Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Piedmont City Council Rescinds Blair Park Approval

By Nate Seltenrich
Tue, May 8, 2012 at 3:08 PM

The Piedmont City Council formally withdrew its approval of the controversial proposal to build a sports field at Blair Park, Piedmont Patch reported this morning. Council members voted 5-0 at last night's meeting to rescind approval of the plan, as requested by project proponents Piedmont Recreational Facilities Organization. City Administrator Geoffrey Grote and City Attorney Tom Curry also recommended that the council withdraw approval of the project, Piedmont Patch reported.

The reason for the reversal was unrelated to the project's most hot-button issue (and the source of both a lawsuit from citizen's group Friends of Moraga Canyon and a threatened lawsuit from the City of Oakland), the legal validity of the Environmental Impact Report prepared for the project. Instead, the project met its end because of escalating legal costs, Piedmont Patch reported.

A May 4 story on the news organization's website noted that PRFO owes the City of Piedmont more than $220,000 and hasn't made a payment to the city for legal and consulting costs associated with the project since September 2011. This debt was likely at least partially responsible for the three-month project delay we reported on early last month.

The Piedmont City Council did not, however, rescind its approval of the controversial Environmental Impact Report, which project opponents still hope to see. "Don't leave this loaded gun lying on the table, it gives the wrong idea," Neil Teixiera told Dixie Jordan of the Piedmont Patch. The same shortage of field space for youth sports teams in Piedmont that gave rise to PRFO's Blair Park plan remains unsolved. Mark Menke, incoming president of PRFO, said at last night's meeting that the organization is "looking to go forward and find some field space," Jordan reported.

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