Rebuttal arguments have been filed with the city clerk’s office by the City Council and a citizens’ group on a referendum of the Development Agreement between the City of Livermore and a hotel developer to build in the city’s downtown core.

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.

The rebuttal argument supporting the city’s agreement was signed by all five members of Livermore City Council. The rebuttal 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.

Rebuttal argument in Support of Ordinance 2089

Your City Council urges you to vote “Yes”. The argument that this referendum is about a bigger park is deceptive; it's only about the location of the city-approved hotel.

This referendum was drafted by a few people who want to halt progress in Livermore's downtown by overturning the development agreement with the builder of the long-desired Wine Country Hotel at the Bankhead. Hotel experts and most residents agreed that Livermore Avenue is the preferred location. This is an upscale, destination hotel, not "mediocre" as the opposition falsely claims.

The hotel at the Bankhead Theater allows more open space on the west side of the development area. The sprawling, conference hotel in the opponent's drawing encroaches upon two parks, Stockmen and Veterans, that are integral to the City's Approved Plan. Recent studies confirm the City's Plan has a larger park area. Furthermore, no developer has ever submitted a proposal to the City for a west-side hotel fronting on Railroad Avenue.

The Bankhead's Executive Director, a theater professional, advised Council members that the preferred location for the hotel is next to the Bankhead Theater instead of a third, costly, subsidized parking structure as pictured in the opposition's drawing. The Bankhead location offers the best opportunity for the long term success of a profitable hotel and our beloved theater.

At a well-publicized Council meeting on this development agreement, everyone spoke in favor of the agreement and moving ahead. No one spoke against it.

The time is now. Vote "Yes".

Rebuttal Argument in Opposition to Ordinance 2089

In their argument, City Councilmembers state there's "one element that was agreed upon by all. The optimal location for a downtown hotel was South Livermore Avenue."

This and other statements are very misleading.

Participants in city's $500,000 Community Outreach overwhelmingly chose a hotel location west, not east, of Livermore Avenue.

When totals of response categories from those expressing a hotel location preference are combined, a large majority selected the westside. City's Development Agreement is intended to nail down an eastside hotel so that the popular option of a westside hotel cannot be built.

That's not the city's only misleading communication:

Less parking where needed. By saying "more available parking", the city distracts from its real parking issue, lack of parking off Livermore Avenue where needed most. Both plans provide the same number of total spaces.

Less park. Measurement of park areas shows 2.23 acres for City Plan versus 3.01 for Central Park Plan.

More housing, in wrong location. City stacks 130 3-4 story units in the very center of downtown, where a park should be located.

Lesser quality hotel. No restaurant, fewer rooms, no onsite hotel parking, and $15.04 million less tax revenue over 30 years.

No delays necessary. City's hotel agreement doesn't require construction to begin until 2021. Westside hotel can start then or sooner,

There's something we can do about city's misleading information.

Reject city's deeply flawed plan. Vote NO on the referendum. Give Livermore the chance to do something truly special with our downtown.