Aug 5 2011

Controversy Continues For and Against Moraga Canyon Projects

Since the City Council in March approved the the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for development of Blair Park for sports fields and Coaches Field for lighting and artificial turf, controversy over Piedmont’s Moraga Canyon Sport Fields proposal has not abated. 

Between March and August, no public hearings have been held by the Council on the project. But Council members have said informally they expect to hold a public hearing on the revised final project plans in September.  Meanwhile, the Council may have met in closed session to discuss potential litigation on the project, but the Brown Act does not require public disclosure of the nature of potential litigation discussed.

Initially, yard signs supporting the “gift” of developing Blair Park appeared throughout the community, while signs to “Save Moraga Canyon,” opposing the project,  appeared to be most prevalent in or near the Moraga Canyon area.  Proponents have characterized the project opponents as NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard).  More recently, however, new revised “Save Blair Park/Moraga Canyon” signs have sprung up in areas distant from Moraga Canyon.  

Solicited information includes:

  • Detailed project financing and guarantees of full funding for all project aspects before construction begins 
  • Final design plans
  • Whether multiple design changes will require a simple addendum or a lengthy/costly supplement to the EIR
  • Legal questions on the new traffic plans meeting EIR requirements
  • Project schedule and completion dates
  • Construction management provisions
  • Traffic control measures on Moraga Avenue – roundabouts, signals, traffic congestion
  • Ongoing maintenance and security costs
  • Litigation responsibilities and cost allocations
  • Hours of play and use restrictions
  • Final landscaping plans
  • Plans for handling water run-off and water retention
  • Costs and responsibilities for relocating sewer and utility lines under Blair Park
  • Risk assessment and coverage of liabilities – damage to homes, accidents, construction problems, water issues, rocks, etc.
  • Bicycle and pedestrian access for Moraga Avenue
  • Repeal of lighting prohibition ordinance for Coaches Field

The lighting and artificial turf for Coaches Field anticipates the use of  the $500,000 in one-time Measure WW East Bay Regional Park bond funds referred to by the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Review Committee in their recommendations to the Council for FY 2011-12.  (See prior article.)  However, at the Budget Workshop in May, Mayor Dean Barbieri emphasized that no Council decision had been made on the use of WW funds and that public hearings by the City Council would take place before any determination on the use of the $500,000.  Although WW funding is restricted, permitted uses include long term capital projects for public pools, senior centers, recreational facilities or buildings, tennis courts, and many other uses.



One Response to “Controversy Continues For and Against Moraga Canyon Projects”

  1. The presence of multiple utility systems in Blair Park currently, all of which require relocation, has been virtually ignored by both proponents and City Hall. The lack of attention may be due to the bizarre finding of the LSA EIR at p368: “project would not result in a significant cumulative impact to utilities and infrastructure.” Complete relocation is a significant impact. The cost of relocation, especially the Sewer system serving 25 homes and the EBMUD 20″ distribution line, has never been addressed. And as significant bedrock exists in that area, just look at the Corporation cliff walls, these relocation costs may be substantial.

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