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OUSD board to vote today, Oct. 13, on delegating authority for district office lease application

 10 13 21 townsquare
SVS DEV LLC concept of replacing OUSD offices and Chaparral High School at 414 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai, presented to Ojai Unified School District school board Jan. 13.

 

By Grant Phillips, Ojai Valley News reporter

With the Ojai Unified School District office property lease agreement slated to be on a November school board agenda, the Wednesday, Oct. 13, school board consent calendar item (7.1.9) contains a resolution for “delegating authority to district superintendent and SVS, LLC, to execute, sign and submit all documents, applications and materials required for submittal to the city of Ojai in connection with the development of the district office site.”

SVS DEV LLC is the development firm with which the school board previously entered into an exclusive right to negotiate regarding the district office property at 414 E. Ojai Ave.

The development was originally addressed in a January 2021 district meeting, which included a concept review for the project, known as Ojai Town Square. The original project plan featured several new spaces including a town center, hospitality businesses, residential buildings, including multi-family units, restaurants, cafes, gardens and a proposed 277 total parking spaces.

An overview of the proposed plan from January can be viewed here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iB_TyzDzsPUVUPTvnO5fTrfP9gzWMFYW/view.

A “consent calendar” usually contains routine agenda items that are voted on together, without comment, unless a board member pulls an item from the consent calendar for discussion.

Trustee Kevin Ruf said: “Any board member can request the removal of something from the consent calendar and put it on the regular calendar for discussion. I’m doing that. It’s clearly something that we should discuss and make clear about what we are doing.”

The meeting, which will be live-streamed on YouTube and Facebook, will start at 4:45 p.m. in open session before the board adjourns to closed session for a “conference with real property negotiators for property located at 414 E. Ave., Ojai,” with agency negotiator Joel Kirchenstein of Sage Realty Groups, Inc. “Under negotiation” is the “proposed lease agreement,” according to the agenda.

The board is scheduled to reconvene in open session at 5:30 p.m.

OUSD board members and staff have discussed moving various parts of the district headquarters, which includes Chaparral High School, to other properties. San Antonio Elementary School has been mentioned at previous school board meetings as one possibility to house district offices, although the school board has not voted on where different operations currently on Ojai Avenue would be moved to. The school district has also discussed at previous meetings that it will be costly to move its operations and has discussed that a lease term of several decades would be negotiated.
The city of Ojai is awaiting a completed submittal for a concept review. Prior to dealing with issues of zoning, lease agreements, and design, certain steps need to be completed.

“I think the intention here was to empower the superintendent to be able to facilitate those types of ministerial aspects that will allow each side to get the information it needs,” said Ruf, who explained he was speaking as a board member and not on behalf of the board.

Trustee Michael Shanahan said: “The board has already approved that SVS has the authority to do negotiating on this property. If we have to approve everything, then the progress of this project will be even slower than it normally is for things like this.”

As for the lease agreement, “I think that’s likely to come to the board,” said Shanahan. “This (the Oct. 13 resolution) is more applications and plans and certifications that need to be submitted to the city as they move forward to just begin the design conversations.”

Ruf said: “My understanding is it (authorization outlined in the resolution) certainly does not include the lease agreement. That will be subject to some more community input and a board vote in the future.”

Shanahan said the board will still be involved throughout the process. “I have no doubt that we will be inundated with reports,” said Shanahan. “The district has been really open about all of this stuff and I anticipate that we will receive regular progress reports, as we have been doing.”

After the initial steps are completed and the project is submitted to the city of Ojai, city officials can consider issuing entitlements for property uses. For example, if the district offices switch to non-educational uses, the site would require a zoning change, ultimately requiring City Council approval.

Ruf said: “My understanding is that at some point in the next few months, the question of a long-term lease will be presented to the board for an action item. That’s a huge question for the school board.”

Shanahan said: “The board has been very concerned that we maintain potential ‘off-ramps’ to this entire project if it gets to a place where we’re not satisfied or not happy with it as a board. The board will be watching it very closely.”
Changes could also depend on zoning, design, and overall development.

“The developer also has off-ramps,” said Ruf, citing potential concerns related to the city such as zoning, development, the California Environmental Quality Act, other environmental aspects, water, parking and traffic, among others.

On the Oct. 13 agenda item listing future issues for the board to consider — called the “Parking Lot” — “District Office Property Lease Agreement” is listed under “November,” although OUSD Public Information Officer Linda Jordan said next month’s school board agenda has not yet been prepared.

The resolution “delegating authority to district superintendent and SVS, LLC, to execute, sign and submit all documents, applications and materials required for submittal to the city of Ojai in connection with the development of the district office site” reads:

“WHEREAS, the Ojai Unified School District (“District”) owns real property located at
____________________Ojai, CA 93023, known as the District Office Site (the “Property”);
“WHEREAS, the District is pursuing a project to relocate the administrative offices and continuing education school from the Property; and
“WHEREAS, to finance the relocation, the District, after complying with the required surplus property provisions of state law, has entered into an exclusive right to negotiate with
“WHEREAS, as a part of the development process, the District and SVS, LLC must execute certain documents and submit documents, applications and other materials for the Project to the City of Ojai and other public agencies with oversight and/or approval authority over the Property and/or Project; and
“WHEREAS, as the owner of the Property, the District’s Governing Board expressly affirms its consent to the City and any other public agency with oversight and/or approval authority over the Property and/or Project for SVS, LLC to submit materials, applications and other submittals to the City of Ojai and any other public agency with oversight and/or approval authority over the Property and/or Project; and
“WHEREAS, the District further delegates authority to and authorizes the District Superintendent to execute all documents, applications and other materials required by the City and any other public agency with oversight and/or approval authority over the Property and/or
Project.
“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, DETERMINED AND ORDERED by the Governing Board of the Ojai Unified School District as follows:
Section 1. That the above recitals are true and correct.
Section 2. That the Board hereby Board expressly affirms its consent to the City and
any other public agency with oversight and/or approval authority over the Property and/or Project for SVS, LLC to submit materials, applications and other submittals to the City of Ojai and any other public agency with oversight and/or approval authority over the Property and/or Project
“Section 3. That the District delegates authority to and authorizes the District
Superintendent to execute all documents, applications and other materials required by the City and any other public agency with oversight and/or approval authority over the Property and/or Project.”

To view the full agenda for the Oct. 13 meeting, visit: https://5ilhttps://core-docs.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/asset/uploaded_file/1609634/Wednesday__October_13__2021_Agenda.pdf
The meeting will be streamed on Wednesday, Oct. 13, on the OUSD Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ojaiusd.org and YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/adminojaiusdorg.

Members of the public may present public comments in two ways:
1. Before 4 p.m. the day of the meeting, public comments can be made in writing online at: at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1CCfKeZXXuRb167DjQXSDjggyD9OS3u9wFDiOcg1ESec/viewform?edit_requested=true. According to the agenda, written comments should be limited to 450 words.
Although public comments are provided to Board members and entered into the public record, they are no longer read aloud at the meeting.

2. Public comments may be made in person during the meeting in the Board Room at 414 E. Ojai Avenue. Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, the number of individuals in the Board Room may be limited and masks will be required indoors at all times.
The Board may elect to limit public comments to 30 minutes.
Because the board does not read the public comments aloud (they are posted on the OUSD website and made available to members of the public who request to have them when the board receives them), people are invited to also send their public comments to the Ojai Valley News at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

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