Mar 2 2012

Sierra Club Urges Oakland to Sue Piedmont over Blair Park

Letter to Oakland City Council Supports Lawsuit to Save Moraga Canyon -

Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent to the Oakland City Council and provided to PCA by the Northern Alameda County Sierra Club.

City of Oakland Councilmembers
City of Oakland
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612

February 28, 2012
Re: City of Piedmont Blair Park Proposal

Dear Councilmembers:

According to our understanding, the City of Oakland requested until February 24th, 2012 to study environmental impact issues of the Piedmont Blair Park sports field project. Assuming the issues were not addressed to the City’s satisfaction, the Sierra Club expresses our full support for having the City of Oakland file suit against the City of Piedmont to save Moraga Canyon.  We believe that the project’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is fundamentally flawed and that the Piedmont City Council approved the final plan for the project in December 2011 without adequate public review of significant changes made to the project since last August.

In particular, the Sierra Club has great concern about the environmental destruction of a natural canyon open space, loss of 150 trees including 55 mature oaks, water retention problems as a result of the earth moving and grading, and loss of a wildlife corridor and habitat.  Piedmont sports clubs’ need for more fields could be resolved by better scheduling of existing fields in Piedmont, as well as working on a regional basis with Oakland and nearby colleges to share existing fields or develop new ones on vacant, flat sites.

The Moraga Canyon/Blair Park project EIR is inadequate and flawed, and requires at least a supplemental environmental review (not just a simple addendum) due to many changes made in the final, approved plan. As you know, Piedmont’s Planning Commission unanimously opposed the project in 2011. Friends of Moraga Canyon (FOMC), a local nonprofit organization also opposed to the project, has already filed a lawsuit against Piedmont based on the inadequate EIR. It is possible that FOMC attorneys could collaborate with Oakland attorneys to reduce the time and costs of assembling the record and other court related expenses.

We very much appreciate the Oakland City Councilmember Schaaf’s ongoing advocacy on this issue as well as City of Oakland CEDA Deputy Director Eric Angstadt’s past comment letters on Moraga Canyon.  We also appreciate the City of Oakland’s past opposition to this project, citing “Piedmont’s failure to conduct any meaningful analysis of the Plan’s environmental impacts, including…impacts on Oakland’s residents.” In addition, Oakland neighbors are almost unanimously opposed for reasons of safety, traffic, noise, wildlife protection, open space and aesthetics.

For these compelling reasons, we urge the City of Oakland to move forward with a lawsuit to stop the further development of soccer fields at the Blair Park site.  Thank you so much for your consideration and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions at kentlewan@yahoo.com.

Sincerely,
Kent Lewandowski
Sierra Club, Northern Alameda County Group

(Alameda-Albany-Berkeley-Emeryville-Oakland-Piedmont-San Leandro)

2530 San Pablo Avenue, Suite I, Berkeley, CA 94702

510-848-0800 (voice) • 510-848-3383 (fax)

Leave a Comment