Mark Palajac, Livermore
At the Dec. 7 city council meeting, I submitted a comment supporting the ‘alternative plan’ to the Eden Housing plan.
I regret having made that statement.
In late October, Joan Seppala asked me to chair a committee to promote an alternate plan to the present location. Joan was a committee member. After learning of the likely members, I agreed.
The committee did a lot of work in just a few weeks, but it was very late in the process. During the six weeks, I had at least weekly calls with Bob Woerner. Bob was very helpful providing suggestions and guidance. Anyone characterizing him as not helpful in this effort is just plain wrong or disingenuous.
Our group lacked many things including data about the Eden Plan, a source of funding, and a reasonable alternative plan. At the end of six weeks, the only funding identified was City of Livermore funds. The proposed ‘doubling of the number of affordable units’ is not feasible.
The alternate site, for which there is no money, was expected to have a unit density double that of the Eden Housing plan of just over 50 units per acre. Eden Housing will need this kind of (lower density) plan in order to be successful in obtaining tax-advantaged financing necessary to make the plan viable.
By the time the council meeting ended, I’d learned enough about the Eden plan that I knew it was not possible to consider an alternate plan without jeopardizing the $14.4 million of A1 county funding already awarded. I resigned from the committee.
During the meeting, John Marchand made a statement that is very true: There is no alternate plan.
I’ll close by saying that I fully understand the people who desire a larger downtown park. I would like that as well. The reality is that the city bought the land with affordable housing money and is required to build it.
Yes, if someone gave the city land in close proximity, the city might have been able to move some or all of the units to that site. Even if that kind of benefactor could be found, the time constraints tied to the funding in place do not allow time to pursue an alternate location. It is time to move on.