College Park

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?

 


"No Cost Rentals" at OC Fair & Event Center Are a Good Idea But More Details Are Needed

Chicken Scooter Question (2)

The Orange County Fair and Event Center (OCFEC) also known as the OC Fairgrounds is owned and operated by the state of California (called the 32nd District Agricultural Association or 32nd DAA) and has recently started a "No Cost Rental" program for non-profits, community groups and government agencies.  This is a good move, but more information is needed about how to apply for the program, what is included, what is excluded, and how the program will be administered in a content and values neutral way which does not discriminate or display favoritism.

 A list of a dozen questions to start to clarify how the No Cost Rental program works were sent to CEO Kathy Kramer and the Board of Directors. If we hear back on this, we will post the information.

  1. Please provide copies of any and all policies and procedures regarding the No Cost Rentals program.

  2. Please provide information regarding the application process for the No Cost Rental program and the supporting documentation which must be submitted during the application process.

  3. Please provide information regarding how eligibility to participate in the No Cost Rental program is determined.

  4. Please provide information regarding the screening process for applications to participate in the No Cost Rental program.

  5. Please provide information regarding the limitations placed on the No Cost Rental program including number of times an eligible group may participate, budget, schedule, and any other limitations on the No Cost Rental program.

  6. Please provide information regarding exclusions placed on the No Cost Rental program including schedule, facility, cost, and any and all other exclusions.

  7. Please provide information regarding the decision made to allow or not allow participation in the No Cost Rental program including: decision criteria; decision process; 32nd DAA Executive Management, and staff participating in the decision; and the appeals process when participation in the No Cost Rental program is not allowed.

  8. Please provide information regarding costs, fees, reimbursement, and charges included in the No Cost Rental program.

  9. Please provide information regarding costs, fees, reimbursements, and charges excluded from the No Cost Rental program.

  10. Is the No Cost Rental program in addition to or a substitute for the existing discounts given to non-profit groups and the rental assistance program previously announced?

  11. If the answer to (10) is “yes”, please provide information regarding existing discount and rental assistance programs which are altered or discontinued by No Cost Rental program.

  12. Please provide information regarding how the No Cost Rental program will be administered in a viewpoint and content neutral non-discriminatory manner.

Contact CEO Kathy Kramer kkramer@ocfair.com

Contact VP of Business Development Michele Richards who approves facility bookings  mrichards@ocfair.com

Contact the OCFEC 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

Public Records Requests cpra@ocfair.com


Clarifying "Community Use" in the Master Site Plan

Man Question (2)

Statements have been made that the 20,000 sq ft  ballroom and 50,000 sq ft to 150,000 Ag-Expo Center shown in the Master Site Plan proposals are for "community use".  It's not clear what is driving the perceived need for a massive amount of "community use" space at the OC Fairgrounds, and a letter was sent to the Directors asking for more information about "community use" claims. The letter is as follows: 

Members of the community are trying to understand how the Educational Meeting Center with a 20,000 sq ft ballroom, the Ag-Expo Center ranging from 50,000 sq ft to 150,000 sq ft, and other new buildings proposed to be included in the Master Site Plan will be used only for community use and not for commercial rental use. I am seeking your assistance in obtaining information about community usage of facilities at the 32nd District Agricultural Association (32nd DAA). Please assist the public by providing the following information to help us better understand what is being contemplated:

1 .Please identify community groups which wanted to have events at the 32nd DAA but were unable to conduct the event due to inadequate facilities for their event for the period from 2015 to present.


2. For each community group identified in (1), please provide a description of the event, the planned date(s) of the event, and the reasons stated by the community group for not being able to hold the event at the 32nd DAA.


3. Please identify community groups which wanted to have events at the 32nd DAA but were unable to conduct the event due to budget concerns for the period from 2015 to present.


4. For each community group identified in (3), please provide information regarding the proposed budget and the actual budget needed to conduct the event at the 32nd DAA.


5. Please identify community groups which have used the conference rooms in the Administration Building for the period from 2015 to present.


6. For each community group identified in (5), please provide a description of the event, the planned date(s) of the event, and the cost of the event for the period from 2015 to present. If a contract was signed, a copy of the fully executed contract with all amendments, riders, and attachments, and event reconciliation should be provided.


7. Please provide copies of fully executed contracts with all amendments, riders, and attachments and event reconciliations for all events considered to be “community events” by the 32nd DAA for the period from 2015 to present.

 

8. Please provide copies of any and all documents, studies, research, and analysis of the need for community use facilities in Orange County which were considered in the Master Site Plan process for the period from 2015 to present. 

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 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


Master Site Plan: Is a $58,239 Contract Amendment Funding Studies of Cannibalization of Existing Facilities?

When Everything is for Sale (1) 

In October 2017, the contract with C. H. Johnson Consulting, Inc.  was amended by $58,239.00 which raised the contract total to $252,369.00. CEO Kathy Kramer, VP Ken Karns,  and the Directors (Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk) were asked what the additional money would be used for and refused to answer the questions.    This post discusses a section of the C. H. Johnson Consulting, Inc. RFP which is listed as an optional task and could be the work being performed but CEO Kathy Kramer, VP Ken Karns and the Directors refuse to let the public know what they are doing with public money.  Directors and Executive Management of the OC Fairgrounds choose to act as if they are above the law and do not have to answer for their expenditures of public money or use of public property. 

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. 25-26 of the C. H. Johnson Consulting, Inc. proposal:

This Task commenced in Task 5 and will be finalized in this Task (Task 9). It will consider the initial work done by all parties and will result in finalized economic and fiscal impact analyses considering the developed business and masterplan. Our Impact approach is described below .

To the extent that state and local governments will be participating in the project, part of the return is measured in economic benefits of the project. For this project, it may be important to determine where impacts would occur, as this data can be used to advance the project through the public review and approvals process. It may also be helpful in obtaining final funding grants and ongoing operating support by communicating how the project can help drive demand to the area, how much employment will occur and how much tax revenue will be generated. As such, for this analysis, we will:

  • Use the most recent ExPact survey, an excellent survey prepared by Destination Management Association International (DMAI, formerly known as the International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus), to estimate direct spending by attendees, associations, exhibitors, and the facility itself, adjusted for local market price indices.

  • Identify from where attendance will likely originate.

  •  Indicate the volume of hotel room nights generated by the project.

  • Identify where spending will most likely be captured.

  • Use the IMPLAN model (an input-output model of the local economy) to estimate indirect and induced spending and employment impacts of the proposed facility for both the projected events and attendees in a stabilized year of operations, based upon the demand projections and the construction of the facility. 

  • Summarize local and state tax structures, including all relevant City, State, County, and other municipal taxes that may be appropriate.

  • Project the facility’s impact on City revenue collections, which include retail sales, lodging, restaurants, and any other areas impacted by the project, and determine whether there will be any cannibalization of existing facilities. 

  • Analyze the impact of the one-time construction activity.

[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. 


CEO Kathy Kramer to Make Appearance at March 6, 2018 Costa Mesa City Council Meeting

Check It Out (1)

 

CEO Kathy Kramer will make an appearance at the March 6, 2018, Costa Mesa City Council meeting which starts at 6 PM at 77 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa to make a presentation at the beginning of the meeting agendized as "2. Upcoming OC Fair Events & Information – Ms. Kathy Kramer, CEO, OC Fair".  As this is an information item and does not have a staff report detailing what is being presented, CEO Kathy Kramer should stick to providing information about upcoming concerts, events, classes, and similar items and refrain from discussion of any and all issues regarding the Master Site Plan, Board of Directors decisions, upcoming items on the Board of Directors agenda, or any matter which is not strictly informational. Council Members should also refrain from discussing issues which do not appear on the agenda with CEO Kramer at this time. 

If CEO Kathy Kramer wants to discuss those items with the Costa Mesa City Council, she needs to come back and ask for the item(s) to be placed on the agenda with a staff report prepared and with both the Council and public allowed to ask questions and make comments regarding the agenda item.  Similarly, if the Council wants a discussion of issues involving the OC Fairgrounds,  Council should place the item on the agenda with a staff report prepared and with both the Council and public allowed to ask questions and make comments regarding the agenda item.

 

Background on CEO Kathy Kramer

Kathy Kramer has worked as:

Director of Sales and Marketing for Harrah's Casino and Hotel in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Midwest Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Six Continents Hotels and Resorts in Omaha, Nebraska

Vice President of Convention Sales and Marketing for Century Link Center in Omaha, Nebraska

Deputy Director of Phoenix Convention Center and Venues: Ms. Kramer was part of the executive team that oversaw a $600M expansion project tripling the rentable space to nearly one million sq. ft and placing the convention center in the top 25 convention centers in North America. The expansion of the Phoenix Convention Center permanently changed the area around the property and led to the development of hotels and restaurants near the property. 

Vice President of Business Operations at Northlands in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Take a Day Off Work to Attend Master Site Plan Reveal on April 26, 2018

 

Bullhorn Meeting (1)

The Master Site Plan selection will be revealed on Thursday, April 26, 2018, Download Master Site Plan Notice _February_Board_Packet during a meeting which starts at 9 AM when most people have work, school, or other commitments. Despite repeated asks for evening meetings, the Fair Board chooses to meet at a time when it is hard for people to attend their meetings. The meeting time is by the choice of the Fair Board and nothing in statute says the Fair Board must meet during the day. Oversight of the planning was done by a member of the building trades whose employer can benefit from the project. 

The proposed schedule is:

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Agenda items 1-9 (including Call to Order through Governance Process, workshop/training to be last governance item)

10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Short recess for room re-set (if necessary)

10:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Workshop/Training to commence

12:30 p.m. – 12:40 p.m. Short recess as boxed lunches are delivered for Board of Directors and members of the public

12:40 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Workshop/Training to continue through working lunch

2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Wrap up of final Agenda items (Board of Directors Matters of Information and Adjournment)

The Fair Board does not stream or make video recordings of their meetings. This is another choice made by the Fair Board.  With over $40 million in cash and cash equivalent reserves Download Financials_February_Board_Packet, there is no shortage of resources.

The Fair Board is expected to present plans to begin the process of creating a convention and expo center with year round, daily, heavy use. As the process is being led by CEO Kathy Kramer who worked on the $600 million remodel of the Phoenix Convention Center  with the assistance of VP of Operations Ken Karns who helped to convert Western Fair in London, Ontario, Canada to a year round entertainment and expo center and CEO Kramer celebrated a $1 million sales month in December 2017 Download Million Dollar December_January_Board_Transcript, the project will have major impacts on Costa Mesa. The remodel of the Phoenix Convention Center triggered development of hotels and an entertainment district

 

Contact Fair Board Directors 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

Contact CEO Kathy Kramer  

kkramer@ocfair.com 

714-708-1510

Contact VP of Operations Ken Karns

kkarns@ocfair.com

714-708-1552

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


2nd Pacific Amphitheatre Settlement Protects the Neighborhoods

Oops Man Question (2)

In 2012, the Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society reached a settlement with the OC Fair Board regarding the site plan for the Pacific Amphitheatre remodel in which the berm was resculpted, a new lobby was built, and the plaza area facing the interior of the Fairgrounds was built. Terms of the settlement agreement include using a qualifed noise monitor and maintaining a tracking system for noise complaints.

Download Pac amp finalagreement copy


OC Fairgrounds Celebrates $1 Million in Monthly Revenue in Move Towards Becoming Convention & Expo Center

When Everything is for Sale (1)

OC Fairgrounds CEO Kathy Kramer, formerly of the Phoenix Convention Center,  announced that the all-time monthly revenue record for year round events (events held outside of the OC Fair) was broken in December 2017 with over $1 million in monthly revenue.  Ms. Kramer called the $1 million a month sales as a “benchmark for next year” which is being celebrated on February 23, 2018, with a lunch for Fairgrounds staff. 
 
Hit the goal, get a reward. The OC Fairgrounds is a sales focussed organization with the Fair Board directing Executive Management to those actions. If the focus was education and agriculture, there would be celebration of increasing the number of Centennial Farm visitors and increases in the amount of space devoted to agricultural and educational use.  
 
Increases in revenue and rewarding staff for the increase gives rise to a number of issue to be examined:
  • While the Fairgrounds Board and Executive Management claim the property is about agriculture and community service, their actions show the goals of the Board and Executive Management are about increasing revenues.  It is not clear why all of this money is needed or how the money is used to benefit the community with increased agricultural and educational programming and community use of the facility. Exactly what does the Public who own the OC Fairgrounds get from this $1 million benchmark month?
  • Who asked the OC Fairgrounds to do this?  Who benefits? We need names.
  • Does the increase in year round sales mean that there will not be increases in admission prices for the 2019 OC Fair and no increases in parking charges? We need a commitment to no price increases for the 2019 OC Fair. 

The Fair Board and Executive Management  continue to deny that their goal is to become a year round convention and event center with daily, heavy use. Executive Management hired by the Fair Board are from the convention and expo business and converted a fairground into a 364 day a year, 24 hour a day entertainment and expo center.  Executive Management were hired to change the OC Fairgrounds from a fairground to a convention and expo center. 

The Fairgrounds is a 150 acre island surrounded by Costa Mesa and nothing gets on or off the island without going through Costa Mesa.  Costa Mesa neighbors should not be asked to bend their needs to fit what the Fairgrounds wants but the Fairgrounds must fit into the existing Costa Mesa neighborhoods.
 
Fairgrounds Executive Management Contact Information to Address Your Questions and Concerns
CEO Kathy Kramer
714-708-1510
Ms. Kramer was the Deputy Director of the Phoenix Convention Center and was part of the team that oversaw a $600 million expansion project tripling the rentable space to nearly one million sq ft and placing the Phoenix Convention Center in the top twenty-five convention centers in North America.  The expansion of the Phoenix Convention Center changed the character of the area


VP of Operations Ken Karns 
 714-708-1552
Oversees safety, security, facilities, equestrian center, entertainment booking and ticketing, parking, and the Master Site Plan process, among other duties. Mr. Karns worked to convert Western Fair in London, Ontario, Canada to the Western Fair District which has year round 24 hour a day use. 
 

VP of Business Development Michele Richards 
714-708-1716
Oversees event bookings and scheduling, sponsorships, community programs, and community exhibits during the OC Fair, among other duties. Year round events are not booked by state employees but by Tandem, a company from San Francisco which is paid on commission. 

1996 Settlement with City of Costa Mesa Over the OC Fairgrounds 1991 Master Plan

Women Oops Question (2)

The settlement was ratified at the only joint meeting between the OC Fair Board and the Costa Mesa City Council in July 1996. The agreement capped the number of people allowed on the property at 25,500 when the OC Fair was not being held, require use of leased parking with shuttles when needed, and required cooperation with the City of Costa Mesa on traffic control. Plans for a hotel and off track betting facility were also dropped.

A copy of  the 1991 Master Site Plan is included in the City Atty Report files.

Documents regarding this matter

Download City Atty Report 96-53A copy

Download City Atty Report 96-53C copy

Download City Clerk Changes to Legal Settlement copy 

Download Executed Settlement Sep 9 1996 copy