VIDEO, MAP, CONTRACT. SEA HORSE RANCH LICENSE AGREEMENT
RECOMMENDATION: Adopt a resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute a License Agreement with Sea Horse Ranch, for non-exclusive use of City property along Poplar Beach, for a term of six years, at an initial annual rate of $13,281, with 3 percent annual increases throughout the Term.
FISCAL IMPACT: The License Agreement will generate more than $85,000 in revenue over the six-year term, which will be deposited into the General Fund and dedicated to preservation of the bluffs and trails at Poplar Brach Park. Sea Horse Ranch will also pay for a significant portion of and repairs made to the vertical access point utilized by horseback riders entering the beach.
STRATEGIC ELEMENT: This recommendation supports the Healthy Communities and Public Safety and Infrastructure and Environment elements of the Strategic Plan.
Deputy City Manager, Matthew Chidester Presents 1/21/20
BACKGROUND: The City of Half Moon Bay owns and maintains Poplar Beach and the span of the California Coastal Trail and horse trail between Kelly Avenue and the Seymour Pedestrian Bridge south of Poplar Street.
Sea Horse Ranch is a commercial recreational equestrian business located at 1828 North Cabrillo Highway. The City and Sea Horse Ranch entered into a License Agreement in 2011 to allow the non-exclusive, commercial use of specified portions of the trail, beach access points and Poplar Beach. The License Agreement had an initial five-year term ending on December 31, 2015. The agreement also provides for automatic renewal of successive five-year terms unless either party gives written notice of intent to not renew the agreement at least one year prior to the expiration of the term of the agreement. Neither party issued intent to not renew the agreement prior to December 31, 2014, thereby establishing a second five-year term set to expire on December 31, 2020.
In 2018, Community input and observations by City Council and staff raised concerns about the operation of this commercial equestrian use on City-owned land for trail and beach rides at Poplar Blufftop Park and on Poplar Beach. Concerns focused on health, environmental, and nuisance impacts associated with horse manure on the beach and trails, as well as in watercourses, including Pilarcitos Creek. The predominate equestrian user of the access points to the beach is Sea Horse Ranch. Concerns were also raised about the operations of Sea Horse Ranch on their property located at 1828 Cabrillo Hwy, which are not subject to the agreement. Allegations of fire, environmental health and municipal code violations were reported, and City staff along with other agencies investigated the allegations and have been working with Sea Horse Ranch to resolve any confirmed violations.
City Council held a discussion on these issues at their meeting on December 4, 2018. At that meeting, they directed staff to investigate the concerns and work with Sea Horse Ranch to negotiate a new agreement that would address the issues. They also directed staff to issue a Notice of Non-Renewal of the existing agreement prior to the December 31, 2019 deadline. Staff timely issued the Notice of Non-Renewal; thus, absent any further agreement of the parties, the current agreement will expire on December 31, 2020.
DISCUSSION: Over the last year, staff from the City and Sea Horse Ranch have met regularly to work on the matters previously raised at the 2018 Council Meeting and negotiate a new license agreement. The attached agreement represents these efforts, and addresses the concerns as follows:
• The Term of the Agreement is effective February 1, 2020 and expires on December 31, 2025. The current agreement terminates concurrent with the effective date of the new Agreement.
• The use of City property does not change under the terms of the new Agreement, but Sea Horse Ranch will pay 80% of the costs for work done to improve and protect the vertical access point they primarily use.
• The Concession Fee for the use of City property increases approximately 30% over the fee paid in 2019. The fee increases by 3% each year of the Term.
• All horse waste on Poplar Beach will be removed by Sea Horse Ranch, regardless of its source. The Agreement contains a schedule for the frequency of removal ranging from 2-3 times per day on which Sea Horse Ranch operates, and on-call for significant issues at the discretion of the City.
• No other commercial activities are authorized by the Agreement. If other affiliated operations are desired, including the independent photographer that photographs the rides, those businesses will be required to negotiate a separate agreement with the City.
• The City has the right to terminate the Agreement for any uncured defaults, as well as with notice through a public hearing process to ensure the overall health or safety of public due to the use, or for violations of the law.
City staff has also coordinated with the Coastside Fire Protection District and County Environmental Health Department to investigate and resolve code violations on the Sea Horse Ranch property. Many of the violations have been resolved and the outstanding violations have plans and schedules for resolution, subject to the approval of the agencies within their jurisdiction, including the City.
1. Resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute a License Agreement with Sea Horse Ranch, for non-exclusive use of City property along Poplar Beach, for a term of six years, at an initial annual rate of $13,281, with 3% annual increases throughout the Term
2. Draft License Agreement between the City and Sea Horse Ranch