City of Alameda "Crab Cove Open Space Expansion Initiative" Zoning Amendment (November 2014)

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A City of Alameda "Initiative for Expansion of Open Space at Crab Cove" Zoning Amendment ballot question did not go on the November 4, 2014 election ballot for voters in the city of Alameda in Alameda County, California. The city council enacted the initiative directly, instead of putting it before voters. Thus, the outcome was the same as if the measure had been approved by voters.[1]

This measure required and authorized the city to rezone a neighborhood on the Robert Crown Memorial State Beach near Crab Cove, commonly called Neptune Point, to be an open space area, rather than residential land. It also called for the protection and development of the 3.899 acre parcel in question as part of the East Bay Regional Park District.[2]

The initiative was started in response to a housing development project proposed by Roseville-based developer Tim Lewis Communities to construct a housing complex on the parcel of land in question. The group of residents called the Friends of Crown Beach, supported by a local chapter of the Sierra Club, kicked off its campaign to gather the signatures required to qualify its initiative for the ballot on March 8, 2014, at the Aeolian Yacht Club.[2]

Background

Council-approved zoning

In July 2012, the Alameda City Council voted to rezone several parcels of land to allow residential development. Neptune Point was among the parcels selected by the city council to be used to meet the housing needs of the city.[3]

Measure WW

East Bay Regional Park District voters overwhelmingly approved Measure WW in 2008, which authorized the district to issue bonds in the amount of $500 million to "[restore] urban creeks, protect wildlife, purchase/save open space, wetlands/shoreline, acquire/develop/improve local and regional parks, trails and recreational facilities." This measure, according to supporters of open space expansion, called for the purchase of Neptune Point by the East Bay Regional Park District when it became available. Proponents of the Neptune Point initiative argue that Measure WW showed the voters want more park space, rather than a new housing development.[2]

Support

Supporters

The group behind this initiative was called Friends of Crown Beach.[4]

Other supporters included:

Arguments in favor

Karin Lucas, a former city council member and a member of Friends of Crown Beach, said, "Crown Beach is a recreational and environmental public asset that benefits many Bay Area residents and visitors. It would be a shame to squander the opportunity to expand the park for the benefit of a few wealthy homeowners and one builder."[2]

Opposition

Opponents

  • Roseville-based developer Tim Lewis Communities[5]

Arguments against

Those who supported the residential development of Neptune Point, including the city council, which voted to approve the rezoning of the land in question in July of 2014, argued that the city needs to meet certain affordable housing and residential needs and that these basic housing requirements trump the desire for more park areas.[3]

The project

Campaign images used by Friends of Crown Beach to compare the housing development plan to the park space plan

Housing development

Roseville-based developer Tim Lewis Communities offered $3 million to buy the 3.889 acre parcel of land in question as the location of the construction of a housing complex.[2]

Park development

Supporters of this initiative, who opposed the housing development construction, wanted the East Bay Regional Park District to use Measure WW funds to incorporate Neptune Point as part of the Crown Beach recreational area and preserve it as publicly accessible park space. The Friends of Crown Beach website provided the image to the right, which, according to initiative supporters, compares the Crown Beach area with the proposed housing development and with the park zoning called for by the initiative.[2][4]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in California

The group Friends of Crown Beach needed 4,400 valid signatures to qualify its initiative for the ballot. Seventy-five volunteers working with the group over six weeks said they had collected over 6,000 signatures from registered voters. The group was told after the final verification process that it had succeeded in collecting enough valid signatures to qualify its initiative for the ballot. This gave the city council the option of enacting it directly or putting it before voters on November 4. The council decided to enact the initiative ordinance directly, as well as a companion ordinance designed to preclude any undue or excessive expense on the city to maintain the land rezoned by the Open Space Expansion Initiative or defend it against litigation.[3][1][6]

Related measures

Approveda East Bay Regional Park District bond proposition, Measure WW (November 2008)

See also

External links

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References