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My Word: Latest Coyote Hills proposal as problematic as past Fremont plans
By Dan Ondrasek - Guest commentary
Fremont Argus, December 9, 2009

The Patterson Ranch development proposal is back.

A draft environmental impact report (EIR) recently was released for development of Patterson Ranch in front of the Coyote Hills Regional Park. The proposal in the EIR is just as problematic as all of the past proposals.

Here are just some of the unacceptable issues with this new proposal:

  • Nearly 700 new students (358 elementary, 113 junior high and 228 high school students) would be enrolled into already overcrowded and under funded Fremont schools. In June 2008, the developer proposed only $9 million for an elementary school the developer estimates will cost the school district $20 million to build. What are the real costs in today's dollars? Who will make up this $11 million-plus shortfall?

  • The school is proposed in a flood zone, on lands that are subject to high shaking in an earthquake. Who will make up the funding shortfall?

  • The developer is asking Fremont to quadruple current zoning to allow more than 870 housing units. This will increase traffic by 4 million car trips annually, degrading air and water quality. Some of these proposed buildings are five stories tall. The development will block scenic vistas of Coyote Hills.

  • Sea levels are expected to rise by 55 inches in the next century as a result of global warming. Are we sure that these lands on the edge of the Bay are truly protected from flooding? Will Fremont residents have to foot the bill if flooding occurs?

  • The developer is again asking to pave over the land directly in front of our beloved Coyote Hills Regional Park. Multiple voter surveys confirmed that more than 70 percent want no development directly in front of the Coyote Hills. Yet the new development places acres of parking lots and development directly in front of the park.

If this development is allowed to go forward as planned, pollutants and nuisance species will invade this special place, forever changing it.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, Fremont's planning commission will be hearing public comment on the proposed development in the City Council chambers. The Friends of Coyote Hills ask that you attend this meeting and make your voices heard on why there should be no development in front of the park.

Let them know how you feel — it does have an impact. Without this community's involvement, the area would have been developed long ago.

We need to protect Coyote Hills.

Once it is gone, it is gone forever.

Dan Ondrasek has been a member of the Friends of Coyote Hills since 2001. He is an 11-year resident of the Tri-City area, and now lives in Newark.

 

 

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