Council grapples with growth, swim center
by Jon Mendelson
Oct 02, 2012 | 3467 views | 30 30 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Discussion on growth
City planner Bill Dean discusses the residential growth areas during a special session of the city council on Monday, Oct. 01.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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A special session of the City Council on Monday, Oct. 1, focused on several of the city’s future residential development and a much-debated aquatics park.

The council’s preliminary decisions outlasted the meeting’s two-hour time limit and were continued to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, at City Hall, 333 Civic Center Plaza.



Growth on horizon

Though further City Council approval is needed to finalize specifics, the council unanimously voted Monday for city staff to prioritize the city’s limited number of residential growth allotments (RGA) for three identified projects.

A RGA is a necessary prerequisite to obtaining a residential building permit. According to the growth management ordinance — which helps prioritize and manage development in Tracy — the city can only issue 725 RGAs a year. However, the average number issued each year is about 600.

The council agreed with an analysis by city planner Bill Dean that the trio of unrelated residential projects are farthest along in the building process, and so should be given priority for RGAs — a move city staff described as “sequencing growth.”

The three projects are Ellis, which is slated for land outside city limits on the northwest corner of Linne and Corral Hollow roads; Tracy Hills, a massive development that would straddle Interstate 580 to the city’s southwest; and the Kagehiro project, the third phase of a development that would be north of Valpico Road and east of Corral Hollow Road.

Infill development — projects within city limits surrounded by existing development — would also be given priority.

Dean said the council’s decision will help staff determine what other infill projects currently underway in Tracy are awarded RGAs.

“We simply don’t have enough permits such that every project (proposed in Tracy) can start concurrently,” Dean said. “Yes, we’ve been in an environment recently where we haven’t issued a lot of building permits, but … it’s important for us to think how our system can be tuned up to allow the maximum number of permits.”

Following the meeting, Les Serpa, president of The Surland Cos. which is developing the Ellis project, said selecting projects with the most approvals seemed a fair way to determine which projects would get built next.

City Manager Leon Churchill said after the meeting that the step puts Tracy in the homestretch of finishing work on its growth management ordinance.

“If this is football, we’re at first and goal,” Churchill said after the meeting.



Money pools

The City Council also decided to use a multifaceted approach to pay for a proposed aquatics park.

The park’s first phase, as preliminarily accepted by the council in January 2011, includes a “lazy river,” activity pool, water slide, play structure, water spray area and various restroom and shade structures.

The first phase, which was estimated Monday to cost about $15.7 million, does not include a competition-sized pool.

In 2008, the council approved an agreement with The Surland Cos., developer of the Ellis project, that would exchange building rights for money and land to build an aquatics park.

The park could go in the proposed Ellis development.

Though an initial agreement is before an appeals court after being ruled illegal by a lower court judge, the city of Tracy and Surland are still working toward a deal that would grant building, sewer and water rights for the Ellis project in exchange for $10 million and 16 acres of land for the swim park.

The five councilmen also want staff to see if other developer agreements could contribute money toward the park, which a consultant in January 2011 said would cost more than $30 million to completely build.

Including the $10 million anticipated from the Surland developer agreement, staff estimates the city has an additional $4 million to use toward an aquatics park.

As part of the effort to build the swim park, city staff will also craft for council’s final approval a public facilities fee attached to future development that would bring in an estimated $10.9 million over 30 years.

Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel said the multi-pronged approach is the best chance to build a swim park in a short timeframe.

“(This option) is the only one that gives us the chance to complete this facility for this generation,” he said.



Ongoing costs

The cost of building the swim park is only one piece of the financial puzzle.

Council members expressed hope that the center would generate enough revenue that it wouldn’t need a subsidy from the general fund, which was estimated in June to be $2.2 million in the red for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

Consultant John Courtney of RJM Design Group, which has built aquatics parks in various California cities, estimated the center would cost about $808,869 to operate and maintain annually, not counting security or insurance.

He said ticket prices would need to be set at $6.75 and $8.75 for Tracy children and adults, and $8.75 and $10.75 for out-of-town children and adults. That would generate an estimated $814,022 from an expected 78,000 people that would visit the “state of the art” facility each year, Courtney said.

But that would only be the price point for the first phase of the swim park.

As a competition pool and other features are added, Courtney said ticket prices must increase to prevent the swim park from requiring a subsidy from the city.

“This is what would be needed to be charged to break even,” Courtney said. “As we add more amenities, the price of the ticket will have to increase.”

He added that the market should be able to bear that price point.

“There’s really nothing like this in your area,” Courtney said. “That really drives the marketability of it.”

As a cost-saving possibility, the council asked staff to look into a public-private partnership for running the park.

Churchill agreed a public-private alternative could be explored as part of the “due diligence” for the project, and added this was the first time the council sought to pursue such an option.

The council then decided to delay until Tuesday afternoon time for public comment about what features are most important for a swim park.

•Contact Jon Mendelson at 830-4231 or jmendelson@tracypress.com



At a glance

• WHAT: City Council special meeting

• WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1; continued to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2

• WHERE: Tracy Transit Station, 60 E. Sixth St.; continued to City Hall, 333 Civic Center Plaza

• DETAILS: Mayor Brent Ives, Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel, councilmen Steve Abercrombie, Bob Elliott and Robert Rickman present.
Comments
(30)
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shelly13
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October 04, 2012
So when is the Holly Sports Park supposed to be completed?

As for the pool, it will never get done. Should have been built a long time ago. It has been on the table FOREVER! Manteca pools charge $3 single entry and Livermore $5. They could keep the cost at $5 and offer more programs at a bit higher price to make the difference. Also if they build it right in the first place you can build a very cost efficient pool. It is all about putting the right people on the job! They should really dig up Dr. Powers pool and re-do it/expand it. It is in the center of the city and the land is there.

I love the Grand. I see they have had some old movies there lately. They should do more of that. We nee more places downtown that stay open later. More foot traffic will run out the riff raff.

mtrew
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October 04, 2012
As Tracy was growing they should have really looked to many other cities who have done it right!

Elk Grove boomed faster than we did. They have a lot to do there. When Pleasanton was growing each area built had a neighborhood pool. There is Pleasanton Valley, Pleasanton Meadows, Highland Oaks, Del Prado etc. They also had the main Aquatic Center which grew as the population grew. They revitalized downtown. It used to be a "cowtown" or actually a race horse town. It was mainly a commuter town just like us. They have many parks and things to do. Everyone was very worried about the business park when the plans were in progress. Hacienda Park looks like it is doing well to me.

That is just one example. We had the opportunity to do many things here to make our city comparable. Our leaders had no vision. Sad. With new leadership and hope the economy will get better, we need to plan better. I hope the Gateway Business Park is the start of that. How about some other ideas?

PS I am all for the pool being built. Dr. Powers is hardly used and God forbid the school district and city actually work well together to run the other ones in a mutually beneficial fashion
RedHotChilliPeppers
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October 04, 2012
When Pleasanton was growing each area built had a neighborhood pool. There is Pleasanton Valley, Pleasanton Meadows, Highland Oaks, Del Prado etc.
RedHotChilliPeppers
|
October 04, 2012
many parks and things to do
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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October 04, 2012
mtrew

"As Tracy was growing they should have really looked to many other cities who have done it right!"

I thank I sorta of agree with ya but th main problem thair is that no one had a crystal ball of th future or, fer that matter, knew that other cities have done it right ta pattern themselves after.

All of th people that have built Tracy ta what it is taday, which by th way ain't all that bad compared ta other places in th world taday, simply did th best they could.

Could it have tarned out differently? Cartinly. But just as easily as it tarned out good it could equally have tarned out worse.

Frum my perspective it looks ta me that Tracy is a whole lot better off than other places an apparently it seems that most people in town must agree, otherwise they'd do just about anythang they could ta leave.

Since I don't see a virtual mass Exodus from th proverbial "Children of Tracy" with Pharaoh Ives, backed up by his generals in his council, hot on thair heels in pursuit of thair money, I figure thangs aren't really as bad.

Wishin thangs had tarned out better is good but ya just can't worry about th could have beens any more than nostalgically pinin away over "th good ole days" an what use ta be is gonna change anythang either. It's just sorta th way life tarns out.

Look at it this way, if not fer an act of providence ya just as easily could have been born a citizen of some thard world nation an live a life of abject poverty an oppression.

Compared ta that life we all pretty much live as royalty in comparison so perhaps less carpin an more cooperatively workin tagether fer th common good is a better approach.

Guess it all pretty much comes down ta how ya look at life in general. Somethang ta thank about anyway.

At any rate, I do hope that we can do better than what we did in th past years without knowin any better.

Ya know, Tracy does have some thangs down better than most cities dealin with thair parks that is apparently good an right?

As I recall Parks an Recreation got some type of national award fer producin a park standards manual that all modern parks bein built in th US taday are usin as a standard on how ta properly build a park.

Got ta see it once an was surprised at th detail an layout of th document. All sorts of thangs like turf, gradin, sidewalks, playground equipment, an just about anythang that one would need ta know in order ta properly build a good, safe an economical public park that meets all of the legal requirements levied against it.

So ya see, ya win some an ya loose some. It'd be nice ta have 20/20 foresight like our 20/20 hindsight but life don't provide us with that ability.

RedHotChilliPeppers
|
October 04, 2012
When Pleasanton was growing each area built had...
RedHotChilliPeppers
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October 04, 2012
Tracy Press,

Please fix your website.
mtrew
|
October 06, 2012
Yes they did the best with what they had. Poor leadership and no vision. They did not want Tracy to change that is the problem.
RedHotChilliPeppers
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October 04, 2012
It's the chicken and the egg.

For example in the few comments below...

People complain that we don't have a theatre and a swim center.

Then they support TRAQ, because TRAQ claims we cannot afford a "quality community".

Unfortunately that is the only BS being printed in the paper. Of course you can't afford anything.

That lawyer you supported his career GROWTH and now has all your money tied up in a escrow account for popy seeds that have long wilted NO GROWTH there either?

Do you think those coloring books pay for themselves?
RedHotChilliPeppers
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October 03, 2012
The roads are the same on all sides of the town. North, east, west, and south. Does Tracy have more empty homes or less than other cities. Since when is it the city's responsibility to fix the state schools? Willie Nelson didn't come to the Grand Theatre? Greyhound does not come to the bus station? Curious. Where will you move?
Macpup
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October 04, 2012
Willie Nelson was at the Grand Theater and how much did that cost the taxpayers of Tracy? It cannot survive without being subsidizes by the City and that was without Willie!

Bottom line, Tracy does not have the money to pay for the upkeep of another "hope it will pay for itself eventually".
rriddle
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October 03, 2012
Swim Center on that side of town is a BAD idea, the roads are bad, the traffice is fast. Stupid!

Instead of more building lets take care of what we already have! To many empty house. School's need help. Come on City -

A grand theater - not in good use. A bus station to now where. not smart - lets build the station but we can't afford to have more buses..

House's do not need to be built in Tracy we already have available ones! Things like this just make me want to move away from Tracy!
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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October 04, 2012
Swim Center on that side of town is a BAD idea, the roads are bad, the traffice is fast. Stupid!
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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October 04, 2012
Truncated post again. Way ta go TP. Well I'll just type it again.

rriddle

"Swim Center on that side of town is a BAD idea, the roads are bad, the traffice is fast. Stupid!"

Why is it a bad idea an "stupid." Roads can be improved, whair do ya thank th money comes frum that does that? Traffic can slow down. Remember when I could drive from the bow tie out ta th airport on Tracy Blvd at 50 ta 55 MPH with no problem. Can't do that taday an th road is a nice divided road that was paid fer with developer fees.

"Instead of more building lets take care of what we already have! To many empty house. School's need help. Come on City"

I agree, we should take care of what we already have. But isn't th empty house "problem" really more of a problem fer th banks an developers ta deal with? Other than some vandalism problems that have ta be reconciled by th owners, namely banks an developers, how do all these empty houses affect ya personally?

Oh wait, I know, is it because th property tax that homeowners paid isn't gettin paid properly so that our schools can get th help they need?

Do ya thank th City raises yer property tax ta pay fer schools, or does th District do that?

If ya wanna improve yer schools then I guess ya are amiable ta doublin yer property tax ta fund it. Either that or yer gonna have ta get more taxpayers ta shoulder that load if ya don't want yer personal taxes ta increase.

"A grand theater - not in good use."

Actually I agree with ya here. I have my own ideas on that but would really like ta hear yers. If ya were in control, how would ya run it?

"A bus station to now where. not smart - lets build the station but we can't afford to have more buses."

So havin Greyhound an SJRTD stop thair on a regular schedule ain't allowin ya ta get anywhare? What's not smart about it? Perhaps we should have Greyhound pickin up thair passengers waitin outside under a tree at Fosters in th weather an th folks that ride ta STOCKTON on SJRTD standin out in th weather next ta our Civic Center. Would that be better? An what about th folks that can't afford a car or are too young or too old ta drive? How do ya propose they get around town if ya don't have some public transportation buses ta get em thair? Know lots of people that use th city buses an they seem ta like em. Why are ya so against em? Do ya know how thair funded? Why are they not affordable?

"House's do not need to be built in Tracy we already have available ones!"

Do you establish what's needed an not needed? Who owns those current houses, not th city? Isn't thair emptiness really th problem of th Banks an Developers who wanna sell em so they can make money?

Did ya move inta Tracy inta one of them thair developer built homes an thus become a part of yer perceived problem instead of th solution by not buyin yer American Dream an movin in?

Just wonderin why yer concerned about empty houses ya don't personally own an would benefit frum tax-wise if people bought em. Is it th crime? Ya must mean vandalism cus no one lives thair ta commit another type of crime thair. But ain't vandalism th problem fer th owners, namely th banks an developers who built em.

"Things like this just make me want to move away from Tracy!"

If thangs are as bad as ya indicate they are an thair are greener pastures elsewhere why ya don't move away frum Tracy.
ChrisRoberts
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October 03, 2012
Truth is the city of Tracy is so broke that they can not even build a swimming hole with out developer kickback$.

If you want to know who really controls this town, it is not the city council, the mayor, or police.

It's real estate developers $erpa is more powerful than any council member. He can buy any vote he wants!
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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October 03, 2012
CR

An ya got th factual proof ta back up yer truth? If ya do perhaps we can do somethang about it. If not it's just somethang runnin haywire in yer own brain. Let's deal with specific verifiable facts shall we an not th idle machinations of th mind?

As I recall ya once ran fer City Council. Apparently ya wanted ta join em so ya could benefit frum them developer kickbacks ya allege them of takin. What changed yer mind? No, don't tell me I really ain't interested, count it as a rhetorical question that don't need an answer.
45MPH
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October 03, 2012
I would encourage the City leaders to reconsider the Aquatics Park plan. More pools, similiar to that at Dr. Powers Park is what is truly needed-if serving our citizens and youth is the focus. Do we want kids to be able to swim and exercise, socialize to improve their 'being'? If so,(and as a citizen THIS is important to me, then simple affordable swimming pools throughout town is what is needed. In this economy, parents cannot afford even a $5.00 swimming day for each child in their families. It's not affordable, if kids wish to swim daily during summer months. I don't wish to draw citizens from other communities to our Acquatics Park with Lazy River, rather my tax dollars should focus on serving those citizens within our community. Please do what is best for our children...build several pools throughout town and make this our 'gift' to our community of children.
RedHotChilliPeppers
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October 03, 2012


1775 West Lowell Avenue

Tracy, CA 95376

Swim Lessons

Water Polo & Diving

Water Aerobics

Recreation Swim & Lap Swim

Lifeguard Certification Courses
RedHotChilliPeppers
|
October 04, 2012
Pinkie Phillips Swimming pool
Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
October 04, 2012
45MPH

While on th face of it that might seem ta be a good idea except fer one thang. Since th claim is affordability, th cost fer puttin in a number of small pools around th city far outweighs th cost of th proposed Aquatics Park. Come up with a vehicle whair it can be paid fer an ya got me on board.

Considerin th price of a single theater ticket an th cost of a video game or other form of entertainment our children frequently take advantage, I don't believe an all day pass ta an Aquatics Park fer $5.00 is really all that out of line.

When th Manteca water slide was in operation it cost ya more than $5.00 in ticket an travelin expenses ta use those facilities. In fact, $5.00 an a city bus ride over ta a new Aquatics Park in Tracy seems rather cheap ta me, givin what other forms of recreational entertainment our kids are spendin thair money on.

Gift to our community of children? Yeah right. Who do ya actually thank is gonna be payin fer that "GIFT" decades inta th future?

So, since ya apparently don't like th plans before ya, how would you personally deal with th issue of providin a pool fer our kids an community ta use?

Ornley_Gumfudgen
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October 04, 2012
RHCP

Are thair not co-use problems at that pool? Does it fill th need fer th entire community?

It's a great thang an I'm glad it's thair but what is th real overall cost ta th citizens who paid fer it an how well does it service all of thair needs?

Who decides on when th pool can be used by th public an fer how long? It's a co-use agreement between th City an th School so what is th cost/benefit ta th citizens who should be able ta use it?

But ya are thankin an that's good. Wonder how many more of these types of activities we could have fer everyone if they didn't have ta compete fer usage of th facility with th school district?

Lastly, what type of revenue/return on investment does this pool have? What does th maintenance structure look like an who funds it?

Thair are a lot of thangs to this, more than meets th eye. Sometimes we are guilty of preceivin thangs because we only look at em through our own eyes instead of other perspectives. In other words, what we might initially thank is a good idea might not be all that good when examined in greater detail.

I like th pool but don't thank it's th answer ta th overall problem an Aquatics park could take care of an better meet it's expenses by attractin others ta visit an spend thair money in Tracy fer our benefit.

If it were me I wouldn't build it at Ellis an would utilize an above ground technology fer it, one that is proven successful all over th nation fer public use at a substantially lower price tag an build it on land th City already owns over by th new Sports Park facility.

Why? Ease of access ta th freeway, a plethora of places ta eat close by an a mall virtually next door fer family members ta shop in.

It all depends on how ya paint th canvass an a lot of thangs are possible. Trouble is that people often get stuck in th quagmire of thair own minds an can't see any other possibilities.

Face it, most people don't like change because they are afraid of an unknown future that no one can really predict. So consequently nothin of significance gets done quickly, an thangs come ta a standstill in thair community as th rest of th world passes em by.

Then when thangs are at a standstill people complain th city should have done this or should have done that oblivious ta th fact that all along they were th ones that told th city what ta do an it ended up backfirin on em.

Citizens of Tracy. Don't blame yer council, ya elected em. Ya told em what ya wanted an let em do it. If ya don't like th outcome ya got no one ta blame but yerselves. Oh right, Bush did it. Obama did it. Ives did it an Maciel did it. I left out a cornucopia of others who did it but I shant leave out th major one's at fault an that is th citizens who elected all these people ta do thair will. Didn't come out right? Then perhaps ya elected th wrong people because ya didn't really know who yer were votin fer an what they represented.

If government is corrupt then it's only a reflection of th corruption in society that elected em an won't do anythang about that corruption other than ta complain loudly as if anyone is really listenin ta that complaint.
Macpup
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October 03, 2012
The City of Tracy is in the RED and thinking of extending the Measure E sales tax, but our Council is thinking of ways to keep spending. We are still financing the Grand Theater with tax dollars, so now we are going to add another. Really? Remember who is making these deals and vote in new members on election day. Lets get some common sense back on the Council.
behonestguys
|
October 03, 2012
I agree with Macpup. You don't build something and bet on the come. That's what Stockton did and they crapped out and lost. At the candidate forum last Monday one of the candidates, Roger Birdsall, was on point when he said that you don't build something on a credit card and hope for the best. That's the type of person we need on council. I hope the voters take note.
TracyCAcommuter
|
October 03, 2012
I agree with macpup too, but not with Birdsall. Birdsall has crafted a message carefully to try and get elected, but he has cozy relationships with many, many around town who are in positions of power.

That is what leads to backroom deals, and a loss of the voice of the people.

We need honest and independent leaders. Vote for Charles Manne.

VOTE FOR CHARLES MANNE - CITY COUNCIL!
ChrisRoberts
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October 03, 2012
8 Dollars to swim in a pool. Good luck getting the local working class folks to pay that crazy insane high price to swim in a pool.

Hey what ever happened to building a brand new skate parka and some bmx jumps for our kids. That is cheaper to build and operate and will actually not cost money to use.

Shame on the city council for trying to make backroom deals with developers!!!!
me-here
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October 03, 2012
Hey you guys in TRAQC...are you on top of this?

Council doesn't listen to us, but you have alway forced them to toe the mark. When they don't listen, it costs them $$$$.
RedHotChilliPeppers
|
October 03, 2012
me-here,

Of course they are. It ain't the first swim center opposed.

Would have cost less if they had not got created delay after delay.

Happening for twenty years now. Where you been?
RedHotChilliPeppers
|
October 03, 2012
me-here,

I see you support "saving the parks" and have asked "quality community" for help.

First of all, I don't believe they actually stand for a "quality community", but let's see where that will get us ...

Carnegie Park, on Corral Hollow Rd.:

- Attempt to close, why?

Swim center, on Corral Hollow Rd.:

- Attempt to keep from ever opening, why?

etc. etc. etc. why?

Why?
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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October 04, 2012
me-here,
Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
October 04, 2012
"me-here,

Of course they are. It ain't the first swim center opposed.

Would have cost less if they had not got created delay after delay.

Happening for twenty years now. Where you been?"

Right ya are, again. 20 years ago a complete aquatics facility was proposed fer Dr. Powers park fer around $2 million.

Right close ta th then center of town too.

Didn't set well with those who had thair piece of th pie an didn't want ta share with thair neighbors though so it slipped out of th way.

Even tried ta get it over at th present Ball Park too. Funny no one used th Gift complaint then, even though th park wasn't large enough an had some other logistical issues.

20 years later? No aquatics facility an th price tag as gone up exponentially. But hey, th complaints haven't ceased. Guess some thangs just don't change after all. :)


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