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Livermore: Community group sues city for approving affordable housing development downtown

Original post made on Jun 29, 2021

Community group Save Livermore Downtown has filed a lawsuit against the city of Livermore, challenging the City Council's approval of the 130-unit Eden Housing affordable housing development planned for downtown.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 28, 2021, 6:10 PM

Comments (11)

Posted by Steven Spedowfski
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 29, 2021 at 9:03 am

Steven Spedowfski is a registered user.

"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," King said.

I met with this groups many times when I served as a Livermore Council Member. They never compromise, they don't know how. After the decision to approve the downtown plan, I invited the group to discuss how we can move forward, they did not respond. A few weeks later the misinformation campaign began and hasn't stopped for the last 3+ years. When she mentions "acceptable alternatives" it's basically their way or nothing. Their plan is not feasible based on basic public finance and basic engineering principles.

Elected officials and city staff have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to work with this group, costing Livermore tax payers millions in staff time, special elections, and project delays. It's time for them to move on.

Posted by Longtime Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 29, 2021 at 9:30 am

Longtime Resident is a registered user.

(Comment removed)

Posted by Rich Buckley
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 29, 2021 at 10:16 am

Rich Buckley is a registered user.

My wife and I are 3rd generation residents of Livermore. Our families have resided here since the early 1920's. We've enjoyed 75-year residency and run a small business in our downtown since the 1970's after returning from Vietnam.

My family holds an interest in downtown commercial property that we are now charged as custodians to manage. Speaking for my wife and I, would like to see our City acquire the downtown housing from the rental facilities of Legacy Partners 150 feet west of the old Lucky Store site and for City to maintain a large public destination-location park that runs from Veterans Park on the east, unobstructed through to South L Street on the West with an enlarged lighted safety green-themed crosswalk, crossing at grade level over both South L and South Livermore Ave.

Web Link

Our economy has entered a high inflation period (38.7% Alameda County Past 12 months). We will be brought back to the cost saving merits of condemning ready-to-go, fully vetted new housing from Legacy Partners over proceeding with Eden Housing's unfortunate designs and experimental inadequate parking ratios. The truth is, the city council is totally out of sync with the Livermore community on the scope of our central park.

Posted by Longtime Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 29, 2021 at 2:39 pm

Longtime Resident is a registered user.

Since my comment was removed, here's an article from a major newspaper (The New York Times) that says the same thing.

"The profusion of councils and public hearings that let NIMBYs block new homes are a legacy of a progressivism that wanted to stop big developers from slicing communities up with highways, not help wealthy homeowners fight affordable apartments."

"Americans talk like conservatives but want to be governed like liberals. In California, the same split political personality exists, but in reverse: We’re often symbolically liberal, but operationally conservative."

Web Link

Posted by Vic-tah
a resident of Mission Park
on Jun 29, 2021 at 5:38 pm

Vic-tah is a registered user.

NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY. We elected public officials to do the best, informed job possible. Then the NIMBYs think they know better. Costco. Home Depot. Now this.
Get over your privileged selves, will ya?

Posted by Todd
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 29, 2021 at 9:01 pm

Todd is a registered user.

What an absolute waste of people’s time and tax payers money!

Posted by Rich Buckley
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 30, 2021 at 9:28 am

Rich Buckley is a registered user.

Antagonists to current city plan resisters points to alleged NIMBYISM. Livermore's Mayor however, promised he would be open to publicly review alternatives Eden Housing and/or Moderate to Low Income housing location across the street, north of Railroad Ave, and other possible sites, during the height of his recent mayoral campaign. He has not honored that commitment and has walked it back in so many ways. The mayor's promise was tendered at a critical moment in his election campaign, knowing 4 to 1 public preference that we keep the Old Lucky Store site open and place the housing elsewhere. The committee had even obtained legal opinion that there were legal that would support such actions.


Directly across the street Web Link 150-feet away from the misguided Eden Housing Project, is a cost saving rental project known as Legacy Partners about 50% to 60% completed, fully vetted, with traditional parking ratios, and environmental clearances and perhaps best of all, nearly ready to go. We will save 3 to 5 years of hyperinflation costs to just condemn what we need out of the LEGACY PARTNERS project. It's hardly NIMBYISM to root for a much sounder financial solution benefiting the public and building within 150 feet. Give me a break! This is about a City Council's total disconnect in regards to expressed public opinion on this downtown project, to develop a much larger open space all the way through from South Livermore Ave to South L Street. Eden Housing muffed it, Big Time. Even their architect offered his apology.

Posted by Steven Spedowfski
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 30, 2021 at 4:57 pm

Steven Spedowfski is a registered user.

Rich Buckley - Woerner said he would consider alternatives "if practical and feasible". No such alternatives were presented.

Where do you get the 4-1 statistic? A private survey with slanted questions?

Legacy Partners is commercial rate housing. You speak of condemnation if it were a) easy and b) cheap. it would be quite expensive to try to do so. Some of us are not so easy going with tax payer dollars.

The City conducted years of public outreach. All of the top priorities are being met. The vast majority of the public supports this project. Just look at the two latest elections and Measure P results.

Posted by Rich Buckley
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 1, 2021 at 9:38 am

Rich Buckley is a registered user.

Respectfully Steven Spedowfski, your statement is a total cop out illustrating public official double speak.

One reasonable effort by Mayor Woerner, who I and several hundred others switched to support from our posture of seeking alignments from mayoral candidates during the critical base building phase of his campaign, would have been to publicly review the costs of condemnation. He never even tried.

Meetings if any where secrete not public. Analysis was non-existent. For about $10,000+- a certified appraisal could have been secured in a timely fashion to underwrite a thorough analysis of condemnation. Factor in about 38% to 45% annualized residential inflation in Alameda County and 3 to 5 more years to get Eden Product on line compared to 1 year to be Legacy Partners on line, transferability of grants, availability of loans, a different picture begins to emerge.

Furthermore, a community of 100,000 such as Livermore can afford to own a downtown destination location attraction in the way of a city park that invites foot traffic and recreation from Legacy Partners on the West end to the Hotel on the East end.

Statistic were gather by public surveys run by committee supporting the downtown park.

Posted by Steven Spedowfski
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 2, 2021 at 8:22 am

Steven Spedowfski is a registered user.

Rich, my statement was pretty darn clear. Don't know what double speak you are referring to. Maybe you should look at the City finances a bit more carefully? It's not an endless pit to condemn whatever you feel like. Let's see, the City paid for Veteran's Way, Stockmen's Park, Railroad garage extension, and the new L Street garage. All without raising taxes. The City is pretty much tapped out for downtown funding.

Want a park that's central to downtown? Go use Carnegie.

Posted by Rich Buckley
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 2, 2021 at 10:17 am

Rich Buckley is a registered user.

Perhaps this is the spot to plug modifications I've prodded cities including Livermore for many years to start. If there is any volunteer group committee that should be given access to Livermore's official website, it's a volunteer committee to demystify city finances.

Some attempts have been made by the city. But I find, the level of work needed, needs to be brought down to simple to understand departments that the public can not only probe, but receive linked updated videos, on what the information seen on line actually means.

My eyes glaze over and I drift into a numb-fog when I look at most city published budgets. I need quick simple talk-through before I understand. Surely there are retired CFO's living in Livermore who could be persuaded to participate. I would be happy to serve such a committee by asking stupid questions.

I try to write contracts so a child might understand in hearing it, "You get that, we provide this," sort of language. My mind operates more like a child when looking at city finances. The net result is, as it stands now, I can not get to the bottom of anything on line..... and that's the way City Staff prefers it. I can understand privacy around personnel issues. Beyond that however, everything seems to be kept a maze of disconnected parts.

Imagine this. Say for example, I am a local resident that thinks the entire city council is foolishly, caught up in some sort of city staff guided financial formula pushed on to a former mayor who swallows it hook, line and sinker that the city can't possibly make adjustments. All endorsements following to other political candidates then become dependent on swallowing the same city mgr guided dictum. Anyone thereafter disagreeing is demonized... because, well, we can't do this, it's not in the budget.

But what if our volunteer committee placed on line an in depth, sensitivity analysis cash flow eXcel-like program, that allowed anyone to interact, and adjust?


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