SANTA CRUZ -- The City Council is meeting with Warriors officials behind closed doors to determine how best to handle a last-minute threat of litigation against a complicated, expedited plan to build a 30,000-square-foot facility for the Development League basketball team.
A law firm representing the Beach Hill Neighbors Association led by First Street resident Don Webber provided the city with a letter early Tuesday suggested it could sue the city if it approves the project tonight. The firm argues the city should have conducted a full-scale environmental review of the project, which the firm says doesn't provide sufficient parking or meet other requirements for permitting.
"It raised some serious legal issues and we did not have time until this evening to actually take a look at the legal issues in the letter with our attorney," Mayor Don Lane told a packed crowd gathered at the Council Chamber for a meeting that was scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
Lane told the Sentinel that council members are huddled with Santa Cruz Warriors Jim Weyermann and his attorney by phone, as they all try to figure out whether to proceed with a vote after taking public comment or postpone it. The implications of the postponement could affect the time line of construction for the temporary facility, which the Warriors want to open in December.
The $5.4 million deal involves a $4 million loan the city's public trust fund and a complicated repayment scheme involving rent and loan payments. Webber, whose opposition to the La Bahia Hotel project helped kill the proposal last year, joins other neighbors concerned about the funding, parking and increased noise from the proposed site at 140 Front St.
At 7:30 p.m., Vice Mayor Hilary Bryant dispensed chocolate ice-cream pops from the Penny Ice Creamery to placate the audience. The Sentinel will continue following the story.