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September 30, 2022

Funny Papers Again Column | KC Projects: One Moving, One Stalled

As some of you are aware, I had occasion to be in the Orradre Building down at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds the other eve and one person in attendance at the affair — she had not been in the building in years — commented on how much it had changed and how nice it looked.

Now, I can’t quote how long it has been since the renovation of that building took place, but it hasn’t been all that long considering its age. Her comment set me to thinking about just how much SVF has changed over the years; and how much it is still changing.

I don’t recall what all the grounds looked like 60-plus years ago, but I do remember there was a sidewalk that ran at about a 45-degree angle starting from Division Street, approximately where today the fence separates the parking lot from the grass area, which led to the south side doors of the Exposition Building, where we purchased our tickets and then entered the Fair through the building.

There was a large round section of the sidewalk about halfway where a flagpole was located. I’m not sure how much that building has changed since those days, but it is undergoing some big-time changes now.

I happened by SVF the other day and got a quick run-down on just what all is happening with the iconic building from Rick (no last name needed; if you have been on the grounds more than once, you know who Rick is). The whole building is now fenced off and obvious to the eye it is undergoing myriad improvements, which include kitchen and restroom re-dos, new flooring and windows walled over with new circulation system to be installed.

One major upgrade is electrical; and that is no small deal. I recall installing the long, overhead electrical cords while standing in a basket attached to a fork lift, and the lift could only travel around the edges of the floor where it was solid enough to take the weight without punching through. The outlets attached at intervals were then used by the many vendors inside the building; all they had to do was get high enough to plug into them. Now, the flip of a switch will do it all. Progress.

As many of you know, one old SVF building has been torn down. During last Fair there was a large tent in its place; there was a sprinkler running the day I was there so I assume a lawn will soon appear. I should think the neighbor across the way, what I call The Cafeteria, is also waiting for an eventual wrecking ball, as it is not a young building any longer and getting a bit rickety.

There is a new impressive entrance to the Flower Building, which enhances the area, but the U-shaped structure, housing the photography at the opposite end, is certainly showing its age. I’m not sure what is planned for the south side of the Pavilion, but it is fenced off and the surface has been excavated, so time will tell what changes will take place.

As there is already a generation who only know of the Rava Equestrian Center and Topo Ranch Center, with no memory of the old livestock areas, then it follows there are youngsters coming up who will know the “new” SVF Expo Building and grounds. As I said, progress.

***

It is known about the village, and elsewhere, that a chain grocery store is seeking to establish themselves here in King City on the property just east of Denny’s and across Broadway from the cemetery. This project has been vetted by both the city council and the planning commission and found to be a worthy addition to the city, so both entities gave a green light to go ahead with construction.

And then a monkey wrench got thrown into the works and everything stopped. This much has been publicly discussed both in official meetings and in the press. So, I thought I’d weigh in on the matter just because.

Firstly, it will help to know that the initials EIR stand for Environmental Impact Review, which is exactly what it sounds like it is, a comprehensive look at all aspects of how the project will affect the surroundings near to it. My understanding that because this EIR was not done but an exemption was allowed is the main reason offered by those who have appealed the city’s decision; this appeal halted the project.

City council and planning commission agendas and many other municipal documents are part of the public domain and upon request and, I suppose, payment of processing fees one may obtain these documents. I just happen to have a copy of the agenda of the planning commission of Tuesday, March 15, 2022.

There were three projects on the agenda that night; the first dealt with a sign for Mee Memorial Hospital out on a billboard facing the southbound 101 traffic, just west of First Street, and the third project a cannabis nursery on Don Bates Way. Those two issues consumed 31 pages. The second project, the grocery store, took considerably more pages.

If one takes the time to find out just what an EIR entails, and then takes equal time to go through what information was offered to the council and planning commission, it would be very hard to argue that all of those same EIR issues aren’t comprehensively addressed in those reports, which would justify the exemption.

One appeal objection was traffic impact on Broadway, which is covered in about 80 pages of analysis: every auto movement from Broadway Circle to Mildred Avenue is addressed. But keep in mind research takes time; the planning commission agenda for the grocery project is over 300 pages.

And while you’re in research mode, take a look at the philosophical fallacy called a “red herring”; in my opinion, it is applicable to the appeal.

Take care. Peace.

Steve Wilson
King City and Greenfield Columnist
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