Eden Housing, an affordable housing development planned for downtown Livermore, faces a new hurdle after a resident has submitted documents to circulate a petition for a referendum to overturn City Council approval of an amended development agreement for the project.
Attorney Barry Fadem emailed Livermore Vine to tell him that he initiated the referendum process on behalf of his client, Richard Ryon, by writing to the city clerk on March 27.
In a statement, Ryon said his action was in direct response to the Council’s May 24 approval of the Disposition, Development and Loan Agreement (DDLA), which includes amendments and amendments to further facilitate the development process.
“The people of Livermore have lost confidence in this councillor. Instead of listening to the majority of its constituents who prefer a different location for the Eden Housing project, the council voted to approve a major revision of the Deed, Development and Loan Agreement that would allow the city to use the property on the Railroad Avenue and L Street to Eden Housing by September of this year,” Ryon said, adding:
“The city will allow Eden to purchase the land before Eden has secured the majority of its funding for its project and before the lawsuit challenging last year’s city permits for the project is resolved.”
Though the 130-unit gated community was approved by the city last year, it remains at the center of a contentious community debate.
The project’s approval is currently being challenged in court by the Save Livermore Downtown citizens’ group. Their original application was denied by the Alameda County Superior Court earlier this year, prompting the group to appeal to the state appeals court last month.
After the council unanimously approved the amended DDLA, Mayor Bob Woerner addressed the ongoing litigation against the project, calling it an “unnecessary delay in the project.”
“I am also confident that the court will deny SLD’s appeal, so I wholeheartedly support moving the project forward by agreeing with the staff’s recommendations,” Woerner said.
It’s unclear if Ryon is affiliated with the Save Livermore Downtown civic group, but he expressed concerns in his statement that council approval of the amended DDLA would prevent future council members from choosing an alternative site for the project.
“Once the property is moved to Eden, there is no way to explore potential alternative locations for the housing project in a location that can still provide more housing units and more parking,” Ryon said.
He added: “Three new City Council members will be elected this November. If a majority of the new council is in favor of relocating the Eden Housing project, this agreement will tie their hands and give them no real options. They are left with a project they and the citizens of Livermore do not support.”
Upon receipt of the proposed impartial summary, the City Attorney may amend the impartial summary or elect not to make changes. Regardless of the city attorney’s decision, Ryon said he plans to “launch a campaign to collect signatures for a petition calling for a referendum so voters can decide if the Eden Accord harms the city and should be rejected.”