Hollister City Council members were deadlocked Monday on a proposal to allocate city-owned Briggs Building parking spaces to a private condo developer and the Community Foundation for San Benito County.
Council members voted 2-2 on the matter, with Mayor Ignacio Velazquez absent from the meeting. The two council members in opposition — Jim Gillio and Karson Klauer — wanted staff to go back and research costs related to issuing those parking spaces before a possible approval.
The deadlock, just before a new council will be installed, came after an array of public speakers shared views on the proposal that relates to an approved set of projects on the open 400 block of San Benito Street that includes commercial space and condos to go with a new Philanthropic Center for the Community Foundation.
Rolan Resendiz, the incoming councilman in District 2, referenced a previously proposed ballot referendum regarding the city-owned 400 block of San Benito Street asking voters if they wanted to sell the plot. The council ended up denying the referendum’s placement on the ballot after receiving an opinion from the attorney general advising the city to do so.
“I still feel passionately to this day that if given the opportunity, if people had the opportunity to vote on it, the people would vote no on this project,” said Resendiz, who was in a group of people with the mayor who supported maintaining the block as an open space.
He called the parking allocations a “rush job” before the new council is sworn in. The city was proposing to allocate up to 24 parking spot for the condominiums being built there and another 20 for the Community Foundation’s Philanthropic Center. The city proposal had recommended charging $15 a month for each of those spaces as negotiated in an agreement with the developers.
Resendiz thought the item was supposed to be considered by an ad hoc committee, called the monthly charge amount “highly questionable” and questioned whether it was enough money to cover maintenance costs on the Briggs Building site owned by the city.
Marty Richman, another incoming councilman in District 4, said he didn’t have a problem with the fee for the foundation but wanted more answers regarding the condo side of things considering those residents will be occupying the garage overnight, which would require additional upgrades such as a gate card system. He mentioned related costs such as cleanup and security that should be taken into account.
“I think $15 a month is too little,” he said. “I would like the staff to do a better job on the condo parking.”
Local businessman and recent mayoral candidate Gordon Machado spoke about the Briggs Building’s history and how it was built after the 1989 earthquake demolished buildings in that block, and said the garage was built to support economic development in that area.
It was the additional cost potential that became the hangup for Klauer and Gillio, and they wanted more research done on that prospect before a possible approval. Council members said they wanted to see the item back for consideration in the near future.