Groups may seek ballot measure to stop housing plan

Groups may seek ballot measure to stop housing plan

Michele Ellson

A pair of community groups is looking into its options for stopping a proposed home development on land the local park district had sought for expansion of Crab Cove – including a potential ballot measure that would rezone the land for park use.

Friends of Crown Beach and the Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club have formed an exploratory committee to consider ways to halt a proposal to develop 48 homes on four acres of government property on McKay Avenue, across from Crab Cove, which the East Bay Regional Park District had hoped to acquire for an expansion.

“This beach is public property enjoyed by the community and by schoolchildren for outdoor education,” said Norman La Force, public lands chair of the Sierra Club Bay Chapter. “We are working together to explore every option to stop our public beach from being turned into a private development.”

Assistant City Manager Alex Nguyen said Thursday that the city had no comment on the groups’ announcement.

Roseville-based Tim Lewis Communities won the property at a federal auction, and city leaders subsequently rezoned it to allow homes to be built there. The company submitted a homebuilding proposal to the city that was put on hold after the state said it wouldn’t be allowed to use or build utilities under the street that feeds into it.

The park district sued the city for its rezoning decision, saying the city failed to provide adequate public notice and to conduct appropriate environmental review of its plans, and also that the decision to allow multifamily housing on the land violates Measure A. That lawsuit is pending.

The park district had money budgeted in 2008’s Measure WW park bond to buy the land but was unable to reach a deal with the federal government and was unsuccessful in securing it at auction.

The federal General Services Administration has said it will sue the state to reclaim the road, which would allow the development to proceed.

Related: Small property at the heart of big dispute

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