No elementary school at Karl Nordvik Park

Next week, the school board discusses the Patterson Ranch development proposed to rise near Coyote Hills Regional Park.

Many environmentalists have made peace with the development since its been slimmed down to about 500 homes, but the school district is still concerned because it’ll add a lot more students to the Ardenwood district without providing for a new elementary school.

Earlier this year, the City Council professed its love for building a new school at Karl Nordvik Park.

But it turns out, a school won’t fly at the park because of a PG&E power station there and underground power lines. Turns out you can’t build directly above the underground power lines, so the district is once again hoping for a new school at the Patterson development site, possibly west of Ardenwood Boulevard.

Matt Artz


  1. I would think right about now the construction of any new homes anywhere is a moot point, with the number of foreclosed and short sale homes already on the market. Maybe our real estate aficionados would be so kind as to weigh in on my comment. I could be totally wrong.

  2. I agree with VOR. The mixed residential development across the street between Ardenwood and Tupelo has been shuttered for two years. Only recently has construction resumed. I see those who did buy there in 2007-2008 are serious bag holders.

  3. 1. Patterson Ranch is ill conceived. Why put thousands of lives at risk when there is an earthquake and liquefaction occurs, when there are toxic chemicals in the soil, when it removes a buffer for the regional park?
    2. What about the shortage of school space for jr. and sr. high students?
    3. Do potential homeowners want their children to take the bus across town or have to drive them?
    4. The city council can grant the Pattersons up to 20 years to build. Can we elect the 2 candidates who do not accept developer contributions?

  4. Fremont Schools have been ignored by the city council and Mayor. When approving developers plans for more and more homes, there had been zero consideration for Fremont Unified School District.
    This has created a huge amount of children attending schools that are out of there area!
    The bussing issue and elementary children attending schools across town. This is a direct effect of a Mayor and City Council that does not care or is incompetent.
    It is time for a change!

  5. poor ol Karl Nordvik the second park named him after that might go away

  6. Gus, if you’re reading this string I would like to hear what you have to say. Since the city government and the school district operate independently of each other, how much communication occurs between them and can/should there be more? I do know there is a great amount of manipulation attempted by parents to get their children into specific schools regardless of what their home school is supposed to be. It’s all about GPA and test scores. Talk to the school district about the falsification of home addresses.

  7. State law forbade a city from rejecting a residential development because of schools unless the school district declared a problem. The district could only declare a problem if there were not sufficient classrooms in the district (not the neighborhood.) The district never was able to take that action. All they could do is require the developer to pay a fee, I think equivalent to the cost of housing a kid in a portable classroom for a year or so.

    Then, there was a ballot measure, 1A I think several years ago, which lowered the vote required for a bond issue from 2/3 to 55%. It also had specific language about development and school needs. All a developer ever has to do, under the initiative, is pay the fee. I think every school district in the state supported it and it passed. The districts got their lower bond threshold and the developers got what they wanted, and we voted for it (not me.)

    As for FUSD and COF, they work together quite well, with periodic meetings and lots of shared resources the norm rather than the exception.

    I agree the issue of development is moot today, but it will change. The Patterson proposal is about where it should be, with all the housing on the north side of Ardenwood and the density at about 5 homes per acre, as is my own neighborhood built in 1963. FUSD uses a standard of .5 kids per unit in school, or 250 kids spread across 13 grades, not enough to justify a school.

    Marty, the development on Tupelo is on 15 acres for which the developer paid $62 million in flush times. He went bankrupt with the crash and the project sat idle as they went through the process. I understand that Pulte Homes has taken over the project. Pulte is one of the big guys and must be able to survive in this market.

  8. Thanks for the clarification Gus. It is interesting to watch the shifting demographics in the city. When Fremont got its first subdivisions Washington High was the high school. As new housing developments sprang up to the north and south new schools were added. The area around W.H.S. saw a decline in school age children as those families grew up. Now those houses are being sold and new kids are moving in. The ebb and flow.

    All of our existing schools are in desperate need of repair and no money to do it. In comparison, on a recent trip to the southeastern U.S. we saw entirely new facilities being built to replace schools that were half the age of our schools. Yes, Prop. 13 has something to do with that.

    Hurricane Katrina turned out to be just what New Orleans needed to change and rebuild their school system. Maybe the Big One is what we need in a perverse, twisted logic sort of way.

  9. VOR, While Prop 13 has impacted funding for all levels of government, there is a subtle, under appreciated impact on schools that doesn’t get much attention.

    Yes, as Fremont grew in the early years, the various school districts built to accommodate the kids, I think Irvington doing the best job. By the time Prop 13 passed in 1978, Fremont had grown to about 125,000 people and the area school districts had merged into one, FUSD.

    Traditional school planning was based on numbers of 3 and 4 bedroom homes and was pretty reliable. As kids passed through the system and moved away from home, the big homes became too large for the empty nesters and the homes went on the market, to be sold to families with children to repopulate the area schools.

    The restrictions on increasing assessments made it more amenable for the empty nesters to stay in the big homes and many of the kids who, in better times, would move away have moved back home. These homes no longer provide the continuous flow of kids into the neighborhood schools. New home purchasers move to wherever the developments are, and where there are either no or few schools.

    So school districts have schools and classrooms available, but they are in the wrong places. They can’t declare an impact, under the law, and they have to resort to busing and other devices. One more sorry way to run a government.

  10. First, thanks Matt for this forum…
    That said, I respectfully disagree with the fact that “many environmentalists have made peace with the development since its been slimmed down…”
    I am still concerned that Fremont is still considering acres of development West of Ardenwood in front of the Park. Many groups including the Friends of Coyote Hills and the Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge have stated that any development will have significant, irreversible impacts on the Park and its inhabitants.

    It is an incredible price to pay to put a church or any development there. It makes no sense when you consider the millions of square feet that is now available in Fremont – why would you develop buildings and more parking lots in front of this jewel?

    Other concerns: how truly sustainable are these lands East or West of Ardenwood to hold this density of housing safely? Also, Ardenwood is the most densely populated spaces in the area – how much more can area resident’s stand? Even with the reduction, you are still talking about millions of additional car trips a year along with the aforementioned impacts on overcrowded schools and infrastructure….

    We have made progress more there more work to do.

  11. Please look at this Map Link.

    It is my understanding that the latest iteration of development (the “slimmed down” version) will be on the empty land north-east of Ardenwood Blvd between Paseo and Lowry. This location is further away from current developments, enveloped by residential development.

    I am far from being convinced that if this were to be developed, the experience at Coyote Hills would be in jeopardy, or needing to be “saved”.

    And, Dan, I can honestly care less what the “Friends of Coyote Hills” have stated regarding the impact. You are presenting them as a group that is otherwise determined to resist any and all new development withing a 3 mile radius of this park. They have an agenda, effected a bit of policy and a compromise has been met. It’s time to move on.

  12. …with all due respect Marty you need to check the facts – they are planning to develop West of Ardenwood. 70% of Fremont citizens polled agree with the Friends and want NO development in front of the park. It is indeed time to move on and move all development East of Ardenwood.

  13. You are misrepresenting the truth. All the homes are east of Ardenwood, and two churches are slated for west of Ardenwood. Unless these are mega-churches (which surely they are not), they would still be 1/4 mi further from Coyote Hills than the business park south on Paseo.

    70% of Fremont citizens polled agree with the Friends and want NO development in front of the park.

    Make that 70.01%, because I wholly agree with that statement. But we’re not talking about building “in front of the park”, are we Dan? We’re talking about building over a mile away, and still further from the park than existing structures.

    Get your facts straight and stop misrepresenting.

  14. Marty,

    Great debating with you but I need to get back to work – I suggest that you read more and write less. Any development that close to the willow grove will definately have an impact. Light, traffic, noise….parking lots. It is the wrong place to build. There are so many other choices in this area – so many millions of open square footage in Fremont and surrounds. Why do we have to build and eliminate one of the last chances to actually expand a Bay ecosystem? There is also a beautiful site in Centerville that used to house the old Centerville church that could be utilized. Signing off – all the very best to you.

  15. Dan, I’ve followed the “Friends” website and have spoken with them at on many occasions during their public solicitations as far back as 2006/07. I have read your Argus opinion pieces before and after measure K. When this heated up last year I took it upon myself to ride out there on a bike and tour the area and get to know what was at stake and what was hyperbole. I ride that stretch of creek trail often.

    And while I can appreciate your work on this, after all the end result is IMO an excellent compromise that you may have played a part in effecting (the economy is probably the key factor), I feel that your group has misrepresented the situation from day one.

    I think people have come to expect a developer to lie to them and put their profit above community. People are on guard and have a healthy skepticism of moneymen, which is probably why your polling has given you the illusion of such broad support.

    Sadly, the “Friends of Coyote Hills” have done essentially the same thing. Personally, I am always on guard of movements in the environmental arena. This is despite my heavy use of our parks, of which are the result of efforts such as your own. And this movement is no exception.

    In each and every of your editorials, you represented the development as being built at an unprecedented closeness to the hills, putting the wildlife in jeopardy and the experience of the park down the toilet.

    The reality is that both past and present iterations of development brought structures no closer to the park than current ones. You concern of noise pollution makes me question if you have even used the damn park, as the barrage of cars rushing down the flanking HWY 84 are surely louder than residential chatter.

    And, of course, as recently as yesterday you presented an internal poll by the “Friends” claiming overwhelming support. This is despite being handed a major defeat on this very issue at election time.

    This is what I mean by misrepresentation. As someone who does use these parks weekly, who considers himself an outdoorsman, camper, and backpacker I am (choosing to be) offended at you taking advantage of my inherent interest in growing the outdoors experience to suit your unreasonable agenda.

    Coyote Hills must have been some place 150 years ago. But it’s today it’s a city park, a metropolitan refuge. It has never been at risk of being anything other than what it is, despite your claims otherwise.

  16. As a longtime reader of this site, I have noted Marty’s constant (although sometimes thinly veiled) support of development versus the rights of Fremont homeowners and citizens and (heaven help us) preservation of any sort of green area. His pursuit of the almighty dollar for HIM without regard for what ill effects it may have on everyone else is readily apparent if you’ve read his screeds for very long. NOTE: Right here, on this site, not long ago, Marty admitted to being in real estate development.

    I’d love to be able to find that specific message of his to reference but am not sure how to find it and don’t have the time to work on doing that right now. I hope someone else can come up with it because he needs to have that hung around his neck every time he posts one of his condescending messages.

    Marty’s history here makes it easy to predict that he will now post numerous denials, professing outrage at being accused of such a thing, insulting me and anyone else who names him for what he is. Perhaps this time he will feign hurt feelings as he swears his innocence (although this would be a first). Regardless of how he tries to twist and turn to avoid his identity, quite a few of us know what he is.

  17. In a Previous post I surmised that Marty may be Dominic Dutra.
    Marty admits to living in Niles McMansion. He has shared data that the average person would have a hard time attaining.
    He is constantly attacking Vinnie and Kathy with innuendo’s. Do you know why…. Vinnie and Kathy
    are NOT taking any campaign money from Developers or Real Estate Interest.
    Now this might disturb the Dutra’s since they have bought and paid for most of the existing Council.
    Check there campaign contributions, who is financing the bulk of incumbents campaign, DEVELOPERS

    That should help explain Marty’s Nasty attacks on people running for public office without the Developers and Real Estate money.
    Some time back Matt published the Dutra’s $$$$ influence on local political campaigns. I hope He does it again.
    Enjoy the Holidays

  18. Here you go guys, Post 34. I am not as much a developer as I am a fan of Scooby Doo. And I clarified a few days ago that I was only playing with Baxter’s ‘moment of discovery’ in post 33 in that same thread.

    The loan information I (reluctantly) posted is freely accessible from your computer, but I’m not going to tell you how to find it.

    And rest assured, Eyesbright. I’m not going to go on and on about the hypocrisy or girlish “I’ll hit you but don’t hit me back” approach many of you have. I’ll just say this: I’m not saying I’m right all the time, but when when I’m wrong prove me wrong instead of whining about how hurt your feeling are from reading the same crap that you, CaliGuy, bbox, Fremont Lifer and Perry Masonary do on many occasions – that is argue fiercely on the internets.

  19. Gus,

    Thanks for your insightful post on Prop 13’s impact on neighborhoods. It’s absolutely true. After raising kids in a home, the property taxes lie so much lower than in a new house, empty nesters just stay. This drives up home values in popular areas even more while unfairly burdening young families.

    I support active and intelligent regulation. By requiring 50% + 1 for every vote, the legislature could tweak laws to get all the results most people want, not sit gridlocked while we live with unintended consequences for years.

  20. I don’t like prop 13, but I do like the supermajority. I believe the legislature can pass a budget with a 50% +1 vote as long as they do it without raising tax rates.

    But I also believe that a modification in prop 13 must be coupled to a major overhaul in public compensation. I do not trust our state to tax responsibly. In fact, the Dems have all but assured that they are willing and able to take your money and give it to the unions for their own political benefit. Gray Davis and Willie Brown have explicitly admitted so (if it wasn’t exp-licitly obvious by now). There must be check on that process.

  21. Marty,

    Sorry in the delay getting back at you on this morning’s comment about my statistic gathering. It was good.
    This is obviously not for you but for those that are not actively trying to promote churches on this place (if you are indeed Dominic Dutra)

    In January 21st-23rd, 2006, David Binder Research conducted a survey. Here are some of the findings:
    72% of Fremont voters want to maintain a permanent buffer around the Coyote Hills Regional Park and limit development of the area as a whole.
    79% of Fremonters wanted to stop the Patterson Ranch development entirely or limit development in front of the Hills in exchange for development away from the Park.
    These results are almost identical to a survey conducted in 2002 in which over 70% of Fremont voters want to limit development of the Ardenwood Ranch site near the Coyote Hills.

    One of the Bay’s last pre-European habitats runs through the ranch and park, according to a 1999 study sponsored by the US EPA and the regional water quality board. “The diked wetlands east of Coyote Hills support the largest remaining willow groves in the baylands ecosystem,” said the Baylands Ecosystem Habitat report. To all of those interested, the churches are planned WEST of Ardenwood.
    As I measure it on Google Earth, it appears to be .15 miles (or 782 feet) from the edge of the Willow Grove.

    Dominic/Marty: Anonymity evidently breeds bravery….when you come clean on who you really are, I will continue this debate.
    Until then, I look forward to the next steps because I, and many like me, are going to fight this until there is NO development West of Ardenwood.

    Have fun – I love reading your stuff and will be sad when the real estate market picks up and you won’t have the time to write as much.

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