Ice Center of San Mateo supporters have been urging the City Council and staff for months to help them keep the rink in place at the Bridgepointe Shopping Center in compliance with its master plan.
Last night, a group of them showed up to tell the council in person that the city has failed them and that they should not side toward increased tax revenue over the need for children to play hockey or figure skate. The item was not on last night’s agenda, however, so the council could not comment.
Some ice rink supporters have even called the city and its council “greedy” for allowing SPI Holdings, Bridgepointe’s owner, to terminate its lease with the San Mateo Ice Center at the end of this month.
The master plan calls for a recreational amenity on site similar to an ice rink but does not mandate that exact use.
SPI has offered the city a new turfed athletic field at any one of its parks as a recreational amenity to replace the ice rink but public hearings on amending the shopping center’s master plan will not take place until after it is officially closed June 1.
Yesterday, officials with SPI told the Daily Journal it plans to take back possession of the space once the Ice Center’s lease expires at the end of the month.
Once SPI takes back control of the space and sees what shape it is in, it will return to the city with a plan to replace the amenity on site or, if the city wants, to move the amenity off site, the official said.
The official said it would be several months before its application to amend the center’s master plan is open to public hearings. Both the city’s Planning and Parks and Recreation commissions will take up the issue once the application moves forward.
SPI officials previously said they want to add retail uses to the site and possibly some other recreational amenity, possibly a climbing wall.
On the city’s website for the Bridgepointe ice rink pre-application, city staff write: “the decision as to whether or not the Ice Center remains at the Bridgepointe Shopping Center is not one that can be made by the City Council. It is a private decision made between SPI Holdings and the owner of the ice rink. When the Ice Center’s current lease expires, it will be up to SPI Holdings to decide whether or not to renew it. SPI Holdings has indicated that the lease will not be renewed. The City Council has no legal authority to intervene in that decision.”
But some Ice Center supporters still think that the City Council can stop the rink’s closure based on the master plan adopted in 1998.
They have sent the council a glut of letters and emails, some of them critical.
“It appears to me that your greed for tax revenue is superseding public welfare and for that you should be ashamed,” Mike Jones wrote the council in an email.
Some also asked why public hearings on offering the recreational amenity off site did not take place before the lease expired.
“Why has the city refused to solicit public input and hold public meetings as required for this proposed amendment? Is this project going down a path similar to the recent 7-Eleven project, which also had some confusion about whether or not public meetings should be held?” Julie McAuliffe wrote the council in an email.
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