On February 23, 2016, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 296, which along with Resolution No. 2016R-011 adopted on February 9, 2016, approved the entitlements for the Higgins Ranch Mixed-Use Project (now known as Bristol Chino Hills), an approximately 12.1-acre development located on the north side of Soquel Canyon Parkway between the SR-71 freeway and Soquel Canyon Crossings shopping center. The commercial and residential horizontal mixed-use project, proposed by Trumark Homes, LLC, consisted of a multi-tenant commercial center with a combined floor area of approximately 18,000 square feet, 68 very small lot single-family detached residential units, and 42 residential attached townhome units.
As part of the entitlement approvals, Condition of Approval No. 31 required the developer to install irrigation and plant landscaping in an approximately 15,000-square foot area along Soquel Canyon Parkway, between the project’s entryway and the SR-71 off-ramp, to enhance the aesthetic quality of the project and the streetscape. To comply with the condition and allow the continued release of building permits and occupancy approvals for the residential units, Trumark Homes installed the required irrigation and landscaping; however, the property on which the landscaping is installed is within right-of-way owned by the Department of Transportation (Caltrans). As Caltrans will only grant an easement and enter into an agreement for the maintenance of landscaping on Caltrans property with a governmental entity, the developer was unable to obtain an easement or agreement for the maintenance of the landscaped area.
To retain this landscaping, which is beneficial to both the City and the Bristol Chino Hills development, the City would enter into the attached Landscape Maintenance Agreement with Caltrans. This agreement obligates the City to maintain the landscape area. To offset the cost to the City for the performance of this maintenance, the City would enter into a separate agreement with Bristol Homeowners Association (HOA) requiring the HOA to reimburse the costs incurred by the City in the performance of the maintenance on an annual basis. The HOA’s adopted budget includes an allocation for the maintenance of the landscape area, which would be paid to the City. Staff has evaluated allocation and found it to be sufficient to reimburse the City’s anticipated costs to maintain the landscape area. The agreement with the HOA includes an annual adjustment to the payment based on the Consumer Price Index to offset inflation in the maintenance costs over time.
In entering into the agreements with Caltrans and the HOA, the City would incur the risk that if the HOA were to default on their payment, the City would bear the costs of continued landscape maintenance. The Caltrans Agreement does not allow the City to unilaterally terminate it. Caltrans is not amenable to modifying its standard agreement to allow the City to unilaterally terminate the Agreement. To mitigate the potential unreimbursed costs to the City, the agreement with the HOA would allow the City to file a lien against the HOA’s property for the payment due and reasonable costs incurred by the City. In the event that the City and Caltrans agree to terminate the Landscape Maintenance Agreement, the City would be required to remove the landscaping and irrigation and restore the project area to its previous condition.
The Caltrans Agreement and the current draft of the HOA Agreement are attached below. As of the writing of this staff report, the HOA Agreement is being negotiated with the Developer which plans to execute this agreement before the upcoming transfer of authority for signing to the HOA Board.