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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Property Owners Group Calls Town Hall Meeting

The Emeryville Property Owners Association has released the following notice advertising the Town Hall meeting they are hosting next Saturday.  The group wishes to alert the residents to possible negative effects of a new parking plan City Hall wishes to implement.  

RALPH HAWLEY SCHOOL - 1275 61ST STREET - EMERYVILLE Complete Details of the event, a copy of the Parking Implementation Plan, the video presentation of the Plan, and other associated documents are available at

The Emeryville Property Owners Association (EPOA) invites you to attend our first community meeting on an important community issue. The Parking Implementation “Plan” will have a major impact on the City which has not been properly considered.
Parking policies have substantial economic impact to affected businesses and residents, and other levels of inconvenience which should be considered prior to implementation. Council Member Jennifer West has accepted our invitation to explain why everyone should pay for street parking.

Everyone attending the meeting will have an opportunity to complete a “feedback card” to express your concern on this issue. The information obtained will be provided to the City Council for their Jan 15th meeting when moving forward with the implementation of this Plan will be considered. If you can’t stay for the meeting please drop by and complete a feedback card to express your concerns.

This Plan invades your right to the quiet enjoyment of an existing public resource by establishing a fee for such use. Such fee could easily be imposed for the use of a city park, or the cost of any city service now provided to the community.
This City can continue to look at necessary timed parking zones, and other parking controls on an “as needed basis” where each circumstance can be properly considered as it should be.

This is a new form of local taxation being imposed in Emeryville without public approval. It’s true, strict parking would be a new source of revenue. It has been imposed in neighboring cities. However, this is Emeryville where the people who live and is work here deserve more respect. Wilbur Smith was hired to come into Emeryville and prepare a Plan for the City without public input.

At stake here is the integrity of our public process. The City is imposing a plan to manage a pubic benefit essential to the well being of Emeryville businesses and residents without regard to impact and/or inconvenience.
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The impact of this Plan will make it more expensive for employees of Emeryville businesses to work in the City, An unexpected new cost. Will it cause small Emeryville business owners and/or their employees to go elsewhere?
Emeryville enjoys continued added prosperity because of the unfriendly business practices in neighboring cities. Is it possible this Parking Plan could end up costing the City the loss of business and actually become a liability? .

This Parking Plan is being promoted by a major property owner who has abused the city’s ability to minimize the impact of new development on surrounding areas. The City failed to impose a specific requirement that parking, created for the use new buildings, must specifically be used for said purpose.
The environmental review for these new buildings included a false statement which inaccurately reflected these buildings would have “no adverse impact to the surrounding areas.” A statement made on the false assumption approved new parking would be used for the stated purpose.
Said owner provides no parking for tenants. The City has put the building owner in the Parking business. They charge $95 per month for parking to anyone who will pay the price. Employees who work in the new buildings use the less convenient street parking and thereby rob the surrounding areas of available public parking. Something Emeryville residents and business owners and employees have enjoyed since the City was established.

The Council failed to notify affected residents and business owners when the details of this Plan were approved on September 7, 2010. No one from the public was present. We urge you to watch the video presentation or review the Plan to learn the details of it.
Such actions erode public confidence in local government and create uncertainty for business owners and their employees who are forced to deal with the consequence of surprise. This is actually a form of gentrification which is never the subject of public discussion.

A major goal of the new EPOA is to bring businesses and residents together to discuss important issues. both pro and con, in the formative stage of the decision process.

ABOUT THE NEW EPOA- The Emeryville Property Owners Association was created in response to a crisis last November 2011, when 18 property owners received a surprise notice their land was included in a new assessment district.
It seems the owner of the new buildings, in the North Hollis area, and City Staff, worked together behind closed doors for two years, to create the boundaries of a new utility “district” which included 21 separate property owners.
The boundaries of said district were drawn to impose a new $8.3 Million property tax assessment upon 18 unsuspecting property owners without their prior knowledge or approval.

If a new assessment district is created a majority of owners, within the boundaries of the new district, have the legal power to overrule any objection of the minority property owners to pay the assessment.
The ownership of property in this district included 42% of the land controlled by the new building owner. The Staff offered the City owned land at 5% and ONE third party owner with 7% of the land. Collectively only THREE owners to constitute the necessary majority to force EIGHTEEN minority owners to pay.
City Staff and building owner created this new District to impose a surprise $8.3 million assessment with no regard to the financial impact being imposed on these 18 minority property owners, or the 124 businesses which exist on the properties.

After the City Council decided to move forward with the creation of the new assessment district. The 18 affected owners organized the EPOA to fight the assessment. These owners had to endure the threat and the stress of a multi-million dollar new property tax assessment being imposed over forceful objection. The EPOA was able to convince the third party owner to withdraw his support for the new district, and thereby stop it from moving forward.
A horrific circumstance never to be forgotten. We have created the “Emeryville Public Notice & Accountability Initiative.” A ballot measure to force the City to notify affected parties by email, whenever the City is contemplating any action which will specifically impact the use of land, or impose any new tax or assessment. The ballot measure is now being circulated and must obtain enough valid Emeryville signatures to be placed on a future ballot for voter approval . . .

One of the purposes of the Jan 12th meeting is to restore integrity to our public process, and to urge the Council to delay implementation of this Parking Implementation Plan and allow for public participation before moving forward. We urge your participation.

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