Plumas Charter School’s quest for a new location took another step forward when the Central Plumas Recreation and Park District Board of Directors voted to sign a letter of intent to sell a 1.5-acre parcel of land to the school for $170,000.
The 4-1 vote came during a Dec. 17 meeting at the county fairgrounds. The meeting was held in the Mineral Building in anticipation of it being well attended.
And it was — by Plumas Charter School supporters who took turns citing the reasons why they wanted the land, which is located in East Quincy adjacent to Pioneer Park and its facilities.
Comments were made in person and in letters that had been submitted to the board. Approximately 15 comments were in support, with just one letter writer opposed.
Many of the comments were similar to those made during the Dec. 11 public hearing for the special use permit sought by Plumas Charter to build a school at the 1425 E. Main St. property. The zoning administrator ruled in favor of the requested use permit with several conditions.
Steve Betts, who is a park neighbor, said he hoped the proximity of the school would improve the park’s safety.
He said that his children don’t like playing at the park alone because of some of the people who frequent the park and who appear to watch them. He said the situation is even worse after dark.
“I think the school will make a difference,” he said.
That sentiment was echoed by a mother who said she has called the “sheriff multiple times about creepy people hanging out there.”
The owner of the nearby gas station and car wash wrote a letter indicating his support and encouraged the sale. “It’s a good use of the property,” he said.
Roxanne Valladao, the executive director of Plumas Arts, wrote a letter about her positive dealings with Plumas Charter School. She described the proposed relationship with the recreation district as a “win-win.”
Taletha Washburn, the executive director of Plumas Charter, also read snippets from various letters including one from Plumas Bank that said the school was “quick to respond to issues.”
The school will be near the Pine View Mobile Home Park, and residents indicated that they were “in high support of the use of land” and the joy that will come from hearing children’s voices.
A letter writer opposed to the sale expressed concern about the playground use. “As a parent, I use the park all the time,” she said. She thought the school should build its own playground.
That issue will be addressed in a memorandum of understanding between the rec district and the school, which will include not only the specifics of use, but what charges, if any, will be paid by the school.
Director Rick Leonhardt said it’s essential that some payment be made because the additional use would require more maintenance.
Washburn agreed that such a charge should be paid. “There will be increased maintenance, garbage removal. We will have 100 to 200 kids per day rotating through there.”
Director Scott Davis wanted the board to decide on an MOU before proceeding with the letter of intent to sell the land, but the other directors didn’t want to hold up the process.
Washburn is hopeful that the new school will be ready by fall of 2021.
When it came time to vote Dec. 17, Directors Rick Leonhardt, Jerry Sipe, Laurie Sturley and Jeremy Pilkington voted in favor of the sale, while Davis voted no. The latter is still concerned about the access to facilities and other issues, all of which the other directors think can be addressed in a memorandum of understanding between the two entities.
Sipe added that the MOU would have a 30-day exit clause if either party was dissatisfied with the relationship.
The letter of intent included the following provisions:
– Plumas Charter obtains a special use permit.
– Plumas Charter transfers the USDA loan to the property.
– Plumas Charter and the recreation district draft a use agreement for the parking lot.
– Plumas Charter has four months to clear the conditions, but it can be extended if mutually agreeable.
– Plumas Charter donates the 5.2-acre Kelsey Lane property to the district. (The land had been donated to the school, but proved too costly for Plumas Charter to build there.)