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It appears the county will be forced back to the drawing board if Elks Club members refuse to reverse their vote Monday evening rejecting an offer to sell their property in the heart of the proposed Municipal Building site at 15th and Trinity Drive.
County Administrator Max Baker said earlier this week, “I hadn’t heard about the vote but the offer is made by the developer – not by the county, so we’ll have to meet with the developer to see what steps they’re going to take now.”
Council Chair James Hall also had not heard about the vote when contacted early in the week.
“My reaction is that I’m really disappointed,” Hall said. “I can’t predict what staff will do or what council will do. First, let’s be sure what the vote was and then let’s understand the motivation and if it can’t be easily addressed then I’d say the placement of the Municipal Building at 15th and Trinity is in doubt.”
Members of the Elks Lodge released a press statement this morning that explained the action. “At the October 27, 2008, meeting of Los Alamos Lodge 2083 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the membership voted on a motion to accept a proposal to sell the existing Lodge property and purchase a new building to be constructed on property located at the Entrada business park.
The motion did not receive the required majority as specified by our Statutes and was defeated.”
“The membership of our Lodge find themselves on a prime piece of real estate that the county would like to develop.
The membership was presented an offer to purchase our prime property on Trinity Drive in order to develop this and two other neighboring properties into a new County Building and Shopping Center.
The Elks Lodge is always willing to promote the betterment of the community and would not want to stand in the way of community progress.
“However, we the Trustees of this Lodge, the members’ elected caretakers, feel that we have been asked to make this momentous decision in haste.
We were given an offer to purchase our Lodge that was based on a three year old tax appraisal that was provided by the developer which did not give any value for our current building or the fact that the Elks Lodge has value as a charitable non-profit business, which in part, supports our charitable activities and our local communities. The proposal for a replacement of ‘equivalent value’ consisted of a smaller building in a new location which is half the size of our current property.
“Finally, we were given two weeks to present these proposals to our membership, with insufficient time for good faith negotiations, time to hire an attorney or get a current appraisal,” they said.
“Although this proposal did not pass, the Elks will continue to entertain offers for the purchase of our property.
The Trustees have learned that there are many requirements that must be met prior to submitting a proposal to our membership for consideration and will complete our due diligence during the proposal processes.
The community can continue to count on the Elks as an organization dedicated to the welfare of Los Alamos and its residents, the statement concludes.”