This statement was presented to the Livermore City Council July 13, 2015
As an educational non-profit, Citizens for Balanced Growth normally undertakes efforts to shed light on issues. Fortunately, this time the public is already very well informed about the impacts related the possibility of rezoning the Sunset Office Plaza for residential use.
Council Members are undoubtedly aware of the numerous published editorials, and have endured countless conversations involving the negative impacts of a zoning change, as well as being reminded of the commitments by which the applicant was allowed to build the adjacent homes. There is no need to repeat what you already know, and has been so eloquently stated by so many people. We believe Council can clearly see that the goal of balancing jobs and housing is not achieved by adding more residences to an area of town that is already overwhelmingly residential.
The challenge for Council is not whether the current zoning is good for the community, but rather what is to be done with an owner of commercial property that seems disinterested in continuing current operations, yet won’t solve the problem in the conventional manner by simply selling it to an eager buyer.
What we would like to add to the conversation is simply this. Do not let fear cloud your better judgement. Despite the rumors and back room anxiety, the owner needs to maintain the property at a profit in order to cover taxes, expenses and maintain the required park area. The plaza will not become a vacant lot. They are business people, and they’ll do what is most economically beneficial for their company. If they see little hope for rezoning, we believe the owner will either continue to operate the plaza profitably, or sell it to someone else prepared to do the same. The profit motive always wins, as it should in most businesses.
Finally, please consider the message you will be sending other property owners who might be watching this decision closely. Rezoning this property will reverberate far into the future, beyond the confines of this action. Imagine how impactful it may become.