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Smart Voter
Alameda County, CA November 7, 2006 Election
Measure K
Open Space and Restricted Industrial Plan Designations
City of Fremont

Initiative Measure - Majority Approval Required

Fail: 14,977 / 34.2% Yes votes ...... 28,844 / 65.8% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 4 5:41pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (123/123)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

City of Fremont Open Space and Restricted Industrial Plan Designations Initiative Measure. Shall the voters of the City of Fremont adopt the Initiative to Change the Open Space and Restricted Industrial General Plan Designations for a Portion of Fremont's Northern Plain Planning Area to Agriculture?

Impartial Analysis from Fremont City Attorney
This Initiative applies to approximately 520 acres of land held by two owners located in Fremont's Northern Plain Planning Area. The Initiative proposes to change the General Plan land use designations of "Open Space," "Restricted Industrial" and "Private Open Space" to "Agriculture." The area is bounded by the Alameda Creek Flood Control Channel, the Southern Pacific Railroad, Paseo Padre Parkway, State Route 84, Dumbarton Quarry and the Coyote Hills Regional Park. It is adjacent to existing residential and business park developments and public open space.

The "Agriculture" designation would increase the minimum parcel size for new parcels to 80 acres. As a result, the area could be subdivided into approximately 9 parcels. New structures could cover up to 2 acres of any parcel. Uses permitted under the Initiative include: one single-family residence per parcel, grazing, horticulture, floriculture and arboriculture, but not commercial vineyards or Christmas tree farms. Some commercial recreation is permitted.

Alternatively, the Initiative allows owners to donate property west of Ardenwood Boulevard (approximately 425 acres) to public agencies, and receive, in exchange, the right to develop up to 120 residential units east of Ardenwood Boulevard.

The Initiative provides that to the extent courts determine the Initiative violates constitutional rights, including "taking" of property, the Initiative's provisions would not apply and the City would be required to determine what minimum development would avoid the constitutional violation.

The Initiative states it shall not be applied to preclude City compliance with State-mandated obligations to provide for housing. It limits the City's discretion to use the area to meet its housing responsibilities and shifts the obligation to other parts of the City (except the Hill Area), except under specified circumstances.
No substantive changes to the Initiative's regulations may be made without another citywide vote.

There are three existing land use designations on the site. Approximately 290 acres are "Open Space/Study Area/Urban Reserve" which allows 1-acre parcels and provides that the City may permit urban development under certain conditions. The change to "Agriculture" increases the 1-acre minimum parcel size to 80 acres.

Another 90 acres are currently designated "Restricted Industrial." The owner has been and will continue to be assessed by the City for its share of completed infrastructure improvements. The City could face refund claims if the owner loses the benefit of the assessment by being designated "Agriculture."

The remaining 140 acres is currently designated as "Private Open Space." This area is the subject of an existing dispute between the City and property owner and the Initiative will complicate the resolution of the dispute. The impact of the Initiative is unpredictable. The Initiative would likely subject the City to litigation. It restricts land use and simultaneously specifies scenarios under which its restrictions might not apply. Therefore, it is difficult to determine the amount and intensity of development that may result.

s/Harvey Levine
City Attorney

  News and Analysis

The Argus

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Arguments For Measure K Arguments Against Measure K
VOTE YES on Measure K to protect the natural heritage and wildlife of Coyote Hills from a massive new housing development, prevent unnecessary street traffic, save taxpayer money, and preserve our quality of life.

Measure K was placed on the ballot by the signatures of over 13,000 Fremont residents. Endorsers include Ohlone Audubon Society, Sierra Club, Greenbelt Alliance, Supervisor Gail Steele, and many others.

The 520 acres of undeveloped farmland, creeks, and seasonal wetlands between Coyote Hills Regional Park and the Ardenwood community (known as the Coyote Hills Natural Area) is one of the last traces of open space in Fremont. The regional park and natural area are home to a diverse wildlife population of black-tailed deer, foxes, over 170 species of resident and migratory birds, and other wildlife.

Developers have proposed a massive, high-density subdivision of 1,200 houses on this land. The proposed development would destroy wildlife habitats, add 18,000 daily car trips to the streets of Fremont, increase pollution, and place an unnecessary burden on local emergency services, on our schools, and on the taxpayers who fund them.

Our city has grown enormously. Left unchecked, this growth will destroy our last remaining open space and quality of life. We must act now before it's too late and the Coyote Hills Natural Area is lost forever.

Measure K enacts long-term protections for Coyote Hills' streams, wetlands, wildlife habitats, and scenic views, preserving the Coyote Hills Natural Area as a buffer of open space around Coyote Hills Regional Park. These protections can only be changed by a vote of the people.

Measure K designates the land for agriculture, uses supportive of open space, and a small number of rural homes.

Please VOTE YES on Measure K to protect Coyote Hills for the people of Fremont and future generations.

s/Ohlone Audubon Society
by Evelyn Cormier, President, Board of Directors
s/Richard S. Godfrey M.D.,
s/Carin High
Representative, Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge
s/Mary J. Rodriguez
Retired Elementary School Librarian
s/Vinton Bacon
Executive Committee Member, Southern Alameda County Group, Sierra Club

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Does the idea of protecting open space by selling it to very rich people so they can build huge mansions seem like a good idea to you?

What about rezoning an old industrial salt works, where nothing will grow, as "Agricultural"?

These are just two of many things wrong with Measure K. The intent may be worthy. Everyone wants more open space, but this measure does not preserve open space, protect Coyote Hills, or enhance habitats.

Despite what the proponents argue:

  • None of the land affected is even in Coyote Hills Regional Park!
  • It permits mega-mansions up to 20,000 square feet.
  • Their initiative claims to protect wildlife habitat, but includes no qualified, independent professional or regulatory agency determinations of appropriate protections.
  • This measure encourages mansions and does nothing to promote farming!

Proponents ignore significant risks for Fremont:
  • Huge costs to a City struggling with a budget deficit.
  • Real risks to taxpayers in the $50,000,000 range, more than $500 per household.
  • Lost funding for police, firefighters, paramedics, libraries, parks, streets, and more.
  • Lost jobs and economic development.
  • Loss of property rights of the owners, good stewards of the land for 150 years.

Read this measure. Check the facts. Don't be fooled.

Read the City Attorney's Impartial Analysis. He says "The impact of the Initiative is unpredictable. The Initiative would likely subject the City to litigation."

The risk is great. This measure brings no open space preservation; only mega-mansions, uncertainty, and legal liabilities. Please vote NO on K.

s/John Landers
Retired High School Teacher/Environmental Activist
s/Donna Olsen
Environmental Consultant
s/Gus Morrison
Former Mayor of Fremont
Campaign Manager + Committee Against the Patterson Ranch Initiative
s/Denise Mapelli
Fremont School Teacher/Teacher of the Year 2003
s/Dan Lydon
Retired Fire Chief/Fremont Planning Commissioner

Measure K is the wrong way to plan for Fremont's future! Read the initiative for yourself.

It promises parkland. It delivers nine huge residential estates, fenced off and closed to the public. It promises open space. It delivers mansions, ten times the size of a typical home.

It promises protection of natural species and open views. It delivers private development, no species, habitat, or wetland restoration, no enhancements, and no permanent protections.

Measure K could create costly consequences, including:

  • Fremont taxpayers (we) are at risk to refund one property owner $20,000,000 to repay improvement assessments.
  • We are at risk to pay another property owner up to $30,000,000 for creating an open space easement.
  • Fremont could lose thousands of jobs and more than $1,000,000 a year in General Fund revenue from lost high tech development.
  • Longtime Fremont landowners lose their property rights without compensation, environmental studies, or even a fair hearing.
  • The Patterson family has owned most of this property for 150 years. They created Ardenwood Park and now wish to process a creative plan dedicating 65% of their land to permanent open space, protecting the park and refuge, addressing school needs, mitigating traffic impacts, and providing affordable housing. The initiative makes this goal problematical.

State law requires a thoughtful, deliberate, democratic process for land use changes, including environmental review, economic analysis, community meetings, and public hearings.

This public process needs to be given time to work to defend the public interest, to extract permanent concessions from any applicant and to listen to the public input. An identical process created Ardenwood Park and Mission Peak Preserve.

We urge your NO vote on this ill-conceived measure which would make nine very wealthy people happy, while we struggle with the burdensome costs of this initiative.

s/Bob Wasserman
Mayor of Fremont
s/Donna Olsen
Environmental Consultant
s/Gus Morrison
Former Mayor of Fremont
Campaign Manager + Committee Against the Patterson Ranch Initiative
s/Guy Emanuele
Retired School Superintendent/Former Fremont School Board Member
s/Dan Lydon
Retired Fire Chief/Fremont Planning Commissioner

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Vote YES on Measure K

The beautiful open space and wildlife habitats surrounding Coyote Hills Regional Park deserve the strong protections that Measure K will provide. That's why it has been endorsed by organizations you can trust: Ohlone Audubon Society, Sierra Club, Greenbelt Alliance, and Alameda Creek Alliance.

Measure K calls for true citizen democracy: over 13,000 Fremont residents signed petitions to put Measure K on the ballot and keep a critical development decision in the hands of voters, not politicians. At stake is the loss of wildlife habitat and the increase in traffic caused by as many as 1,200 new housing units.

Opponents claim supposed financial risks exist, but why aren't they mentioned in the 150-page official City report?

What the official City report does say is that the proposed mega-development will generate "substantial," "unanticipated," and "unplanned" impacts on vital City services "for schools, police, fire, and EMS services, domestic water, and wastewater." The impact to the Fremont Unified School District alone "shows a shortfall of almost $10.4 million."

What the City report says about traffic is equally bleak: 17,984 additional daily car trips.

The Patterson family has already developed over 5,000 houses in Fremont. Enough is enough.

You know the truth: Development doesn't pay for itself; we all do.

This important land use decision belongs in the hands of you, the voters.

Please Vote YES on Measure K to protect our schools, our natural environment, and our quality of life.

s/Transportation and Land Use Coalition
by Margaret Okuzumi, President, Board of Dircetors
s/Greenbelt Alliance
by David Reid, East Bay Field Representative
s/Lorna Jaynes
Attorney and Mediator
s/Scott Taylor
Secretary, Board of Directors, Alameda Creek Alliance
s/Susan Smith, Ph.D.
L.C.S.W., Founding Member, Friends of Coyote Hills and Fremont

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Created: January 4, 2007 09:29 PST
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