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Published July 7th, 2021
Town agrees to reformatted Wedgewood Weddings lease agreement
The Hacienda prepares for a wedding? Photo provided

Issues concerning some aspects of the lease agreement with Wedgewood Weddings, previously discussed during the June 9 town council meeting, sent staff back to the proverbial drawing board to make adjustments that were more beneficial to Moraga and its residents. Major concerns involved the term length of the agreement, lack of advanced warning to nearby neighbors, assignment provisions, and noise levels.
According to Parks and Recreation Director Breyana Brandt's latest presentation during the June 23 council meeting, "The initial term lease was for 10 years, with two options to extend for an additional five years each. The extension options have been revised to enable the tenant to initiate the request to extend the lease at year eight of the initial 10-year period." If Wedgewood meets all provisions of the lease agreement, such as not defaulting on payments, being good custodians of the property called Hacienda de las Flores located at 2100 Donald Drive, and being a good neighbor, then the town would approve either of the five-year extension periods.
Community outreach involved sending an informational letter that was mailed to 145 residents within a 500-foot vicinity of the Hacienda informing recipients of the potential lease agreement, along with links to pertinent information from past meetings and town staff contact information.
The Assignment Provision was revised to ensure that operations continue as originally agreed, with a family-operated business model, in the event of any potential transfers or sales on Wedgewood's part.
? Once again, noise levels were addressed by staff. "Given the additional research and results of the noise simulation exercise, the maximum decibel level has been reduced from 80 dB to 75 dB." Brandt's report continues, "Staff maintains that the presence of an on-site event operator will ensure consistent management of the music and noise on the property. Currently, the town has limited ability to control noise as there is no staff on site. Current operations rely upon the event host's adherence to the noise restrictions and neighbor complaints."
? Those complaints were once again vocalized during the Public Comment portion of the meeting. Neighbors to the Hacienda expressed their anger at the consistently loud music during evening events, which some felt has gotten progressively worse over the last five years. One resident mentioned having emailed Wedgewood twice with questions and received no response to date.
? With regards to addressing all of the worries concerning the continuation of excessive noise under a Wedgewood managed venue, Council Member David Stromberg responded, "The facility that the town owns is intended to be used in the manner that it has been and will continue to be under Wedgewood - holding affairs, weddings, other kinds of affairs. We are not going to stop having affairs at the Hacienda. I'm sorry that you have had your personal lives interfered with by DJs who were irresponsible in the past."
? Stromberg went on to say that the town council is responsible for looking for ways to generate revenue for Moraga and that this new arrangement with Wedgewood will help do that.
? Speaking in general Stromberg continued, "When you bought your home and you knew that it was located in close proximity to the Hacienda, you bought your home with the knowledge that it was used for weddings, and weddings have music. If you buy a house near the Soda Aquatic Center, do you have the right to say that they shouldn't have swim meets there? If you buy a home near the Campo football field, do you have a right to say you're not allowed to have football games Friday night there?
? "The best you can expect and ask for is that someone take reasonable charge to keep within a realm of tolerance the interference that you will be subjected to during the term of ownership of your houses."
? A new provision to the lease requires an initial capital investment in the property from Wedgewood in the amount of $253,000. Additionally, the town will be able to reallocate Parks and Rec staff to develop new revenue generating programs and work on special projects, rather than spend their time on event planning, when the lease takes effect on Nov. 1.
? With the established base rent per month of $20,000 and Wedgewood's contribution of $48,000 annually toward the capital investment fund for the property commencing 2024, the town council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution authorizing the town manager to enter into an initial 10-year lease agreement with Wedgewood Weddings for exclusive event and wedding management of the Hacienda.

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