Live Council Blog — Kimber Park

Fremont sprawls across 92 square miles, but apparently only 13 acres really matter.

The council is set to approve the general plan, which will guide development for the next 30 years. It would be another ho-hum affair if not for the battle in Kimber Park. Residents are fighting to keep the 13-acres of open space in  the middle of their neighborhood closed to development.

The property owner, Sheena Chang, and her development partners want to build 28 houses on the site and scale back the established fitness club.

Kimber Park residents have made a habit of showing up to these meetings in the dozens to the hundreds making their case for preserving the open space.

But Chang, who’s a well-connected landowner with holdings at Pacific Commons, is putting up a good fight. She marshaled dozens of supporters in red shirts, who made their way  into the council chambers before 5 p.m. So right now it’s a sea of pro-Chang red here in the capacity-filled Chambers with lots of green-glad, very angry Kimber Park residents watching the proceedings on television in the lobby. If we could get them together it would be starting to look a lot like Christmas.

In short, Chang, who bought the property for about $6 million several years ago, says she shouldn’t have to forgo profit and maintain land for the community without a chance to make some dough herself. The neighbors say Chang knew what she was getting when she bought the land; that they bought their property under the premise that the 13 acres would remain private open space, and that rezoning the property would give the well-connected Chang a windfall profit.

As for the General Plan, don’t expect the city to win any Greenpeace honors. It’s the standard stuff. More tallish apartments near trains, everything else still the Fremont you know and love. The council had flirted with making homeowners/purchasers do energy upgrades at the point of sale, but the real estate industry objected, and now that’s just something that might happen down the road.

Odd development, and possibly and ominous one for the property owner Chang. Councilmember Sue Chan has recused herself from this battle, saying that her husband’s dental business has a lot of customers in Kimber Park. Definitely one of the stranger recusals I’ve seen.

7:37: Everyone here is so polite. The mayor’s mic stopped working, but no one shouted that they couldn’t hear anything. Finally I got all New York City on them, and the problem is solved. We’ll now be treated to one hour of the green Save Kimber Park folks, represented by the venerable land use attorney Stuart Flashman, pleading their case.

7:40: I’m a dead man. Hundreds of upper middle class Fremont residents  are about to enter the council chambers through the door I’m sitting in front of.

7:41: Phew. The door is locked. Kimber Park residents are parading through council chambers to a standing ovation.

7:43: Still parading. This is like Fremont Festival of the Arts without the crappy merchandise and overpriced food. Save Kimber Park chant throughout the council chambers.

7:45: Still marching, still chanting.

8:11 p.m. The Kimber Park folks have an hour to state their case, and who do they have speak? Vinnie Bacon, the city council’s not so favorite person. Interesting choice.

8:30 p.m. John Dutra warns council that if they entertain allowing home construction on the 13 acres that “You are going down a road where it could be legit suggested that we have failed in our legal and moral commitment to that neighborhood.” Gets standing ovation from the folks in green.

8:42: Kimber’s lawyer warns that if the council allows homes, it would be violating the principals of a general plan that favors new development along transit corridors.

9:30 p.m. Council’s turn. Dutra says this isn’t the time to change the general plan, one week before it’ approved.

9:44 p.m. The mayor empathizes with the property owner.

9:45 p.m. 3-1 in favor to make the 13 acres a study area. That means the council wants some compromise from both sides and have the land owner come back with a proposal. Then we might go through this all over again. Ho hum.

Matt Artz


  1. “.. growth in the Mission Bay area around AT&T ballpark in San Francisco was at a standstill…”

  2. But it’s OK to *waste* the taxpayers money on a useless and unnecessary trip to India? Maybe it’s time to start taking money from developers so you can pay the people back… Mr Clean!

  3. A month has gone by and still *NO* explanation from the councilman on what taxpayers funded when Vinnie and the gang went off to India on what appears to have been a snipe hunt. The man who would be Mayor appears to be no more than a flim flam man!

  4. Bill and Anu told him he didn’t have to explain a thing.
    No one complained about either of the last two trips – why would this one be any different?

  5. Boxie…The man who pretends to “mean business” has in fact chased more business, jobs, and tax revenue out of Fremont than he can ever hope to bring bring in. I suppose the man who would be mayor doesn’t want to lose the apathetic voters who put him in office. How much more dirt can he sweep under the rug? Bill, Anu and Vinnie are no better than one another. In fact Bacon is worse because he pretends to be Mr. Clean while stealing from the taxpayer to go on Indian vacations. Viva the FCN!!! http://www.fremontcitizensnetwork.org/page/welcome-to-fcn

  6. B in the…Fact is AT&T has long since gentrified a once shakey hood while your dirty work has cost Fremont billions of dollars, thousands of jobs and countless civic pride. Vinnie “the man who would be mayor” and the vocal minority demonize a developer crowd continue to deny and lie. Just keep sweeping your dirt under the rug Boxie because as more and more of us are finding out… Bacon *KILLS* bussiness!

  7. Fremont tax revenue has been on the increase – almost – since Vinnie took office.

  8. Nice article by Artz on the Raiders plan to (think about?) a joint stadium w/the Chargers. (Hey – wait – they said the WOULDN’T share a stadium – but never mind THAT!) – – I DO wish Artz had exhibited this same kind of balanced reporting back in the day when Fremont was being touted as a possible home for the A’s.

    Key points –

    “Taxpayers from Berkeley to Fremont remain on the hook for more than $100 million in renovations to a stadium the team now wants torn down.”

    “If you create an environment of stress and an emergency you just might be able to get it.” – The “it” in this case – is PUBLIC FUNDING or other gifts.

    And, THIS statement is HUGE –

    “It’s very hard to generate private money for football stadiums because they don’t generate enough income to make it a worthwhile investment,” – see, because REAL businessmen wont pony up THEIR cash for these financial sink holes, but, taxpayers are emotional fools . . . if you can just get them a little excited.

    Bottom line- – stampede the herd, separate them from the hard-earned cash, municipal property, and quality of life – – – and YOU TOO – might monetize the property value locked up in your MLB or NFL team operations!

    Best of luck to the taxpayers of So Cal – –

    Oh – hey – Charlie – – – – STEEERRIKE T H R E E E E E EE!!!!!!

  9. Charlie, you mean the Los Angeles Raiders. Are you taling to your self?>??

  10. Charlie, your hatred of Vinnie is well known. What is not real known is your Mental Health Problems. Please get some help

  11. Charlie, your hatred of Vinnie is well known. What is not real known is your Mental Health Problems. Please get some helpsee moresee more0

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