Development plans should change with times
Fremont Argus, June 23, 2007
YEARS ago, Newark's mayor had a plan: Create a golf
course and "executive homes" on the outermost regions of
1987 plan would require paving over land that formerly
were vibrant wetlands teeming with life.
years ago, this seemed like a good idea. But a lot has
changed in the last 20 years.
years ago, many Bay Area cities were sprawling outward
and we were only beginning to see the downside of
years ago, many still thought that wetlands were just
wastelands that needed to be filled to be "valuable."
years ago, we did not have the traffic we have today;
the term "telecommuting" did not exist; and few of us
knew the term "global warming."
years ago, gasoline cost $1.40 a gallon.
has changed in 20 years and the impact of that change
has been enormous. Twenty years ago, many cities built
these cities have realized that golf courses are not
financially viable. Cities subsidized golf courses and
when the money ran out, the lands would be paved over.
many visit the refuge and Coyote Hills — they enjoy the
beauty of these lands with their families and are
rewarded with experiences that rapidly are becoming a
thing of the past.
not a citizen in this area, the nation or the world has
not heard of global warming. Today the issue of rising
sea levels is a major concern — especially to those who
could have settled their families in low-lying areas.
we see wetlands as a buffer to rising sea levels. We
also see firsthand the negative impact poor planning can
many of us want to be more fuel-efficient but find it
difficult because of the way our communities have been
like Newark Mayor Dave Smith, have recognized this
problem and pledged to reduce greenhouse emissions. But
the plan for these lands, called Areas 3 and 4, does not
reduce emissions nor improve traffic efficiency.
the exact opposite.
talking about taking lands that were formerly beautiful,
vibrant wetlands and building more sprawl, complete with
golf course and "executive housing."
talking about adding 1,200 houses, including luxury
homes, on the farthest fringes of Newark and adding tens
of thousands of car trips a day to Newark and nearby
this folly with Fremont's plan to add 800 houses on the
Patterson Ranch and the 276 houses on the Tupelo
property (under construction) on the outermost regions
of northern Fremont.
add the 2,900 houses to be built as part of the A's
Ballpark Village, and we are talking about more than
5,000 houses on the fringes of our cities, farthest away
from any mass transit.
would add nearly 60,000 car trips a day from these homes
alone to our already congested roads and freeways.
1987 planning. We, as citizens of this city and this
environment, ask our elected officials to break from the
past — to not back plans that were defined 20 years ago.
Rather, look 20 years ahead into the future and plan for
is no other choice.
Dan Ondrasek was first introduced to the
Coyote Hills as a Fremont resident in 1989 and joined
the Friends of Coyote Hills in 1999. He has lived in the
Tri-City area more than 17 years and currently lives in
Newark with his wife and son.