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  Rogers Responds on Northshore Gun Club
March 13, 2010

Councilmember Jim Rogers responds to my Northshore General Plan change proposal:

The responsible opposing viewpoint for consideration by your readers.

I have received many letters from people who believe that we can get a North Richmond Shoreline that fulfills the recreational needs of nearby Richmond residents by just saying no to new development (simply downzoning the developable land.)

Would that it were so simple.

The land is rendered basically worthless for recreational purposes because there is a rifle range in the middle of it.

When I have pointed this out and suggested a plan to finance relocating the rifle range, the response has been a deafening silence.

The closest to a response has been Tom Butt's statement that my plan won't work because the developable land on the  North Richmond Shoreline isn't big enough and valuable enough to generate the income necessary to pay to relocate the rifle range.

However, my plan did not rely on this income alone, instead it suggested that we link together all the shoreline areas and dedicate income from developments, and seek other funding sources (e.g. park district money, State park bonds) to fund the relocation.

I have proposed dedicating income from whatever development is approved (which would not be close to the shoreline) to fund this vision.  With a united lobbying effort and a clear exciting vision, we would be very competitive in seeking funding.

Matching grant funds are relatively easier to get if you have the initial money.

Shoreline preservation proponents, in their enthusiasm to create a wonderful shoreline asset (which I enthusistically share), mistakenly believe that one vote by the Council to limit development in the General Plan will "save" the North Richmond shoreline.

It won't.

The Council historically ebbs and flows and as recently as a few years ago there was an overwhelming Council majority (not including me) that would have approved  "business as usual" developments (let the developers build their project, and get a small strip of land near the water for the Bay Trail.)

There may well be such  majority in the future, and the Council can change the General Plan designation on any given Tuesday.

The developers will not build the low profit. low intensity uses which would be allowed by the proposed zoning, they will wait for a Council which will approve their high profit, high intensity plans.

By looking at the shoreline as a whole, we can also recapture for open space commercial shoreline land which has low commercial value but high recreational value for Bay  Trail spurs, small parks, etc.

I don't claim to know how exactly we would reclaim the North Richmond Shoreline as a viable, valuable recreational asset for  the nearby neighborhoods.

Would it mean using money from limited development well away from the shoreline, using money from developments in other areas, park district funding, or some combination of those?

That's not clear but it is clear we need a realistic plan to relocate the rifle range.
If anyone has a better idea, please let me know.


Jim Rogers