By Jonathan Morales
Thursday, September 10th, 2009 at 2:14 pm in Moraga.
Despite this being the era of the Internet and instant news, my story on the backlash to Moraga staff’s impending move to the Hacienda didn’t run until this morning (it was written last week). Nothing in it has been rendered irrelevant, but the topic came up twice at last night’s Town Council meeting.
The first was during public comment, when George Fisher, Judy Dinkle and others requested a full public hearing on the matter. The second came during an agenda item awarding a contract to do construction and repair work at the Hacienda (much of it related to the fire earlier this year).
Opponents of the move maintain the Hacienda should be retained for purely community-oriented uses. Some also brought up the danger posed by having all town offices in a building that has recently seen a fire in an area surrounded by eucalyptus trees. One even said it was illegal to use recreational facilities for non-recreational uses. The town’s attorney did not know whether or not that was true.
After several comments during the agenda item discussion, Councilman Mike Metcalf politely reminded everyone that the issue at hand was not the town’s move to the Hacienda, but whether or not the contract would be awarded, which it ultimately was.
Town Manager Mike Segrest did clarify somewhat his estimate of three-to-five years for staff to move back to 329 Rheem. He said if a cost estimate were to be completed by the time next year’s budget was put together, and if money was available for the renovation, the Rheem could be a town hall by late 2011 or early 2012, although he added that timeline is extremely optimistic.
There’s no indication yet of when a another public hearing on the move to the Hacienda will be held (the Parks and Recreation Commission discussed the issue last month, but move opponents say that discussion was arranged too quickly for anyone to know about it).