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Letter to the Editor: The Elephant in the Room

[Editor's Notes: The following letter was submitted to Patch on Friday by Belmont City Councilmember Coralin Feierbach. To submit your own letter to the editor, send an email to joan.dentler@patch.com.]

Dear Editor:

The elephant in the room:

According to the staff reports, the final value for Crystal Springs Upland School, if built on Davis Drive, in Belmont, would be $30,000,000.

The total current value of the two empty buildings on Davis Dr that CSUS would be replacing is $14,901,932. (approx half)

Because CSUS is a non profit they will NOT be paying the 1% of the 30 Million in General Property Taxes – amounting to $300,000.

So here is the elephant:
Right now, the two empty properties on Davis Drive pay a total of $149,019/year in General Property Tax.
Belmont General Fund receives $14,331 each year from that $149,019 amount.

Here is only a partial list of the various agencies that currently receive from the two empty buildings on Davis Dr from the General Property Tax:

Library $4,936
Belmont-Redwood Shores School District $29,412
Sequoia High School District $22,310
San Mateo Community College $9,688
Belmont Fire District $23,722
Sequoia Hospital District $2,091
City of Belmont $14,331
County of San Mateo $33,859

And many more agencies totaling $149,019/year.

So if we take the city of Belmont out of $149,019, the rest of the agencies currently receive $134,688/yr.

Ok, now let's double that for CSUS since their new property will be valued at $30 million. Thus the rest of the agencies should get (if CSUS were not a non-profit), $269,376.

But because CSUS is non profit, THEY WILL EACH GET ZERO – Belmont Redwood Shores School District gets zero money, Sequoia High School District gets zero money and so for.

Now, of the $250,000/year that CSUS promises to give the city, you can be sure that some of these agencies will request their fair share or at least they should.    

Will the council have the generosity to share the $250,000 with these agencies?
Will CSUS make it whole by giving each agency above the money that they would be losing by CSUS coming to Belmont?
That remains to be seen.

Very few people have mentioned this and I believe your readers need to know how much these agencies would lose unless the city council shares the $250,000 or if CSUS puts in more money besides the $250,000/year to the city alone to make these agencies whole.

I am a very strong supporter of our public school system as I know most of you are, and they cannot afford to lose the money that they are getting now even from the two empty properties on Davis Drive.

So do you think the City ought to share the $250,000/year money and/or CSUS pay extra money to these districts?

Thank you!

Coralin Feierbach

Coralin Feierbach September 18, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Yes Mary Beth, I had quite a few people who called me and emailed me to complain, some were accusing the city for doing the survey. Some complained that the survey person called to late in the evening ----- surveys are like that, they are just plain annoying but sometimes they need to be done. Good night everyone!
Timothy E. Strinden September 20, 2012 at 03:08 PM
If any business in the park is against the zoning change, I don't believe the city should make the change. When businesses located in the park, it was zoned for business only and they had the right to expect it would stay that way. Heavy traffic before school starts and after it ends will make it difficult to drive to businesses in the park, and will interfere with deliveries to and from those businesses. This would not happen with other businesses instead of the school because the traffic wouldn't be so concentrated at certain times. 2 Davis Drive will be most affected of the businesses in the park because it is right between the proposed school and Ralston Blvd. Middle school students would be walking by and probably on this property on a regular basis, raising questions of increased liability for the owner. While the current owner of some businesses in the park has been convinced by CSUS to support the school, that doesn't mean that the school and businesses are compatible. The presence of the school will probably discourage some businesses from locating in the park, thus decreasing the marketability of the businesses that are there. I believe Mr. Cunneen's concerns should be taken very seriously.
Concerned Belmont Taxpayer December 01, 2012 at 07:25 AM
rmondell, Belmont lost out big time. CSUS will now go to San Mateo. Maybe you can give an update on what is going on at Davis Drive? Has anyone purchased the building? Also, it was stated incorrectly that Belmont had 20 schools...and that was one of the main reasons to kill it. How can you turn down a nationally ranked school? That is nuts...Below is an accurate list. Please note San Mateo recently picked up the Nueva High School and Fusion. Looks like CSUS will be calling San Mateo home as well...Belmont really blew it. San Mateo 1. The Carey School K – 5 2. Alpha Beacon Christian School K – 6 3. Russell Bede School 1 – 6 4. St. Matthews Episcopal Day School K – 8 5. Standbridge Academy K – 8 6. Grace Lutheran School K - 8 7. Odyssey School 6 - 8 8. Pacific Rim International School K - 12 9. St. Gregory School K – 8 10. St. Matthew Catholic School K – 8 11. St. Timothy School K – 8 12. Junipero Serra High School 9 – 12 13. Fusion Academy 6 – 12 14. Nueva High School 9 – 12 15. Crystal Springs Uplands School 6 – 8 16. College of San Mateo Belmont 1. Belmont Oaks Academy K – 5 2. Serendipity School K – 5 3. Gloria Dei Lutheran School K - 5 4. Immaculate Heart of Mary PreK-8 5. Charles Armstrong School 1 – 8 6. Notre Dame Elementary K – 8 7. Notre Dame High School Belmont 9 – 12 8. Notre Dame University
1Diane December 01, 2012 at 09:59 AM
Isn't CSU still holding an active lease on the Davis Drive site? They need to let it go.
Concerned Belmont Taxpayer December 01, 2012 at 03:29 PM
It will be interesting to see what happens to the property. We could have had a beautiful, $33 million Green architecturally pleasing, silver LEED certified building. Instead we have a vacant lot with a 40 year old, decrepit, asbestos filled building. The families with young children lost out big time. It appears the Belmont City Council is anti-change and wants Belmont frozen in time. They claim they are progressive, this is the furthest thing from the truth. That is really what is going on. So sad for Belmont. You can not run a city that way.

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