On September 13, 2016, the Richmond City Council emerged with heartening news. By unanimous vote, a motion passed for opening up the land use planning process. Some stated frankly that this decision-making clarity was long overdue, and should make sure to account for the wide diversity represented in the City of Richmond. Presented by Councilmember McLaughlin, three public meetings will be scheduled starting in October, “so that the public can provide input on key values for Pt. Molate’s rehabilitation and redevelopment.” (Read the agenda and minutes for item L-2.) Staff agreed to draft a tentative calendar for the public meetings. This is a huge victory!

Opening the Point Molate planning process so that the public can have a voice on the fate of publicly owned land, is what my collaboration this summer with other local environmental groups at Point Molate has been all about: the two tours led by myself and Citizens for Sustainable Point Molate leaders, two documentation trips with local botanists (see our results on Calflora), and one Richmond High School environmental education workshop.

What community benefits can you imagine Point Molate delivering to Richmond citizens, and people of the East Bay? Healthy activity for youth and adults for enjoyment of hiking trails and a campground, values of environmental stewardship, and opportunities for research, all sound more appealing for healthy social benefits, rather than building condos in this special place.

Come and tell the City of Richmond how much you love Point Molate! Listen to presentations on historical background and the different plans proposed over more than a decade of this parcel belonging to the City of Richmond. EBCNPS continues to stand in alliance with many other nonprofit environmental groups to support this public planning process and see it followed through. This beautiful jewel of Richmond deserves no less. Our Conservation Committee is currently forming a position statement that directly declares our ideal land use scenario, advocating first for conservation of precious natural resources.

EBCNPS is fighting hard to protect eelgrass beds, coastal prairie, and diverse chaparral habitats of Point Molate and to ensure an adequate public process for determining appropriate development, despite the City of Richmond’s “closed-door” tendencies and strong pressure to develop this entire 300 acre property owned by Richmond. EBCNPS mounted a very effective targeted email campaign. The response from our members was gratifying and effective. With Citizens for Sustainable Point Molate, EBCNPS also offers tours to interested community members by request, where over a couple hours we explain the native habitat values of the Point Molate watershed and bluff areas, and current politics around land use decisions past and present.

Upstream Development was responsible for the casino concept at Point Molate. Due to the nature of closed sessions, the public is unaware whether the City of Richmond is negotiating a settlement with Upstream Development involving promises for land use, which EBCNPS believes would be an inappropriate decision-making process for a parcel of publicly-owned land. We hope the closed session meetings with Upstream Development will not continue in light of the recent approval for proper process via public meetings. These meetings would provide to the City a window into the public’s preferences- this is our opportunity to bend the City’s ear and significantly influence the final outcome at Point Molate.

More media coverage of the closed door sessions: Oakland Magazine, The Battle for Point Molate; SF Chronicle, Build waterfront parks, not homes for Point Molate. See our chapter’s Bay Leaf archive for more.

Remember, the Point Molate Beach Park on Stenmark Drive is open to the public! Please enjoy it. We protect the places we love.

Karen Whitestone

 

(This post is a revision from a previous post, Plans for Point Molate, published 9/13/2016.)

Advertisements