The Plumas Unified School District has agreed to divest itself of this building and land it owns located at 102 Meadowbrook Loop in Chester that it considers surplus and transfer the property to the Almanor Recreation and Park District. Photo by Stacy Fisher

Transfer of school district building to park district hits snag

The Plumas Unified School District has agreed to transfer a surplus building and land it owns in Chester to the Almanor Recreation and Park District. The program is part of the school district’s county wide-plan to sell surplus real estate.

The park district first occupied the building, previously used by PUSD as a continuation school, in 2005. The move-in required extensive volunteer time and maintenance dollars to clean the building and fix equipment. Additionally, the building still requires expensive capital improvements such as roof repairs due to leakage, replacement of old heating units, painting and landscaping.

As a result, the school district agreed to sell the portable building and land to the ARPD for $1.

Located at 102 Meadowbrook Loop, the building is used for the park district’s after-school CASPER program, computer workshops, the district’s regular monthly board and trail committee meetings, and other ARPD needs.

However, uncertainties regarding construction of the portable building have delayed the transfer of the property. The permits for the portable structure have not yet been found identifying title, which has raised a number of questions.

The primary concern is whether the building can be transferred along with the land from PUSD to the ARPD without a building permit on record to document the building is on a permanent foundation.

“The escrow officer counseled us that a portable building does not automatically transfer with the land it sits on unless a foundation underlies it and is set permanently into the ground,” noted Susan Espana, ARPD treasurer, during a discussion at a recent board of directors meeting.

“PUSD did not complete the building process with a formal state approval,” Espana told the board members, making the transfer of the building more complicated, although she believes the school district “certainly went through the state approval process for its building.”

The current PUSD facility manager, Ken Pierson, was not with the school district during the time that the portable structure was built, Espana said, “but it’s his opinion that the building has no concrete foundation; instead it sits on cement blocks.”

If the building had a concrete foundation “we’d have no problems,” she added.

If it’s the case that the building has no completion record in the state database, “the portable may not formally transfer with the land in a normal grant deed escrow,” Espana remarked.

Without such a record, ARPD has two other issues to consider, according to Espana: “Is the portable building considered a vehicle — which I don’t think it is — and therefore subject to annual fees, or is it exempt of fees because it was a school agency building and ARPD is a public agency?”

The second question she raised was how to transfer the title in an upcoming grant deed transfer of the property given the lack of a record showing a permanent foundation.

Board members will be evaluating their options so that they can complete the necessary building and land transfers.