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Council discusses golf course, downtown parking

5 years ago by in ( Hotspots , News , Uncategorized , Welcome to Brea )
The Brea City Council chambers were dark Jan. 6, but the council still met that night in its usual third-floor conference room for a public study session followed by a closed session.

    In the past, the first council meeting in January was usually canceled, but not this year.

      Mayor Marty Simonoff went forth with a study session agenda of only two items: an amendment to the Birch Hills Golf Course lease agreement and another parking structure in Brea Downtown. The meeting lasted three hours, with productive discussion by all of the council.

        The council first discussed the lease amendment. The amendment would change the threshold of responsibility for repairs for the Birch Hills Golf Course as part of the lease agreement with Imperial Golf, which will operate the course and clubhouse. The current agreement makes the city responsible for repairs when they reach $5,000. The amendment changes that threshold to $50,000.

          Matt Clabaugh, representing Imperial Golf, said the company would meet with Brea’s staff regarding the amendment. He added that the company plans to use two modulars for the clubhouse and pro shop until a permanent clubhouse is built and that an attractive clubhouse draws more golfers and higher green fees, something a couple of golfers on the council disagreed with.

            The council also discussed a parking structure for Superblock 1, behind the vacant Tower building in Brea Downtown. As I wrote last May, without an additional parking structure in that block facing Brea Boulevard, Brea Downtown will die. One by one, the successful and popular venues will go away, and instead of a downtown, we will have a deadtown.

              Mark Caplow of E.M. Caplow and Associates, owners of the 30,000-square-foot Tower building, said that the one thing holding up a long-term lease of the building is the lack of parking behind it.

                “I’ve had inquires about it from several high-end companies, but without adequate parking, they don’t want it,” Caplow said. While the former and current councils tend to favor a parking structure with mixed space for commercial or residential use, the downtown owners prefer a parking-only structure behind Tower with a bridge extending across Birch Street to what is now Old Navy. The Brea Improv has plans to take over that spot and transform it into its new comedy club-nightclub concept, like it has done in Irvine. However, it will need more parking.

                  The city’s mixed-use proposal for $13.2million adds 444 spaces, in contrast to an all-parking design by Caplow and Dwight Manley – another major Brea Downtown property owner – that they said can be built for $5million and adds 501 parking spaces. Either way, more parking will keep downtown from becoming deadtown.

                    Terri Daxon is a freelance writer and the owner of Daxon Marketing Communications. She gives her perspective on Brea issues twice a month. Contact her at
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