Arguments for and against a referendum of the Development Agreement between the City of Livermore and a hotel developer to build in the city’s downtown core have been filed with the city clerk’s office.
Voters will decide on March 3, 2020 whether to approve or reject the agreement between the city and Presidio Companies to develop a hotel next to the Bankhead Theater on the east side of Livermore Avenue.
Under the 30-year agreement with the city, Presidio would design, build and operate a three-story, 125- to 135-room hotel with a rooftop deck and conference space on what is now a city-owned parking lot on the southeast corner of Railroad and S. Livermore avenues. Construction of the project is projected to begin no later than May 2021, with an opening no later than November 2022.
A citizens’ organization called Protect the Central Park Vote seeks to reverse the Development Agreement because it could obligate the city to have a hotel built on the east side of S. Livermore Avenue, as specified in the city’s downtown plan. The group’s alternative downtown plan provides for a 160-room hotel on the west side of S. Livermore Avenue.
The group does not want the Development Agreement to interfere with the Central Park Plan initiative set for the November 2020 ballot, giving voters a west side alternative to the city’s east side hotel. They say there is room on the west side to build a resort hotel that’s larger, full-service, and offers an upscale restaurant. The group says that it would attract leisure and business travelers to the wineries and downtown, and the location enables parking on the east side of Livermore Avenue and a large park on the west side.
Rebuttals to the arguments are due Friday, Nov. 8. The argument supporting the city’s agreement was signed by all five members of Livermore City Council. The argument against the agreement was signed by William Dunlop, chairman of Citizens for a Livermore Central Park; Jefffrey Kaskey, a businessman; Calvin Wood, a 55-year Livermore resident; Jean King, community activist; and Ben Barrientos, president of Livermore Lions Club.
Argument Supporting Ordinance 2089
Your City Council unanimously urges a "Yes" vote on this measure to maintain the momentum on the downtown improvements currently underway.
The City Council entered into a Development Agreement for a long-desired, upscale wine-country hotel next to the Bankhead. Throughout the months of the outreach and public input process, there was one element that was agreed upon by all. The optimal location for a downtown hotel was South Livermore Avenue. This Development Agreement keeps it there and also protects Blacksmith Square
Don't be confused by a widely circulated drawing of a west side hotel on Railroad Avenue. That drawing has unreasonable housing densities and ignores the complementary elements in the City plan. It actually harms First Street businesses by replacing their parking with housing. Their drawing hasn't been vetted or subject to feasibility analysis. In contrast, the City Approved Downtown Plan was based on input from thousands of Livermore residents and years of careful planning and analyses.
A "Yes" vote will prevent years of delay allowing us to continue improving the downtown now, and providing what you want: More available parking throughout the downtown; More open space, including two large connecting parks, Veterans Park and Stockmen's Park; Less dense housing; Better traffic circulation; More retail; Fiscally responsible.
The City Approved Downtown Plan is supported throughout the community. Join with many organizations, representing thousands of residents, who support the plan: Livermore Stockmen's Association; Livermore Shakespeare Festival; Livermore Chamber of Commerce; Livermore Downtown Inc.; Unify Livermore; InterFaith Housing; Livermore Science and Society Center; Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association; Innovation Tri-Valley.
You've waited years for the downtown improvements that residents requested: more available parking, more open space, more retail, and more amenities. Don't be fooled by a drawing and false claims. The time has come to vote "Yes" to get things done!
Argument Opposing Ordinance 2089
7,244 Livermore voters placed this referendum on the ballot because Livermore deserves better. Please join us. Vote NO on the City's deeply flawed downtown plan.
By voting NO, you're rejecting the City's Development Agreement with Presidio for a hotel east of Livermore Avenue. Not only is this the wrong kind of hotel at the wrong location, but also it's a "poison pill” intended to prevent voters from adopting the better Central Park Plan with its westside hotel.
A few of many reasons to vote down the City Plan:
It has no continuous central park. We celebrate our surrounding open space, rolling hills and beautiful wine country. We should have a large, continuous park from Bankhead Park Plaza to L Street, a regional draw. The City's so-called "public open space”, encircled by private housing, doesn't deliver.
Far less parking where it's most wanted. We need parking right near Livermore Avenue where most people go. We'll be losing existing parking here. As of October, city plans showed at least 316 fewer spaces in this critical area than the Central Park Plan.
Too much housing in wrong location. The City Plan crowds 130 3-4 story affordable housing units right in the downtown center.
Mediocre hotel not fit for our Wine Country. The City's disappointing hotel is not full service, has no restaurant, no nearby parking and poor views. Not worthy of our Wine Country, nor our downtown.
Less Livermore tax revenue. A professional financial analysis shows that the City Plan, with only a 125-135 room hotel, lower room rates and less retail, will cost the city $15.04 million in lost revenue over 30 years versus the Central Park Plan.
We get one chance to create something special downtown. Reject the badly flawed City Plan. Vote No on the referendum.