TOWN OF SAN ANSELMO
MEASURE D: Shall an ordinance be adopted to amend the San Anselmo General Plan to do the following: prohibit the use of Memorial Park as a flood detention basin; prevent any non-recreational uses that adversely affect or reduce Memorial Park’s current recreational amenities; and require voter approval before the park can be sold or transferred by the Town? YES NO
TOWN ATTORNEY’S IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE D
MEMORIAL PARK INITIATIVE ORDINANCE
Ballot Measure D is a proposed ordinance that would amend the San Anselmo General Plan regarding Memorial Park. Measure D was placed on the ballot by a petition signed by the requisite number of San Anselmo voters.
Under current Town law, Memorial Park is governed by the policies within the Parks and Open Space section of the Land Use Element of the San Anselmo General Plan. The General Plan policies applicable to Parks and Open Space state that parks will only be improved with facilities for which the park was intended (e.g., tennis courts, baseball diamonds, and open playfields). California law requires that the Town provide a right of first refusal to county, regional, and state governmental entities for the purchase of a town park for use as public parkland before it may be sold to a private party.
The Measure would add a Memorial Park-specific policy to the Town’s General Plan Land Use Element. That policy would prohibit utilization of Memorial Park as a flood detention basin. The proposed policy also would prohibit any other use that would adversely affect the existing recreational amenities at Memorial Park. In addition, the Measure would add a policy to the General Plan Land Use Element to require voter approval at a general election for the sale or transfer of public land occupied by Memorial Park.
Finally, the Measure would add an implementation measure to the Future Planning provisions of the General Plan Land Use Element that would require that the Town prepare a Park Lands Zoning Ordinance. The Park Lands Zoning Ordinance would be a mechanism for implementing the General Plan Land Use Element policies for Parks and Open Space, including the Memorial Park-specific policy included in the Measure.
A “yes” vote on Measure D favors adoption of the ordinance. A “no” vote opposes adoption of the ordinance. A majority of “yes” votes is required for the Measure to pass. However, a competing Town Council measure, Measure E, has been placed on this ballot by the San Anselmo Town Council. If both measures pass and this measure receives more “yes” votes, Measure E will fail. If both measures pass and Measure E receives more “yes” votes than this measure, this measure will fail. If adopted, this ordinance could not be changed or repealed without voter approval.
A full copy of the proposed ordinance is printed in this ballot pamphlet.
s/ROBERT F. EPSTEIN
ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE D
Vote YES on Measure D to Save Memorial Park, San Anselmo’s primary recreation facility, treasured and loved by generations of Ross Valley residents. Memorial Park’s ball fields, tennis courts, Elders Garden, unique community-built Millennium Playground, picnic areas, mature trees and spectacular views of Mt. Tamalpais and Baldy are well-used daily by young and old.
A YES vote on Measure D guarantees that Memorial Park will be preserved for our families and future generations. Your YES vote means that Memorial Park won’t be bulldozed, excavated, diminished in size and lowered to the bottom of a deep hole at a cost of over $17,000,000. Yes on D means our park won’t be closed for up to two years while thousands of truckloads of excavated dirt are trucked down our streets, resulting in pavement damage and traffic congestion.
A YES vote on Measure D is a vote for cost effective flood control. There are better ways to reduce flooding in the Ross Valley at far less expense without compromising our valuable community park. A detention basin at Memorial Park would only reduce flooding by a few inches in San Anselmo. Our flood fee and tax dollars should be spent elsewhere.
The proposed detention basin in Memorial Park is not worth the price and consequences. There are no identified funds for clean up costs for fields, tennis courts and playgrounds. There are significant safety concerns when introducing flood waters where children play daily. Financial shortfalls at San Anselmo taxpayer expense are likely.
A YES vote on Measure D guarantees continued and future use of Memorial Park for recreation purposes only. Please join your San Anselmo friends, neighbors and former San Anselmo mayors who understand the importance of our park and vote YES on Measure D to Save Memorial Park.
s/E. ROSS ASSELSTINE
Former Member San Anselmo Flood Committee
REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE D
If Measure D passes, the Town will forfeit over $17 million of state and other funding to improve Memorial Park based on completely false assertions that there is a plan to destroy the Park. There is no plan to destroy Memorial Park.
We agree that Memorial Park is a jewel that must be preserved. But the Park is an aging facility with years of deferred maintenance that requires upgrading. The Town simply does not have the resources to do this work on its own. If Measure D passes, Town residents would have to pay more local taxes to cover Park renovation costs.
Measure D proponents completely reject the possibility of a compromise plan permitting flood control while preserving and enhancing the Park’s primarily recreational purpose. Measure D is a radical, all-or-nothing measure that takes away your ability to help shape a compromise.
There is no question that renovating Memorial Park will create temporary disruption and inconvenience. But this can be addressed through a plan developed through an environmental planning process paid for by the state and county, that will require community input. It makes no sense to silence the community’s voice by agreeing to Measure D.
San Anselmo was devastated by floods in 2005, 1982, and before. With global climate change upon us, floods increasingly threaten every year. A No Vote on Measure D preserves our opportunity to finally provide effective flood control for the Town – an opportunity that will be gone forever if Measure D passes.
Join us in voting No on Measure D to keep San Anselmo Flood Safe and Park Perfect.
Councilmember, Town of San Anselmo
Real Estate Broker
Former President, San Anselmo Baseball Association
Former Chair, YES School Foundation
ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE D
Please vote NO on Measure D. A NO vote on Measure D is a vote to ensure that we address important issues facing San Anselmo, including:
• Making long-overdue renovations to recreational facilities at Memorial Park, at minimal cost to the Town.
• Controlling costly floods that have devastated our town, homes and local businesses and threaten us every year.
• Improving environmental quality.
When you vote NO on Measure D, you’ll be voting to support community efforts to greatly improve Memorial Park. These improvements include:
• Providing better playing fields with modern irrigation and drainage.
• Implementing effective measures to prevent hazardous floods.
• Preserving other amenities like the children’s playground and tennis courts.
These efforts will enhance our Town’s recreational programs and improve the environmental quality of Memorial Park, at little cost to our residents.
Recreation planners, sports program participants, Park patrons and Town officials all support these needed improvements to Memorial Park. Simply put, we will not see another opportunity like this to utilize state funding to improve our Park and meaningfully address flooding in San Anselmo.
Voting NO on Measure D allows plans for Memorial Park to continue to a public review process. This will ensure that the community has significant input into the final design and configuration of the Park, making certain that we get the best Park possible, and providing meaningful flood control.
But if you vote for Measure D, we get nothing. Millions of dollars in State and county funding for all these improvements will be lost, and the burden will be placed on Town taxpayers to fund Park enhancements and flood mitigation.
Vote NO on Measure D to ensure a better Memorial Park and a safer San Anselmo.
s/ROBERT T. LEWIS
Chair San Anselmo Together
s/JOHN D. WRIGHT
Mayor, Town of San Anselmo
School Board Trustee
Real Estate Broker
s/LORI J. LOPIN
Former Member of San Anselmo Town Council
REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE D
The Argument Against Measure D underscores what many long suspected: The #1 motive behind the Memorial Park detention basin project is not flood control but funding for years of deferred maintenance.
More than $8 million of taxpayer money has already been spent on consultants, without a single action taken. This one detention basin will cost taxpayers an additional $17.4 million, and likely much more. A substantial, unfunded shortfall will end up on the backs of San Anselmo taxpayers.
The rebuilt park will be smaller, inside a pit well below the current surface and flanked by high concrete walls blocking the present wonderful views. That is not most people’s idea of a better park.
Damming tiny Sorich Creek and impounding its waters in Memorial Park is hardly flood control. Sorich Creek is a “drop in the bucket” compared to much more powerful Corte Madera Creek through downtown, or Sleepy Hollow Creek, which regularly floods the Morningside neighborhood and will continue to do so. No figure on flood relief from the basin is presented in Measure E arguments because it so small, a few inches at best.
The third argument, “Improving environmental quality,” is bizarre. How two years of noise and dust and traffic pollution during construction of the basin, and thick mud after every major rain, improves the environment is a mystery.
Save and protect forever the treasure that is Memorial Park. Vote YES on MEASURE D, and NO on Measure E.
Candidate for Town Council
Author, “San Anselmo, A History”
Former Member San Anselmo Flood Committee
FULL TEXT OF MEASURE D
SAN ANSELMO MEMORIAL PARK INITIATIVE
Be it Ordained by the People of the Town of San Anselmo:
SECTION I. TITLE
This measure shall be known and may be cited as the "San Anselmo Memorial Park Initiative" (the "Initiative").
SECTION II. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.
A. Purposes. The purpose of the Initiative is to preserve the rights of San Anselmo citizens to control the decision on how Memorial Park will be utilized in the future. To accomplish this objective, the Initiative amends the Town General Plan in three ways:
1. The Initiative amends the General Plan’s Parks and Open Space land use designation section to add a policy that Memorial Park may not be utilized as a flood detention basin, nor may any uses – flood control or otherwise - be permitted that adversely affect the recreational amenities currently existing at the Park;
2. The Initiative amends the General Plan’s Parks and Open Space land use designation section to prohibit the sale or transfer of the Memorial Park property unless approved by a majority of San Anselmo citizens as part of a general election.
3. The Initiative adds an Implementation Measure to the General Plan requiring the Town to adopt a zoning ordinance that covers “Parks” within the Town’s jurisdiction, in a manner consistent with the General Plan.
B. Findings and Declarations: The people of the Town of San Anselmo hereby find and declare the following:
1. Memorial Park is an irreplaceable recreational resource for the citizens of San Anselmo, which is lacking in parks and recreational facilities on the limited flat land spaces existing in the Town. Memorial Park in its present form is the result of thousands of hours of volunteer work and resources donated by the citizens of San Anselmo, which has created a unique recreational experience for local citizens.
2. The current General Plan land use designation for Memorial Park is Parks and Open Space. The General Plan states that areas designated as parks on the Planned Land Use Map are not intended to be developed with anything other than small structures which accommodate the citizens of the community as it relates to recreation. Commercial structures will not be allowed in the parks. The parks will only be improved with facilities for which the park was intended (e.g., tennis courts, baseball diamonds, and open playfields).
3. The Town has failed to implement a zoning district that covers areas designated as parks on the Planned Land Use Map, as required by the General Plan. Instead, the Town has zoned all parks as Public Facility District or “PF”. The PF designation is a general designation that generally applies to all major public lands in the Town, but does not contain the General Plan criteria applicable to park lands within the Town’s jurisdiction.
4. This measure would allow the preservation of Memorial Park in its current form, and would prohibit the Park from being used for non-recreational uses that interfere with the existing recreational uses enjoyed by San Anselmo citizens. The measure will ensure that major decisions about how Memorial Park will be used or owned in the future will be made by the citizens of the Town of San Anselmo. The measure would also require the Town to implement appropriate zoning for park lands in the Town, consistent with the General Plan criteria.
SECTION III. AMENDMENTS TO THE GENERAL PLAN
A. The City's General Plan is hereby amended as follows.
1. Section E.3 of the Land Use Element “Parks and Open Space” is hereby amended to add the following Policies:
“Policy LU -E.3-1: Memorial Park may not be utilized as a flood detention basin, nor may any non-recreational uses be permitted that adversely affect or reduce the recreational amenities at the Park.”
“Policy LU -E.3-2: No public land parcel occupied by Memorial Park may be sold or transferred by the Town without approval by the citizens of San Anselmo as part of a general election.”
2. The Land Use Element, Section F, “Future Planning” is hereby amended to add the following implementation measure:
“5. Park Land Zoning Ordinance
The Town shall prepare a park lands zoning ordinance, which shall apply to all park lands so designated on the General Plan land use map. The ordinance will implement and be consistent with the General Plan land use criteria for Parks set forth in Section E.3 of the Land Use Element.”
SECTION IV. FINDINGS OF CONSISTENCY.
This measure is consistent with and would promote the objectives and policies of the Town’s General Plan. Without limiting the foregoing, this finding of consistency is based on the following:
A. This measure is consistent with the objectives and policies of the General Plan in that it would preserve the recreational uses of Memorial Park in a manner consistent with Section E.3 of the General Plan’s Land Use Element. Memorial Park is an irreplaceable recreational resource for the citizens of San Anselmo, which is lacking in parks and recreational facilities on the limited flat land spaces existing in the Town.
B. This measure is consistent with the objectives and policies of the General Plan, which require the Town to implement updated zoning ordinances that account for the different land use designations and criteria set forth in the General Plan. This measure will correct the current inconsistency between the General Plan land use designation for Memorial Park as “Parks and Open Space” and its existing zoning as ‘Public Facilities’ on the Town’s zoning map.
SECTION V. CONFLICT WITH OTHER MEASURES.
This Initiative will be deemed to conflict with any other initiative appearing on the same ballot if the other initiative(s) address(es) any of the following subjects, whether it does so by specific application to Memorial Park, or as a more general enactment that could otherwise be applied in a manner that addresses any of the following subjects: planning and zoning controls and development standards applicable to any part of Memorial Park, as set forth in the Town‘s General Plan, Municipal Code, Zoning Maps or in any other applicable Town law, policy or regulation . In the event that this Initiative and any other initiative are approved by the voters at the same election, and this Initiative receives a greater number of affirmative votes than any other such measure or measures, this measure shall control in its entirety and the other measure or measures shall be rendered void and without any legal effect. If this Initiative is approved by a majority of the voters but does not receive a greater number of affirmative votes than any other conflicting initiative, this Initiative shall take effect to the extent permitted by law.
SECTION VI. EFFECTIVE DATE.
In accordance with the provisions of Elections Code section 9217, if a majority of the voters vote in favor of the Initiative, the Initiative shall go into effect 10 days after the vote is declared by the Town Council.
SECTION VII. INTERPRETATION AND SEVERABILITY.
This measure shall be interpreted so as to be consistent with applicable federal and state laws, rules and regulations. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of this measure is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a final judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this measure. The voters hereby declare that this measure, and each section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion hereof would have been adopted or passed even if one or more sections, subsections, sentences, clauses, phrases or portions are declared invalid or unconstitutional. If any portion of this measure is held invalid as applied to any person or circumstance, such invalidity shall not affect any application of this measure that can be given effect without the invalid application. This measure shall be broadly construed in order to achieve the purposes stated herein.
SECTION VIII. AMENDMENT OR REPEAL.
The provisions of this measure may be amended or repealed only by a majority of the voters of the Town voting in an election held in accordance with state law. This requirement shall apply only with respect to Memorial Park, and shall not affect the City's ability to amend any provisions of its General Plan or other planning documents that apply to land within the Town and outside of the Memorial Park site.
SECTION IX. COMPETING MEASURES.
This measure was circulated and qualified as a citizens' initiative. If the Town Council proposes an alternative measure for placement on the same ballot as this measure, that measure is hereby deemed to be inconsistent with this measure, and the measure receiving the greater number of affirmative votes shall supersede the other measure. No provision of the superseded measure shall be implemented or become effective.
SECTION X. IMPLEMENTATION.
A. Upon the effective date of this Initiative, the General Plan amendments contained in this Initiative are hereby inserted into the Town General Plan.
B. If this Initiative is approved, the Town shall immediately undertake to revise any elements or provisions of the General Plan and Municipal Code, including all exhibits and figures, and all other Town ordinances, policies and implementation programs or policies, in order to remove any inconsistencies which may exist between the purposes of this Initiative as set forth in Sections II and III above.