The city attorney has hit the drafting board to conjure a Memorandum of Understanding, a legal document that will outline terms to be met by the parties involved — the city, Keystone, the Del Puerto Health Care District and proponents of a controversial initiative designed to allow the move — with the ultimate goal of amending the zoning law and development agreement to make the health center an allowed use in the business park.
If an agreement can be reached, city officials hope the MOU might present an alternative to the initiative and stand as a symbol of commitment to resolving the vitriolic feud.
“I think we are definitely taking the necessary steps to move this thing forward and come up with a solution that can meet both of our needs without going forward with the initiative process,” City Manager Cleve Morris said. “This is something I think we can all agree needs to be done.”
The details of the MOU have not been revealed, but the possibility of progress after the lengthy fight has given hope to those on both sides.
“We’ll just have to wait and see what comes out of this, but it’s good to see there are some real positive signs,” said Margo Arnold, CEO of the health care district. “We’re very hopeful for a quick resolution.”
Despite recent claims that the health center could be without a home when its lease expires March 31, Arnold said she’s optimistic the center will have a chance to negotiate a month-to-month extension with its landlord, John Ramos, if officials can present an established timeline toward a zoning amendment by way of the MOU.
“If we have an end in sight to when we will be able to move, we have something to talk with him (Ramos) about,” Arnold said. “That’s what we’re waiting on right now.”
While discussions continue on the MOU, the initiative process continues. The city has taken the initiative to court to test its validity, with a ruling expected sometime next month. If the initiative is deemed valid, the council must decide whether to adopt it or send it to ballot.
If an election is required, it will come in June on the state primary ballot. In the meantime, work is continuing on a possible alternative solution.
“It’s still too early to say if we’re making any real progress,” said Keith Schneider, executive vice president of Keystone. “If everyone comes together and agrees on the issues, I don’t know what the outcome could be.
“What I do know is that it’s refreshing the council has decided to address the issues.”
• Contact Kendall Wright at 892-6187 or email@example.com.