New Downtown Merced Project

New Downtown Merced Project

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Dwight Larks started this petition to City of Merced and

This petition was created for the community to come together to support The Arbor Improvement project.

The "Arbor Walkway" was a project started by The Redevelopment Agency of the City of Merced in the early 1980's. The Agency paid the landowner approximately $90,000 to construct a "public right of way" over private property. That public right of way, a narrow alleyway over private property, came with liabilities and the responsibilities of upkeeping and maintaining the walkway over the private property.

Unfortunately the Redevelopment Agency went belly up and the walkway responsibities were ignored for many years. The walkway fell into disrepair and became a magnet for burglaries, arson, crime and vandalism negatively and unfairly impacting the property owner, their business and the tenants there. People began choosing to avoid the walkway and the tenants of the building began to leave. It became too expensive to keep fixing the constant broken windows and deal with the vagrancy and it became a real challenge for the property owner to lease the space there hence the property was sold to the new property owner. 

In 2013, The City of Merced had the option to take over the responsibilities and liabilities of this easement but chose not to so the walkway became the responsibility of a new agency set up by the governor called "The Merced Designated Local Authority."

In late 2020, the new property owner (fed up with the situation) spoke with the City of Merced about a proposed project, the condition of the property, its problems and liabilities and was told the City would "formally abandon" the walkway so the owner could develop the property according to the plan. The City admitted having no money or resources to upkeep the walkway and thus the City petitioned The Designated Local Authority to recognize the abandoned property and to terminate the easement. After a public hearing The Designated Local Authority then agreed to assign the easement to the City of Merced for abandonment.

The City of Merced building and engineering departments then met and proclaimed the easement had become a public nuisance, was not necessary and that a vacation of the easement was in line with the general plan. The City also acknowledged again that there was no money to maintain easments in the City. In similar fashion,The City of Merced sold a  "public walkway" just 2 buildings over to the El Capitan Hotel proprietors for only ten dollars to do as they wished in order to provide a safer environment for their guests as well. 

The abandonment proceeding carried on before the planning commission whereby the planning commission voted unanimously to proceed with abandonment and to return full development rights to the owner, just as the neighboring El Capitan had done the year prior with their walkway. 

The property owner was provided building permits for their phase 1 Construction to build a full kitchen inside the building and permits for the walkway portion that would also be used for a cafe/restaurant as Downtown Merced's first outside bar and training center. The City of Merced then provided an encroachment permit for the property owner to begin to repair the abandoned non A.D.A. compliant walkway and construct their new business. Construction of phase 1 is approximately 65% complete.

After unnecessary delays of this hearing brought on by a last minute complaintant neighboring property owner and one of their tenants and the capitulation by the former City of Merced Attorney Phaedra Norton, The City of Merced will finally hold a public hearing to acknowledge the abandoned property so that the owners can complete their construction and open the new commissary kitchen and Cafe in the walkway. The hearing is November 1st 2021 at City of Merced City Hall at 6pm.  Please sign this petition in support of the formal abandonment and this project.

Your envolvment is important. The landowner, construction crews and tenants most greatly affected by these delays thank you in advance. We look forward to serving the community very soon!

Thank you.

Project Manager

Dwight Larks






22 have signed. Let’s get to 25!
At 25 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!