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Let's Crowdsource: Tell Us How You Want to Use the OC Fairgrounds

Bullhorn Meeting

Your input for the OC Fairgrounds (aka Orange County Fair and Event Center or OCFEC) Master Site Plan is needed because the Master Site Plan process will start after the 2018 OC Fair closes in August and finish by the end of December 2018.  Two prior Master Site Plan proposals included converting OCFEC into a convention center (September 2017) and demolition of the Equestrian Center to create an RV park (April 2018).  The April 2018 proposal included $170 million in bonds for a series of projects with the nearly half a billion dollars in  debt payments on the bonds forcing OCFEC either into bankruptcy or to more than quadruple revenues to simply make the debt payments.  Only one meeting was allowed for Public input during these two proposals even though the Public owns the property.  

There has been a lack of participation by the Public and FANS of the OC Fairgrounds is providing a channel for Public input. 

 

Let's Crowdsource: Tell Us How You Want to Use the OC Fairgrounds (OCFEC)

Friends and Neighbors of the OC Fairgrounds (FANS of the OC Fairgrounds) is crowdsourcing how the OC Fairgrounds (OCFEC) can be used in the future to better serve the needs of the Public who own the property.  We want to know your vision of how the OC Fairgrounds (OCFEC) should be used in 5 years (2023), 10 years (2028) and 15 years (2033). Here are some questions to get your ideas going:

  • What works well and what needs to be improved?  
  • Are there activities which should be expanded or shrunk?
  • Are new activities needed and what are those activities?
  • How can the OC Fairgrounds (OCFEC) better serve the community?
  • The property is supposed to serve the needs of all of Orange County. What are those needs and how can those needs be addressed? 

Ideas which are submitted will be posted and the Public allowed to review and comment on the ideas. During the Master Site Plan process during late 2018, these ideas will be brought forward to show how the Public wants to use the OC Fairgrounds (OCFEC.)  Any member of the Public can submit ideas.  We ask that submissions be no longer than 6 US letter sized pages with all pages in PDF format. 

How to Submit Your Ideas

Email your submission as a PDF attachment to  fansocfairgrounds@gmail.com with the Subject Heading: Crowd Source Submission

Each Submission Needs a Cover Page

  1. Your name.
  2. The ZIP code in which you reside. (Anyone, who lives anywhere, can make a submission and it will be considered, this information is to allow us to determine the geographic effect of our outreach.)
  3. A contact phone number or email address at which you may be contacted if there are any questions about your submission.
  4. The following language: I am submitting the following proposal for use of the Orange County Fairgrounds and I agree that the 32nd District Agricultural Association of the State of California can use anything in this submission for the Orange County Fair and/or Fairgrounds.

Your cover page may include:
Any other statement or background information regarding your relationship to the Fairgrounds, the Fair, or your submission, that you wish to include. As discussed below, this statement will NOT be included in the portion of the submission that is made available for review to the public.

Submission Recommendations
Although there are no formal format or content requirements for your submission, we request that you:

  • Focus on USES, i.e., how you want to see the fairgrounds used, both for the annual Fair use (if any) and year-round use (if any)
  • Discussion of facilities, demolitions, modifications, upgrades, or additions should be tied to USES

Although not required, the following suggestions, may assist you in preparing your submission:

  • Include specific discussion of USES of current major Fairgrounds Facilities, the PacAmp, Centennial Farms, the Equestrian Center, Heroes Hall, the Action Sports Arena/Speedway, and the Ag-Barn facilities
  • If the envisioned uses will significantly increase the number of visitors to the Fairgrounds, you may wish to address, at least generally, impacts on and possible ways to address traffic, parking, and noise issues
  •  If you think it is helpful in understanding your submission, address, at least generally, operating costs for, or revenues from, the identified uses.

What Will Happen to My Submission
Approximately one week after it is submitted, your cover page will be removed from your submission and your submission will be assigned an ID number. All submissions, except those which would subject the Friends and Neighbors of the Orange County Fairgrounds to potential legal action, will then be made available to the public for review and comment.

Submissions will be available to review at Crowdsourcing the OC Fairgrounds Master Site Plan.
Comments regarding submissions (referencing the ID number) may be posted in the comments section of this post.


What Johnson Consulting Didn't Tell You About the OC Fairgrounds Master Site Plan Bond Financing Plans

A Master Site Plan proposal for the OC Fairgrounds (also called Orange County Fair and Event Center or OCFEC) created by a team of Johnson Consulting, HPI Architecture, and landscape architects SWA relies upon a $170 million bond issue to fund projects including doubling the size of the Administration Building, moving the Main Entrance about 200 ft closer to the 55 Freeway, demolishing the Equestrian Center, and reviving a parking garage next to a residential neighborhood cancelled in 2015 after loud neighborhood opposition, among other changes. The $170 million bond funding proposal was glossed over in two slides which are deficient in material facts, at the most charitable. As you consider these matters, remember that over a quarter of a million dollars has been paid to the consultants to create this work product in addition to countless hours of staff and Board Directors involved with the Master Site Plan process.

OCFEC was founded in 1949 by a grant of land from the former Santa Ana Army Air Base (SAAAB) for use as a public park, fairground, and recreation. Download the deed and most recent title report  

Since 1949, construction has been financed without going into debt. This has allowed OCFEC to weather economic problems better than other fairgrounds.  For unknown and unclear reasons, Johnson Consulting, HPI Architecture, and SWA propose a high priced set of projects of little real value which could bankrupt OCFEC or force a major change in operations while causing long term and irreversible harm to the surrounding residential neighborhoods. This process cost over a quarter of a million dollars in consultant fees, uncounted staff time, and took over a year to conduct.  More scrutiny is needed of what has transpired before the Master Site Plan process can move ahead. 

The two slides about bond finacing presented by Johnson Consulting, HPI Architecture and SWA follow and can be downloaded here  Download Financials_CHJC-OCFEC-Board-Presentation-April-2018

Balance Sheet Bond Slides_Board-Presentation-April-2018

Phases Bond Slides_Board-Presentation-April-2018

Bond Payments are Missing from the Financial Projections

The phased build out of the Master Site Plan proposal takes more than a decade and relies on $170 million in bond financing. No analysis of the impacts of bond financing or supporting information is presented in the April 2018 proposal. The hard consequences of the massive debt issue are ignored, at the most charitable. Payments for the bonds are missing from the financial projections prepared by the consultants.  Estimated payments on a one time capital infusion of $170 million at 6% is about $15 million per year for 30 years.  Johnson Consulting, HPI Architecture, and SWA slides show project phases being paid for and revenues generated by the phases but do not show the $15 million per year deduction needed to pay for the $170 million in bond debt.  

When asked about this during the April 2018 Board meeting, representatives from Johnson Consulting seemed surprised that this was an issue. 

 

Nearly Half a Billion Dollars Paid Out to Build What Amounts to Parking Lots

Interest more than doubles the $170 million bond to $450 million (30 years X $15 million/year = $450 million). Paying nearly half a billion dollars to build what amounts to a few more parking places is insane. This proposal was a non-starter and should have been shredded instead of being brought forward. 

 

Project Locked In & Cannot Be Changed Under Bond Financing

Bond financing locks in a project once the bonds are underwritten. The underwriting process sets the cash flows which must be obtained to maintain solvency and to meet debt covenants entered into as part of the bond underwriting process. It is difficult if not impossible to change a project once the bonds are sold. A future Board would face a high if not impossible hurdle to changing a project funded by bonds.  Representatives from Johnson Consulting did not mention this during the April 2018 Board meeting and it is not clear if OCFEC Directors understand that bond financing locks in a project. 

 

No Good Choices Come from $170 Million in Bonds: Bankrupt OCFEC or Quadruple Annual Revenues to Pay Debt Service 

Annual payments on the $170 million bond issue are $15 million per year for 30 years at 6%. Each and every year a $15 million check needs to be written to pay off the debt of building what amounts to parking lots. Current OCFEC operations have revenues of around $45 million per year and around 10% in net proceeds in 2017 which is about $4.5 million. How is that going to pencil out? 

Choose to Declare Bankruptcy: Once the $15 million annual debt payment starts, current reserves of about $45 million only last a few years until an over $10 million deficit occurs each year because the $4.5 million in annual net proceeds is not enough to pay the $15 million in debt payment.  At that point, OCFEC faces long term insolvency of their own making. A private company could declare bankruptcy to restructure the debt but it is not clear what happens to a state agency which becomes bankrupt caused by actions of the state agency.

Choose to Quadruple Annual Revenues to Avoid Bankruptcy: Quadrupling annual revenues from $45 million to about $180 million can produce annual net proceeds of $18 million, if everything goes just right. Annual revenues of $180 million pay the annual debt bill due but do not provide enough cash flow to re-build depleted cash reserves. Going to five (5) times annual revenues which is about $225 million per year allows debt to be paid and reserves to be re-built.

Achieving annual revenues of at least $180 million will bring heavy year round use of OCFEC such as that experienced by the residential neighborhoods during the annual OC Fair. Traffic will clog public streets, lights and noise will continue into the night every night of the year and it is unclear if the drive to book events for the sake of booking events will be kicked into hyperdrive to make more money to stay solvent. Who knows what events will be booked to make at least $180 million a year in revenues.

The current buildings may not be enough to bring in $180 million in annual revenues. New buildings may be needed to have more events to make the minimum required $180 million in annual revenue. New buildings will need new debt financing because OCFEC does not have significant reserves at this time because OCFEC is barely keeping up with what they owe. More debt needs more revenue and the debt death spiral of OCFEC becomes obvious. OCFEC destroys College Park, Mesa del Mar, and Vanguard neighborhoods along with themselves with self-created problems arising from their greed.

Johnson Consulting, HPI and SWA did not discuss the financially destructive nature of the proposal brought forward by their firms.  The Public is owed answers from Johnson Consulting, HPI and SWA regarding these matters. 

 

Bond Financing Proposal Shows Why Audits of Fairgrounds Operations are Needed

The April 2018 Master Site Plan should have never seen the light of day and was treated like a homework assignment that had to be handed in to be checked off in a grade book.  Consultants and staff handed in their homework and expected a star sticker in return but were met with well earbed negative responses and hard questions regarding the plans. Over a quarter of a million dollars has been paid to consultants who did not seem to notice that their proposal would offer OCFEC a choice between bankruptcy or destroying OCFEC along with the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhoods. Board Directors who wanted to press forward on the Master Site Plan process without having a workable, buildable plan which is supported by the Public in hand are not serving the interests of the Public who own OCFEC and whom the Directors represent.  

A Board Director who touts her financial credentials did not question the impact of the bond payments on OCFEC solvency and wanted to hurry the process along for the sake of moving things along. A Director such as this is not needed and may find themselves to be happier outside the scrutiny of the Public and with more free time to use as they choose. We thank you for your service and wish you well on your future endeavors. 

 

What Needs to Happen to Regain Public Trust
Work on the Master Site Plan needs to stop.  An audit of the Master Site Plan process is needed to find out where the money went, how two sets of Master Site Plan proposals which were not acceptable to the Public and destroy the nature of  OCFEC were brought forward and who could benefit from these proposal, among other questions to be answered. 

The Voice of OC has joined Director Nick Berardino in calling for a performance auditor to be hired at OCFEC to aid in staff oversight. Empowering a performance auditor is supported. Hiring a performance auditor is money well spent and needs to happen as soon as possible.

  

Contact Information to Follow Up on Issues

Contact the Fair Board 

Chair Barbara Bagneris bbagneris@ocfairboard.com
Vice Chair Robert Ruiz rruiz@ocfairboard.com
Newton Pham npham@ocfairboard.com
Sandra Cervantes scervantes@ocfairboard.com
Stan Tkaczyk stkaczyk@ocfairboard.com
Doug La Belle dlabelle@ocfairboard.com
Gerardo Mouet gmouet@ocfairboard.com
Ashleigh Aitken aaitken@ocfairboard.com
Nick Berardino nberardino@ocfairboard.com

Contact CEO Kathy Kramer kramer@ocfair.com

Contact VP of Operations Ken Karns  kkarns@ocfair.com

Contact the Governor's Appointments Secretary Mona Pasquil Rogers at mona.pasquil@gov.ca.gov to discuss OCFEC Director performance issues. Fair Board Directors are appointed by the Governor and may be removed for cause by the Governor at any time. (Cal. Food & Agriculture Code § 3959-3960.)

Contact Parent State Agency OCFEC is a state agency under the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA)  because OCFEC is a state run county fair created to support California agriculture. Please refer to as OCFEC as the 32nd District Agricultural Association (32nd DAA) when dealing with the state.

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross 916-654-0433 secretary.ross@cdfa.ca.gov

Fairs and Exhibitions (F&E) are under the Marketing Services Division. 

F&E Branch Chief John Quiroz 916-900-5025 john.quiroz@cdfa.ca.gov


OC Fairgrounds Equestrian Center Demolition Proposed to Create 245 Space RV Park

The latest proposal for the OC Fairgrounds (Orange County Fair and Event Center or OCFEC) Master Site Plan shows the Equestrian Center being demolished and replaced with a 245 space RV park which can also be used as a 900 space parking lot. Demolishing the Equestrian Center eliminates the single largest agricultural use at a property which claims to have a mission of  "Celebration of Orange County's Communities, Interests, Agriculture and Heritage [. . . ]". Removing the Equestrian Center is unacceptable and must be taken off the table.

Board Directors (Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk) and Executive Management  have wasted over $250,000 in Public money on Master Site Plan proposals which do not take into account the needs and desires of the Public and are incompatible with the surrounding neighborhoods.  The time is now to rip up both the September 2017 and April 2018 Master Site Plan proposals and start over with a process which focusses on the needs and desires of the Public who own OCFEC and which includes the Public in the process at the same level of effort as the Board, Executive Management, contractors, and staff. 

View the entire proposal on the OCFEC website or see the two slides about the replacement Equestrian Center with an RV park and parking lot here:

Master Site Plan CHJC-OCFEC-Board-Presentation-April-2018

As a PDF:  Download Master Site Plan CHJC-OCFEC-Board-Presentation-April-2018

RVPark_CHJC-OCFEC-Board-Presentation-April

As a PDF:  Download RVPark_CHJC-OCFEC-Board-Presentation-April-2018-FINAL-DRAFT_040218

If you are already fed up, sign the petition asking to save the Equestrian Center and to start over with the Master Site Plan process which includes the Public in the process. 

Rip Up the 2 OC Fairgrounds Master Site Plans, Start Over with a Public-Friendly Process!

 

How Did This Happen?

In September 2017, a Master Site Plan proposal converting OCFEC to a convention center was presented. (See Board Workshop – Concept Presentation MSP files.)  The Equestrian Center was retained in the September 2017 Master Site Plan proposal. This proposal was helmed by VP of Business Development Ken Karns with Directors Doug La Belle and Robert Ruiz comprising the Master Site Plan Task Force overseeing the project. The Master Site Plan proposal was shown one (1) time in September 2017 and then whisked away to a backroom for changes to be made. Despite the Public begging for additional meetings to be held to allow the Public to have input into changes, Directors Doug La Belle and Robert Ruiz kept the process in the back room and refused to allow the Public to participate in decision making. During the same time, an Equestrian Center Task Force with Directors Ashleigh Aitken and Stan Tkaczyk and retired real estate investor Theresa Sears made statements which led many to believe that the Equestrian Center would be retained. 

 

Converting the Equestrian Center to Parking Creates Millions in Annual Revenue

245 Space RV Park is Sized for Year Round Use

The proposed RV park has 245 RV spaces with restrooms and showers and is across the street from TeWinkle Park, the Skate Park and Bark Park. At 245 spaces, the proposed RV park is in between than the 185 space RV park at  LA County Fairplex in Pomona, CA, operated by KOA, the 195 space Orangeland RV Park in Orange and Newport Dunes located on the Back Bay of Newport Beach, CA, with 382 RV spaces. The proposed RV park can be used year round for both camping by those working at OCFEC events or by members of the public desiring to park their RV in a coastal area.  A little research shows a daily rate of $50 per day is a comparable daily rental rate. A conservative projection of about $1.6 million in annual revenues is made as follows:

  • Total Spaces  245
  • Number of Available Days to Rent to the Public  270 (Remove June, July and August from the public rental schedule to the OC Fair)
  • Daily Rate $50.00 
  • Capacity 50%

Once the RV park is built, there is nothing preventing OCFEC from converting the area to year round use or engaging an operator such as KOA to manage the park.

 

RV Park Can Also be 900 Parking Spaces

The Master Site Plan includes using the former Equestrian Center area as a 900 space parking lot in addition to functioning as RV parking. Parking is a signficant source of OCFEC revenue with the 2018 budget showing $5,305,113 in total parking revenue as follows:

  • $2,758,813 in Fair Parking Revenue (line item 4370)
  • $94,700 in Vendor Hang Tag Parking (line item 4393)
  • $2,161,700 in Year-Round Event Parking Sales (line item 4710)
  • $268,900 in VIP Event Parking Revenue (line item 4711)
  • $21,000 in Preferred Parking (line item 4715)

Download the 2018 OCFEC Budget  Download 17_1108_2018_Budget_Roll-up_CapEx_DRAFT

A revenue projection can be made for a 900 space parking lot using a similar methodology as used for the RV park and shows a conservative estimate of about $1.2 million per year.  

  • Total Spaces  900
  • Number of Available Days to Rent to the Public  270 (Remove June, July and August from the public rental schedule to the OC Fair)
  • Daily Rate $10.00 
  • Capacity 50%

 

Safety of Arlington Drive & New Bike/Pedestrian Trail Jeopardized by New Parking Lot

Davis Elementary School, TeWinkle Park, Bark Park, Costa Mesa Tennis Center, and Volcom Skate Park are also located along Arlington Drive. Arlington Drive is a neighborhood street to be used to school, park and residential use, not for carrying 900 cars to park at $10 car to make $9,000 per day, at a minimum. It is not clear if Executive Management or the Board of Directors have noticed that Arlington Drive is not a major street designed to carry large amounts of vehicle traffic or heavy vehicles such as RVs and carnival equipment. A multipurpose trail for use by bicycles and pedestrians has been added to Arlington Drive in addition to the bioswale. Creating a 245 space RV park adds a minimum of 490 trips across the bike and pedestrian trail to fill and empty the RV park. Creating a 900 space parking lot adds a minimum of 1800 trips across the bike and pedestrian trail. Vehicle trips over the bicycle and pedestrian trail create safety problems with creating the conditions which can allow pedestrian and bicycle accidents to occur for the sole reason of making money.  Creating safety problems to make money is appalling and the proposed parking lots replacing the Equestrian Center must be removed.

 

April 2018 Master Site Plan Proposal is Yet Another Example of Lack of Accountability of OCFEC Directors & Executive Management

An ongoing lack of accountability exists at OCFEC which tars the Board, Executive Management. A recent example is the attempt to reduce the size of the Equestrian Center to store more shipping containers. While some have tried to portray these actions which involved expenditure of staff time and public money as a "misunderstanding", that is simply not the case. Decisions were made, plans were drafted, contractors were hired, money spent and staff time was used to perform these actions. Executive Management who were involved in these actions must be held publicly accountable.

Earlier in 2018, the Board was made aware of actions taken by the Board, Executive Management, and staff which have endangered safety, manipulated bids and financial records to achieve outcomes desired by staff, worked to evade legal settlements entered into by the Board which protect the neighborhoods around OCFEC, and have turned a blind eye to conflicts of interest, among other problems. It is not clear why the Board allows these problems to continue. No one has been held publicly accountable for these actions. 

The proposed demolition of the Equestrian Center in the April 2018 Master Site Plan proposal is yet another example of the lack of accountability. It is time for the Board to cease and desist aiding and abetting actions by Executive Management which are against the interests of the Public. New Executive Management is needed along with new Master Site Plan proposals.  The time is now for the Board to fix these problems. 

 

Rip Up the Master Site Proposals & Start Over

Over $250,000 of Public money has been wasted by the Board and Executive Management on Master Site Plan proposals which ignore the needs and desires of the Public who own the OCFEC property, are incompatible with the neighborhoods, and create safety problems.  There is money in the budget which can be used as seed money for a redo of the Master Site Plan. The $115,449 from the "PR/Manager Function" at line item 5475 in the 2018 Budget (posted above)  is the Public money used to pay for the Directors and their families and Executive Management to have catered premium buffets with grilled salmon with Florentine cream sauce; beef tenderloin sandwiches on brioche buns; bacon wrapped medallions of beef; sauteed citrus garlic buttered shrimp; swordfish; top sirloin steaks with crispy shallots; pepper crusted roasted tri tip; Portobello filet mignon with Danish bleu cheese sauce; carved rosemary and garlic stuffed prime rib; Tuscan T-bone steaks; pan roasted halibut; and tomahawk rib eye steaks among the fancy salads and desserts.  That $115,449 will make a downpayment on a new Master Site Plan. 

 

Contact Information to Follow Up on Issues

Contact the Fair Board Added May 3, 2018

Chair Barbara Bagneris bbagneris@ocfairboard.com
Vice Chair Robert Ruiz rruiz@ocfairboard.com
Ashleigh Aitken aaitken@ocfairboard.com
Nick Berardino nberardino@ocfairboard.com
Sandra Cervantes scervantes@ocfairboard.com
Doug La Belle dlabelle@ocfairboard.com
Gerardo Mouet gmouet@ocfairboard.com
Newton Pham npham@ocfairboard.com
Stan Tkaczyk stkaczyk@ocfairboard.com

Fair Board Directors are appointed by the Governor and may be removed for cause by the Governor at any time.  (Cal. Food & Agriculture Code § 3959-3960.) Contact the Governor's Appointments Secretary Mona Pasquil Rogers at mona.pasquil@gov.ca.gov to discuss OCFEC Director performance  issues. 

Contact CEO Kathy Kramer kramer@ocfair.com

Contact VP of Operations Ken Karns who is charge of the Master Site Plan kkarns@ocfair.com

Contact the Costa Mesa City Council to share your concerns regarding safety and traffic issues resulting from replacing the Equestrian Center with a large parking lot and/or RV park. 

Mayor Sandra Genis sandra.genis@costamesaca.gov

Mayor Pro Tem Allan Mansoor allan.mansoor@costamesaca.gov

 

 

 


Parking Structure Shot Down in 2015 Arises Anew in Latest Fairgrounds Master Site Plan Proposal

WTF Nautical Flags (3)

The latest OC Fairgrounds (Orange County Fair and Event Center or OCFEC) Master Site Plan proposal (see page 38 and on “Phase VII - Other Projects” page 45) shows a parking structure and pedestrian bridge at the corner of Fairview Road and Arlington Drive and states that Orange Coast College (OCC) would be partnering on the project.  Representatives of OCC were contacted and multiple officials stated that they had no knowledge of the inclusion of the proposed parking structure in the Master Site Plan and OCC had not requested that the parking structure be included in the OCFEC Master Site Plan. OCFEC  Executive Management made the following statements regarding the proposed parking structure without consulting let alone obtaining an agreement from OCC: 

  • Partner with OCC 
  • Screened to lessen impact on neighbors
  • With elevators
  • Build West Tower at OCC
  • Build bridge over Fairview Dr to OCC
  • Parking garage assumed 3 stories @ +210 stalls per floor 
  • Footprint of parking garage removes -323 stalls of surface parking

CEO Kathy Kramer should recall that in 2015 a proposed parking structure on the same site was met with strong opposition by the College Park neighbors who would bear the brunt of the impacts from the project.  Current Board Directors Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Robert Ruiz, and Stan Tkaczyk should also recall vocal neighborhood opposition to the project and suggestions that other solutions found such as building a parking garage (if one is needed) in the corner of Newport Blvd and Fair Dr below the billboards.  The parking structure proposed now in 2018 is the same unwanted parking structure proposed in 2015. If CEO Kathy Kramer and Directors Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Robert Ruiz, and Stan Tkaczyk don't recall that the parking structure was unwanted in 2015 and aren't smart enough to figure out that the same parking structure is unwanted in 2018, none of them should be in charge of a public agency, allowed  to drive a car, or have sharp objects in their possession because there is something wrong with them. They may also eat paste, so lock that up.

If a Parking Structure is Needed, Put It Under the Billboards on Newport Blvd Side

If a parking structure is needed (and it is not sure if a parking structure is actually needed) the structure should be built at the corner of Newport Blvd and Fair Dr under the billboards. Building a parking structure at this location can be part of the relocation of the Main Entrance from Fair Dr to Newport Blvd. The new Main Entrance can be designed to speed up parking and move stacking of cars waiting to park from the public streets and onto OCFEC property.  This plan was previously proposed to the OCFEC and should be reconsidered:

Alt 2 Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1) Alt 3 Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1)

Alt 4 Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1)

Alt 5 Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1)

 CEO Kathy Kramer needs your help to be reminded that the parking garage at the corner of Fairview Rd and Arlington Dr is not wanted. kkramer@ocfair.com

VP of Operations Ken Karns who is in charge of the Master Site Plan  & the Fair Board Directors need to also hear from you on this matter.

Ken Karns kkarns@ocfair.com

Email Summer Angus and ask her to forward the email to the Directors sangus@ocfair.com


April 2018 OC Fairgrounds Master Site Plan Concept and Proposed Phasing Released

The OC Fairgrounds (Orange County Fair and Event Center aka OCFEC) has released the draft of the process for the Master Site Plan and draft proposal with phasing of costs. Problematic elements featured in the prior Master Site Plan proposal such as demolition of the recently constructed Main Mall and construction of massive convention center buildings have been removed from the proposal. The proposed phasing of the construction is:

Phase I - Expand Administration Building at a cost of $22.9 million.
Phase II - Replace livestock barn, upgrade Action Sports Arena & equestrian facilities relocation and upgrade at a cost of $21.8 million.
Phase III - Repurpose current equestrian center space at a cost of $16.1 million.
Phase IV - Build new education center and upgrade Centennial Farm at a cost of $27.4 million.
Phase V - Install perimeter fence at a cost of $9.4 million. 
Phase VI- Relocate Main Entrance to align with Main Mall at a cost of $50.8 million. 
Phase VII - Build parking garage and bridge to OCC at corner of Fairview Road and Arlington Drive. 
 
A draft proposal is posted to be considered at the April 2018 Board meeting and is available for download here.  Download CHJC-OCFEC-Board-Presentation-April-2018-FINAL-DRAFT_040218
 
The constraints placed on the proposal included:
  •  No negative impact on the annual fair

  • Engage the OC Marketplace ownership on proposed changes

  • Review parking and engage Orange Coast College in parking opportunities

  • Insure education facility needs are reviewed

  • Re-visit community opportunities

  • Review Equestrian Center and Equine opportunities

The Master Site Plan Process Milestones to date are:

  1. Early to mid-2016 developed a Request for Proposal (RFP) to find a Master Site Planning (MSP) consultant

  2. Awarded a consulting contract to Johnson Consulting November 2016

  3. First quarter of 2017 information gathering

  4. January 2017 OCFEC Board of Directors stakeholder meeting

  5. March 2017 OCFEC staff stakeholder meeting

  6. April 2017 on grounds partners stakeholder meeting

  7. May 2017 facility users stakeholder meeting

  8. June 2017 Community partners stakeholder meeting

  9. June 2017 Town Hall public meeting

  10. September Board of Directors workshop

  11. Late 2017 early 2018 Develop CEQA consultant RFP

The next steps are:

  1. April 2018 Board of Directors workshop – work towards finalizing draft MSP concept

  2. Date, TBD, (Evening, May 2018) hold public meeting to present the draft MSP concept

  3. April 2018 award CEQA consultant contract

  4. Over the next several months work through the CEQA process


Submit Your Ideas for the OC Fairgrounds Master Site Plan

MasterSite Plan Info (1)

Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), an agency such as the OC Fairgrounds (Orange County Fair and Event Center aka OCFEC aka 32nd District Agricultural Association) is supposed to propose more than one project to be considered. Bringing forth one version of a project and declaring that the project brought forth is the only way to satisfy the need for the project is not supposed to be the way things are done under CEQA. This is referred to as consideration of alternatives where a reasonable range of feasible alternatives must be considered. 

If you have been noodling around with ideas about how the OCFEC can better serve the community and fit into the residential neighborhoods around the property, now is the time to start putting your ideas on paper to get them ready to submit to the OC Fair Board (Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk.)

A map of the OCFEC is is available here and on Google maps. Use of the OCFEC is governed by legal settlements limiting noise levels in the neighborhoods to approximately the noise limits in the Costa Mesa municipal code (and again in 2012) and limiting the total number of people on the property outside of the annual OC Fair to a little over 25,000 persons, which is the number of persons accommodated by the onsite parking without resorting to offsite or neighborhood parking.

Creating overlays of your proposal and the existing facilities can be the easiest way of communicating your vision. You may also want to include a description of what the purpose is of your proposal including the community need your proposal serves. Start thinking and sketching because the community served by the OCFEC, which is all of Orange County, needs ideas to better serve the community.

Start sketching out your ideas and we will publish information about how to submit your ideas when the information is available.  

 

 

 


Community-Centered Alternatives to Consider for OC Fairgrounds Master Site Plan

During May 2017, a group of residents met with OC Fairgrounds (Orange County Fair and Event Center aka OCFEC) staff and presented their ideas for how to improve the OCFEC during the Master Site Plan process. The complete presentation is available here  Download Community Master Plan Executive May 17

 Highlights from the presentation are follow.

Proposals center on the Community, Agricultural, Recreational, Educational Space and Programming (CARES Space and Programming). This is a community-centered series of alternatives. These are reasonable and feasible alternatives which maintain current programming while allowing for increased use by both the community and revenue generating groups.

CARES_Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1)

Alternative 1 is to remodel and improve existing structures which are currently in use. 

Alt1 Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1)

The next 4 alternatives create green space by relocating parking to a parking structure behind the billboard at the corner of Newport Blvd and Fair Drive. A legal settlement with the City of Costa Mesa limits occupancy outside of the annual OC Fair to about 25,000 persons, which is about the number served by the current number of parking places. No new parking spaces need to be added because of the cap on occupancy. However, parking can be relocated to create open space and make the OC Fairgrounds feel more like a fairground and less like a huddle of buildings hiding in the back of a huge parking lot. 

Alternatives include moving the main entrance to Newport Blvd and making the needed changes to make traffic move quickly off the 55 Fwy and into the parking lots. Stacking traffic waiting to park or making cars turn onto Fair Drive and then onto Fairview Road or even onto Arlington Drive to park should be eliminated because OCFEC has more than enough space to stack cars waiting to park on their property and not on City streets. 

Walking paths are included in the Alternatives to connect the Arlington Drive trail with the interior of the property to provide recreation the the community and to aid in pedestrian flow inside the property.

Alt 2 Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1)

Unlike the Master Site Plan proposals brought forward by Johnson Consulting, the open space was supposed to be open space with grass or plants and not trees in a parking lot as proposed in the proposals from Chicago based Johnson Consulting. The alternatives also maintain the current footprint of the annual OC Fair. 

Alt 3 Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1)

Alt 4 Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1)

Alt 5 Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1)

What are your ideas for a new Master Site Plan for the OCFEC?

 


OC Fairgrounds Master Site Plan Information from March 2018 Board Meeting

Attention Question (1)

During the March 22, 2018 OC Fair Board meeting at the Orange County Fair and Event Center, the following updated information regarding the Master Site Plan process was provided:

  • A workshop will be held during the Thursday, April 26, 2018, Board meeting. The meeting starts at 9 AM with the workshop scheduled to begin around 10:30 AM.  If you want to speak during the workshop, your card to speak must be handed in before the meeting begins at 9 AM. 
  • More than one site plan concept will be brought forward to the Board Directors.
  • Work product from Johnson Consulting hired to manage the Master Site Plan process will be posted on the OC Fair website on or around April 2, 2018. The work product posted is promised to be the same as the information given to the Board. 
  • A second workshop to be held in the evening during early May has been promised but not scheduled as of this time.
  • A request for proposal (RFP) for services related to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has been released.
  • The Board Directors will review draft concepts at the May 24, 2018, Fair Board meeting. The formal CEQA process will start after the draft concepts are reviewed.
  • No final selection of a plan will take place until after the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is certified.
  • The CEQA process is expected to take 6 to 8 months.

OC Fair Board Director Contact Info Added May 3, 2018

Chair Barbara Bagneris bbagneris@ocfairboard.com
Vice Chair Robert Ruiz rruiz@ocfairboard.com
Ashleigh Aitken aaitken@ocfairboard.com
Nick Berardino nberardino@ocfairboard.com
Sandra Cervantes scervantes@ocfairboard.com
Doug La Belle dlabelle@ocfairboard.com
Gerardo Mouet gmouet@ocfairboard.com
Newton Pham npham@ocfairboard.com
Stan Tkaczyk stkaczyk@ocfairboard.com

Questions to Executive Management can be sent to CEP Kathy Kramer kkramer@ocfair.com and VP of Operations Ken Karns kkarns@ocfair.com.  

 

 

 

 

 

 


Master Site Plan: "Development Report"

When Everything is for Sale (1)

The Master Site Plan process is a revenue centered process, not a community, education, agriculture, or recreation centered process.  This is the section from the winning proposal for the Master Site Plan process which discusses the plans for development of the Master Site Plan. It should be noted that multiple requests have been made for documents regarding this work and no documents have been produced. [A] This section is from pgs. 24-25 of the C. H. Johnson Consulting, Inc. proposal:

TASK 8 – MASTER SITE PLAN DEVELOPMENT

This task will produce a Master Site Plan Report containing summary of key findings and initial recommendations for planning and future use of the Fairgrounds. Our recommendations will stem from a thorough understanding of background data, community input, operational and facilities optimization, market demand, and the OCFEC mission, thereby translating community-based programming and operational strategies into physical place-making that serves the County for generations to come.

The master site planning will include evaluation of local market demand to formulate and evaluate alternative approaches to uses, relationship of uses, phasing, and integration of existing activities.

The cohesive development of a comprehensive, data-driven, visionary MSP will be the culmination of the well- established fluid exchange of information (data) and ideas from the Internal and Community Stakeholders which will empower the 32nd District Agricultural Association’s Board of Directors to make the most informed decisions regarding the future of how OCFEC will fulfill its Mission Statement: “Celebration of Orange County’s Communities, Interests and Heritage.”

TASK 8.1 – MASTER SITE PLAN

Following the Options Workshop/Meetings, and based on additional input from internal and community stakeholders, we will prepare a Master Site Plan with initial recommendations for future use of the OCFEC site and facilities.

Our team’s approach to physical master planning will stem from an understanding of local conditions and an intimate relationship with the site, including topography, drainage, existing uses, relationship to surroundings, and the social context of human activities. It will incorporate sustainable, low impact development techniques that will allow a more intensified program of uses to “sit lightly” on the land. The master plan will be suitable as a basis for detailed site planning and entitlement processing to be conducted as part of a future contract.

The master planning process will translate community-based, evidence-driven programming and operational strategies into physical place-making. This will include alternative land use concepts that describe different approaches to uses, relationship of uses, phasing, and integration of existing activities.

  • Establish zones for County Fair and other major events, active and passive open space, neighborhood and community destinations and recreation, and economic “drivers” including an optimized mix of new infill development.

  • Integrate usable buildings and outdoor spaces that will provide efficiency and serve as high-functioning venues for community activities.

  • Address site drainage through sustainable system integrated into the roadway and open space network.

  • Incorporate sustainable landscape strategies and a multi-purpose open space system.

  • Design for walkability and interconnected urban form and compact relationship of complementary uses.

  • Create possibilities for a hierarchy of circulation, entry, identity, and image for key landmarks, with more private or support uses buffered and served by more minor roadways.

TASK 8.2 – PREPARE REPORT DELIVERABLES

The Consulting Team, in conjunction with the Executive Management Team and Key Management Support, and Master Site Plan Committee, will prepare drafts and a final fully documented 10-Year OCFEC Master Site Plan that addresses the best options for the District and addresses all of the key issues and planning process listed in your RFP. A presentation will be made to the full Board of Directors for review prior to implementation.

 

[A] The documents showing the work performed may have been disposed of or in the custody or control of another unnamed state or local agency or may not be able to be located according to CEO Kathy Kramer. 

Contact CEO Kathy Kramer at kkramer@ocfair.com

Contact VP of Operations Ken Karns who is in charge of the Master Site Plan at kkarns@ocfair.com

Contact Fair Board Directors Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk by emailing Summer Angus sangus@ocfair.com

C. H. Johnson Consulting, Inc. from Chicago, IL  is the contractor for the Master Site Plan process. A copy of the entire proposal is available on the "OC Fairgrounds Documents" page listed on the right side of this page. We have no idea why the OC Fairgrounds hired a company from Chicago and could not find a planning firm in the Los Angeles-Orange County area or even in California.   

This is one in a series of posts looking at individual Master Site Plan tasks to gain a greater understanding of how the OC Fair Board Directors (Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk) and Executive Management want to push the OC Fairgrounds away from being the fairground we currently enjoy. 

 


More About the Master Site Plan Process: Financial Plans, Projections & Funding Sources

When Everything is for Sale (1)

The Master Site Plan process is a revenue centered process, not a community, education, agriculture, or recreation centered process.  This is the section from the winning proposal for the Master Site Plan process which discusses financial plans and projections. It should be noted that multiple requests have been made for documents regarding this work and no documents have been produced. [A] This section is from pgs. 23-24 of the C. H. Johnson Consulting, Inc. proposal:

TASK 7 – FINANCIAL PLAN & PROJECTIONS [A]

This Task commenced in Task 5 and will be finalized in this Task (Task 7). It will consider the initial work done by all parties and will result in finalized financial projections, considering revenue, expenses and profit from each business element as well capital improvement assumptions prepared by HPI.

Based on the market data and demand projections, working closing with the Executive Management Team and the Audit Consultant, the Consulting Team will prepare a 10-year operating pro forma for the proposed OCFEC initiatives discussed in the previous tasks. The model will list all revenues and fixed and variable expenses in line-item detail throughout the period of the projection, and include data for each individual type of business use initiative.

The analysis will document OCFEC’s approach to delivery of services, such as staffing, food and beverage, parking, and other major line items affecting the operation, thus providing the District with a clear understanding of how the initiative will earn and spend money, fit into the broader operations of the OCFEC, and what the expected financial picture will be at the end of each year. To the extent that public dollars are to be used to support operations, capital improvements, or other items, these sources will also be considered and integrated into the financial analysis.

We will also offer a specific discussion regarding revenue sources that are available to public assembly facilities, including benefactor naming rights and other specialized revenue streams, such as advertising, and based on market conditions.

The Team will outline potential funding sources that could be considered for the proposed OCFEC business initiative, as well as for ongoing operating support, that will consist of a detailed analysis for each option. These approaches may include private investments, incentives, sales, meals and room taxes, Tax Increment Finance Districts, revenue bonds, empowerment/enterprise zones, tax-exempt bonds, and taxable bond revenue streams, among other tools.

[A] The documents regarding the work performed may have been disposed of or in the custody or control of another unnamed state or local agency or may not be able to be located according to CEO Kathy Kramer. 

Contact CEO Kathy Kramer at kkramer@ocfair.com

Contact VP of Operations Ken Karns who is in charge of the Master Site Plan at kkarns@ocfair.com

Contact Fair Board Directors Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk by emailing Summer Angus sangus@ocfair.com

C. H. Johnson Consulting, Inc. from Chicago, IL  is the contractor for the Master Site Plan process. A copy of the entire proposal is available on the "OC Fairgrounds Documents" page listed on the right side of this page. We have no idea why the OC Fairgrounds hired a company from Chicago and could not find a planning firm in the Los Angeles-Orange County area or even in California.   

This is one in a series of posts looking at individual Master Site Plan tasks to gain a greater understanding of how the OC Fair Board Directors (Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk) and Executive Management want to push the OC Fairgrounds away from being the fairground we currently enjoy.