Thursday, July 4, 2002
Greenfield to Gonzalez: Goodbye In a surprise move that even caught some councilmembers off guard, the Greenfield City Council did not renew planning consultant Zak Gonzalez''s contract at its June 18 meeting.
Gonzalez was hired in May 2001 to develop a 20-year growth plan for Greenfield. His contract expired in May 2002. He received $75,000 up front and, according to critics, produced only a rudimentary map that proposed expanding the tiny South County city to five times its current size.
In previous interviews with the Weekly, Greenfield Mayor Mike Romo and Councilmember Art Salvagno said Gonzalez hadn''t made any progress toward producing a General Plan for Greenfield. But they both anticipated the council''s other three members would vote to keep Gonzalez on board.
Generally Romo and Salvagno are outnumbered by councilmembers John Huerta, Jr., Zeke Banales and Yolanda Teneyuque, who usually vote as a bloc. The three voted to hire Gonzalez last year, with Romo and Salvagno dissenting.
However, at the June 18 meeting, the council did not vote to give Gonzalez a second year.
"It was very strange," says Salvagno.
At its previous meeting, on June 6, the council had voted 2-1-with one abstention and one absence-not to renew Gonzalez''s contract. Romo and Salvagno voted to get rid of Gonzalez. Huerta, Jr. was absent. Banales voted to extend Gonzalez''s contract for a second year. Teneyuque abstained.
Following the 2-1 vote, Teneyuque asked that the councilmembers revisit the Gonzalez contract at the June 18 meeting, when Huerta, Jr., would be in attendance.
It looked like the council''s three-member majority would keep Gonzalez around for another year.
At the June 18 meeting, however, Teneyuque asked that Gonzalez''s contract be pulled from the agenda.
"She didn''t say why," Salvagno says. "She didn''t given any reasons. Gonzalez''s contract never came to another vote, so the old [June 6] vote stands."
The council''s decision comes after the Weekly published a story ("The Incredible Expanding City," 5/30/02) exposing Gonzalez''s big contract and minimal output. According to his one-year contract, he would receive $150,000 plus expenses for his work. Because he failed to deliver a General Plan, the city only paid him $75,000-the amount he was given up front.
In a previous interview with the Weekly, Gonzalez called his critics racists. He did not return phone calls asking about the council''s June 18 vote-or lack thereof-that ended his stint as a Greenfield consultant.
Seaside''s Plans Changing
This summer, the City of Seaside is seeking public input on the revision of the overall blueprint for the city. For the next step in the General Plan process, residents are invited to a public workshop on July 13 at 9:30am at the Oldemeyer Center.
Seaside adopted its current general plan, a document which determines how land is delineated for businesses, residences, transportation or other uses, in 1995.
A draft of the new plan is expected in the fall. The general plan should be finalized by March 2003.
Planners expect to see some modification in the land-use map that would allow for different kinds of development.
Some of the potential development is significant. The area around the main gate of Fort Ord could host some kind of regional retail use, such as a "big box" store or a shopping center.
Another area slated for major development is the property near the intersection of Broadway and Fremont. There is some push to install a supermarket there, but Planning Services Manager Mary Orrison says the city and planning consultants are also looking at a possible mix of retail uses.
The City Council and the Planning Commission will hold a joint planning session on July 25, at which time public input will be reviewed.
The Seaside plan rewrite will have to be reviewed for consistency with the general plan used by the Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA).
Currently the city is moving ahead with plans to build 380 units of housing at Seaside Highlands, the former Hayes Park.
-Jessica Lyons, Andrew Scutro