Here’s the response, from Assistant City Manager Hans Uslar.
“Thank you for bringing this petition to our attention. The Monterey City Council implemented new updated leasing guidelines last year. The City’s leases with the Wharf concessionaires are public tidelands leases. All revenue from the leases goes into the City’s Tidelands Trust Fund subject to oversight of the state through the State Lands Commission. Money from the Tidelands Trust Funds may only be used for purposes consistent with tideland commerce, navigation, fisheries, and recreation. The City Council will ensure all leases are fairly negotiated, are consistent with Tidelands Trust purposes, and consistent with the City’s Charter.
“The City’s new leases will not be limited to 10 years, but can be 15 years, 20 years, or even longer depending on the cost of alterations a concessionaire commits to investing to improve the building. Tenant improvements will usually have an economic life that corresponds to the lease term. The City Council does not want to create a ‘new’ Wharf that will lose its present charm and eclectic mix of restaurants and shops. The Council heard these concerns and decided to first and foremost negotiate with our current concessionaires to try to enter new lease agreements with them. As a matter of fact, the City’s lease negotiator has exclusively negotiated with existing tenants and concessionaires. To date we have negotiated with three existing tenants and in every case the City has offered leases terms that exceed 10 years due to the improvements the tenants want to make to the premises.
“The Council appreciates the family-owned businesses and the unique brand and atmosphere they bring to our Wharf. We want them to continue to be successful operators. Under the Council’s guidelines, locally owned businesses will continue to have preference over those outside of Monterey County. The Council’s goal is to have successful business throughout the City that the people who live, work and visit Monterey want to patronize. The City has a long history with many local businesses, and it wishes to continue that model.
“Lastly, we appreciate your input and your love for our treasured Wharf. If you would like to learn more about Monterey’s leasing guidelines, please visit www.monterey.org.
For the next week or so, we will post our guidelines on our home page, so that you all can see and read them! Thanks again and see you on our Fisherman’s Wharf!”