Sweat-soaked from a morning run on the West Orange Trail, Daniel Gutierrez caught his breath under a shade tree in Oakland, near the spot where the town plans to build an art and history center.
The center, partly funded with tourist-tax dollars, will have restrooms, a concession stand, a covered front porch for trail users and an air-conditioned art gallery.
“That would be a plus,” said Gutierrez, 28, an accountant and a semi-pro soccer referee who often works out on the trail with his wife, bicyclist Linda Martinez.
But the project, which figures to be popular with the thousands of bicyclists and runners who use the trail every week, has run into a snag with Kyle and Katja Williams, who own the property next door.
“We ourselves had intentions, when we purchased our building, to turn the front of it into a cafe,” the couple wrote in a May 25 letter to town officials objecting to possible infringements.
They bought the long, two-story office building on North Tubb Street for $475,000 about nine months ago.
The couple, who didn’t return calls for comment, said in their letter they bought the property “mainly because we fell in love with the area and everyone we met out here was incredibly nice to work with.”
But they then clashed with the zoning board over a non-conforming sign for their business tenants and now over the location and size of the town’s project.