MARTINEZ, Calif. – Despite a light agenda for Wednesday’s Martinez City Council meeting, many residents showed up to speak on items unrelated to the night’s formal proceedings.
The “Friends of Pine Meadow” group lobbying to keep privately-owned land formerly used as the Pine Meadow Golf Course designated as open space, came out in droves Wednesday to ask the City Council to not rescind a referendum that would bring the issue in front of voters this November.
Tim Platt, founder of the “Friends of Pine Meadow” group, alleged council was attempting to do “back door deals” by changing the land’s designation in the developing General Plan.
However, representatives from DeNova Homes, the development company that recently purchased a portion of the land, came to combat the “Friends” they say are disseminating incorrect information to the public.
Dana Tsubota, General Council for DeNova Homes, said in public comment that DeNova has asked council to rescind the referendum because the project they proposed to build at Pine Meadow, the same project the referendum was based upon, is no longer on the table.
“We’ve asked for the rescission because we do not intend to move forward with the previously approved 99-home development. Because of that, the referendum is essentially moot,” Tsubota said as a portion of the crowd gathered in council chambers erupted in dissent.
After Mayor Rob Schroder reminded meeting-goers it was Tsubota’s turn to speak, she continued, stating it would cost tax payers up to $100,000 to put the measure on the ballot.
“Rescinding the original project constitutes a win for the ‘Friends of Pine Meadow.’ That’s all that could ever be given by virtue of a vote – a rescission of the approval (for the 99-home project). … Keeping the referendum on the ballot doesn’t automatically preserve open space or automatically reserve space for a park,” Tsubota said, adding that rumors of a 288-unit development by DeNova is false, and that noone from the “Friends” group has reached out to DeNova to verify information.
Dog park enthusiasts also came out to speak in support of developing a dog park in Martinez. A special meeting and public hearing to discuss a potential park will be held March 9, “in order to give the public proper notice,” Mayor Schroder said. The mayor said all council members will be in attendance.
Also noted at the meeting was the fact Martinez City Council will go back to their old schedule of starting the public portion of council meetings at 7 p.m.
Council adjourned till Wednesday, March 2, at 7 p.m. Meetings are held in City Council Chambers at 525 Henrietta St., Martinez. The public is encouraged to attend.