November 13, 2012 > Letter to the Editor: Kimber Park asks for support
Letter to the Editor: Kimber Park asks for support
How much will ordinary citizens endure to protect something they value? The Kimber Park neighborhood is defining this right now. At the heart of the matter, is our belief that it is unjust and immoral for a developer to purchase land in a 36 year old Planned Development with the sole purpose of getting the zoning changed for their personal profit at the detriment of our community. The question about development on the Kimber Park property will come to a head next Tuesday, November 20th at 7pm when the latest development proposal will be voted on by City Council.
Our community has shown extreme courage, conviction and perseverance. We have shown up in the hundreds at multiple city meetings, signed petitions and helped pass the Protect Private Open Space Initiative with over 13,000 signatures. Our battle has morphed over the past year from one against a 26 unit residential development to now being a fight against rezoning to allow a 42,000 square foot sport/lodging/business/event center complex larger than City Beach.
There are some things in life that are worth fighting for and we believe this is one of them. This battle is not just about our neighborhood but is about the character of Fremont and our elected leaders. Will our leaders bow to the politics of money, influence, and threatened law suits? Or will they stand up for the community and tell the owner to stop trying to get the zoning changed? Will they tell the owner to run a facility with existing permitted uses in a scale that honors the original intent and is consistent with being on private open space in the middle of a residential neighborhood? We should all be watching the outcome of this battle. If zoning in a long-standing Planned Development can be changed with only a conceptual, vague plan amidst extreme neighborhood opposition, imagine what could be possible in your neighborhood?
In an interesting twist, we learned that the owner has enlisted the help of Fremont's Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber is claiming that the issue relates to economic development, but we know this is about one owner, leveraging her relationship with other business owners, to try to pressure our local officials through every means possible. The Chamber should not be involved in a matter that relates to a park-like parcel in a residential Planned District with limitations on its usage (that the owner was aware of when she purchased it).
The Chamber should not be getting involved in helping this owner receive a rezoning and additional land use entitlements. The project is not in a commercial or industrial area... it is in the center of a residential neighborhood on open space. This is politics at its worst where big money and friends in high places can buy influence. Do Chamber members really know what they voted on? Did they invite Kimber Park leaders to attend their meeting to hear the facts and answer questions? Were Chamber members who voted aware of the owner's prior business practices? Did they know that the owner did not market or advertise the facility, that she closed the club with no notice to 20 year members, that she fenced off the club for five months?
I am saddened by our Chamber's decision to get involved, although not surprised, because of the circles of relationships and politics involved. Somehow the saying "it's just politics" seems to magically erase the accountability that should come with such actions. There should be consequences for decisions that are not right. Kimber Park residents and Fremont residents have a right to know which Chamber members voted to support the developer. We have choices and we want to support businesses that really look out for the entire community... not just the business interests of wealthy developers. We hope to publish a list of the businesses, within the Chamber, who voted to support the developer's plans on our website at www.savekimberpark.com . The residents of Fremont deserve to know before they shop.
The Save Kimber Park group has been reasonable and respectful throughout this whole 20-month ordeal. We simply want zoning that was approved in a public process over 36 years ago, upheld. We believe the owner can run a profitable business with 13 tennis courts, an updated pool and a renovated clubhouse.
Please attend the City Council meeting on Tuesday, November 20th and wear GREEN to show support for Save Kimber Park.
Save Kimber Park