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Merced City Council meets Monday night

Mike Conway

Post Date:07/02/2015

Merced City Council to consider apartment project, youth center


The Merced City Council will hold a public hearing on the Bellevue Apartment Project and consider awarding a lease to the Stephen Leonard Park Youth Center at its July 6 meeting.


The Council will meet at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers on the second floor of the Merced Civic Center, 678 W. 18th St.


C.W.N. Development has proposed building a 432-unit apartment project in an area bounded by M Street Circle, Mandeville Lane, and Barclay Way at a site designated for multi-family use, which includes apartments.


The project met the architectural requirements of the Bellevue Ranch Master Development Plan, the parking spaces exceeded the minimum number required per dwelling and it was within the range of unit density for the plan.


The Planning Commission voted to deny the project expressing a concern about the number of bedrooms, citing insufficient parking based on potential student housing, the influx of renters versus owners and saying that it was not a good fit for the area.


During public testimony on the project more than 100 people testified or signed a petition opposing the project.


The Council also will consider who will get the use of the Stephen Leonard Park Youth Center. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Merced Soccer Academy both submitted applications for use of the facility. Currently the City has four organizations using the McNamara Park Youth Center offering afternoon programs.


When the Council first considered the two applications in June, it was proposed that the four groups at McNamara move to Stephen Leonard. The four groups had asked the City for approximately $29,000 in funding, saying they were having problems raising funds and getting volunteers and donations and needed to hire staff.


The Soccer Academy has used the practice fields at McNamara for 15 years, so it was suggested they could move there, while the NAACP had extensive fundraising and volunteer experience, along with a staff member through its 4-H program partnership and could help the McNamara groups at Stephen Leonard.


Council directed the six groups to meet and see if a solution could be found that would allow all six groups to continue to provide services to the City's youth at the two centers. Two meetings with City staff, plus additional meetings, could not resolve the scheduling overlaps.


The Council will hold a closed session at 6:30 p.m. to confer with labor negotiators regarding the firefighters and police sergeants unions.


City Council meetings are streamed live on the Internet. A link to the live meeting is on the City's home page at www.cityofmerced.org The City will also add the Council video to YouTube for people that were unable to watch it live. These services are in addition to the live broadcast of the regular meeting on Comcast's Government Channel 96.

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