On Point: The new deal?
In case you missed it, last Friday blogger Lauren Do broke the news that developer SunCal submitted a development plan to the city that could serve as an alternative to the development plan and development agreement local residents are voting on as we speak.
City Attorney Teresa Highsmith confirmed the document was submitted Thursday, though she said she’s not sure yet if it’s a public document and she declined to release it to The Island when we asked for it Friday afternoon. (Guess we can’t feel too bad, though: Development Services Director Leslie Little, whose job it is to oversee redevelopment at the Point and elsewhere, apparently wasn’t told the document had been submitted – even though she was in negotiations with SunCal the day it came in.)
Highsmith was at least willing to confirm most of Do’s account, which says that the land development plan for the Point is exactly the same as what’s on the ballot. She confirmed the new development agreement SunCal submitted – a business agreement between SunCal and the city that the developer put on the ballot, much to the city’s dismay – would make at least two key changes to the agreement on the ballot.
Do said the newly submitted agreement would lift a $200 million cap on the amount of money a developer would be required to pay for public benefits and 2 percent cap on the amount of taxes new residents and commercial property owners would pay at the Point. City officials had argued that the benefits, which include transit, a new library, fire station upgrades and a sports complex, could cost upwards of $375 million.
Representatives for SunCal did not return calls seeking a copy of the document. But the company’s reps had previously told city officials they would be willing to change the development agreement that’s on the ballot to make it more to the city’s liking, and Highsmith told the City Council in a December 17 memo that under the ballot language, the developer could do so.
The alternate plan was submitted Thursday, a day before the deadline SunCal faced to do so under the exclusive negotiating agreement the city holds with the developer. An amended version of the agreement envisioned a November 2009 vote on SunCal’s plan. But the developer stalled submission of its ballot signatures in order to work out price and other issues with the Navy and the city, respectively.
So what effect, if any, should this have on the ballot – and your vote? More to come on this later today (I hope).