Referral from Mayor Harrison about “Development Activity Concerns”

The second referral item on the agenda Tuesday night was from Mayor Harrison about “Development Activity Concerns”. This comes one week after the last City Council meeting where a number of residents complained about the development policies in Fremont. It also comes only six days after a Fremont Unified School Board meeting where a group of developers had threatened to sue the district for giving the new homes in the Patterson Ranch development an ‘unassigned’ status.

The referral was a request to have staff create a report that “evaluates strategies for managing residential development activity into the future that continues to be consistent with General Plan goals and policies by directing and managing future development”. I was a little puzzled by the intent of this since staff should be reviewing every new development in the context of the General Plan. Every development decision should consider how it affects Fremont’s future overall.

I understood this to be a request for an assessment of the cumulative impacts that the various development decisions over the past few years have had, and whether the developments that are being planned can be implemented without causing significant negative impacts to the City. In that vein, I requested that staff analyze the following:

– Current and predicted traffic patterns along key roadways in the City,
– The water supply and what the effects of planned development will be on that,
– The capacity of our school system to absorb all planned development, and
– How the City can provide adequate affordable housing as laid out in the Regional Housing Needs Assessment

I’m hoping that the report that staff will prepare in the next few months will be an honest assessment of what the City has done right AND what we have done wrong. A report that simply attempts to make excuses for prior decisions will be of no use at all.

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