Hollister council members put off the mayor’s appeal on the project slated for the 400 block of San Benito Street after his attorney argued the city didn’t follow the proper procedural order for noticing the public.
Council members were scheduled to consider Mayor Ignacio Velazquez’s appeal of the mixed-use project next to the Briggs Building that includes a nonprofit Philanthropic Center from the Community Foundation for San Benito County, and commercial and condo units from Del Curto Brothers.
The council had been set to hear the mayor’s appeal of the planning commission’s April 11 approval on a conditional use permit and tentative map. Velazquez, a staunch opponent of the project, has been recused from the city’s consideration because he owns The Vault building next to the project. In his appeal, he is arguing the condo density, with 22 units, far exceeds what’s allowed in the municipal code for the lot where the homebuilder wants to develop.
The city has included the foundation and Del Curto Brothers’ projects as one project when calculating the allowable density. The mayor has argued the developer’s side of the lot should be considered on its own when deciding the allowable density, or number of condo units.
On Monday, an appointed lawyer filling in for the city attorney – who stepped aside on the subject since it involves Velazquez – advised council members the mayor’s law firm requested a delay.
The appointed attorney, Lauren Layne, relayed communications from the appellant’s law firm. The mayor’s attorney pointed out the city code calls for preparing a staff report on a filed appeal after completion of a staff report on the matter. It turns out, the city handled those in the reverse order, setting a hearing on May 6 and then dating a staff report May 9.
The council agreed to delay the appeal to the 6:30 p.m. June 3 meeting.
Five public speakers were not happy with the delay.
Developer Richard Ferreira said he believes the delay was planned in advance.
“I’m objecting for the continuation,” he said. “It’s another tactic for the mayor to prolong this 400 block.”