October 21, 2010
Newsletter (a very good one)
Institute for Canine Studies
Dear Friends & Supporters
We have more good news to share with you.
A long term Ground Lease has been Approved by the Marina City Council.
This past Tuesday evening, October 19th, the city council of Marina, California ratified their earlier decision of Oct 5th, and have approved a resolution directing the city manager to execute (sign) the long term Ground Lease with ICS that has been negotiated. This Lease will establish the ICS campus on a 21 acre site on the old Fort Ord military base on the Monterey Peninsula.
The Lease provides for ICS to develop, occupy and manage the property on a 50 year Ground Lease with the option of two, 10 year renewals. In other words, a 70 year Ground Lease on prime Monterey Peninsula property in the heart of the most dog loving community in the United States and within the fastest growing, forward looking, world class city in the US.
This city council vote is the successful conclusion of over four years of work. Those of us at ICS can’t tell you how happy we are with this momentous step forward. Finally, the vision of this unique partnership, never put together before, can move forward and bring the ICS campus to the reality we have all envisioned.
With all the enthusiasm we feel about this, our work is only beginning. Our next step is an 8-10 month process to write a Specific Plan and shepherd it through its CEQA review and public hearing process.
The first job immediately ahead of us is to write the Specific Plan. This process will take our concept plan and zero in on what the project will actually include, in minute detail. Since the project will include a variety of uses – recreation facilities, shows and events, training, commercial activities such as the Vet Clinic, the Restaurant and Day Care Center, education and student housing facilities – this mixed use facility has to be carefully planned in order to function successfully within itself and within the community. A multitude of details will need to be worked out before we receive final approval and building permits from the city.
As we develop the Specific Plan, our project will be undergoing a very rigorous environmental review process under CEQA. CEQA stands for California Environmental Quality Act. This is a California State law that requires all projects to study the possible affects they may have on the surrounding community. Working with the City and expert consultants, ICS will have to work through all the possible ways our specific plan will impact the environment. When that process has been completed, including review by the city Planning Commission, the City Council will review the findings along with any planned mitigations that may be required and will decide whether the project has adequately addressed all the issues and may proceed, or not.
The CEQA studies are long, arduous, and expensive to complete. Of particular concern are possible endangered species – both plants and animals that may be presently on the site. Our initial studies have already told us we have both an endangered plant (the Sand Gilia) and an endangered animal (The California Black Legless Lizard). Part of the development process ahead of us will be the mitigation plan for developing the site while respecting the habitat of these endangered species. It’s not easy or inexpensive, but it can be done.
Both the CEQA Studies and the Specific Plan details require a significant effort to complete and are costly because numerous professionals need to be employed for their input. We estimate completing these tasks will cost about $300,000. So far, we have one donor who has pledged $100,000 of this cost, but we will need to raise through public donations another $200,000 to complete the Specific Plan and CEQA studies.
While all this seems daunting and difficult – it is. We can tell you, however, we have on the ICS team individuals who do not understand NO, MAYBE or IT CAN’T BE DONE. We, at ICS, are a “can-do” team of individuals and with your continued encouragement and support, we will get this difficult job done.
Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions – just drop us a note.
And, by the way, we’re finally ready to begin asking for your donation. If you want to help and become a significant part of this exciting project, send us whatever you can afford at this time – no amount is too small.
You can visit out website www.CanineStudies.org where your donation can be made with VISA or PayPal. So, please don’t be bashful. We need $200,000 as soon as possible. And remember, your donations are 100% tax deductible. Thank you in advance for your support.
All the Best
Joel Gambord & Martha Diehl
Founder and Co-Chairs of ICS