MINUTES OF THE FORT ORD VETERAN’S
CEMETERY CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Marina Library Community Meeting Room
190 Seaside Circle, Marina
Thursday July 31, 2008
1:00 – 3:00 PM
1. Chair James Bogan called the meeting to order at 1:10 pm.
It was announced that Redevelopment Agency staff would not be attending this meeting. Jim Cook was under the impression that their presence would inhibit an open dialogue ant that the CAC had expressed a preference that they not bet here.
A roll call of members was conducted.
Present – Frank Aguillon (District 2), Leonard Ortiz (District 3), James Bogan (District 4), Ralph “Norm” Channell (District 5), Jack Stewart (United Veterans Council).
Ex officio – Stephen Jorgensen (California Department of Veterans Affairs), Janet Parks (Central Coast Veterans Cemetery Foundation), Eddie Pedrozo (Monterey County Military & Veterans Affairs Advisory Commission), Tom Mancini (Ft. Ord Reuse Authority), Bruce Evans (Ft. Ord Retiree Council), Barbara Nelson (City of Seaside)
Absent – Ralph Villar (District 1) (excused), Abel Quinones (United Veterans Council) (excused), Julian Chacon (for Representative Sam Farr), Colleen Freeman (for Assembly member John Laird)
2. Public Comment:
John Henion (General Manager/VP, Garden of Memories Memorial Park): Garden of Memories Memorial Park would like to purchase the parcel designated as the Endowment Parcel under the plan sanctioned by this committee. The following are the reasons and resolutions to issues confronting the development of this cemetery: Enable the State Veterans Cemetery to expedite it’s acquisition of a Federal Grant; Relief the over development of local cemeteries; Have a local company with local employees to serve local people; Assist or be subcontracted to perform burial services for the State Veterans Cemetery; Collaborate with the State Veterans Cemetery in building structures in the same theme in order to have continuity; We plan to establish a Green operation in order to help our environment; We will have very low impact water usage because we plan to use artificial turf; We will utilize solar power to reduce our dependency to the utility company; We will build a mortuary to offer complete service to the general public and to the veterans. Mr. Stewart: You propose to subcontract what services for the State Veterans Cemetery? As a back-up to the State operation. Mr. Jorgensen: The State will consider all options for cemetery operation, including contracting for some services. Mr. Stewart: I am also concerned about the compatibility of artificial turf with the natural turf that will be used at the Veterans’ Cemetery.
Gordon Nakagowa: When will it be appropriate to address the issue of the use of the “endowment parcel” to procure the funds needed to meet the State’s requirements? Ms. Nelson: THe City of Seaside has received a letter of interest form Garden of Memories. Because the City has not yet acquired the land, the proposal is premature.
3. Receive community, stakeholder and CAC response to the RHAA final draft Veterans’ Cemetery Master Plan:
Ms Nelson: The Master Plan needs to emphasize that the City of Seaside has jurisdiction over the “endowment parcel” land. Once it is transferred development options will be reviewed and it will be determined what the most appropriate use for the land is. This could involve an RFP process.
Ms. Parks: I thought the entire 170 acres was for the cemetery. If it is not all needed, who decides on uses for the rest. I am concerned that waiting for Seaside or the County to decide on development options will extend the time it will take to complete the cemetery project.
Mr. Channell: There is no guarantee that fund from the “endowment parcel” will go to the cemetery. Mr. Mancini: Yes, the City of Seaside is committed that these funds will go to the cemetery. Ms Nelson: Although, appropriately, not a part of the Master Plan, there are documents that insure that funds generated from the “endowmwnr parcel” will go to the cemetery.
Col. Pamela Martis: In reference to Section 6.2 of the draft Master Plan, does Seaside have any comments on how realistic the proposed timeline is? Ms Nelson: The City of Seaside has addressed concerns about the timeline to RHAA. These involve the timing of the land transfer, issues regarding the availability of water and the fact that the City retains jurisdiction over the land. The City of Seaside believes that the timeline is too aggressive.
Mr. Pedrozo: In regard to a decision on the use of the “endowment parcel”, what would be a more realistic timeline? Ms Nelson: It all hinges on the transfer of the land, but, realistically, close to a year.
Mr. Stewart: The crucial issue, then, is accelerating the transfer of the land.
Col. Martis: Won’t going with the highest bidder (for a proposal for the “endowment parcel”) have an impact on timelines, depending upon the proposed use? Clean-up to the residential use standard requires a significant shift to the timeline. Ms Nelson: Yes.
Meeting adjourned at 2:30 pm.
Respectfully submitted by Richard F. Garza, Secretary, ex officio.