Council to Consider Plan to Purchase Properties

October 8, 2014

The city of West University Place on Wednesday notified several property owners about a long-range master plan to create a “city campus” near the current Municipal Building on University Blvd.
In the letter, City Manager Michael Ross said that West U might eventually want to purchase properties in the block bounded by University, College and Auden Streets.
The plan is a 30-year effort to determine the “optimum” location for city facilities, West U Mayor Bob Fry stressed.
. The West U City Council is scheduled to discuss the options for future city facilities and properties at its meeting on Monday, October 13, at 5:30 p.m.
In a press release about the plan, Fry said, “We have embarked on this facility master planning process to make sure we offer the most efficient and integrated delivery of services to West U residents and we plan accordingly for the next 30 years.”
The city council has met in two recent executive sessions to discuss the long-term plans with Jeff Gerber, of PGAL Architects.
One of the options being discussed calls for relocation of some of the obsolete facilities to create a future city campus near the current Municipal Building.
Under that option, according to the city’s press release, “the current thought is that the future buildings west of City Hall would face University Boulevard and any future new parking would face Amherst.
The press release also states that the city council considers this master planning effort to be “a 30-year planning tool.”
“Selection of this option does not necessarily mean that the city would be taking immediate action to purchase any property unless that property coincidentally becomes available for purchase and the timing is right for the city,” Ross wrote, in his letter to property owners.
If the city council approves the plan, Ross’ letter continued, “It would simply mean that the City would be expressing an interest in ultimately owning the referenced properties and would be required by State law to pay fair market value for any property it purchases.”
The press release states: “This means that the City would ultimately need to own all of the properties within this block, and would probably relinquish other nearby properties it currently uses as those buildings reach the end of their useful life. Once fully implemented, the identified administrative and recreational functions with associated parking would be arranged to allow for a more efficient and integrated delivery of services to the community.”
The city also included an aerial photograph of the block under consideration in the planning exercise.