Sounding Off: No. 3 — redevelopment

November 04, 2010|By Ken Frank

Editor's note: City Manager Ken Frank is retiring in December after 30 years with the city. In this column, he shares what he sees as the top 10 most significant accomplishments of the city administration during the past three decades.


No. 3 on the list of city accomplishments over the last 30 years is: redeveloping Treasure Island Mobile Home Park into an oceanfront park and the Montage Resort & Spa.

Without question, the most controversial and divisive issue dealt with by the city over last 30 years was the closing of the private Treasure Island Mobile Home Park and the reincarnation of that 30 acres into Treasure Island Park and the Montage Resort.


After the purchase of the property from its longtime owners by an investment trust managed by Merrill Lynch, the first skirmish occurred over rent control for the mobile home owners. The City Council enacted an ordinance regulating the rent that could be charged by the property owner. However, a vote of the public overturned the council's decision and voided rent control.

Residents in the mobile homes attempted to purchase the property but that effort was not successful.

The next struggle occurred over the closing of the mobile home park.

Residents were forced to leave Treasure Island, but the city mandated that they receive financial aid to assist in the relocation. Payments ranged as high as $25,000. Several low income seniors also received housing subsidies for apartments in town.

Once the site was vacant, the debate turned to the nature of the reuse. Some people advocated a public park on the entire site, a wonderful concept that was probably not financially feasible.

Months of joint Planning Commission and Design Review Board meetings produced a comprehensive proposal. When the City Council approved a Coastal Plan Amendment to allow a luxury resort, 31 housing units and a bluff top park, significant signatures were gathered to force a referendum on the city's plan. In 1999, voters ratified the reuse plan approved by the council and the California Coastal Commission endorsed it as well.

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