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Opposition to Planned Development Master Plan Amendment #12-0002

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We, the residents of Vallejo, oppose the revisions to the Waterfront Master Plan proposed by the Callahan Group. 

We believe that the proposed changes from owner occupied homes and commercial facilities (originally designed to support the Vallejo Ferry and link the downtown to the waterfront through pedestrian oriented promenades) to high density apartments and offices are not exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). CEQA requires state and local agencies within California to follow a protocol of analysis and public disclosure of environmental impacts of proposed projects and adopt all feasible measures to mitigate those impacts.

We believe City Staff must follow CEQA, pursuant to the California Code of Regulations Title 14, Division 6 Chapter 3 Section 15060. 

Substantial changes exist which were not known when the previous Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was completed, and which could not have been known with the exercise of reasonable diligence. Those changes are: 

A) The Great Recession: The stated reason for the proposed change to the Waterfront Project Master Plan (WPMP) is that there is no longer a market for owner occupied condominiums and the retail commercial is overbuilt. 

The existing WPMP land use strengthens owner investment and stabilizes the downtown. The proposed change from condo to a high density rental drastically changes the waterfront population. While owners/investors willing to invest in condominiums are no longer available, there are many landlord/investors interested in the subsidized rental housing because of the guaranteed income from the Federal HUD subsidies. 201 Maine street is an example of the reality of owners vs landlord occupation. Police and Emergency Medical Team (EMT) response has been demonstrated to be greater for high density rental units than for the balance of Vallejo. 

B) Vallejo’s bankruptcy: Since the Waterfront Project Master Plan (WPMP), the city of Vallejo filed for bankruptcy on May 6, 2008, and was released from bankruptcy on November 1, 2011. 

In the timeframe of the WPMP, Vallejo Police department had 158 sworn officers and 75 non-sworn employees. Today there are 93 sworn officers and 30 non-sworn employees. Fire and EMT numbers are similarly significantly lower than when the prior EIR impact was analyzed. The effect of adding 426 high density rental units was never analyzed for impact against the reality of the reduced levels of police and fire that exist today. 

C) Loss of the Downtown Developer: The WPMP and the Triad Downtown Plan were designed to work together. The downtown was the major focus and the Waterfront Plan was intended to create a vibrant pedestrian oriented linkage and public spaces along the waterfront. Since Triad has been removed, the entire plan must be revisited in light of changed economic circumstances. 

D) End of Redevelopment: California laws AB26 and AB27 in June 2011, along with a California Supreme Court ruling in December 2011 have ended the practice of “Redevelopment”. The underlying tax incentives for the City have been removed, and the overall approach should be reassessed. 

E) California State Lands Commission: The land granted by the State to the City of Vallejo must abide by the terms of the grant. The defining document, states in section 6 that “The lands hereby granted and conveyed to the City pursuant to this Act shall be held by the City, and it successors, in trust for uses consistent with the public trust” and “The City, or its successors, shall not grant, convey or otherwise alienate those lands, or any part thereof, to any individual, firm or corporation for any purpose, except as provided in this Act”. Uses allowed include those to support navigation such as the ferry, parks such as the 1960’s waterfront park including the Veteran’s Memorial and environmental restoration such as the marsh restoration in Lake Dalwigk or proposed for Mariner’s Cove. Office buildings and housing, of any type, are specifically disallowed on State Lands by this 2004 Act. Furthermore, the proposed plan paves over the existing Veteran’s Memorial. 

We, the undersigned urge the City Council to reject this revision and require preparation of a new unified downtown and waterfront master plan, complete with an Environmental Impact Report, consistent with the economic and legal reality of today’s world. 

We also call for Mayor Davis to recuse himself from this vote because of his association as legal counsel to the developer, Joe Callahan.


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