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101816 Lompoc Council

Lompoc City Councilman Victor Vega, right, discusses revisions to the commission, committee and board member handbook during Tuesday night's city council meeting. Mayor Bob Lingl, left, and Councilman DeWayne Holmdahl look on.

The Lompoc City Council approved a first-of-its-kind agreement with a developer, adopted an ordinance related to shopping carts and received an update on the proposed Lompoc Valley Fallen Warriors Memorial project during Tuesday night’s meeting.

The meeting, which lasted about three hours, including extended discussion of a pair of agreements proposed between the city and Tri W Enterprises. The agreements dealt with pair of planned developments in the city.

As part of the agreements, both of which passed with 5-0 votes, two planned subdivisions will include the creation of a Community Facilities District. That will cause the new property owners to be responsible for the future operation and maintenance of required public improvements for the neighborhoods instead of the city.

This is the first such agreement involving the city of Lompoc, though City Manager Patrick Wiemiller noted that similar agreements are common throughout the state.

One of the planned developments is a 60-unit subdivision at Ocean Avenue and U Street, and the other is a 13-unit project on R Street.

Both projects were initially approved in 2006, but a representative for the developer said Tuesday that the projects stalled due to a downturn in the economy. The Planning Commission recently approved extensions for both projects, through 2020, and that same representative said he anticipated progress being made soon.

In separate action, the council approved what had been a controversial ordinance aimed at cutting down on abandoned shopping carts in the city.

The ordinance, which had previously been discussed at several council meetings and a public workshop, was initially placed on the consent agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, but was pulled off for a separate vote at the request of Councilman Victor Vega. It passed 3-2, with Vega and Councilman Dirk Starbuck each voting against it.

The new ordinance, which was initially introduced on July 5 before undergoing several changes, primarily requires that businesses develop cart-retrieval plans or face possible fines for non-compliance.

During the presentation portion of Tuesday’s meeting, resident Bob Schrum provided an update on the Fallen Warriors Memorial project, which is being planned for construction at the flagpole at Beattie Park.

The project, which has been in the planning stages for more than four years, will feature five pedestals and a "memorial walk" that will include the names of Lompoc Valley veterans who were killed in combat from throughout U.S. history.

Schrum, the chairman of the project's organizing committee, noted that the total cost projection for the project is now at $105,800, which is substantially lower than the $199,515 cost estimate from 2013. He said the committee working to build the project has raised $91,368 so far.

After securing the final $14,432, he said the group would be ready to move forward.

“We’ll start construction as soon as we have the money,” he said.

Near the end of Tuesday’s meeting, the council discussed moving some of the city's commission and committee meetings to City Hall, rather than holding them at other sites around the city.

The discussion was brought forward by Vega, who suggested that moving the meetings could increase public participation and improve ease of access. He pointed out that some of the venues that currently host meetings present issues such as a lack of space and/or are difficult for people to find. 

“Some of the main (commissions) that are off the beaten path would probably appreciate being here,” Vega said, noting that he just wanted to “make things a little better.”

Mayor Bob Lingl suggested that Vega and Councilman Jim Mosby form an ad-hoc committee and meet with members of city commissions, committees and boards, as well as city staff, to get input before returning to council with suggestions.

That recommendation was agreed upon by Vega and Mosby, but the council went ahead and voted 5-0 to approve other slight amendments to the city’s handbook for commission, committee and board members.

The next Lompoc City Council meeting is scheduled for Nov. 1.

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Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.