Measure F protects private property

| May 2, 2018 | 12 Comments

Dear Martinez Resident,

We are writing this letter as citizens of Martinez, and not in our capacities with the City of Martinez, to let you know about an initiative on the June 5th Election Ballot that will have an impact on private property.

This is MEASURE I, which was circulated and put on the ballot by individuals claiming that their goal was to save Martinez parks this is not true. Our magnificent parks are part of the DNA of Martinez and will never be developed.

Measure I is a land grab that, if passed by Martinez voters, would require certain privately-owned parcels throughout Martinez, in both the City and the County, be zoned permanent open space and banned from any kind of development or other future plans homeowners may have for their property. And it does this with no plan for compensating for potential loss in property value.

If you read the Measure carefully, it is attempting to create an “overlay” land use designation that prohibits new or expanded uses (or development) of more than 550 private properties in the City and County. Measure I proponents are trying to make Martinez citizens’ property open space! This is bad for the City and will cost the citizens of Martinez millions of dollars in legal fees alone!

Measure F has been placed on the ballot by the City as an alternative measure that will protect all of our private property. The City’s measure rightfully prohibits development of our public parks but does not take private property rights from Martinez citizens.

We greatly need your help to do three things:

1) Vote “YES” on Measure F – Protect private property rights of our citizens

2) Vote “No” on Measure I – It does not protect, it only destroys

3) Spread the word! Measure I is damaging to our City – educate your friends and neighbors

Even if you only show up at your polling place on June 5th to cast these two votes, every vote counts! It is absolutely critical that you vote YES on Measure F and NO on Measure I. Thank You

– Mayor Rob Schroder, Councilwoman Noralea Gipner and Councilwoman Debbie McKillop

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Category: Opinion

Comments (12)

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  1. Mike says:

    Is it true that the Sierra Club & Mount Diablo Audubon Society both endorse Measure I?

  2. Dan Barrows says:

    I posted this on the Martinez Rants and Raves Group on Facebook and felt compelled to share it here as well. After watching the video debate between the Mayor and Mr. Platt, a production which I really appreciated as it gave me an opportunity to hear both sides of the argument, I thought this….

    I really appreciate the video and the opportunity to hear from both sides. I feel that both gentlemen were civil and made strong arguments for their side of the issue. Personally I am not sure how I’ll vote, but leaning in favor of Measure I. Before those who disagree start berating me about my lack of concern for private property rights… hear me out. I agree that allowing 5 individuals on the city council to have the power to decide to change zoning on a property (and actually it would only take a majority of 3 of them) is a lot of power and however honorable our current city council members may be, there is the potential for future corruption and financial enticements by developers. So, giving the citizens of the city a chance to weigh in on these big things will simply hold our politicians accountable. On the other hand, I agree that someone who wants to add a small in-law house to their property shouldn’t have to go through an election to get permission to do so. But, I don’t see that Measure I is preventing someone from doing that now…. if their property is currently zoned to allow it. So, if it wasn’t, they’d still have to go at least through the city to get a rezoning. This primarily, in my opinion has to do with large parcels and substantial changes in use… like converting a huge golf course into a housing development… something which will impact traffic in the area, add more kids to our schools and affect the density of our area, the wildlife, etc. I would be open to a more modest residential proposal in Pine Meadows which the developer could propose and, I believe if reasonable, the citizens of Martinez would approve. I did take issue with the Mayor’s statement that the zoning of pine meadows on old maps was a mistake. I haven’t looked into all of the details of this, but if it’s been that way on the maps for 50 years or so, enough people have seen it and agreed with it, that it likely was correct. Lastly, is there a fear that the citizens of Martinez would not vote in favor of things that are in the best interest of the community? If that interest is more development, I believe the citizens will support it. But, I also believe there are plenty of old industrial and derelict residential properties in this city that could be converted to meet the needs for more affordable housing and thereby avoid bulldozing and building on large open spaces. I bought my home in Martinez, specifically because the community was not over crowded and has a lot of open space. So, what about the rights of people like me who invested hard earned money to live in a community that isn’t over crowded? You can look all over the Bay Area and see communities that did not restrict growth and allowed development on every hillside and open area. Concrete and buildings everywhere! I say we try to avoid that here.

  3. Dan Barrows says:

    Does anyone else find it ironic that Martinez was the home of John Muir, a man who dedicated his life to protecting open space from being over-developed, and now the city he called home is engaged in a fight over open space? He’s probably rolling in his grave…. you know… the grave that is now (also
    Ironically) located in the middle of a housing development.

  4. Kristin Henderson says:

    And you just violated the Brown Act….

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes a private serial meeting between a quorum of the Martinez City Council 3 in creating this letter. A letter that is full of falsehoods, thus measure F.

  5. Gabriel Lujan says:

    I own one of the properties listed in measure I. I am inclined to protect our open space and prevent overbuilding in the city I have lived my entire life in. I also do not feel some of the zoning decisions should be left up to the 5 elected officials on the council. However, can anyone give me (in real English) some information on just what exactly the measure would or would not prevent me from doing on my property? Without this, I will not be able to vote for this measure.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can do what ever your zoning allows now.

    • Linda Meza says:

      Gabriel, read the Measure and familiarize yourself with our housing stock and the true meaning of Open Space. An undeveloped lot in the middle of a built environment does not meet the litmus test. The indivual, undeveloped, lots do not form a bad, do not constitute wildlife corridors, they are merely undeveloped lots. While we’re arguing over 27 acres surrounded by housing tracts, real conservationists are buying up true landscapes, one is the Almond Ranch. This purchase, when complete, will connect 18,000 acres of protected open space: 10,000 acre Franklin Ridge Wukdlife and Trail Cooridor, 6,255 acre Briones Regional Park, and the 1,758 acre Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline. Pretty sure we’ve got the whole open space thing handled.

  6. Gabriel Lujan says:

    Thanks Linda, I know this measure is really all about stopping the housing development at the golf course but I just wondered if maybe it actually had some validity.

    • Linda says:

      I suppose that will depend on your idea of what open space is, an undeveloped city block or miles of hiking trails.

      If it’s city blocks, then sure, Measure I will ensure no business minded investor / developer will ever propose a housing project knowing the real likelihood it will be challenged by just about anyone with an axe to grind.

      Or the conservationists definition of open space as landscapes.

      If the second one, then Martinez is already blessed with over 18,000 acres of true open space that will never face the threat of development.

  7. Ann Onimus says:

    I own one of the properties listed in Measure I. While I absolutely support open space in our community and the need for parks, trails,and the prevention of overbuilding, I have serious worries about both Measure F and Measure I. Measure F was written by City Officials and decisions are left up to those 5 individuals. I do not think this is good at all. However, my property and my neighbors’ properties are already zone ECC-R40. They are already under environmental conservation and there are already numerous hoops and costs involved to fixing things. If a creek happens to run through your back yard and a retaining wall fails and you have to rebuild it to save your home, you have to go through the City for Permits and Fish and Game, etc. I know of people who had to pay $60,000 to repair a wall to save the property that their home was built on. This is money that does not really increase the value of the property. It’s something that just has to be done. If I needed to build a small barn or secondary dwelling on my property. I would have to jump through the same hoops. My own home caught on fire a few years ago. We were lucky that less than 50% of it had to be rebuilt or we would have had to raze the house and go through all these other channels to get the house rebuilt. Our insurance company already balked and shorted us around $50,000 to cover repairs. It took 3 years to get back into the house. I cannot imagine having to jump through even more hoops that the insurance companies, the mortgage people and the City Inspector’s. According to some people, my property would retain it’s zoning, but it’s being lumped in with other larger obvious public properties that are already zoned for open space and public use. We could eventually lose some of particular zoning rights in the years to come if our private properties were to be added to the public open spaces. This is absolutely not fair to the owners of homes on those properties who already attempt to comply with other requirements and may have already had to incur higher rebuilding costs and restrictions than might occur in other areas. There are numerous wording inconsistencies in Measure I and I don’t trust measure F, so I am going to vote No on both of them and hope that someone will rewrite Measure I to make it sound less like the city taking eminent domain over private properties with homes on them for public use as open space. In addition, despite numerous complaints to city officials, law enforcement and other entities, no attempts have been made to curtail people driving at speeds far in excess of the speed limit while other people are riding bicycles or horses, or walking along the road. At least one small animal is killed daily on the road. Sometimes larger animals, such as deer are killed. I am amazed that there have been few deaths to bicyclists, pedestrians or horseback riders, or horses. Curtailing the speed limit would be an environmentally sound step to take. A sidewalk on at least one side of the road could not possibly do more harm than the carbon footprint left by speeding cars and the railroad. It makes no sense at all to bundle all these smaller private properties in with the larger public properties and declare them “open space” if you cannot implement some simple solutions to protect the environment associated with that open space such as reducing the speed limit so that animals and potentially people don’t get killed.

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