City Council Adopts Crab Cove Initiative,
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Enviro groups ask US AG to oppose land grab
“We object to the DOJ’s use of eminent domain against state property. Many of our organizations have together fought and defeated proposals to develop, encroach upon, or misuse state park property in California, based on the strong belief that designation of parkland, once granted, reflects the best and highest use of those lands and should be upheld in perpetuity.” Letter, 4/17/14
San Francisco Chronicle Opposes Federal Land Grab from State Parks
“In an audacious display of bureaucratic arrogance, the federal government is threatening to use its eminent domain powers to seize a state-owned street near Alameda’s Crown Beach to accommodate a proposed development of up to 90 homes. It gets worse. The targeted property is not exactly state surplus. It is a short stretch of McKay Avenue that provides access to the interpretive center at Crab Cove, which sits at the eastern edge of the largest stretch of public beach on the San Francisco Bay…. Members of Congress need to get off the sidelines and lean on the federal government to work out a deal with the East Bay Regional Park District, which had been hoping to acquire the 4 acres to help accommodate a park expansion.” Editorial, 3/21/14
For many years the East Bay Regional Park District has carefully nurtured Alameda’s Crown Memorial State Beach. It reaches from Broadway to Crown Harbor. Over one million visitors enjoy it annually. Youngsters learn about nature at Crab Cove, others windsurf, families picnic, many of us just walk and enjoy the Bay and wildlife.
The Park District has expressed interest in acquiring federal surplus property on McKay Avenue adjacent to Crab Cove (a block from Webster Street) ever since the federal government announced in 2006 that it no longer needed this 3.89-acre parcel. Soon thereafter voters approved funds for the acquisition when they voted for Measure WW in 2008. The site is ideal for expanding parkland and providing better access to the heavily used visitors’ center, picnic grounds, and beach.
The problem is that in July 2012 the Alameda City Council rezoned the property from administrative/office to multifamily residential. The Park District has since filed a lawsuit against the City of Alameda alleging that the rezoning was done in violation of environmental protection laws and in violation of Measure A of the Alameda City Charter. The Park District is asking the Alameda County Superior Court to rescind the residential zoning.
Despite many letters to council members, letters to the editor, commentaries, an editorial in the SF Chronicle, and the state’s opposition to the federal GSA’s threat of using eminent domain of McKay Avenue, our plea to preserve the property for public was soundly ignored by our city council.
Therefore we believed it was paramount that Alameda voters voice their wishes in this November’s election. By placing a winning measure on the ballot, we would guarantee that the parcel is rezoned as “open space.” On July 1, the city council adopted our measure, so it will NOT appear on the ballot.
Despite the fact that the housing developer decided not to purchase the property, the GSA is continuing its eminent domain action. We will monitor the lawsuits and keep you informed.