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MARINA — The Marina City Council will consider Tuesday whether to sell land to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; allow more ways to gamble at its two card rooms; decide whether to try to get Marina into the Salinas Valley Enterprise Zone and much more.
The jam-packed City Council session will begin at 6:30 p.m. The council will also review the Community Development Department and consider how it should be restructured and staffed, specifically the public works and airport divisions.
Last July, the city eliminated publics works superintendent and airport services manager positions when approving the budget for the Community Development Department, but requested an assessment from city staff as to what needs there were in the Public Works division of the CDD. In January, staff gave a detailed report recommending the creation and funding of six positions, some of them halftime, which the council moved forward. But the council also asked for a report on the recent history of the department. The analysis by city staff seems to warn the council not to go back on it’s Jan. 8 commitment, or that it wait until a city manager is hired to approve a plan it likes better.
“Should the City Council desire to make substantive changes to the Community Development Department organization beyond those approved on January 8, 2013, staff recommends that this action be delayed until a permanent City Manager be hired. It is important this administrative leader of city operations be afforded the opportunity to evaluate, analyze and present to the City Council his or her recommended organizational structure for this department,” the report reads.
A new church
The LDS church is looking to build a new house of worship in Marina and had asked about five possible sites for development within the city. Three real possibilities were considered: the southwest corner of California Avenue and Patton Parkway, part of Cypress Knolls; the northeast corner of Preston Drive and Horn Court, an undeveloped section of the Preston Park Sports Complex; and the northeast corner of Abrams Drive and Carmel Avenue, part of Marina Heights.
The council favored the Preston Park Sports Complex site, as the other sites were slated for housing and it was to be open dunes.
The proposed church will have meeting and recreation facilities over a 5-acre site. The estimated price of the land would be $1,524,600 — with the city of Marina receiving and the Fort Ord Reuse Authority splitting the money.
City staff claims to have contacted Preston Park residents through mailings, posted fliers and direct contact, but of the five Preston Park residents contacted by the Monterey Bay News & Views, all were unaware of the plan.
An enterprising idea
The city is looking to become part of the Salinas Valley Enterprise Zone, which was created in 2009 to contain 27,000 acres that included the cities of Salinas, Gonzales, Soledad, Greenfield and King City. It was expanded in 2011 to include the Castroville Industrial Park. Requests for expansion must be approved unanimously by the councils or boards of all SVEZ jurisdictions.
Marina wants to be included in the SVEZ so it can attract businesses to the city’s industrial and business parks. California’s Enterprise Zone program offers tax credits to spur investment. Businesses located in Enterprise Zones can claim other financial incentives, including hiring credits, sales and use tax credits, business expense deductions for depreciable equipment, 15-year net operating loss carryovers, and preferences on state contracts.
Currently, there are 42 enterprise zones in the state. It could be about six months before the application is finalized and reviewed for approval by the state. It will cost Marina about $25,000 in legal and filing costs to get in and $20,000 each year in membership fees.
What’s in the cards?
Marina’s two card rooms are wanting to expand the number of games patrons can play, but current city ordinances don’t allow it. With the police department’s blessing, The Marina Club and Mortimer’s Casino will be able to expand their menu from six games to any game approved by the state of California.
California allows 19 different games to be played in card rooms, including Pai Gow. But in the history of Marina’s two clubs, they’ve added just two since they’ve opened. Now, a proposed ordinance would simplify the process for adding new games and allow the card rooms to stay current with the popular trends in games.
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