News

Livermore: State Attorney General backs city in call for expedited review of Eden Housing appeal

Says litigation is being dragged out; jeopardizes project funding

Rendering facing the north entrance to the Eden Housing downtown affordable housing development. (Image courtesy Eden Housing)

California Attorney General Rob Bonta began the process of filing an amicus brief Tuesday in the case of Save Livermore Downtown v. City of Livermore, supporting the city's request for dismissal or expedited review of the pending appeal challenging its approval of the Eden Housing development under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

The city and developer Eden Housing, Inc. filed a joint motion on July 29 asking the Appellate Court to expedite the briefing schedule and in the alternative to dismiss the appeal.

"Timing is critical for affordable housing projects, which often rely on time-sensitive funding sources like tax credits to finance development," Bonta said in a statement. "The project at issue in this case would bring desperately needed affordable housing to the City of Livermore, and I commend the City for its efforts to address the housing needs of its community."

He added that CEQA is intended to protect the environment and public health, not to block new development. "Expedited review of this case will be key to allowing this development to proceed without further delay," Bonta said.

Livermore City Attorney Jason Alcala said that the city appreciates Bonta's support of the 130-unit affordable housing project planned for downtown.

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

"I concur with his assessment that Save Livermore Downtown’s lawsuit was brought for the purpose of delaying the project and that the lawsuit is an abuse of the CEQA process," Alcala told Livermore Vine in an email.

"It is unfortunate that Save Livermore Downtown has now recast itself as Move Eden Housing and filed yet another lawsuit aimed at delaying the project. Upon review, I expect the Alameda County Superior Court will find the new lawsuit to be just as meritless," he added.

Alcala's comments refer to a new, separate lawsuit filed last week by another citizen group called Move Eden Housing which identifies itself as being different from Save Livermore Downtown, although the two groups share members and are both advocating for the relocation of the housing in favor of a community park being built on the city-owned project site instead.

Move Eden Housing's lawsuit asks the court to compel the city to process a referendum petition that seeks to overturn the City Council's May approval of an amended disposition, development and loan agreement for the project.

Save Livermore Downtown's lawsuit challenging the city's initial approval of the project was denied in Alameda County Superior Court back in February but the group filed an appeal in April, which is the step in the litigation process that Bonta and the city are asking for expedited review or dismissal of.

Livermore Mayor Bob Woerner also expressed gratitude for Bonta's support while also deeming the current lawsuits as "frivolous." 

"Speaking for myself, I believe it is unconscionable for a wealthy elitist and her small group of close associates to use frivolous lawsuits to block much needed affordable workforce housing. I’m pleased that the Attorney General is supporting Livermore’s and Eden Housing’s efforts to expedite the appeals process. Many deserving families have been waiting far too long," Woerner said. 

At the time their appeal was filed, Save Livermore Downtown spokesperson Jean King said that the group believes "Judge Frank Roesch of the Alameda Superior Court ruled incorrectly when he concluded that the City had complied with CEQA and when he deferred to the city's argument that Eden Housing's project conformed with the Downtown Specific Plan."

A request for comment from Save Livermore Downtown about Bonta's brief was unsuccessful as of Wednesday afternoon.

A statement from Bonta's office said the appeal is putting the project's funding at stake. "By dragging out the litigation, Save Livermore Downtown has jeopardized the project's financing and potentially put the entire viability of the project at risk."

Citing the California Department of Housing and Community Development, Bonta's statement said the state needs an estimated 2.5 million new homes by 2030 in order to meet housing demand. However, on average only 100,000 new homes are built in California each year.

The development of vacant or underutilized plots in existing urban areas -- known as infill development -- is critical for local governments to address the housing crisis and meet state housing goals, according to Bonta's office.

"The City of Livermore carefully followed a planning process that comports with both the letter and spirit of state law. Attorney General Bonta urges the court to expedite judicial review of the appeal to the fullest extent possible, arguing that the mere filing of an appeal in a CEQA case must not be permitted to stall or block critical projects," the statement said.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Looking for more Livermore stories? The Livermore Vine will be your new source of vital news and information. Sign up to be among the first to get our daily local news headlines sent to your inbox for free.

Cierra Bailey
   
Cierra started her journalism career after college as an editorial intern with the Pleasanton Weekly in 2014. After pursuing opportunities in digital and broadcast media and attending graduate school at Syracuse University, she’s back as the editor of the Vine. Read more >>

Follow PleasantonWeekly.com and the Pleasanton Weekly on Twitter @pleasantonnews, Facebook and on Instagram @pleasantonweekly for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Get uninterrupted access to important local city government news. Become a member today.

Livermore: State Attorney General backs city in call for expedited review of Eden Housing appeal

Says litigation is being dragged out; jeopardizes project funding

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Aug 10, 2022, 5:18 pm

California Attorney General Rob Bonta began the process of filing an amicus brief Tuesday in the case of Save Livermore Downtown v. City of Livermore, supporting the city's request for dismissal or expedited review of the pending appeal challenging its approval of the Eden Housing development under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

The city and developer Eden Housing, Inc. filed a joint motion on July 29 asking the Appellate Court to expedite the briefing schedule and in the alternative to dismiss the appeal.

"Timing is critical for affordable housing projects, which often rely on time-sensitive funding sources like tax credits to finance development," Bonta said in a statement. "The project at issue in this case would bring desperately needed affordable housing to the City of Livermore, and I commend the City for its efforts to address the housing needs of its community."

He added that CEQA is intended to protect the environment and public health, not to block new development. "Expedited review of this case will be key to allowing this development to proceed without further delay," Bonta said.

Livermore City Attorney Jason Alcala said that the city appreciates Bonta's support of the 130-unit affordable housing project planned for downtown.

"I concur with his assessment that Save Livermore Downtown’s lawsuit was brought for the purpose of delaying the project and that the lawsuit is an abuse of the CEQA process," Alcala told Livermore Vine in an email.

"It is unfortunate that Save Livermore Downtown has now recast itself as Move Eden Housing and filed yet another lawsuit aimed at delaying the project. Upon review, I expect the Alameda County Superior Court will find the new lawsuit to be just as meritless," he added.

Alcala's comments refer to a new, separate lawsuit filed last week by another citizen group called Move Eden Housing which identifies itself as being different from Save Livermore Downtown, although the two groups share members and are both advocating for the relocation of the housing in favor of a community park being built on the city-owned project site instead.

Move Eden Housing's lawsuit asks the court to compel the city to process a referendum petition that seeks to overturn the City Council's May approval of an amended disposition, development and loan agreement for the project.

Save Livermore Downtown's lawsuit challenging the city's initial approval of the project was denied in Alameda County Superior Court back in February but the group filed an appeal in April, which is the step in the litigation process that Bonta and the city are asking for expedited review or dismissal of.

Livermore Mayor Bob Woerner also expressed gratitude for Bonta's support while also deeming the current lawsuits as "frivolous." 

"Speaking for myself, I believe it is unconscionable for a wealthy elitist and her small group of close associates to use frivolous lawsuits to block much needed affordable workforce housing. I’m pleased that the Attorney General is supporting Livermore’s and Eden Housing’s efforts to expedite the appeals process. Many deserving families have been waiting far too long," Woerner said. 

At the time their appeal was filed, Save Livermore Downtown spokesperson Jean King said that the group believes "Judge Frank Roesch of the Alameda Superior Court ruled incorrectly when he concluded that the City had complied with CEQA and when he deferred to the city's argument that Eden Housing's project conformed with the Downtown Specific Plan."

A request for comment from Save Livermore Downtown about Bonta's brief was unsuccessful as of Wednesday afternoon.

A statement from Bonta's office said the appeal is putting the project's funding at stake. "By dragging out the litigation, Save Livermore Downtown has jeopardized the project's financing and potentially put the entire viability of the project at risk."

Citing the California Department of Housing and Community Development, Bonta's statement said the state needs an estimated 2.5 million new homes by 2030 in order to meet housing demand. However, on average only 100,000 new homes are built in California each year.

The development of vacant or underutilized plots in existing urban areas -- known as infill development -- is critical for local governments to address the housing crisis and meet state housing goals, according to Bonta's office.

"The City of Livermore carefully followed a planning process that comports with both the letter and spirit of state law. Attorney General Bonta urges the court to expedite judicial review of the appeal to the fullest extent possible, arguing that the mere filing of an appeal in a CEQA case must not be permitted to stall or block critical projects," the statement said.

Comments

Rich Buckley
Registered user
Livermore
on Aug 11, 2022 at 12:08 pm
Rich Buckley, Livermore
Registered user
on Aug 11, 2022 at 12:08 pm

Rob Bonta will judge us and seal his fate one way or the other. Rob Bonta, our California Attorney General was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, March 24, 2021. Gov. Gavin Newsom's aunt, Barbara Newsom, was married to Ron Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi's brother-in-law. These filial ties comprise a dynastic control over California voters.

Adhering to our State Constitution is the first duty assigned to the attorney general and the last duty of concern for attorney generals in practice. Racial priorities, Sexual orientations, dictates of medical procedures, and Neocon proxy wars to keep you in fear, are today's priorities of the dynasty.


The California Attorney General is used as a stepping stone to the governorship and higher office, all the way to US Presidency. The Democratic Party dynasty does not tolerate divergence....ever.

Livermore is captured in no small degree by the dynasty. While there is no moral, ethical, or constitutional-legal basis to overturn the right of the people to petition the government (to move Eden Housing), Livermore's controlled and now unelected City Clerk, is captured under the great reach of the dynasty through risk of loss of the City Clerk's pay and retirement benefits. As a result, the highest duty of even the modest office of City Clerk, the duty to validate petition signatures, has been blocked through ginned-up, convoluted government doublespeak.

If Ron Bonta deviates outside the dynasty and argues for the Petition Validation Process here in Livermore, it will destroy the dynasty. But he would also then likely be in serious contention to win the Presidency of the US in 2024 should he elect to run.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.