Save Livermore Downtown Responds to City Decision | Livermore News

Following Livermore City Council’s decision to lend funds to 2205 Railroad Avenue LLC to acquire and construct a valet parking lot, Save Livermore Downtown (SLD) issued a press release stating that part of the 10 January provided incorrect information to the public.

The staff report said the move from underground parking under the hotel to valet parking on surface land was necessary due to actions taken by citizens who tabled referendums and initiative – the 2018 referendum, the 2019 referendum and the 2019 Central Park plan initiative.

“Staff claim – without any supporting evidence – that these measures have caused the hotel to be significantly delayed resulting in increased construction, operation and maintenance costs making underground parking impossible,” said SLD. “As a result, the report indicates that surface parking for hotel parking is required. It is simply wrong. The facts do not support staff’s conclusion that citizen efforts to improve the proposed downtown plan, which did not follow the priorities expressed in the 2017 public outreach process, resulted in the loss of underground parking of the hotel.

The SLD pointed out that the delay caused by the 2018 referendum “amount to only 7 weeks – from October 11, 2018, when it was presented to the city, until November 26, 2018, when the city ​​council approved it.

“The council could have put the referendum to the voters, but they decided to pass it instead and repeal parts of the specific plan,” the statement continued. “It is important to note that none of the provisions of the specific plan repealed by the referendum addressed the hotel’s parking problems, so this referendum would not have caused any delay.

SLD also noted that the hotel’s decision to continue with surface parking predated both the 2019 referendum and the 2019 initiative. The staff report states that in May 2019, when the city council brought revisions to the specific downtown plan, “the provision of 70 to 150 parking spaces in a new public or private car park accessible from K Street was included in the project at that time”. time as an alternative to underground parking.”

“Thus, these measures – which came after May 2019 – could not influence the hotel’s decision,” SLD continued. “The reality is that the hotel developer wants above ground parking instead of underground parking because it would probably save them over $10 million. In March 2020, International Parking Design, a leading car park design company, reported that an underground car park with an irregular footprint built using union labor would cost $85,000 per space, compared to just $10,000 per space for surface land.

SLD said citizens who have long supported moves to improve the city’s downtown plan should not be blamed for the hotel developer’s decision to upgrade their project.

“In the absence of evidence to support the alleged ‘infeasibility’, it is clear that abandoning the underground car park was simply a decision by the hotel to avoid the burden of this expense,” SLD concluded.

Some of the speakers at the council meeting blamed the citizens who supported the ballot measures mentioned in the city staff report.

Laning Thompson of the Tri-Valley Anti-Poverty Collaborative said the developer’s decision for surface parking made sense.

“These delays were caused by a combination of adverse factors, particularly opposition from certain groups and the pandemic,” she said. “These delays have made these projects, and other affordable housing projects, much more expensive than originally anticipated, as construction costs have increased significantly. This has made the hotel’s underground parking plan unworkable. , hence the need for valet parking.”

Winemaker Karl Wente said the hotel was needed for the city’s wineries, artisans, artists, food culture and downtown businesses.

“We should be a little angrier about the money these delays are costing us,” Wente said. “We know where and why these delays are happening, and we need to move forward.”

Sherry Nigg, who owns property downtown, encouraged council to approve the parking plan and hotel.

“We’ve had so many delays, and it’s taken so long, and I’m grateful to the speakers tonight who made it clear all the reasons why we need the hotel and all the reasons for the delays,” said she declared. “The delays need to stop. This hotel will help our downtown businesses, our restaurants, our wineries, and just the people who come to enjoy our downtown. It’s definitely been long enough.”

David H. Henry