Morro Bay councilman knew apartment not permitted

November 26, 2013

00022.MTSBy KAREN VELIE

Morro Bay Councilman George Leage said a few days ago that his apartment was either properly permitted or grandfathered in, though he was aware that an application to permit the apartment had been filed in 2011.

Leage lives in an unpermitted apartment in his family’s sushi restaurant, Off the Hook, which is located in an area that does not permit residential use.

On May 3, 2011, Violet Leage, George Leage’s sister, applied for a conditional use permit for a caretaker unit at the building. Less than two weeks later, a project representative working for the Leages filed a request to rescind the application and asked for a refund of the application fee.

“It appears that there will be considerable more work involved for this permit so the applicant decided to not pursue this idea at this time,” the request says.

Leage said earlier this week that there were several caretaker units approved in the tidelands and that he believed his unit was either permitted or grandfathered in.

When asked about the conditional use application Leage said, “She (Violet Leage) was going to make sure it was right. It would have required sprinklers and been too expensive. I was legal there anyway.

“It’s no big deal, because I’m moving anyway.”

 


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98 Comments

  1. IHeartMB says:

    Has he moved out yet? Whatever happened to this?!?!

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  2. Niles Q says:

    The apartment at Off the Hook has been there since the building was first built in the 1960s. It has a small bathroom with a shower and has off and on been used as a caretaker unit all this time.

    Remember the old, original Gallley restaurant? The Anderson’s — Rodger, Molly, Jeff and John — lived there at one time or another for decades. It was a cafetaker unit and probably the coolest apartment in town.

    That apartment was being lived in until the day they tore the building down.

    I’d venture to say there was probably not a permit for it either, but nevertheless it was used for a long, long time. My understanding is George moved in there after he and his wife split up. They own a house in town too, which is his legal residence.

    Another guy rents a small apartment on the far end of the Embarcadero just past Associated Pacific. He has a legal lease and pays rent t to the harbor dept. If what you say about no residences being allowed on Tidelands leases is true, then why is he allowed to live there?

    You people think “public benefit” means only visitor serving uses are allowed. But public benefit can also be the rent the person is paying. Otherwise why are live-aboards allowed in the harbor? How does a person’s slip or mooring benefit the public if it’s only used by one person for their residence? Because they pay rent that is used by the harbor department to maintain the harbor facilities and pay the harbor patrol, which benefits everyone.

    That Off the Hook building is old and tired and probably filled with either mold or some other nastiness and will eventually be torn down too. Fifty years on the waterfront, situated over the top of a kitchen, you bet it’s got mold and is a sick building. George always seems to be sick and the building is probably the cause.

    Non-conforming does NOT mean illegal. They would have gotten the unit officially permitted but for the fire codes kicking in and fire sprinklers being required. Plus it’s going to be torn down and rebuilt eventually.

    If the city investigates this and decides he should not be living there, then he will move (he said he was moving anyway because of the crappy condition of the building).

    Of course, with the current situation in town, any such action would likely inflame matters worse, as George has been very active in the recall movement and Irons would be seen as attacking his enemies by attacking George.

    Maybe to be fair, CCN should investigate the mayor and his actions with the apartments (about 17 in all) and the commercial building at Napa and MBB? He jacked up the rent on everyone the minute he bought it and that is one of the few affordable apartment complexes in town. And it’s old, so there are no doubt many code issues with it too.

    (2) 10 Total Votes - 6 up - 4 down
    • mbactivist1 says:

      The law and City policy say the tidelands lease sites are not for residential use. Therefore, your arguments that rent money is a public benefit are irrelevant.

      Your comments about the apartment being non-conforming are also irrelevant. State law and City policy say Leage can’t live on a tidelands lease site. “non-conforming” has nothing to do with it.

      You appear to be implying that code issues with Leage’s apartment are the issue and attempting to draw a parallel between that situation and Irons’ apartment building, but again, such arguments are irrelevant. Codes are not the point. The point is that tidelands grant lease lands are not for residential use.

      As for the mayor raising rents in an apartment building he bought, that is hardly unusual and it is most certainly not illegal. It appears that you may not have considered the fact that raising the rents may have been necessary to fix any code issues.

      Regardless, however, that building is NOT on a tidelands grant lease site, so it has nothing to do with the issues discussed in the article, and there is no reason to bring it up other than an attempt to find an excuse to attack the mayor.

      It is possible that the live-aboards and the person living at the far end of the Embarcadero are not in the Tidelands lease area, but if they are, then it is probably also illegal for them to be living where they are.

      (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
      • givemeabreak says:

        Perhaps the mayor can rent one of his new places out to mbhomeless. After-all the mayor cares about EVERYONE…you know all of the small folks in town …..right? Seems it would be the noble thing for his majesty to do.

        (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
  3. Human Reason says:

    I have personal knowledge that Irons knew after the CCC staff report came out that the project was going to be approved. That is why iIrons decided to pass the resolution, you can’t change the facts to suit you.

    (0) 14 Total Votes - 7 up - 7 down
    • Human Reason says:

      This was actually suppose to be in response to Mbact aka LS in regard to the WWTP and the CCC below

      (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
    • mbactivist1 says:

      Word games. The CCC staff report “coming out” and Commssioners actually reading and studying it thoroughly are two entirely different things.

      Once they studied the staff report, the Commissioners would not and could not have approved the project. That project violated numerous LCP provisions AND it could not be permitted because of the zoning. The site is zoned for light industrial. A WWTP requires zoning for heavy industrial. The LCP would have required a change to allow the project, and there are major hazards at that site.

      You cannot change the facts to suit you.

      Once again,

      1. It is certainly possible that they might have voted to approve the project BEFORE they were fully informed of the its numerous LCP violations. It is the CCC staff’s job to make sure that the Commission knows of any such violations so they will not make a decision that violates a community’s LCP. Once the Commissioners learned of all the violations,there was no way they would have approved that project. They can’t do that. The LCP is based on the Coastal Act, and they would have been violating not just a local plan, but their own rules.

      2. After they read the staff report and became aware of all the LCP violations, the Commissioners unanimously denied the permit, which was the only proper course of action for them to take.

      (1) 9 Total Votes - 5 up - 4 down
      • mbactivist1 says:

        Oh, and by the way, if you watched the meeting and listened to the Commissioners’ discussion (I did), you know that, as reported in the Tribune, “Most of the commissioners praised Morro Bay for moving away from an ill-conceived project and proactively tackling issues, such as protecting water quality and preparing for sea level rise.”

        (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
        • mb20 says:

          Just because they, “praised,” the decision doesn’t mean it was good one.
          The CCC was in shock that Morro Bay would just give up a project that was on track to get approved for 50 million dollars less.

          That whole escapade was the CCC saying, “Well I mean if you want to pay 100 million dollars for a wastewater treatment plant power to you, but don’t you dare come back to us and try to change your mind.”

          And that is how Irons sufficiently ruined the WWTP…

          (1) 7 Total Votes - 4 up - 3 down
          • mbactivist1 says:

            Are you actually saying you believe that the CCC praised Morro Bay’s decision because they were in shock? I don’t think too many people are going to buy into that theory, mb20, especially if they listen to the meeting proceedings for themselves.

            Anyone who wants to know what really happened can do that and then make up his/her own mind. All the meetings are available online at
            http://www.cal-span.org/cgi-bin/media.pl?folder=CCC

            (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  4. shawn_estrada says:

    User comments here crack me up. It’s like reading a jump to conclusions mat. Mr. Rice, you have no clue about use permits and what’s illegal. Let me start by saying, nothing in this state is “grandfathered in”. It just jargon made up by real estate folks, contractors and lay persons. This is a very easy mystery to solve, and anyone who wants to take the time can figure this out.

    If the caretaker unit was constructed with either a county use permit, or through a building permit issued by the county, than the structure is considered a “non-conforming use”. Which means that the unit can legally exist, especially if it were constructed prior to the creation of the tidelands area by the state. It doesn’t just disappear. If it did, it would be considered a taking because you would be depriving the property owner of use rights established prior to the designation, thus would need to be compensated.

    When a structure or use is considered “non-conforming” than the use or structure cannot be modified or the use usually needs to be utilized as it was consistent with Morro Bay’s non-conforming use regulations. It is as simple as that. If the use is no longer used as a caretakers residence, typically a city or county has a trigger stating that the use needs to than conform with the regulations either through a time limit if the use is vacant or if destroyed by a fire or other event.

    Any activist should simply go to the county assesses office and request a building record of the structure (it is public record). Than match up the permit (if they exist). If no permits are recorded after building permits were required than all bets are off.

    Just because someone applies for a cup, than withdraws it doesn’t make it an illegal act. It could have been solved through review of building records and other records of the property that staff had done as a party of their application review (and in I don’t work for Morro Bay).

    (15) 25 Total Votes - 20 up - 5 down
  5. Human Reason says:

    Very sad sham. The building was built before the City incorporated. The use permit and original lease from the County allowed for caretakers unit.

    (3) 31 Total Votes - 17 up - 14 down
    • slophocles says:

      Maybe we shouldn’t have elected someone with so many conflicts of interest. How many votes does he have to recuse himself from? It can’t be good for the voters to have a councilman sitting out of that many decisions. Maybe he should have stayed out of politics if there are things to hide.

      (3) 29 Total Votes - 16 up - 13 down
      • taxpayer says:

        Maybe we shouldn’t have elected a mayor with no experience. He has already cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and is on his way to costing us millions more with his requesting a denial of the wastewater treatment plant in front of the CCC. The people of Morro Bay are waking up to the fact that they made a big mistake in their choice of Jamie Irons. Every property owner in this city should sign the recall petition.

        (12) 42 Total Votes - 27 up - 15 down
        • mbactivist1 says:

          More recaller propaganda. The ones who cost us millions are the previous Councils that insisted on moving forward with a project that was doomed from the start.

          (-2) 20 Total Votes - 9 up - 11 down
          • Human Reason says:

            Why do you think CCC staff delayed 6 months to bring the WWTP project to hearing? Why do you think the Mayor passed a resolution telling the CCC to deny the project? Because the CCC Staff and the Mayor knew that the CCC was going to approve the project. The vote would have been 7-4. Irons is getting rid of any staff that knows this to be the truth. It will all come out.

            (1) 17 Total Votes - 9 up - 8 down
            • mbactivist1 says:

              Your fiction is getting wilder and wilder. There is no way the CCC would have approved that project. Read the staff report. Read the letter that the CCC staff wrote to the City when the DEIR was issued. That project violated so many aspects of the City’s Local Coastal Plan that it could never have been approved.

              Beyond that, in case you have forgotten, the zoning of that area is for light industrial – another reason that the CCC could not have approved the project.

              (1) 21 Total Votes - 11 up - 10 down
              • Human Reason says:

                CCC Staff routinely gets over turned by the CCC. Take a look at the August CCC Agenda and you will find a Morro Bay and Santa Cuz project that Staff were adamantly opposed to but the CCC approved.

                If there was “no way” CCC would have approved the project then why did CCC Staff delay the project hearing 6 months until the new council was seated?

                If there was “no way” CCC would have approved the project then why did the Mayor fire the already paid for consultant McCabe?

                If there was “no way” CCC would have approved the project then why did the Mayor write a resolution telling the CCC to deny the project?

                It can absolutely 100% be proven under oath that the CCC Staff and Irons knew that the project was going to be approved and took steps to stop the project.

                Thats a fact!!!!!

                (4) 12 Total Votes - 8 up - 4 down
                • mbactivist1 says:

                  Rather than deal with this rerun of previous claims, which are essentially meaningless in terms of the WWTP project, l will point out some very important facts that ARE important.

                  1. It is certainly possible that they might have voted to approve the project BEFORE they were fully informed of the its numerous LCP violations. It is the CCC staff’s job to make sure that the Commission knows of any such violations so they will not make a decision that violates a community’s LCP. Once the Commissioners learned of all the violations,there was no way they would have approved that project. They can’t do that. The LCP is based on the Coastal Act, and they would have been violating not just a local plan, but their own rules.

                  2. After they read the staff report and became aware of all the LCP violations, the Commissioners unanimously denied the permit, which was the only proper course of action for them to take.
                  ged

                  (-4) 16 Total Votes - 6 up - 10 down
              • RU4Real says:

                More FAIRY TALES mbactivist1???

                (8) 10 Total Votes - 9 up - 1 down
    • mbactivist1 says:

      I believe that what Shawn_Estrada said indicates that even if what you say is true, it may not mean they could legally have a caretaker’s unit now.

      (-5) 9 Total Votes - 2 up - 7 down
  6. Kevin Rice says:

    This entire controversy is a sham. Pre-existing uses do not require a permit and are not “illegal” in any way.

    (-1) 43 Total Votes - 21 up - 22 down
    • kayaknut says:

      This is not always correct, if something is done illegally but gets by with it until the right people find out, it is still illegal. It’s just now it must change.

      Your statement rings with the saying, “It’s only illegal if someone finds out”, sorry many live their lives that way but it is wrong, and in this case illegal.

      (7) 29 Total Votes - 18 up - 11 down
      • probiz says:

        Do you have any facts indicating that this unit did not exist prior to the creation of the “Tidelands Leases” or is it speculation on your part? MBactivist is not a source of accurate information if that is what you are basing your assumptions on. The author of this piece seems to lack as well.

        (1) 19 Total Votes - 10 up - 9 down
        • kayaknut says:

          One has to wonder, since this thread was started by Mr. Rice stating ” Pre-existing uses do not require a permit” and did not provide any proof, why you didn’t ask that? My guess would be the real truth is not what you want.

          (11) 17 Total Votes - 14 up - 3 down
        • mbactivist1 says:

          Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain….. :)

          (1) 13 Total Votes - 7 up - 6 down
      • Kevin Rice says:

        kayaknut: No evidence has been proffered that supports your insinuations. Your statement rings with, “Shoot first. Ask questions later.” The antagonists here seem to live their lives that way but it is wrong…

        (-2) 20 Total Votes - 9 up - 11 down
        • kayaknut says:

          As easily can be said here, Mirror meet Mr. Rice.

          (1) 15 Total Votes - 8 up - 7 down
      • RU4Real says:

        We ARE living in the MOST corrupt County in California after all!!!!!

        (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down

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