North Livermore has been a contentious area for the last thirty years, as one sprawl proposal after another has been rejected or blocked. In 2000, a 12,000-unit proposal was blocked by the passage of Measure D, an Urban Growth Boundary for Alameda County. In 2002, volunteers in Livermore circulated a petition for an Urban Growth Boundary. They collected 10,000 signatures, 6,000 more than were needed to qualify for the ballot. Livermore City Council understood the voters' mandate and adopted the UGB without putting it on the ballot.
Now, Pardee Homes has proposed 2,450 homes for 1500 acres outside the Urban Growth Boundary. The developer is circulating a petition to move the Urban Growth Boundary and change the city's general plan to allow the development. The developer is promising a sports park, new schools, and other amenities to make the project more attractive.
What's at Stake
The North Livermore area is a scenic valley of rolling hills and grazing lands. The area is habitat for tiger salamander and fairy shrimp, as well as numerous birds of prey and other species. The palmate bird's-beak, an endangered plant, is prevalent in the area's alkaline grasslands. In addition to its habitat values, the area also holds potential for productive vineyards, according to the Tri-Valley Business Council and others.
Most importantly, if the developer is successful, this could set a precedent for developers throughout the Bay Area to overturn growth management programs by outspending smart growth advocates at the ballot box.
What You Can Do
Visit www.friendsoflivermore.org for information on volunteer opportunities.
December 2005 Slow-Growthers Dominate Election, CP&DR (California Planning & Development Report)
Despite record spending by the proponents of the Livermore Trails Initiative, the voters of Livermore defeated the measure by a 3 to 1 margin. The initiative would have expanded Livermore's 3-year-old urban growth boundary to allow 2,450 homes, 2 schools, and a 130-acre sports park on 700 acres. The local group Friends of Livermore led the opposition with help from Sierra Club. Greenbelt Alliance provided a cash contribution, and technical and media support.
11/09/2005 Voters reject proposed Livermore solar community, San Diego Union-Tribune
11/09/2005 California Town Rejects Solar Development, Outside Magazine
11/09/2005 Pardee Homes loses in Livermore, Contra Costa Times
11/08/2005 N. Livermore housing measure failing, Contra Costa Times
11/04/2005 Hold the line, San Francisco Chronicle
Pardee Homes continues its slick campaign of misinformation and deception to convince voters to pass Measure D and move Livermore's Urban Growth Boundary, allowing development in north Livermore. Pardee has now spent well over $2 million on the Measure D campaign, resorting to things like banner ads on the Web sites of the Contra Costa Times and San Jose Mercury News. In total Pardee has outspent the Measure D opposition by about 30 to 1. But Pardee lacks something that the opposition has, the support of actual Livermore residents. Local grassroots volunteers have been blanketing the City in an effort to get the truth out, and it seems that once voters understand the measure they commit to voting no in large numbers.
10/31/2005 Spending Big at the Ballot Box to Build, Los Angeles Times
10/24/2005 Developers asking voters to open land for housing, San Francisco Chronicle
10/23/2005 Developer Pardee is giving Livermore voters all it has, Contra Costa Times
10/22/2005 Housing project ripped, defended, Contra Costa Times
10/21/2005 Opponents do battle on Livermore growth, San Jose Mercury News
10/19/2005 Napa Envy: Sprawl, East Bay Express
10/07/2005 Solar-powered homes not green enough to sway Pardee's critics, East Bay Business Times
10/04/2005 Millions spent to back housing plan, Contra Costa Times
09/30/2005 Moment of truth for Pardee, East Bay Business Times
Pardee Homes continues to sell its North Livermore sprawl proposal as "smart growth" to Livermore voters despite the proposals obvious sprawl characteristics. Local grassroots efforts to defeat the proposal are paying off. Through speaking engagements and town hall meetings designed to spread information Livermore voters are learning the truth about Livermore Trails.
08/02/2005 Builder paying big for election, Tri-Valley Herald
08/02/2005 Pardee Homes' gift swings campaign, Contra Costa Times
Pardee Homes continues to sell its North Livermore sprawl proposal as "smart growth" to regional organizations, despite its obvious shortcomings. The developer and local advocates are working to make their cases for endorsement from local and regional groups. Local grassroots efforts are paying off through speaking engagements and town hall meetings designed to spread additional information.
Developer Pardee Homes' initiative to move Livermore's urban growth boundary and change the city's general plan in scheduled to be on the November 2005 ballot. The developer has already spent over $800,000 to support the initiative, including several mailers to Livermore voters. The local campaign against the measure is gathering funding and volunteers, and plans to continue building momentum over the summer.
The initiative to move the Livermore's Urban Growth Boundary to allow 2,450 homes in North Livermore will be voted on in November 2005. Although it qualified for a special election in June, public pressure convinced the city council to exercise their right to delay the vote until November, giving the community more time to understand the potential impacts of the initiative. Greenbelt Alliance plans to hold a press conference with Go! Greenbelt Riders on May 11, where Sierra Club and California Native Plant Society will officially announce their opposition to the proposed development.
05/14/2005 Environmental Groups Organize to Oppose Proposed Development in Livermore, KCBS News
05/12/2005 Bike riders stop for N. Livermore, Tri-Valley Herald
05/12/2005 Inside Beat, Contra Costa Times
05/07/2005 Protest planned at Pardee project, Tri-Valley Herald
05/05/2005 Pardee fund dwarfs rivals in home issue, Contra Costa Times
Developer Pardee Homes has submitted some 10,000 signatures in support of its initiative mandating approval of a sprawling 2,500-unit subdivision outside the city's UGB. The local group, Friends of Livermore, will be running an aggressive campaign to defeat the proposal against a very well-funded and determined foe. It is unknown at this time whether the initiative will be on the ballot in June or November. City Council has delayed the decision of when to hold the election until March 28, on the basis of collecting a fiscal analysis. March 28 is the last day the council can put the issue on a June 7 ballot.
March 8, 2005
Pardee fires back at opposing group, Tri-Valley Herald
Developer Pardee Homes has submitted some 10,000 signatures in support of its initiative mandating approval of a sprawling 2,500-unit subdivision outside the city's UGB. The local group, Friends of Livermore, will be running an aggressive campaign to defeat the proposal against a very well-funded and determined foe. It is unknown at this time whether the initiative will be on the ballot in June or November.