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November 20, 2012 > Letter to the Editor: 'Let's Call the Whole Thing ON'

Letter to the Editor: 'Let's Call the Whole Thing ON'

The Mission Hills Tennis and Swim Club located in the Kimber Park neighborhood has been subject to conflict and disputes for many years. Changes to our local neighborhoods are rarely welcomed. However, the original Club, considered state-of-the-art 35 years ago, needs a fresh plan and modernization.

In the past, several development alternatives were proposed that included residential housing. Each plan was met with intense resistance. The parcel's land use designation has been a struggle to define, leaving city staff and elected officials open to various charges and further complications. The Planning Commission, while generally favorable to the most recent conceptual design, dead-locked on what detailed conditions should be placed on the next phase of review.

We, the new urban planning team brought in last May by the property owner, believe there is a solution.

First, the core elements of the new plan is recreational use only, an upgraded aquatic area, fitness facilities, and tennis.

Second, there now exists a broad agreement about core principles such as NO RESIDENTIAL HOUSING, 2/3 of site remains open space, forever, via restrictive covenants, public access, views protected, existing trees preserved with ongoing care, protection for ecological habitats, and provisions for sustainable materials and construction.

Third, the option presented is still in conceptual development and the city review process ensures further fine tuning and detailed review.

Questions regarding impacts on parking, traffic, noise, and neighborhood access need further review. However, as challenging as these uncertainties are, we are better off giving them careful consideration and finding compromise than simply rejecting any further evolution of the plan.

Therefore, we believe it is necessary to move from a conceptual phase to discussions about specific facilities and their uses. Already there has been great progress, based on community feedback, to eliminate sleeping accommodations, increase the square footage for exercise machines and reduce the overall footprint of the facilities.

This is why we encourage the City Council to allow for a next phase of planning and review.

Let's remember there are ample checks and balances within the review process of that is governed by our elected leaders. The owners are committed to a fair process and the long term sustainability of the project site. This is a win-win-win for everyone, owner, neighborhood, and the City of Fremont.

Dwane J. Kennedy,
CITYshapers, San Francisco

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