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City of Palo Alto
Ordinance - Majority Approval Required
Pass: 9,946 / 64.62% Yes votes ...... 5,445 / 35.38% No votes
Index of all Measures
|Results as of Nov 14 9:34am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (33/33)|
|Information shown below: Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text|
Shall ten acres of existing parkland in Byxbee Park be undedicated for the exclusive purpose of building a processing facility for yard trimmings, food waste and other organic material?
Palo Alto Charter, Article VIII limits the use of property owned or controlled by the City and dedicated as parkland. Dedicated parkland may only be used for park, playground, recreation or conservation purposes. Dedicated parkland may not be sold or used for non-park purposes unless a majority of the electorate vote to undedicate the property.
Byxbee Park consists of 126 acres previously used as a municipal landfill. The ordinance would remove a 10 acre parcel ("Site") from dedication as parkland for the exclusive purpose of building a facility for converting yard trimmings, food waste, other municipal organics and/or sewage sludge from the regional wastewater treatment plant by biological and/or other equally environmentally protective technology ("Compost Facility"). The ordinance includes a Site diagram and legal description.
The ordinance makes changes to several local planning documents and specifies certain development criteria for the Site. First, it amends the Site's Comprehensive Plan designation from Public Parks to Major Institutions/Public Facilities. Second, it amends the Baylands Master Plan to clarify that a compost site could be located on the Site and that the final grading plan for Byxbee Park may be revised to accommodate the new Compost Facility. Third, the ordinance amends the description of Public Facility in the zoning ordinance to clarify that a public agency may enter into a lease with another party. This would allow the City to lease the Site to a third party for exclusive use as a Compost Facility while retaining site ownership. Fourth, it mandates that the Compost Facility should include all feasible methods for mitigating any significant environmental impacts identified during environmental review, including visual, sound and odor impacts and specifies that access to the Compost Facility shall be by Embarcadero Way.
While the ordinance would re-zone the Site to Public Facilities, the only permitted use would be a Compost Facility as defined in the ordinance. Other uses which are generally allowed in areas zoned as Public Facilities would not be allowed at the Site. As a result, the land would sit fallow unless and until a Composting Facility were built.
The ordinance authorizes but does not require the City to build and operate a Compost Facility at the Site. If the Site is not utilized as a Compost Facility within 10 years of passage of the ordinance, the ordinance authorizes the City Council to re-dedicate the Site as parkland. This ten-year limitation only applies to the City Council. The electorate could vote to rededicate earlier.
A vote "For the Ordinance" will undedicate the Site as parkland and adopt the changes to the planning documents affecting the Site. A vote "Against the Ordinance" will retain the Site as dedicated parkland.
This ordinance will become effective if a majority of those voting on the measure vote in favor.
Dated: August 23, 2011
s/ Molly S. Stump
Palo Alto Online
|Arguments For Measure E||Arguments Against Measure E|
|Forty years ago, before climate change was an issue, City Council dedicated our dump to be added to Byxbee Park upon closure, which happened in July.
Today's need for clean energy and the threats of climate change are the great issues of our era, demanding fiscally responsible action.
In this context, the current plan for handling our organic waste no longer makes sense. It includes:
Disposing of waste costs money: The question is which option would cost the least and be best for the environment. The Feasibility Study commissioned by City Council found that building a composting facility in Palo Alto would likely save the City at least $18 million dollars over 20 years.
Vote YES on Measure E!
s/ Patrick Burt
s/ Ellen Fletcher
s/ Donald Kennedy
s/ Dana Tom
s/ Peter Drekmeier
Palo Alto adopted a "sustainable future" in 1965 when voters dedicated all parks, including our Baylands, to protect them from industrial and public works developments.
Misleading Information. "Climate Change" is shamelessly being misapplied to sell us a waste processing plant in our Baylands - the same way High Speed Rail was used to sell us "low cost" transportation. Just like High Speed Rail, this proposed project will certainly exceed its cost and greenhouse gas projections, and will have unforeseen environmental impacts.
Exaggerated Greenhouse Gas Savings. All 32 waste disposal options analyzed generate greenhouse gases. The differences are minimal, ranging from -1134 to +2200 tons. Our waste hauler will take yard waste 6 miles to SMaRT in Sunnyvale. Food scraps go 12 miles to San Jose. Only 3 trucks will go daily from SMaRT to Gilroy. Our Compost Task Force found transportation GHG emissions a minor issue.
Sewage Sludge Incinerator Argument Irrelevant. Palo Alto plans to retire its incinerator and process sewage sludge using modern technology on the Sewage Plant site. Most of the attainable green energy will come from that. No parkland required.
Uncertain Technology. Proponents' "benefits" rely on unproven technology that has never been used anywhere in the world for sewage sludge. This would require building a costly and technologically risky pilot plant. The next likely technology costs at least $33 million more than Palo Alto's planned regional solution.
Don't give up irreplaceable parkland for this expensive, risky, and unnecessary experiment.
Vote NO on Measure E!
s/ Lanie Wheeler
s/ Vicky Ching
s/ Mike Cobb
s/ Karen Holman
s/ Emily M. Renzel
|VOTE NO. Don't undedicate 10 acres of our Baylands park. When the government looks to our parks for public works projects, and voters allow it, NO park will ever be safe from such land grabs. Once irreplaceable parkland is gone, it's gone forever.
VOTE NO. It costs too much. This industrial waste processing facility:
VOTE NO. Don't undedicate 10 acres of our Baylands park. This initiative used misleading information. There is:
s/ Sid Espinosa
s/ Judith G Kleinberg
s/ Gary Fazzino
s/ Greg Schmid
s/ Enid Pearson
City Council commissioned an exhaustive feasibility study to determine the objective facts about processing our organic waste. The report analyzed eight alternatives and found that building a composting facility in Palo Alto would produce the most renewable energy (valued at $1.5 million per year), reduce the greatest amount of greenhouse gases, and likely save millions of dollars. The report is available at http://tinyurl.com/PAGreenEnergy.
Vote Yes. The site, referred to by opponents as "our Baylands park," is a recently closed dump right next to the sewage treatment plant. You can view photos at http://www.PAGreenEnergy.org.
Vote Yes. Opponents' claim that 80% of Palo Alto's waste is already being exported is misleading; that figure includes mostly non-recyclable trash. A composting facility in Palo Alto could process 100% of our organic waste locally, turning it into valuable resources for our community.
Vote Yes. Opponents base their argument on an oversized project that is unnecessary for Palo Alto's needs. It includes a rent charge that is eight times that proposed by the City's independent appraiser. A realistic project would save us $1 million per year. Refuse rates will be lower than with the alternatives.
Measure E simply gives our City options to choose the best technology and design. A project will proceed only with Council approval after full environmental and economic review.
We can't afford to lose this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Vote YES on E!
s/ Larry Klein
s/ Walter V. Hays
s/ Deborah D. Mytels
s/ Stephen Levy
s/ Jim Burch
|Full Text of Measure E|
PALO ALTO GREEN ENERGY AND COMPOST INITIATIVE
The people of the City of Palo Alto do ordain as follows:
1. The 126-acre Palo Alto Landfill is scheduled to close in 2012, and is currently designated as part of Byxbee Park.
2. The closing will terminate the current composting operation at the landfill. Ceasing local composting will cause significant environmental impacts, as Palo Alto ("the City" herein) will have to haul yard trimmings and food waste to locations outside the City for disposal or composting, thereby generating greenhouse gases and depriving Palo Altans of both yard trimming drop-off and local compost.
3. The incineration of sewage sludge residues at Palo Alto's regional wastewater treatment plant also generates significant greenhouse gases and creates a hazardous ash residue now disposed of in the Central Valley.
4. These adverse environmental impacts can be substantially reduced by applying biological conversion technologies.
5. Such technologies would also generate renewable energy and high-quality compost, as well as achieve substantial savings by avoiding the cost of natural gas to operate the incinerator.
6. Revenue for the City could be generated through the sale of renewable energy and compost, fees for receipt of organic materials, and savings in fuel purchases. Funding for construction could come from sources other than the General Fund.
7. Locating the facility next to the wastewater treatment plant, as recommended by Palo Alto's Blue Ribbon Task Force, would avoid transport of sewage sludge and allow other savings. There is no other suitable location in the City.
8. The facility would require that a small portion of the former landfill not yet developed as usable parkland, about ten acres, be removed from park dedication.
9. The Council may compensate for the aforesaid removal by dedicating other areas of equal or greater acreage to parkland.
10. No funding currently exists for development of Byxbee Park. The Council could use the revenue generated as described in Finding 6 for that purpose.
1. Removal from Parkland.
"All that certain real property situated in the City of Palo Alto, County of Santa Clara, State of California and more particularly described as follows; commencing at a four by four fence post as shown on that Record of Survey filed with the Santa Clara County Recorder in book 258 page 4 and 5 on August 15th 1969; thence from said four by four fence post, South 88° 58' 50" East 415.54 feet; to a point on the southerly line of the Sewage Treatment Plant Parkland exclusion as said exclusion is shown on Exhibit A-2 of Section 22.08.020 of the Palo Alto Municipal Code, said point also being the True Point of Beginning for this description; thence from said True Point of Beginning the following four (4) courses and distances; south 36° 42' 20" East 209.06 feet; south 41° 31' 45" East 276.48 feet; south 53° 12' 33" East 180.61 feet; north 50° 22' 18" East 652.20 feet; thence North 41° 35' 41" West 633.72 feet to a point on said southerly line of the Sewage Treatment Plant Parkland exclusion; thence along said Sewage Treatment Plant Parkland exclusion, South 52° 42' 10" West 671.94 feet, to the True Point of Beginning."
An illustration of the Property is attached as Exhibit A.
2. Plan Amendments.