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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

Solving Problems with Building Permits for the Next Phase of Construction

Tuesday, May 16, 2006, 11:30am

Gualala Arts Center; photo by Ron Bolander Since 1997, when the Gualala Arts building was completed, the art center has been occupying the building under a temporary permit. The original permit was not finalized because of issues with the old state highway. When the current Gualala Bridge was completed and the old bridge abandoned, the State gave the county all its ownership rights to the old State Highway that runs between Gualala Arts property and Gualala Redwoods property down to the railroad easement next to the river.

This was no problem to anyone until 2002 when Gualala Arts acquired Moscone Center's old risers for its stage performances. Gualala Arts needed a place to store the risers and other equipment that is used periodically and therefore applied to the County for a building permit to construct the storage area. The new permit was denied because the final occupancy permit had never been issued.

Gualala Arts asked the county to finalize the original permit and was told that it first needed to fix drainage problems along the old road. Gualala Arts fixed the drainage and was then told that the State's ownership rights to the old road had to be researched before the issue could be resolved, to verify whether the road was actually owned property or the State merely had an easement. At Gualala Arts request, First American Title's Senior Title Officer researched the historical ownership issues and proved to the County Dept. of Transportation that the "ownership" the State passed to the County was simply an easement. The land under the old highway was actually owned by the owners of the parcels on both sides of it and split on the yellow line in the middle - so the current owners are Gualala Arts and Gualala Redwoods Inc.

At the request of both the County Planning and Transportation Departments, Gualala Municipal Advisory Committee (GMAC) held a hearing on April 6, found no negative issues and ended up recommending to Mendocino County that they vacate the old road easement and sign off on the final permit for Gualala Arts. As Gualala Arts current and former presidents (Cliff Putnam and Bruce Jones) requested, this should enable Gualala Arts to apply for building permits and raise funds for building projects like any other valid, law abiding organization in Mendocino County.

Thanks to the Frank and Helen Klembeck, Michelle Marshall, Jim Grenwelge, Paul Styskal, Cliff Putnam and Bruce Jones for attending the GMAC meeting and presenting Gualala Arts' case.

The final step in the process (we hope) will now take place when the Board of Supervisors holds a Public Hearing for the Old State Highway Road Vacation Petition on Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 11:30 a.m. We will need to make sure that the issues are again presented at that time.

Sign up to carpool for the trip to Ukiah by calling the Gualala Arts office at (707) 884-1138.