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CONSERVATION NEWS

Park District may save Breuner Marsh

On Nov. 1 the Board of the East Bay Regional Park District is to vote on acquiring Breuner Marsh through eminent domain. The 236 acres on the eastern shore of San Pablo Bay consist of wetlands as well as one of the last large unfragmented coastal-upland habitats in the Bay Area. The Park District would add the marsh to Point Pinole Regional Park, just to the north.

In recent years the site has been one of the top conservation priorities for the Sierra Club Bay Chapter, as well as for the Golden Gate Audubon Society, Citizens for East Shore Parks, the Parchester Neighborhood Association, and many Richmond residents, and the effort goes back decades. The site is of particular importance to the African-American community of Parchester Village, which was promised a park on Breuner Marsh back when the community was first built in the late 1940s.

Appallingly, the Richmond City Council has voted to oppose the Park District's acquisition of the marsh and our longstanding desire to save this property from development. Voting for the resolution were Mayor Irma Anderson and Councilmembers Nat Bates, Richard Griffin, John Marquez, and Tony Thurman; voting against were Councilmembers Tom Butt, Gayle McLaughlin, and Jim Rogers; with Councilmember Maria Viramontes out of town. The resolution declares that the site should be developed and that Richmond has too much park land already.

Currently different parts of Breuner Marsh are designated in Richmond's General Plan as "recreation lands", "preservation/resource area", and "open space: water". The coastal-upland portion is designated as "light industrial". The owner, Stan Davis, has requested changes in these designations so that he can develop large upscale housing. Previous proposals for the site have been for a gated community, with access from the Richmond Parkway by a two-lane road. The area is near no major transit node. Davis has claimed that he will have a new BART stop at his development, but we know of no indications that BART would support an extension to this site.

Davis has repeated refused to sell the property to the Park District voluntarily.

WhatYouCanDo

The owner and the city of Richmond promise to put on a full-court press to prevent the eminent domain. This makes essential a strong showing of public support. Write to:

President Beverly Lane and Directors
East Bay Regional Park District
P.O. Box 5381
Oakland, CA 94605

Urge them to support the staff recommendation to acquire Breuner Marsh by eminent domain, if necessary.

In addition, Richmond residents should write to:

Mayor Irma Anderson and Members of the City Council
City of Richmond
1401 Marina Way South
Richmond, CA 94804

Tell them that you are appalled at their opposition to saving Breuner Marsh and urge that they reconsider their vote.

For more information, contact Norman La Force at (510)526-4362 or email n.laforce -at- comcast.net

 


2005 San Francisco Sierra Club Yodeler

 

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