[Fosc] City Council vote on easement in Knowland Park

Barry Klezmer klezmer1 at yahoo.com
Sat Nov 15 13:21:18 PST 2014


Hi Bobbe,

Could you re-post to the Dimond and/or other groups?

The City Council is about to give away another 22 acres to the private foundation that runs the zoo for this project. We don't want to loose anymore open space.

Barry


> On Nov 15, 2014, at 11:54 AM, Beth Wurzburg <wurzburg.beth at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Dear FOSCers,
> 
> I know this isn't in our watershed and that some of you really love the zoo, but please bear with me.
> 
> The city council will vote on Tuesday evening about whether to approve a 53-acre "conservation" easement in Knowland Park, to make up for the damage the zoo's proposed expansion will do to prime habitat for a threatened species (Alameda whipsnake) and rare plant communities.  The easement includes an additional 21 acres of the park outside the area approved for the expansion, so the total amount of the park lost to this expansion has increased to 77 acres (56-acre expansion plus 21 acres outside expansion).  Of those 77 acres, the public will have paid access to less than 5 acres - mostly buildings and elevated walkways.  
> 
> Whatever you think of the zoo or the amenities the expansion will offer, this is a terrible precedent to set for our public parks and open space.  A private entity will take a huge chunk of public parkland, damage it with its development, and then take more of the parkland to make up for it.  Meanwhile the public will be forever barred from the 53-acre easement area.  
> 
> The Friends of Knowland Park are asking that the city council reject the conservation easement in order to get the zoo to work with conservation organizations to come up with a better plan.  The zoo currently has 100 acres of Knowland Park (same area as the San Diego Zoo!) but has only developed 45 of those acres.  The California Trail exhibit is 21 acres.  
> 
> In addition to the undeveloped land within the zoo's footprint, there is degraded land and lower quality habitat just outside the zoo's footprint that could be used for an expansion without requiring acres of the park to be taken for an easement.  The new vet hospital was built in one of these areas, and the only mitigation needed was planting native grasses - not taking acres of parkland away.  This would be a far better alternative for wildlife and the public, and it would keep the zoo from damaging its reputation as a conservation organization.
> 
> Yes, Knowland Park is a big park, but the expansion will take the very best part of Knowland Park - the most sensitive habitats, the most used hiking trails, the most biodiverse part of the park, the rarest plant communities, the best bay area views.  It is our children's wild legacy and shouldn't be squandered for an exhibit to talk about conservation, especially where there are better ways ...
> 
> If you can come to the city council meeting on Tuesday night or want to help out, please let us know here:
> 
> bit.ly/knowlandmeeting
>  
> 
> If you haven't already contacted the city council and the mayor, there's still time to write or call:
> 
> 
> Dist 1: Dan Kalb – dkalb at oaklandnet.com or (510) 238-7001
> Dist 2: Pat Kernighan – pkernighan at oaklandnet.com or (510) 238-7002
> Dist 3: Lynette McElhaney – Lmcelhaney at oaklandnet.com or (510) 238-7003
> Dist 4: Libby Schaaf – Lschaaf at oaklandnet.com or (510) 238-7004
> Dist 5: Noel Gallo – ngallo at oaklandnet.com or (510) 238-7005
> Dist 6: Desley Brooks – dbrooks at oaklandnet.com or (510) 238-7006
> Dist 7: Larry Reid – Lreid at oaklandnet.com or (510) 238-7007
> At-large: Rebecca Kaplan – atlarge at oaklandnet.com or (510) 238-7008
> Mayor Jean Quan – officeofthemayor at oaklandnet.com or (510) 238-3141
> 
> 
>             Thanks,
> 
>                    Beth
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