replenishment project that brought 450,000 cubic yards of sand to the IB shoreline, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be proposed Wednesday between the City of Imperial Beach and SANDAG. 

As part of the MOU, a staff report said, city crews will dig trenches when necessary to allow water that sometimes pools atop the new sand to flow back into the ocean.

Under the MOU costs to pay the city for the work that would continue when necessary through March will not exceed $20,000.

Since the Regional Beach Sand Project concluded last October, Seacoast Drive residents have complained that water that pools on the sand has seeped into their properties, sparking concern of long-term damage.

SANDAG and city crew started digging trenches earlier this month. A SANDAG crew attempted to regrade portions of the sand last December.

Public comment will be accepted before an MOU is considered.

Councilman Ed Spriggs recommended that the topic appear on the Jan. 23 meeting agenda, but as a resident of Seacoast Drive in the area that will be discussed, Spriggs will be forced to recuse himself from discussion.

This is agenda item 6.5.

Adoption of the 2013-20 Housing Element, part of the city's general plan, will be considered with agenda item 5.1.

The report details IB's future housing needs, policies and more than a dozen different programs to meet goals to provide housing to various income groups.

According to fall 2011 San Diego County Apartment Association survey data included in the report, Imperial Beach had some of the lowest average monthly rent rates in South and East San Diego County.

"The greatest change from 2000 to 2010 was the 20 percent decrease in married couple families with children, followed by the 10 percent increase in other non-family households," the report said.

Despite changes in the past decade,  68 percent of Imperial Beach households were families, according to 2010 Census data.

The Housing Element also identifies local demographics, the number of low income units under construction, vacant and underutilized land, population changes and other characteristics of the local housing market.

Comments by local residents and fair housing groups and a draft of the negative declaration, which identifies potential impacts on the environment, are also included.

See the full 140-page Housing Element of the general plan in its entirety attached to this story in PDF form.

The quality of Imperial Beach's roads and alleys will be reviewed and the streets that most need repairs will be identified at the meeting Wednesday. A staff report states about $700,000 in TRANSNET funding is available to repair streets, or enough to tackle a few of the projects listed as priorities by contractor Atkins North America. No alleys made the list.

A study was conducted in 2007 and again last summer to determine the condition of every street and alley in IB. View the full reports in agenda item 6.1 to see what grade your street received.

City Council will move to approve or reject an Interim Alley Improvement Standard with agenda item 6.2. The standard would allow residents near alleys to lay gravel and maintain alleys adajecent to their property. Last June City Council received a variety of options from city staff on ways alleys can be improved around IB.

Subsequent study by the city engineer and compilation of the alley improvement standard concluded that it could cost property owners roughly $8,000 to pave a 20-foot wide, 50-foot long alley with gravel. Costs may vary greatly depending on the amount of work necessary for each alley.

The standard would be considered temporary until a solution to pay for concrete alleys can be found. Concrete costs would be more than twice that amount but require less maintenance.

Imperial Beach voters were asked to consider an alley assessment district in 2006 to pay for paving alleys but voters narrowly shot the idea down in a 50-49 vote.

Last year property owners tired of dealing with pot holes and dust from unpaved alleys said they able to pave their alleys with gravel for less than $1,000.

But since the work was done without a permit and was against the city's standards, they were told to .

Since the gravel approach "falls short of providing a low maintenance and well performing design solution," city staff and City Manager Gary Brown do not recommend council adopt the interim standard.

If City Council decides to go against staff recommendation, an ordinance will needed to approve the standard in the future.

The city will request a grant from SANDAG to fund Palm Avenue Master Plan. The $400,000 requested would go toward design, development and environmental documents and drawings for commercial and mixed-use zone.

This is agenda item 6.7.

The city will receive a study of sewer service and capacity fees. A presentation will be made by the consultant who compiled the report. A final copy of the report will be presented to City Council next month. According to the report, revenue needs will increase from $3.6 to $4.2 million by 2014 and $4.6 million by 2020.

This is agenda item 6.3.

On the consent calendar (agenda items 2.2-2.10), the city will review the warrant registrar and vote to ratify $5.8 million in city expenses from Nov. 30, 2012 to Jan. 11.

This is agenda item 2.2.

Agenda item 2.8 approves use of $375,000 for street improvements at the end of Date Avenue.

The money will go toward improvements near the new Pier South hotel instead of using the Port of San Diego funds for their initial purpose: to pay for the construction of public restrooms on Seacoast Drive south of Imperial Beach Boulevard, improvement of street ends on Seacoast Drive and $100,000 to expand a playground at Pier Plaza.

The city's Environmental Programs Manager Chris Helmer has written a letter with comments on the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board's tentative Storm Water permit for local cities.

This is agenda item 2.5.

The city's Lifeguard Service wants to hire an additional sergeant and four full-time lifeguards in order to increase the number of year-round lifeguards. Currently, lifeguards work when needed during busy spring and summer seasons.

More full-time lifeguards may improve public safety, a staff report by City Manager Gary Brown said. The increase in full-time staff would cost the city an additional $16,000, the report said, which has already been figured into the 2012-13 budget.

This is agenda item 2.9.

Agenda item 2.10 would award a contract to KOA Corporation for the construction support and data collection for the Eco-Bikeway from 3rd to 7th streets. A contract to build the bikeway was awarded last month.

Agenda item 2.6 authorizes Public Works Director Hank Levien to sign San Diego Bay and Tijuana River Watershed Urban Watershed Runoff Program annual reports.

Ed Sorrels January 22, 2013 at 08:57 PM
Here we go with the alley stupidity again ! remove the gravel or pay a fine up to $1,000 for violating the city's municipal code. almost anything is better than nothing, except you will be fined if you are so bold as to solve a problem that the city and their codes and engineers and ther rest of those in the building dept. Don't seem to be able to, Just lay down some chip gravel and rake it out, What's so damn hard or confusing about that ?
Mark January 23, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Just lay the gravel out early on a Saturday or Sunday in small batches and know body will notice.
Libi Uremovic January 23, 2013 at 08:07 PM
and there you go ed...the 'wink and nod' from the city...just go ahead and just fix the alley yourself... it's not like the city would be disgusting enough to pillage the $2 million tax payer dollars they get from the state to fix the roads and alleys AND fine you $1,000 for fixing it yourself... that wouldn't happen in a million years, right ed...?
Ed Sorrels January 23, 2013 at 09:29 PM
Libi, ROFLOL ! You are kidding right ?

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