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Monday, Aug 8, 2022

Easement Rift Jeopardizes Future of Mian Plaza

 Completion of Mian Plaza and Conference Center in Camarillo has hit a speed bump over the city’s demand for an easement to a gas station neighboring the project’s Phase II site.

Developer Tahir Mian said he will not get his certificate of occupancy for Phase I nor the permit to build Phase II if he doesn’t not sign off on granting the easement of a roadway to Las Posas Car Wash Center gas station. 

The road – which extends between Las Posas Road and Park N Ride Boulevard – is owned by Mian. His company, Dallas-based Mian Development Corp., purchased the land for the conference center from the city of Camarillo in 2015 for $5.4 million.

But now Mian, a Camarillo resident, said the city recorded paperwork – making it final – without his knowledge or consent. The paperwork was an agreement about the easement.

“Last time I signed in good faith and City Engineer Tali Tucker was supposed to hold it,” Mian said. “And after nine months, I got caught by surprise that it was filed.”

Mian said he feels pressure to give an easement for the piece of land that he has fenced up, blocking any vehicles from the gas station from going through. The roadway runs between Mian’s project and the car wash owned by entrepreneur David Delrahim. 

Mian does not want to take down the fence surrounding the strip of land because he feels it may open him up to liability and potential fire hazards with fuel trucks. By signing the easement deed that the city wants him to sign, Mian would allow the gas station to share the roadway yet the financial burden of maintaining it would remain with him.

“If I give him the land for free, the land is under my name,”’ Mian said. “If there’s a gas delivery truck that turns over (and people are injured), who’s responsible?”

Mian said that he is in dispute with City Manager Greg Ramirez. According to Mian, he was told at a meeting by Ramirez, “‘You’re getting no permit until the easement is resolved.’”

Mian said he has heard that Ramirez is friends with the gas station owner and believes they are trying to wrest the roadway from him.

City response

Replying by email to the Business Journal, Ramirez refuted Mian’s claims that the city had recorded his paperwork without his knowledge and stated that there is no personal connection between him and the car wash owner.

“The hotel conference center project was approved by Resolution No. 2017-138 which includes a number of conditions of approval,” Ramirez wrote. “At this time, Mr. Mian, is seeking a zone clearance for building permits for (Phase II) Buildings A and B, and Embassy Suites. As with all development projects in the city, a zone clearance cannot be issued until certain required conditions of approval have been satisfied. Currently, there are several outstanding items that must be completed prior to the city issuing a zone clearance for building permits.

 “Mr. Mian has been aware of the conditions of approval since the entitlements were approved on Dec. 13, 2017,” Ramirez continued. “The city has actively facilitated the completion of those items by outlining the outstanding items for Mr. Mian that are needed.”

 The Business Journal was not able to reach car wash owner Delrahim by press time.

Ticking clock

Construction began in August 2019 on the Mian Plaza and Conference Center of Camarillo, located across from the Camarillo Premium Outlets shopping center. It features a Home2 Suites by Hilton, an Embassy Suites, a 750-seat conference center plus retail and restaurants.

So far Mian has invested more than $30 million into the project, which, if completed, will cost him about $100 million.

However, with Phase I nearing completion, Mian cannot start on the Embassy Suites until he has a permit, and the city won’t give him the permit until he signs the easement deed.

If the permit issue is not resolved by May, Mian said he will move his crew to Ventura, where he is developing a 155-room boutique Hilton hotel. That would mean that resuming work on Mian Plaza could be delayed as much as two years and Camarillo would not have its conference center for at least four years.

Mian still wants the project to go forward and believes it would be best if he could sit down and discuss the issue directly with the gas station’s owner to reach a maintenance agreement. But so far, the owner has avoided him.  

Mian stated: “I’m not going to give land for free that I bought from the city.”

Former Camarillo senior civil engineer Troy Spayd, who left his position in February 2021, said that the easement should have been settled a long time ago.

“That was something that had to be resolved, it’s in the conditions of approval. He was supposed to have that before getting a grading permit. The city allowed him to move that milestone,” Spayd said, adding that “the city was more than lenient for (Mian) moving forward without having required permission.”

Michael Aushenker
Michael Aushenker
A graduate of Cornell University, Michael covers commercial real estate for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. Prior to the Business Journal, Michael covered the community and entertainment beats as a staff writer for various newspapers, including the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, The Palisadian-Post, The Argonaut and Acorn Newspapers. He has also freelanced for the Santa Barbara Independent, VC Reporter, Malibu Times and Los Feliz Ledger.

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