An unsolicited development proposal for Fisherman’s Wharf was sent to the Board of Supervisors on Oct. 21 and copied to the Oxnard City Council. HBCA got a copy of the proposal through a Public Information Request to Oxnard.
We have learned that this proposal is from a successful, experienced, credible, well-funded developer. The development is family oriented for working class families and visitors with free admission and free rides (see press article). This proposal proves the Harbor Department’s claim that Fisherman’s Wharf cannot be revitalized without apartments is not true.
It also proves the importance of the standard open process of a Request for Proposal (RFP). This would open Fisherman’s Wharf to other possible developers. The County deviated from this standard process and never sent out a Request for Proposal for Fisherman’s Wharf – one of the largest developments at the harbor. They admitted this fact under a Public Information Request made by HBCA. Before this admission they claimed they had sent out RFPs.
Please read HBCA’s letter to understand our position on this issue.
Letter from HBCA December 8, 2019
TO: Board of Supervisors, County of Ventura Steve Bennett Linda Parks Bob Huber Kelly Long John Zaragoza |
800 South Victoria Avenue Ventura, Ca. 93009
Subject: Denial of Channel Islands Harbor Properties LLC’s (CIHP) Lease Option Agreement Amendment for Fisherman’s Wharf and Termination of the Agreement for Failure to Meet Its Requirements
It has been difficult for the public to understand why the County has inexplicably deviated from the standard Request for Proposal (RFP) process and instead elected to expend a disproportionate amount of time, money and effort on behalf of a single developer’s proposed project at Fisherman’s Wharf. The Harbor Department has admittedly never issued an official Request for Proposal for this project. An RFP to a broad range of developers, not just apartment developers, would be the proper fiduciary process.
The County has given and extended exclusivity to CIHP since as early as the June 10, 2014 Board of Supervisors Meeting. The fact is CIHP, an experienced developer, has not secured the required entitlements for their project, especially an amendment to Oxnard’s Local Coastal Plan even after the County gave them the “power of attorney” to negotiate on the County’s behalf with Oxnard.
The Coastal Commission has notified the County and CIHP at least eight (8) different times in writing that a Local Coastal Plan Amendment (LCPA) is required for the proposed 400-apartment complex. It makes no sense at this time to continue to extend exclusivity for the Fisherman’s Wharf parcels and disregard or reduce the required fees for CIHP. Oxnard has denied the request for an LCPA and there is a high probability that the Coastal Commission will also deny an Override request. CIHP has had almost six years to obtain entitlements.
CIHP has had several opportunities to modify its proposal but has not done so. (See attached Timeline of County Actions for Proposed Fisherman’s Wharf Project : 12 8 2019 Timeline of Fisherman’s Wharf)
The Harbor Department continues to promote the apartments as the only way to revitalize Fisherman’s Wharf. The Harbor Department continues to base this claim on old data going back to a June 10, 2014 Harbor Director’s letter stating:
“In the past ten years, every project proposed by outside parties (approximately ten parties) on the Fisherman’s Wharf property has included a combination of retail and rental housing units. No other proposal for use of the parcel has been made by any party. It appears that the interpretation of the market indicates that this is the most likely “highest and best use” for this property.
Not only is this claim based upon early 2000 data but the Harbor Department has been unable to support this claim and provide the names and proposals submitted by these “10 developers” after the issuance of multiple Public Information Requests under the Public Records Act.
Now there is an unsolicited development proposal for Fisherman’s Wharf from a reputable, experienced developer with a proven track record and the means to design, build and fund its project. This proposal disproves the County’s claim. The written proposal was submitted to Ventura County and the City of Oxnard before the November 5th Board of Supervisors meeting and the November 7th Oxnard City Council Special Meeting regarding the County’s LCPA request.
This proposal does not include a residential component. The proposal is worth considering because it has the scale to attract people to the harbor and promote the County and City of Oxnard as the Strawberry Capital of the USA. Strawberry is a major crop for the County and City. (See attached copies of the Karl Erlebnisdorf’s proposal for its “Strawberry Village” at Fisherman’s Wharf). It is an excellent example of the fact that there are other developers who can and will be able to make alternative proposals that are not only worthy of consideration but can be consistent with existing LCP policies and are in keeping with the intent and purpose of a harbor.
This recent proposal, and the results at Ventura Harbor and the hotel proposals to Port Hueneme, are proof it is time to issue a Request for Proposal for Fisherman’s Wharf open to a wide range of developers. The Board of Supervisors has a fiduciary duty to manage not only public funds but also valuable public assets like Channel Islands Harbor. We ask that the Board deny any further extension to CIHP. They are not the only solution for Fisherman’s Wharf. They have failed to secure the required entitlements. They are unwilling to modify their project to meet the public’s needs. It is unlikely their project as proposed will be approved by the Coastal Commission. To allow a valuable asset to remain dormant, deteriorate, and result in no benefits to the public, hurts the County, the City and the public.
The issuance of an official Request for Proposal is the fair and transparent governance action and would provide even CIHP another opportunity to propose a project for Fisherman’s Wharf. In order for this to happen, CIHP’s Lease Option Agreement must be terminated.
Thank you. Rene Aiu on behalf of the Harbor & Beach Community Alliance
Cc: Oxnard City Council, Alex Nguyen, Ashley Golden, Ken Rozell, Jeff Lambert, Isidro Figueroa, Jack Ainsworth, Steve Hudson, Wesley Horne, Clerk of the Board, Michael Powers, Mark Sandoval
For proposal details click the links below to expand.
October 21 proposal from Karl’s Erlebnisdorf’s Karl’s of California:
Dear Ventura County Board of Supervisors,
Karl’s is a multi-generational family business built entirely around the strawberry and the joy it brings to people. Established by Karl Dahl in 1921 in Mecklenburg Western Pomerania, Germany, it is a beloved household name. Currently, Karl’s boasts:
7 successful locations in Germany with around 1000 employees and around 2500 seasonal employees
7 Million annual visitors in all locations
3 theme park hotels
Over 400 strawberry booths across Germany
Our objective is to establish the first Karl’s in America in a location that is meaningful and beneficial to both us and the city we enter. The Dahl family has been visiting Oxnard for generations in celebration of the strawberry and all that California has to offer. The Dahl’s would now like to give back to the California city they have fallen in love with. By merging our interests with those of the city of Oxnard and the county of Ventura, we hope to establish a vibrant business that everyone can benefit from.
Robert Dahl, the grandson of Karl and current owner of Karl’s Erlebnishof, along with his development partners have already met with members of various city departments and visited the Oxnard Fisherman’s Wharf area. Immediately, Robert fell in love with the site and had a vision for how a Karl’s Erlebnisdorf could revitalize the area. The location presents an amazing opportunity for new energy and life to be established via a Karl’s Erlebnisdorf. A Karl’s Erlebnisdorf would create:
Free public access to the Erlebnisdorf, harbor and parking
Dining & entertainment for all generations
100’s of new jobs
A major tourist attraction
Community awareness and celebration of the strawberry
11/14/2019 AT&T Yahoo Mail – Fwd: Oxnard Fisherman’s Wharf – German Strawberry Project Proposal
Keeping with the strawberry theme and style of our other Karl’s locations, our architects have designed a Karl’s to fit the existing Fisherman’s Wharf layout. We would like to preserve as much of the Fisherman’s Wharf feel while incorporating the authentic Karl’s style and farming history of Oxnard. Please see the attached site plans & rendering for what could be included on the site. Highlights include:
16,000 SF of retail
10,000 SF of food manufactories where visitors observe strawberry & other food products being made
9,000 SF of dining space
22,000 SF of playground space
86,000 SF of footpaths and green areas
600 free public parking spaces
We have the funds available and are prepared to cover all development and operating costs on our own. Funding all new projects in Germany privately, Karl’s is a highly profitable business that we hope to extend into California. We understand that the Fisherman’s
Wharf area is in need of economic rejuvenation and that is exactly what we hope to bring to the area.
Thank you sincerely for your time and consideration of a Karl’s Erlebnisdorf at the Oxnard Fisherman’s Wharf.
All the Best,
Project Manager Karl’s California
19-10-15 Karl Erlebnisdorf Strawberry Village Rendering
Site Plan Rendering
This rendering was a part of the submission:
Large pdf: 19-10-17 Oxnard Ch Isl Blvd_Bilanz-A1 Ko+Luft
A developer submitted an unsolicited proposal for Fisherman’s Wharf in AUGUST 2019
This proposal does not include a residential component.
This recent proposal, the results at Ventura Harbor and the hotel proposals to Port Hueneme, are proof
it is time to issue a Request for Proposal for Fisherman’s Wharf open to a wide range of developers.
The Board of Supervisors has a fiduciary duty to manage not only public funds but also valuable public assets like Channel
HBCA's letter stirs reaction from Harbor Director
HBCA 12-8-19 Letter to BOS re Deny FW extension stirs reaction from Harbor Director prompted a reply from the Harbor Director on December 9, 2019, once again accusing HBCA of mis-information. Sandoval to HBCA Response.12-9-19, and HBCA followed up with a a response 12-12-19_HBCA_Response_to_Mark-Sandoval. (Read below)
Letter from HBCA December 12, 2019
We write to address inaccuracies in your letter dated December 9, 2019.
The Harbor Department received materials from Karl’s about their proposed Strawberry Village for the Fisherman’s Wharf site in August and October 2019, but you did not mention this proposal at any of the subsequent public meetings. Even if you were not able to discuss details publicly, at the very least you could have disclosed that a developer is interested in submitting a proposal that does not have a residential component. This is significant because the Harbor Department maintains that no developer is interested in Fisherman’s Wharf unless they can build housing.
The receipt of this unsolicited proposal suggests there may be developers unaware of the Fisherman’s Wharf opportunity who have ideas for projects that do not raise significant community concerns. Channel Islands Harbor Properties (CIHP) knows about these concerns but refuses to suggest alternatives, instead taking the position that it’s their way or the highway.
A Request for Proposal (RFP) process will enable the County, City and community to ex- plore the availability of other proposals. CIHP is welcome to submit a proposal in the RFP process, hopefully addressing issues identified with their current proposal.
It’s unclear what you mean by “political threats.” Public engagement in the democratic pro- cess is not a “political threat.” It is foundational to our system of government. The project has been delayed by CIHP’s failure to obtain necessary entitlements. Moreover, whether any specific individual “supported” CIHP’s proposed project, the City of Oxnard never approved it. And the residential component in the City’s 2030 General Plan relates to an urban village, which CIHP’s proposal is not.
Your use of catch phrases such as “improve public access” and “enhance environmental justice” ring hollow, as CIHP’s proposal achieves neither.
Your accusations of dishonesty are false and offensive. The County’s 2012 Request for Qualification sought rental housing developers. The RFQ required “respondents to submit qualifications only for development and operation of a significant property consisting of approximately 50,000 SF of commercial/retail space and rental housing units. Key measures will be experience in developing mixed use properties, experience obtaining entitlements, and experience in operating both rental housing and commercial properties.”
You referred to Requests for Proposals sent by the Harbor Department for Fisherman’s Wharf at multiple public hearings. Eventually you acknowledged a Request for Proposal for Fisherman’s Wharf was never issued.
There is an enormous difference between a Request for Qualification and a Request for Proposal. The first only requires some basic background and credentials, whereas a Request for Proposal requires details of what is proposed. For example, a Request for Proposal for this type of project typically requires a site plan, concept renderings, and elevations, among many other elements.
The Harbor Department deviated from standard procedure by not properly conducting a competitive bid process for the Fisherman’s Wharf redevelopment. The efforts made to find potential developers were limited and poorly executed. The Harbor Department seems unusually tied to an almost 8-year-old proposal that has never come close to meeting the legal requirements of both the Coastal Commission and the City of Oxnard. Rather than continuing to cast aspersions, we hope the Harbor Department will focus on achieving a worthy resolution for the Fisherman’s Wharf property of which the residents of the County and Oxnard can genuinely benefit and be proud. The next step should be to engage in a proper Request for Proposal process.
on behalf of the Harbor & Beach Community Alliance
cc Supervisors – Steve Bennett, Linda Parks, Bob Huber, Kelly Long, John Zaragoza
Clerk of the Board, Michael Powers
Oxnard City Council, Alex Nguyen, Ashley Golden, Ken Rozell, Jeff Lambert, Isidro Figueroa
Jack Ainsworth, Steve Hudson, Wesley Horne
Typical RFQ/RFP Process Steps
Phase I – Request for Qualifications (RFQ)
- Prepare a project plan (and a clear statement of the project plan and objectives).
- Schedule, draft, review and issue the RFQ.
- Q&A conference for prospective developers (optional).
- Phase I (RFQ) responses received and reviewed.
- Selection and notification to developers short-listed for Phase II (RFP).
Phase II – Request for Proposals (RFP)
- Draft, review and issue the RFP
- Phase II responses received, reviewed
- References checked and developer team due diligence performed.
- Developer presentations (all Phase II respondents).
- Selection of the preferred developer.
Phase III – Formal negotiations begin on ground lease terms
- Letter of Intent signed between entity and developer setting forth all major business terms; ground lease drafted and negotiations commenced.
- Project goes to final decision-maker for approval (once significant business issues are sufficiently confirmed).
- Detailed ground lease negotiations completed and documents executed.
Exclusive Rights to Negotiate
2019 Year End Status
On Nov 5th (2 days before the City of Oxnard denied the LCPA) the County Board of Supervisors heard a request from the Harbor Department for extensions and fee waivers on the Exclusive Rights to Negotiate (ERNs) for Channel Islands Harbor Propertied LLC (CIHP) the developers who have proposed 400 apartments for Fisherman’s wharf.
The reasoning given for the extensions and fee waiver was that the County had imposed rules in the rights that restricted CIHP from proposals until Fisherman’s Wharf was under construction.
Many local residents spoke out at that hearing requesting the county not approve any more extensions to this developer and certainly to not wive fees!
November 5, 2019 – Ventura County Board of Supervisors delay decision to extend the ERNs for X-3 and F/F-1 for CIHP but extend the deliverables deadline, this time from December 31, 2019 to March 31, 2020. and directed the staff to return to the Board with revised
amendments to the ERNs, if accepted by CIHP, that reflect such extensions and remove any requirement that CIHP wait until Fisherman’s Wharf project is under construction before providing deliverables under the ERNs.
We are asking the County Board of Supervisors to deny extending the Exclusive Right to Negotiate (ERN) Agreements between the County of Ventura and Channel Islands Harbor Properties LLC (CIHP) for parcels F/F-1 and X-3.
The reasons these ERN amendments and extensions should be denied are as follows:
- CIHP allowed their original ERNs to expire:
- ERN for X-3 lapsed, expiring on December 31, 2014
- ERN for F/F-1 expired on February 14, 2015
- (note: Brighton Management met its requirements within the deadlines)
- CIHP has had exclusivity for X-3 and F and F-1 for over 4 years since their reinstatement in May 2016.
Over this period, CIHP has failed to produce any required deliverables even with the extensions and
no fees charged to them. These parcels are just sitting unproductive and dormant.
(see attached Timetable of ERNs and Their Impact on the Harbor)
- ) Any CIHP proposals for these parcels must be consistent with the Harbor’s Public Works Plan and
Oxnard’s Local Coastal Plan. If not, this may result in further public opposition and delays in
harbor revitalization. It will mothball these parcels for many more years from development. Any
proposal CIHP submits to the County by March 30, 2020 can be considered in an open Request for
Proposal process. Otherwise, other developers will be frozen out from proposing projects that may
County and the public a higher level of benefits.