James Hutchins, Livermore
In November 2018, the City Council executed an agreement with Eden Housing to develop a housing project on the old Lucky site featuring “130 studio and one-bedroom” “workforce” units for individuals and families with incomes up to “120% of median income for the area.” It included first-responders. Prior to this agreement, on February of 2018, the City released a design plan to the public, which showed four modest-sized buildings on the site, and a large public park. These same drawings were widely used by the “Yes on P” campaign in printed post cards, newspaper ads, and poster board demonstrations taken to people's private homes to teach them “the facts.”
In August 2019, the city published a report regarding the Central Park Plan and buried in paragraph 5 on page 8, was a ‘change’ that included one, two, and three-bedroom apartments. In October 2019, Eden Housing submitted their Measure A1 Funds application to the county indicating the same information, but income levels would be capped at 60% of Area Median Income instead of 120%. Despite these changes, the city continued to feature the ‘old drawing’ they liberally used for the Measure P vote, which did not show the ‘new changes’.
The ‘facts’ show the City knew about these changes to the Downtown Municipal Plan, but failed to appropriately report them to the public. As a result, the public was groomed into a false perception of the impact of the Measure P issues. Had the public ‘seen’ the buildings near the hotel were going to be much bigger than the design plan indicated, and the density of residents would be much higher, and the Legacy apartment complex would be across the street, and the park would be reduced, and that first-responders weren’t eligible to rent, the public would surely have voted differently on the ‘luxury hotel.’ The public was pitched on a picture which was an illusion. Many “Yes on P” voters now see they were duped.
Eden Housing provided due diligence before accepting the project, and surely knew these issues in November 2018. But Eden Housing’s legal duty is not to the public, it’s to the city. The city, however, has a legal duty to its residents. When did Mayor Marchand, the City Council, and the Planning Commission know about these changes? Why did they wait until Dec. 7th, 2020 AFTER the Measure P vote was cinched, to inform the public?