News

Measure P asks Livermore voters to decide fate of downtown hotel

Centerpiece of city's redevelopment plan hangs in the balance on March ballot

With the presidential primaries stealing most headlines for the upcoming March election, a years-long battle over the future of downtown Livermore will have at least one aspect resolved with Measure P on the ballot.

Placed on the ballot after a citizen-submitted referendum petition, Measure P specifically relates to a development agreement with a hotelier approved by the Livermore City Council last summer that would advance the city's plan to place a yet-unnamed "wine country hotel" next to the Bankhead Theater on the east side of Livermore Avenue.

One facet of the lengthy and complex downtown debate, at its most basic a Yes vote on Measure P would approve the downtown hotel agreement while a No vote would deny that project proposal to leave the property available for other redevelopment or even remaining as an open parking lot.

The formal opposition campaign disagrees with the hotel location and size under the city's plan, preferring an alternate hotel concept for the west side of Livermore Avenue that is key to the opponents' "Central Park Plan" initiative scheduled to appear on the citywide ballot in November.

For many voters, the Measure P election on March 3 is seen as a way to endorse either the city's downtown redevelopment plan (a Yes vote) or the alternate concept introduced last summer (a No vote) -- through the lens of the hotel location.

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Measure P will be decided by a simple majority.

Proposed for 2205 Railroad Ave., the project locating the downtown hotel next to the Bankhead calls for a three-story hotel consisting of between 125-135 rooms, approximately 1,400 to 2,000 square feet of conference space, a bar/lounge area, fitness room, pool and a fully or partially public rooftop deck area covering a total area of approximately 70,000 square feet.

The approval of the hotel agreement -- to be developed by Presidio Co. and operated by AC Marriott Hotels -- has brought significant debate at City Council meetings and other gatherings in Livermore due to it being the centerpiece of Livermore's long-desired downtown redevelopment

Soon after the council approved the hotel agreement in July 2019, a local group named Citizens for a Livermore Central Park opposed to the city's hotel plan started a referendum petition seeking to overturn the decision.

Eventually garnering enough votes to place the issue on the March 3 ballot, opponents argue that not only would it be better to have a larger hotel consisting of up to 160 rooms and located on the west side of Livermore Avenue, but the existing property next to the Bankhead could best be utilized as a multi-use parking structure that includes a first-floor restaurant.

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Opponents further disagree with the hotel location due to it being the centerpiece of the city-approved Downtown Specific Plan, which Citizens for a Livermore Central Park oppose in favor of their own vision for downtown -- their so-called "Central Park Plan."

"Practically speaking, Measure P is about much more than a hotel. The City Council created a downtown redevelopment plan that overlooked the preferences of the majority of citizens who participated in its public outreach process," No on P campaign leader Tamara Reus told the Weekly.

"If Measure P passes, it would undermine the right to have a meaningful opportunity to vote on the Central Park Plan," she added. "The people deserve to have an up or down vote on the Central Park Plan without a conflicting development agreement that muddies the waters."

Opponents claim that not only was the city's approval of the hotel agreement done in order to block the Central Park Plan, but that community input was not considered when approving the city plan.

Measure P supporters instead argue the hotel plan has been well thought-out and analyzed through the city's rigorous review process that included input from community members, unlike the Central Park Plan and hotel idea that some city leaders call a conceptual "drawing" containing false claims created by a small dissenting group.

"Voters should say Yes to Measure P because it will allow the city to make immediate progress towards building a beautiful wine country hotel adjacent to the Bankhead Theater. It's a thoroughly developed plan with a reputable developer, and is sized appropriately for our economy," Lori Souza, a leader of the Yes on Measure P campaign, told the Weekly.

According to the ballot argument supporting Measure P, not only is the hotel a fiscally responsible design that will lead to greater traffic circulation and benefits for local businesses, but it was created using input from thousands of Livermore residents.

The ballot argument adds that the hotel is the crown jewel of the city's Downtown Specific Plan, which Measure P proponents say offers more parking, retail, open space and less dense housing than the Central Park Plan.

"The wine country hotel at the Bankhead is the anchor for Stockmen's Park which enabled the success of the entire downtown project," added Asa Strout, co-manager of Unify Livermore -- a resident group in support of Measure P.

But still looming is the initiative measure scheduled to appear on Livermore voters' November ballot. While Measure P relates specifically to the city's development agreement for the downtown hotel next to the Bankhead, November's initiative will ask residents to approve or deny the resident-submitted Central Park Plan alternative over the council's Downtown Specific Plan.

The initiative plan also involves placing the downtown hotel on the west side of Livermore Avenue instead of the city's location on the east side.

The impact of the final Measure P decision on the November initiative remains unclear, though Measure P supporters say a Yes vote in March will enable Presidio to begin the development process for the hotel project.

To learn more about Measure P, including the full arguments for and against, visit www.cityoflivermore.net/citygov/clerk/elections.

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Measure P asks Livermore voters to decide fate of downtown hotel

Centerpiece of city's redevelopment plan hangs in the balance on March ballot

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 4:56 pm

With the presidential primaries stealing most headlines for the upcoming March election, a years-long battle over the future of downtown Livermore will have at least one aspect resolved with Measure P on the ballot.

Placed on the ballot after a citizen-submitted referendum petition, Measure P specifically relates to a development agreement with a hotelier approved by the Livermore City Council last summer that would advance the city's plan to place a yet-unnamed "wine country hotel" next to the Bankhead Theater on the east side of Livermore Avenue.

One facet of the lengthy and complex downtown debate, at its most basic a Yes vote on Measure P would approve the downtown hotel agreement while a No vote would deny that project proposal to leave the property available for other redevelopment or even remaining as an open parking lot.

The formal opposition campaign disagrees with the hotel location and size under the city's plan, preferring an alternate hotel concept for the west side of Livermore Avenue that is key to the opponents' "Central Park Plan" initiative scheduled to appear on the citywide ballot in November.

For many voters, the Measure P election on March 3 is seen as a way to endorse either the city's downtown redevelopment plan (a Yes vote) or the alternate concept introduced last summer (a No vote) -- through the lens of the hotel location.

Measure P will be decided by a simple majority.

Proposed for 2205 Railroad Ave., the project locating the downtown hotel next to the Bankhead calls for a three-story hotel consisting of between 125-135 rooms, approximately 1,400 to 2,000 square feet of conference space, a bar/lounge area, fitness room, pool and a fully or partially public rooftop deck area covering a total area of approximately 70,000 square feet.

The approval of the hotel agreement -- to be developed by Presidio Co. and operated by AC Marriott Hotels -- has brought significant debate at City Council meetings and other gatherings in Livermore due to it being the centerpiece of Livermore's long-desired downtown redevelopment

Soon after the council approved the hotel agreement in July 2019, a local group named Citizens for a Livermore Central Park opposed to the city's hotel plan started a referendum petition seeking to overturn the decision.

Eventually garnering enough votes to place the issue on the March 3 ballot, opponents argue that not only would it be better to have a larger hotel consisting of up to 160 rooms and located on the west side of Livermore Avenue, but the existing property next to the Bankhead could best be utilized as a multi-use parking structure that includes a first-floor restaurant.

Opponents further disagree with the hotel location due to it being the centerpiece of the city-approved Downtown Specific Plan, which Citizens for a Livermore Central Park oppose in favor of their own vision for downtown -- their so-called "Central Park Plan."

"Practically speaking, Measure P is about much more than a hotel. The City Council created a downtown redevelopment plan that overlooked the preferences of the majority of citizens who participated in its public outreach process," No on P campaign leader Tamara Reus told the Weekly.

"If Measure P passes, it would undermine the right to have a meaningful opportunity to vote on the Central Park Plan," she added. "The people deserve to have an up or down vote on the Central Park Plan without a conflicting development agreement that muddies the waters."

Opponents claim that not only was the city's approval of the hotel agreement done in order to block the Central Park Plan, but that community input was not considered when approving the city plan.

Measure P supporters instead argue the hotel plan has been well thought-out and analyzed through the city's rigorous review process that included input from community members, unlike the Central Park Plan and hotel idea that some city leaders call a conceptual "drawing" containing false claims created by a small dissenting group.

"Voters should say Yes to Measure P because it will allow the city to make immediate progress towards building a beautiful wine country hotel adjacent to the Bankhead Theater. It's a thoroughly developed plan with a reputable developer, and is sized appropriately for our economy," Lori Souza, a leader of the Yes on Measure P campaign, told the Weekly.

According to the ballot argument supporting Measure P, not only is the hotel a fiscally responsible design that will lead to greater traffic circulation and benefits for local businesses, but it was created using input from thousands of Livermore residents.

The ballot argument adds that the hotel is the crown jewel of the city's Downtown Specific Plan, which Measure P proponents say offers more parking, retail, open space and less dense housing than the Central Park Plan.

"The wine country hotel at the Bankhead is the anchor for Stockmen's Park which enabled the success of the entire downtown project," added Asa Strout, co-manager of Unify Livermore -- a resident group in support of Measure P.

But still looming is the initiative measure scheduled to appear on Livermore voters' November ballot. While Measure P relates specifically to the city's development agreement for the downtown hotel next to the Bankhead, November's initiative will ask residents to approve or deny the resident-submitted Central Park Plan alternative over the council's Downtown Specific Plan.

The initiative plan also involves placing the downtown hotel on the west side of Livermore Avenue instead of the city's location on the east side.

The impact of the final Measure P decision on the November initiative remains unclear, though Measure P supporters say a Yes vote in March will enable Presidio to begin the development process for the hotel project.

To learn more about Measure P, including the full arguments for and against, visit www.cityoflivermore.net/citygov/clerk/elections.

Comments

Rich Buckley
Livermore
on Jan 29, 2020 at 12:01 pm
Rich Buckley, Livermore
on Jan 29, 2020 at 12:01 pm
7 people like this

I'm Voting No on P. As a property owner in the downtown core my personal evaluation on the benefits to the community at large and to buildings we own in particular, and the life style I want to help my children and grandchildren enjoy in Livermore, I will be Voting No on P. We get one shot at doing this and then we live with it for many decades.

No On P will help recapture a vastly improved parking plan for the community assets currently in place, including the Bankhead Theater. No on P will provide a larger upscale hotel and importantly a much larger Central Park that families will want to come back to use.


jpmarchand
Livermore
on Jan 29, 2020 at 9:39 pm
jpmarchand, Livermore
on Jan 29, 2020 at 9:39 pm
5 people like this

Rich - Your concept of "improved parking" only serves the Bankhead Theater. There are many other assets in the downtown that need to be served with more parking throughout the downtown.
The experts and over 80% of the participants in the outreach, including hotel experts, agreed that the hotel should be on S. Livermore Avenue.

As far as the west side hotel, when asked during public comment at Monday's City Council meeting, a founder of the central park committee member admitted that the west side hotel had no on-site parking. Look at the drawing. Furthermore, the west side hotel would require that the City of Livermore build and subsidize the parking in the L Street garage. This would require that the L Street garage would have to be built first, resulting in several years of delay. Otherwise, construction staging would result in the loss of roughly 300 spaces during hotel construction. Your "larger upscale hotel"with its traffic clogging conference center has no parking unless the City subsidies it.


David
Alisal Elementary School
on Jan 29, 2020 at 10:16 pm
David, Alisal Elementary School
on Jan 29, 2020 at 10:16 pm
3 people like this

i did not think the lot next to the Bankhead had that many spaces to argue over anyways. A hotel near the core makes sense instead. The Central Park looks pretty on paper but it’s way too economically valuable land than turf. Besides people want more active and smaller plazas than large passive turf areas that still have no synergy from the downtown streets and businesses. I think it will become a dead or under-utilized place. Based on how full the surface lot is now, the expensive parking garage makes sense as well as aggregating lots along the north side of Railroad Avenue for future parking opportunity next to the rail line. Good Luck Livermore. Sad it’s gotten decisive as to make headline news.


bill willaner
Livermore
on Jan 30, 2020 at 12:10 pm
bill willaner, Livermore
on Jan 30, 2020 at 12:10 pm
3 people like this

central park plan sounds like a good place for homeless junkies to hang out.


R white
Livermore
on Feb 1, 2020 at 11:22 am
R white, Livermore
on Feb 1, 2020 at 11:22 am
Like this comment

Where is entrance to hotel and check in on Central Park plan. Also entrance for and parking for residential on city’s plan


Jeff K
Livermore
on Feb 1, 2020 at 9:50 pm
Jeff K, Livermore
on Feb 1, 2020 at 9:50 pm
Like this comment

The Council meeting referred to above was a display of some of the most obvious, egregious dishonesty from the City yet seen. Around 2:24 in the video of the 1/27 meeting (tv30.org) the city put up a map showing what it claimed was the potential size of one of the initiative's cultural buildings. The Mayor observes "so it actually goes into the area they propose as a hotel." Sure, if you ignore easily verified facts. First, they show it as a single story, and the initiative requires 2 - 3 stories, so at most it covers half the space shown. And further, the initiative maps where the park is to be (area 2.4.2 in the initiative) meaning it would be impossible to build what they showed. The most generous interpretation is that none of staff nor council read what is in the initiative. But given that this was during an agenda item for "...preparation and dissemination of factual information..." you might think someone would have checked. This disregard for facts suggests that the Council realizes they don't have much of an argument. You don't need to trust me either - two minutes of web work and you can verify this for yourself. Tv30.org for the meeting and cityoflivermore.net, search for the initiative. The map is pg 23, description page 40 and similar. If you were looking for a solid reason to vote No on P, how about standing up for honesty!


Rich Buckley
Livermore
on Feb 2, 2020 at 10:44 am
Rich Buckley, Livermore
on Feb 2, 2020 at 10:44 am
Like this comment

Inexperienced City Council Members

It’s very easy to trace back the divisiveness that exists in Livermore to specific broken promises of the city council with long term honorable city activists and sincere community participants starting, give or take, with one particular council person rejected by the voters several years back.

Coupled with the astoundingly intolerable weaponization of the City Clerk’s office filing suit against these well meaning and sincere activists the City Council is beginning to see what they have sowed and continue to sow.

EDITORIAL COMMENT FROM ANARCHIST?

Someone threw a Fart Bomb (that’s the name on the device) into yet another city coordinated, us-against-them, Main Street sponsored luncheon rally according to an East Bay Times local news. Either an editorial comment from an anarchist or a false flag attack to gain attention to make us feel sorry for Yes On P.

The tone deaf yes on Measure P coupled with the weaponized City Clerk's office against the local activists has escalated the divisiveness into a higher issue for some of the voters.

“The more I see the city ignore us, the more I watch them suppress us, the stronger is my intention to Vote No On P.“

“I don’t care where they build the hotel, I’m voting No because the B........ don’t listen.”

“Somewhere down deep there’s some kind of corruption.”

Let’s take a breather.

Part of the problem is the city is too big and the inexperienced council is too remote from the people they are supposed to represent. We need to have at least 6 city districts plus one mayor, not 4 city districts plus mayor. Everyone wants a piece of the old downtown and that leads to chaos. The old town needs a single voice and we better achieve that by one district in the core, plus the mayor, not everyone taking a tiny slice of the downtown in their district.


Michael White
Livermore
on Feb 14, 2020 at 8:30 pm
Michael White, Livermore
on Feb 14, 2020 at 8:30 pm
Like this comment

Who is supplying the money for both sides? I am concerned neither side offers sufficient parking. I am also concerned if the down town development was favored for a large park, this will be a major hangout for homeless, drugs, and turn into an area that is not safe for our communities. Also Livermore has an abundance of wonderful parks, and adding another one where it could be used for retail and entertainment development, might be a hinderance to all


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