Thursday, 01 December 2022

Mendocino College looks at Lakeport site for county center

LAKEPORT – Mendocino College officials say they're looking at a site in Lakeport as a possible future location of their Lake County center.


Mike Adams, Mendocino College's facilities services director, said that the college is very interested in a 31-acre parcel located along Parallel Drive in Lakeport.


The property is part of the 157-acre Parallel Drive annexation that the City of Lakeport proposed to add to its boundaries.


That annexation, however, was turned down last Wednesday by the Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO), which ruled that the city's current sewer issues prevented it from being able to provide services to the annexation area.


Richard Knoll, Lakeport's Community Development director, said the city thinks the site would be an “appropriate location” for the college's Lake Center, which has for many years been based in Lakeport.


“We think the campus ought to be located here,” said Knoll, adding that it's a central location for the college and there aren't many good sites available for the facility.


Knoll added that the city is concerned that the LAFCO decision may impact the college site project.


Supervisor and LAFCO Commissioner Ed Robey, however, said he didn't think it was an issue that the property remains in county jurisdiction. He said the college could work with the county on the project just as it would have worked with the city.


The site that the college is considering is owned by Thomas Adamson, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based developer who is proposing to build a 130-lot subdivision on the site, according to LAFCO documents.


County assessor records show that Adamson acquired the property in May 2005. No purchase amount was listed, but the property assessment valued the land at $1.5 million.


In a July 9 letter obtained by Lake County News, Mendocino College Superintendent/President Kathryn Lehner wrote to Adamson to express the college's interest in purchasing the property.


“Our meetings with you and your representatives have helped us understand your development interests and the potential mutual benefits that may arise if the District is able to acquire the parcel in order to construct the new college center on the site,” Lehner wrote.


“We anticipate presenting a formal offer for the property in the near future,” she added.


Adamson did not return calls placed by Lake County News to his Arizona office.


Adams said the college is now securing an appraisal on the property, which they must do because the property would be purchased with public money.


The funds to purchase the property would come from Measure W, the $67.5 million construction bond measure voters approved last November to help the college build new facilities and renovate existing ones.


One of the stated intents of Measure W is to provide funding to purchase property and develop a new college Lake Center, which for many years has been located in rented facilities along Parallel Drive.


Measure W's project budget allocates a total of $15 million for property, design and construction of the site, but doesn't specify how much would be used just for land acquisition.


Adams said he has no idea how much the college might offer for the property.


The college is at a “very early stage” when it comes to discussions for the property, Adams cautioned, adding that no decision about the land had yet been made.


“It's not the only parcel we're looking at, but it's a prime spot,” he said.


A main concern is infrastructure, said Adams, which includes sewer and water service. Adams, who attended the July 18 LAFCO meeting, said annexation isn't the only way to get those services.


Staying at a Lakeport location would put the center in the middle of the Mendocino's Lake County service area, which extends down past Kelseyville to Jago Bay on one side of the lake, and as far south as Lucerne on the other, according to Adams.


The location along Parallel Drive also would give the college good visibility, Adams said. Its flat terrain and access off the highway also are pluses, he added.


“This would be great if we could figure it out,” Adams said.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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