LIVERMORE — A community group called Save Livermore Downtown (SLD) has filed a lawsuit to halt the implementation of the Eden Housing plan.
“This action was made necessary because Livermore’s city councilmembers did not engage with citizens to consider alternatives to the flawed Eden plan,” said SLD spokesperson Jean King. “We have communicated to the city council and Eden Housing our desire to meet at the earliest possible moment to find acceptable alternatives to the current plan and avoid the necessity of the lawsuit.”
The lawsuit comes on the heels of community contention surrounding the downtown development of an affordable housing complex, which was approved 5-0 by the council May 25. Slated for the city’s Downtown Core at the southeastern corner of Railroad Avenue and South L Street, the project is set to provide 130 affordable housing units.
Those who support the current plans have stressed the importance of immediately providing affordable homes to a community that’s seen a large portion of residents priced out. Those who oppose the current plans want the housing moved across the street to enable a park on the vacated land and to create additional affordable units on the new location, as many as 230 in total.
In response to the suit, Councilmember Robert Carling said that he and Mayor Bob Woerner had chaired a lengthy public outreach process in 2017, "culminating in a city council decision in January 2018, resulting in the current plan."
But King further stated that “Livermore residents oppose the flawed Eden housing plan by a 4 to 1 majority.” The poll, conducted by David Binder Research, can be reviewed at www.savelivermoredowntown.com/voter-survey.
“The plan had changed dramatically since it was shown to the public in 2018 and has inadequate park space and parking, massive 4-story structures, and none of the promised affordable housing for teachers, firefighters and police,” King continued. “These bait-and-switch tactics are not acceptable. Alternative proposals could have provided more park space, more parking, teacher housing, and 100 additional affordable housing units. But they were not considered.
“Not only did the city council approve the project over public opposition, but in its rush to judgement, it violated California environmental quality laws and Livermore’s Downtown Specific Plan. We urgently hope that the City Council and Eden Housing will agree to meet with stakeholders as soon as possible to create a plan that works for all of us.”
Carling responded to say that the current plan does include housing for early career teachers and others as outlined on the city's website. He referred again to the process that was undertaken in 2017 culminating in a city council decision in January 2018 for the plan the council is working to implement.
“I find 'rush to judgement' interesting,” Carling continued. “The catalyst site has been considered for development for at least 15 years. I don't think we approved it over public opposition. That is the opinion of SLD, not one that I share.”
Vice Mayor Trish Munro and Councilmember Gina Bonanno declined to comment on the lawsuit. Mayor Bob Woerner, Councilmember Brittni Kiick and Eden Housing President Linda Mandolini did not return requests for comment at press time.
To review the lawsuit in its entirety, visit SaveLivermoreDowntown.com.