Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Invoke the Brown Act Time, Pt. Richmond



REJECTED CASINO DEVELOPER RETURNS TO PT. MOLATE WITH SETTLEMENT OFFER





- UPDATE:  City Council agrees to hear offer terms
- Offer includes property transfer and high intenstiy development

The "Winehaven Hotel" Project

A response to a Public Records Act request included documents that describe the proposed changes to the existing EIR for Pt. Molate developed for the former Tribal Destination Resort project, indicating that Upstream is rolling down a path to wind up the entitlement process for transfer and development of the property as quickly as possible, which can be gleaned from correspondence between Upstream and its contractors and City planning staff.
 
The documents also include a proposed conceptual project plan (click on image above to get full scale image) that shows development of 5 residential neighborhoods, including on pier frontage as well as flatlands and lowands downstream of an important watershed and riparian area, with a build out of over 1000 units of housing in addition to the commercial development in the Winehaven district.

This mass scale development is completely inappropriate for Pt. Molate. Previously earmarked open and public spaces would be consumed by housing - most of it multi-farmily residential with heights estimated between 75 and 100 feet.

Now after two CLOSED SESSIONS have taken place to review this offer, a third is scheduled for Tuesday July 19, 2016 with Upstream anxious to push this through prior to the City Council going on recess for the month of August.

PLEASE TELL CITY COUNCIL TO REJECT THIS "OFFER" FULLY.  The Pt. Molate Community Advisory Committee already has during its monthly July 2016 meeting.

Send an email to City Council right now and tell them NO. Download a sample email letter
(if link does not work, go to bottom of post)

--    email letter sample includes City Council email addresses
--    send the letter as an attachment or cut and paste the text.
--    Speak at council at 5PM before closed session begins (arrive by 4:45)

In partnership with the City of Richmond, CFSPM is sponsoring the Pt. Molate Beach Park Adopt-a-Beach program.  Be a part of this effort to keep the beach ship shape, and provide vital monitoring data to our partners.  CFSPM and the City of Richmond Parks Dept. will be sponsoring cleanup days and providing adopt-a-beach caretaker training throughout 2015/2016 season.

Sign up for the Citizens for a Sustainable Pt. Molate Newsletter


Saving Point Molate Again
By David Helvarg, Exec. Director Blue Frontier Campaign –
July 18, 2016

CFSPM Board Chair pens Op Ed decrying secrecy and irresponsible development at Pt. Molate

The late Peter Douglas, long-time Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission once said, “The Coast is never saved, it’s always being saved.”  Now the Coastal Commission is being undermined from within by developer interests (see Blue Notes #143) as is Point Molate – a stunning 422-acre natural headland in Richmond California where I live.  Blue Frontier’s Citizens For a Sustainable Point Molate (CFSPM) project played a key role in the 2010 vote in which the citizens of Richmond voted 58% to 42% against building a mega-casino on this natural bay front treasure.

In the six years since then the casino developer – not understanding the principle that when you gamble you usually lose – has been suing the city and continuing to lose in a series of rulings by federal judges.


Blue Frontier’s Citizens For a Sustainable Point Molate (CFSPM) project played a key role in the 2010 vote in which the citizens of Richmond voted 58% to 42% against building a mega-casino on this natural bay front treasure.

In the six years since then the casino developer – not understanding the principle that when you gamble you usually lose – has been suing the city and continuing to lose in a series of rulings by federal judges including one last year that ordered his company and partners to pay the city almost $2 million in attorney fees generated by their suit.

Nonetheless Richmond Mayor Tom Butt has been working to cut a secret deal with the developer – Jim Levine, including two closed door city council meetings in June and another one tonight (Tuesday July 19) to settle in exchange for development rights at Point Molate.

Although the public is not allowed to know what is going on indicators from other private meetings that have taken place are that they want to put 1,100 units of high-income housing on the site.


(essentially the casino plan without the casino).Housing clusters would cover the slopes of one of the only intact coastal grasslands watersheds that also lead down to healthy offshore eel grass beds where fish, seals and osprey feed.

To date California has lost 99% of its native coastal prairies like this to development.

CFSPM is mobilizing a coalition of political and environmental activists and others to let the city council know that of all the potential futures for this incredible natural treasure, cutting a deal with the one developer the people of Richmond have already rejected is not acceptable.

Meanwhile CFSPM has received a generous grant from California’s Coastal Conservancy to expand on
its existing work bringing local high school classes to the headlands by providing charter bus service for low-income parts of the city so that more Richmond citizens have a way to get to and enjoy the beach park and other wonders of this natural and historic site.

For more on the present battle check out the CFSPM website here.
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View a PDF of the Brown Act HERE
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July 19, 2016
City of Richmond
450 Civic Center Plaza
Richmond, CA. 94801

Attn:                                    Mayor, Tom Butt                                            tom.butt@intres.com
                                             Vice Mayor, Eduardo Martinez                    ezedmartin@yahoo.com
                                             Councilmember, Nathaniel Bates               natbates@comcast.net
                                             Councilmember, Jovanka Beckles               jovanka_beckles@ci.richmond.ca.us
                                             Councilmember, Gayle McLaughlin            gayle@definingourdestiny.net
                                             Councilmember, Jael Myrick                        jaelpmyrick@gmail.com
                                             Councilmember, Vinay Pimplé                     vinay_pimple@ci.richmond.ca.us

cc: Bill Lindsay, City Manager - bill_lindsay@ci.richmond.ca.us
      Bruce Goodmiller, City Attorney - city_attorney@ci.richmond.ca.us

Re: Item A-1 on July 19, 2016 City Council Agenda – Upstream Pt. Molate vs. City of Richmond

Dear Mayor Butt and Councilmembers,

I write to request that the City of Richmond discontinue consideration of a settlement of the Upstream vs. City of Richmond case. The City is on solid footing to prevail in the current appeals case before the 9th circuit.  Continuing forward with the appeal and prevailing as the City now doubt will, will allow the City to solicit development proposals on the open market for Pt. Molate, and most importantly allow the City if it chooses to do so, market and sell the property at market rates, vs. a deep discount that would not doubt be offered in the settlement.

More troubling is that the settlement being offered seems to extend well beyond the scope of the original lawsuit and related complaints; an offer that includes property transfer and a massive development project.   Conducting these negotiations behind closed doors in closed session short circuits the entire process of determining land use for the property and for the necessity for municipalities to provide and open competitive bidding process for sale of assets and property development.

Upstream’s offer assumes a position of viable leverage on their part, of which they have little to none.  Their motivation for settlement likely has less to do with resolution of outstanding litigation and much more to do with abusing the protection of closed session to push through a property sale and development project without undergoing the complete entitlement process – a process which includes public participation.

The City of Richmond must pursue a fair and legal process for the sale of Pt. Molate if a property sale is to occur, and for the disposition of the property including development offers.  The City must reject the settlement offer from Upstream.

Sincerely

<Insert your name and address>
 

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