Civic Center sale plan examined

WESTMINSTER CITY HALL (Orange County Tribune photo).

A progress report on the status of the proposed sale of Civic Center land to a private developer for the construction of condominiums goes before the Westminster City Council when it meets on Wednesday.

The report, to be presented by Community Development Director Alexa Smittle, will cover some of the details of the third amendment to the exclusive negotiating agreement between the city and Sheldon Development.

Steve Sheldon and associates proposed the project in 2017 that calls for the city to sell 4.25 acres to his firm in exchange for the construction of a new city hall and other improvements in the Civic Center.

However, controversy has arisen over the proposal, including the delays that have pushed a final deal back for years. In the update, concerns are raised about “the financial feasibility of the project, both on a project basis and considering the overall projected fiscal status of the city in future years.”

The report stipulates that the sale of the land will not be suffcient to raise enough money for a new city hall. The developer – according to the report – suggests that the difference be made up from any of a variety of sources including the selling of city-owned parking spaces in the city’s parking structure to Coastline Community College, the formation of a community facilities district and imposition of a special tax (to be paid by owners of the new housing), park impact fees and grants or naming rights.

The Civic Center is located at 8200 Westminster Blvd. The proposed sale would not include that portion dedicated to the West Justice Center complex housing county courtrooms and associated offices.

Also on the agenda for Wednesday night’s meeting is a proposed ordinance amending the municipal code to regulate accessory dwelling units, junior accessory dwelling units and related park fees.

The council will meet in virtual session via teleconference at 7 p.m.

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