Fish on Pine Meadows: ‘One third’ makes sense

The packed City Council meeting on Pine Meadows shows beyond question that citizens care about the place.

The City Council voted to send the current proposal back to the drawing board. The applicant seems to agree.

The right approach should seek compromise. On the one hand, the owners have some rights over the use of the land. On the other hand, the neighbors have rights too.

One can readily think of possible uses that won’t fly: a pig farm; a garlic farm; a gunnery range; a factory. Not great neighbors. There are good reasons we have zoning.

Zoning changes. Many uses that won’t fly today would have been “no problem” in gold rush days. When (former?) owners testify at the City Council that “it’s our land, we should be able to develop it as we wish,” they’re living in a dream world.

What’s a “reasonable” compromise? My take is:  allow housing on one-third of the property, with the rest park land.

“One third” development would allow reasonable profit for the developer. Not as much profit as if the entire area were covered in houses, but reasonable. The cost to the city would be zero, which eliminates a major stumbling block.

Developers always come in with their dream proposals. Cities normally work out compromises. Historically, the City of Martinez has not done it’s job. This needs to change.

Pine Meadows is a great place to start. The City should hold public discussions. If there is strong public support for one-third development, the developer should come in with a proposal at that level. If that occurs, the stalemate would be broken. Things could move fast, and all sides should be reasonably happy.

– Hamilton Fish

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