By Jacob Wilson/Garden Grove Journal
Someday the Westminster Chamber of Commerce will open its offices in the newly-built Miriam Warne Community Building. The only question is when.
The answer: not this week. Because on July 28 the Westminster City Council once again postponed approval of a lease agreement between the Chamber and the Westminster Redevelopment Agency, which serves as the building landlord.
“There is still a difference of opinion on some things and we’ve had a request from the Chamber to meet with the Council,” said city manager Donald Lamm. “It is appropriate to pull the item at this time.”
When it is finally approved, the agreement will allow the Chamber of Commerce to lease part of the 4,765 square-foot city building at 14491 Beach Blvd for one dollar per year The term of the lease is 25 years.
The rest of the building will be used as a city community room. The lease agreement has come up before the Council several times but the Council keeps postponing the vote as the Chamber and the city negotiate specific terms of the deal.
On July 14, Crystal Wadsworth, the Chamber’s executive director, told the Council that the Chamber’s executive board needed more time to review the lease terms and that they weren‘t ready to approve the agreement.
“This lease as is is not acceptable to our board,” Wadsworth said. “It is not in the best interest of the Chamber and that is what we have to look out for.”
Currently, the lease directs that the Chamber and the city would split the costs for security, fire alarms and building maintenance, including trash pick up. The Chamber would be responsible for its own utilities. Separate meters for both gas and electricity will be installed.
The Council plans to meet with the Chamber’s executive board and perhaps hold a study session before putting the lease agreement back on a meeting agenda.
In a small victory for a small business, the Council unanimously agreed to overturn an earlier ruling by the Planning Commission.
On May 27, community development director Doug McIsaac denied Paul Altieri’s application for a new storefront sign outside his business The Cash Store. The sign highlights the company as a cash for gold exchange and an easy loan company.
Altieri appealed to the Planning Commission. But on July 7 the Commission upheld McIsaac’s denial after determining that the proposed sign did not conform to the city’s design code.
But the Council disagreed with the commission’s findings, especially Mayor Margie Rice who appealed the commission‘s decision herself on July 15.
“I saw no reason for the Planning Commission to deny it,” she said.
Aside from disagreeing that the sign did not meet acceptable standards, the council felt that being too strict would hurt businesses more than help the city.
“In these tough economic times we should be more open to small businesses,” Councilmember Andy Quach said. “I would agree to overturning the denial.”
In other business, the Council appointed Owen Eames to serve on the city’s Commission on Aging and named Gia Ly to the Community Services and Recreation Commission. Both appointments will end November of this year.
Eames and Le each replace Jerry Meade, a Westminster staple and long-time member of both commissions who passed away on June 23. Meade was 74.
Members of the Commission on Aging must be at least 60 years old and live in Westminster. The five-member Community Services and Recreation Commission advises the Council on park development, city beautification programs and recreational events.
Quach nominated both Eames and Le.