Siting committee holds first meeting

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By Jennifer Garcia

The first meeting of the Municipal Building Site Steering Committee was held Thursday night in the conference room at the County Annex.

Fourteen of the 16 committee members met in an introductory session led by Community Development Director Rick Bohn and attended by two members of the public, as well as County Planner Paul Belson, Assistant County Administrator Anthony Mortillaro and Capital Projects and Facilities Director Anne Laurent.

Committee members Patrick Raichur and Terry Goldman did not attend the meeting.

Bohn began the meeting by congratulating everyone who was appointed to the committee. He also thanked those who submitted applications for the committee but were not selected.

Bohn also made clear that the single county point of contact for the steering committee is Belson. “We want all the information to flow through him,” Bohn said.

A committee chairman is yet to be named, however, choosing a chair and vice chair will be on the agenda for the next meeting. Once those appointments have been made, the chair will lead future meetings.

A three-person subcommittee made up of County Councilors Robert Gibson, Ralph Phelps and Sharon Stover will act as liaisons between council and the committee.

The purpose of the meeting was to get the committee members acquainted with one another and to go over a few preliminary details before the group gets to work on figuring out where a new municipal building should be built.

Members had the opportunity to introduce themselves and briefly explain why they were interested in serving on the committee.

The length of Los Alamos County residency for the members varied, as did their backgrounds. Most of the members who attended the meeting have lived in Los Alamos for over a decade, however some have lived her longer, while some have lived here less than 10 years.

Regardless of how long they’ve lived in Los Alamos, the consensus among most of the members seemed to be that they have an interest in the town and feel that they have something to contribute by serving on the committee.

During the meeting Bohn also went over proposed committee procedures, reviewed the available reference documents, discussed the draft meeting schedule and topics and went over the agenda items for the next meeting.

Bohn reminded all members that civility, courtesy and respect are very important.

“We want to make sure no one feels intimidated and people feel comfortable,” he said, as he laid down the ground rules and procedures. “Please try to stay on point.”

Bohn and Belson distributed binders to each of the committee members, which contained basic information about the committee and their purpose.

“More information will be added,” Bohn said, “all the information will be posted on the website, it’s a way for council to know what we’re doing,” he explained.

The binders also contained six maps, which showed publicly owned sites that might be considered as part of the siting process.

“These are public sits that we already own,” Bohn said. The sites on the maps included the following lots:

• Ashley Pond, the former site of the municipal building; 0.6 acres

• Ashley Pond, where the community building now stands; 0.8 acres

• Ashley Pond, the parking lot at 20th and Trinity, 0.6 acres

• Los Alamos Apartments; 3.7 acres

• Lavy Lane; 3.2 acres

• Farmers Market location, 1.2 acres

• Parcels in White Rock at Rover and State Road 4; 2.3 acres

• A-19 transfer parcel in White Rock, 60 acres, though only the western parcel would be used because the eastern parcel is being used for the proposed visitor’s center.

Some committee members made clear that they thought the Farmers Market area should be taken off the list, but after a brief discussion the committee agreed to keep it on the list for now.

They also added the Trinity Place development site as well as the old DOE LA site office and steam plant site off of Trinity Drive and behind Los Alamos Medical Center as possible locations to be considered.

He also said that Mortillaro has sent out letter to property owners in Los Alamos County, asking them if they’d be interested in having their property looked at as possible sites for the municipal building.

The letter states, “Los Alamos County invites your statement of interest and information for property in downtown Los Alamos or White Rock that would meet the county’s needs for the siting of a new municipal building. The County has a general requirement for constructing a 47,000 square foot municipal building and is seeking to purchase a site that could accommodate such a facility, future expansion and its attendant parking requirements. If you are interested in submitting a site you own for consideration, please provide the following:

• Location information, current types of uses on the site and ability of site to accommodate county’s needs

• Name of property owner, if you are an agent of the property owner, please provide a letter or affidavit from the property owner attesting to such fact.

• Identify any current liens and encumbrances related to the subject property.

• Site zoning and land use designation.

• Site size and physical dimensions.

• Price for the site and terms. Please be advised that the county can only pay fair market value as determined by an appraisal.”

Though the meeting was held in the County Annex, future committee meetings will be held twice a month on Thursdays from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Community Building.

Those interested in getting e-mail updates or for questions may contact Belson at 663-1759 or e-mail Paul.belson@lacnm.us.