Brea Downtown Parking Structure.

Empty ParkingNot since the Madrona Project and the Drought Tolerant Rock Garden has there been a more divisive and misunderstood topic than building a parking structure on Superblock 1. It may all come to a head at last on June 16th when Council wades through the latest staff report and recommendations.

If the recent record setting discussion on Nextdoor (130 comments) is any indication, Breans have had little to consider but rumor and speculation. That’s about to change. On Tuesday evening the full staff report was posted on the city’s website. Tough to find, but I’ve downloaded it and you can get it here.

A Little History.

At their special meeting in April, Council reached consensus that it’s time to build the parking structure. With over a decade of meetings, closed door discussions, faltering negotiations, false starts and the loss of redevelopment funds designed to pay for it… Council finally drew a line in the sand.

With full agreement that the parking structure must provide a minimum of 300 additional spaces beyond those within the building’s footprint and setting a not-to-exceed limit on cost to build at $9 million bucks – Council ask staff to come back to them with answers to these three simple questions:

  • What parking structure design will best meet the public’s need?
  • How much will it cost to build?
  • Where will the funds come from to pay for it?

Sounds simple, right?

When you read the staff report you’ll likely be as shocked as I was.

Buried within the 50+ pages of cityspeak, hidden agendas, a blizzard of numbers that would boggle the mind of John Nash must be some answers. If you can find any, please post a comment here and share them with the rest of us.

If you came away with more questions than answers, I know I did, I hope you will step up and share them with Council on the 16th.

The only conclusion I am able to state with any certainty is this; somehow Council needs to back away from the politics and focus on building a sensible and affordable parking structure that serves the people first.

There is a lot more riding on this than simply solving a decade old problem.

Somewhere between $30 and $40 million dollars of private investment hinges upon Council making a prudent and expedient decision. Click here for a condensed presentation of what some of that investment would be.

New Improv

A novel idea?

From day one Council’s mantra has been, “Parking in downtown Brea will always be free.”

Free ParkingThe most contentious element in the equation has always centered around funding. The greatest objections have always been against spending General and 560 Funds.

The probability of ever getting our hands on even a fraction of the redevelopment money, millions, pilfered by the state remains uncertain.

Who besides me would be okay with paying a buck or two to use the new parking structure? Seriously, it’s cheaper than valet, faster than walking from Parking Structure 1. I’d even pay a couple of bucks a month on my water bill for a resident’s annual pass.

Okay… it’s just a thought.

Parting comment.

When you email Council or, better yet speak during Matters From The Audience, try to avoid hunting for the guilty parties, getting mired down in petty politics and making ad hominem attacks. This does not move the discussion forward, serves no useful purpose and will not advance any cause that benefits the community.

Take a stand. Make a difference. Contact A Council Member.

Addendum: June 15

Ask Council to be bold enough to ask the hard questions and demand truthful answers.

It would seem prudent (at least to me and several thousand of my closest friends and neighbors), considering all the facts that have emerged in recent days, that Council should: issue an RFP not-to-exceed $9 million for Option 2: purely parking, a trash facility suitable to supporting the food and beverage business and police annex.

No housing. No commercial. Simply the parking structure we’ve needed for many years.

Cost should be managed as follows:

  • $3.7 million from returned RDA
  • $1.5 million balance of Valencia Drive fund
  • $300 thousand from Gas Lamp Square

This remaining balance of $3.5 million Council may choose between funding with reserves or a bond. It will easily be REPAID via valet and cell tower revenue and the incremental increase in sales tax.

Net cost to city/tax payers is ZERO. How’s that for a parking structure plan?


6 thoughts on “Brea Downtown Parking Structure.

  1. Questions:
    • Are the two existing structures underused in the evening and other times when many people want to partake of Brea Downtown’s amenities?
    • If yes, is that because people are not willing to (G-d forbid) WALK to the east side of Brea Blvd? That reminds me of L.A.’s Westside folks that won’t go east of the 405, BTW
    • What about a shuttle from the existing structures to the east side of Brea during those times? Maybe an every 15 mins/10 mins schedule? Wouldn’t that be less expensive than a new structure?

    • Zhani… Structure 1 (east) seems to be well utilized but the lower levels of structure 2 (west) have never lived up to their potential. Folks cite security fears though I’m unaware of any significant incidents. Superblock 1 (Taps military recruiting, Lily Q’s and Tower) has been under served for years, The city acknowledged that, had a plan and then got hosed by the state.

      People don’t walk like many would suggest. Who is supposed to pay for the shuttle? The best way to start reducing the size of government is for us to stop asking for stuff. Seriously.

  2. Rick,
    These questions are asked of me quite frequently and I truly don’t have the answers. Maybe you can shed some light and I can just refer everyone to your blog.
    1. Who would own and maintain the structures?
    2. Wouldn’t it be better for the land owners to improve their own land?
    3. Government handouts are already out of control. Why handout more money to the rich?

    • Paul… The land belongs to the city, hence the “owners” are improving their land. Even so, with ownership of the structure remaining city property, the BDOA has committed to paying for maintenance and upkeep. Personally I don’t think of this as a handout to the rich. This whole area was a redevelopment project, including Ash Street Cottages.

      Brea is sitting on a $100 million dollar investment underwritten by bonds repaid via tax increment – not general fund. After 12 -15 years we’re going to turn our back on our investment because we lost the funds to the state and now have to find another way to pay for what we knew needed to be done a decade ago? Like I mentioned to Zhani, the best way to limit government is to quit asking for stuff.

      Go to this LINK and download the full Improv proposal. The parking structure unlocks the private investment money for this.

  3. When I asked about a shuttle, my thought was a Brea Downtown Association provided shuttle; let the “interested parties” provide alternative transportation… Heck, I bet Manley could fund it himself!

    • Zhani… I’m continually amazed how some folks are so ready to spend someone else’s money. The downtown began as the city’s investment to ressurect what they deemed a blighted area. That’s the crux of redevelopment. The city fathers also reserved ownership of the parking component, in large part to ensure it was always free.

      Sales taxes generated from the downtown are part of the largest revenue source Brea has… much more than what the city gets from property taxes.

      Click any or all of the email links in the blog and ask Council that question. Afterall, they’re the most likely interested parties.

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