BREAKING: Park district drops lawsuit

BREAKING: Park district drops lawsuit

Michele Ellson

Updated at 6:25 p.m. Tuesday, December 9

The East Bay Regional Park District has filed a request to dismiss its two-year-old lawsuit against the City of Alameda over city leaders' decision to zone property the park district wanted to permit housing, the park district announced Tuesday.

“With the open-space zoning in place and the time to challenge its adoption having expired, the park district’s lawsuit was no longer necessary to protect this property from incompatible development,” Carol Victor, the park district's counsel, was quoted as saying in a press release.

Assistant City Manager Alex Nguyen said the city was waiting for a court-filed copy of the dismissal to comment.

The park district sued the city and developer Tim Lewis Communities in 2012 over a proposal to develop homes on a 3.899-acre federal government parcel across the street from Crab Cove, which the park district sought to acquire in order to expand the park. The Roseville-based homebuilder won an auction for the property after agreeing to pay $3.075 million for it. The city then zoned it to permit housing, prompting the park district to sue.

Development plans were halted after the state refused to permit the developer to use McKay Avenue, prompting the federal government to sue to reclaim the road; the Bay Conservation and Development Commission also threatened a lawsuit. A group of community members successfully gathered signatures for a ballot measure to rezone the property for parks and open space, and the City Council adopted the zoning change in July. Tim Lewis Communities relinquished its interest in the property in November.

The legal fracas strained relations between the city and the park district, which officials on both sides are saying they'd like to repair. Mayor-elect Trish Spencer has said that rebuilding the city's relationship with the park district is one of her first priorities as mayor.

“We are glad this lawsuit with the City of Alameda has been resolved and that there is a general consensus that the federal property should become parkland if it can be acquired from the General Services Administration,” the park district's general manager, Robert Doyle, was quoted as saying in the release. “We look forward to rebuilding a cooperative relationship with the City of Alameda so both agencies can work together to better serve the public.”

Our full coverage of the Neptune Pointe dispute can be found here.