ALAMEDA -- A citizens group that opposes a proposal to build homes near the Crab Cove Visitor Center at Robert Crown Memorial State Beach says more than 6,000 registered Alameda voters have signed a petition to place a measure on the November ballot for the neighborhood to be zoned as open space.
The group, which turned in the petition to the city clerk on Wednesday, needs 4,400 valid signatures to get the measure on the ballot.
"We've moved one step closer to doing what the City Council and Planning Board have refused to do: 'Remove the residential zoning,'" said Gretchen Lipow, who help organize the signature gatherers. "The overwhelmingly positive response we received from the vast majority of residents made this truly gratifying volunteer work."
About 75 volunteers with the Friends of Crown Beach collected the signatures over six weeks in support of the "Crab Cove Open Space Expansion Initiative."
The measure will ask Alameda voters to decide whether they want the approximately 4-acre parcel of surplus federal property near Crab Cove zoned as "open space." The East Bay Regional Park District wanted to acquire the property on Central Avenue but was outbid in a June 2001 auction hosted by the General Services Administration by developer Tim Lewis Communities.
Known as Neptune Pointe, the neighborhood was one of several where the City Council adopted zoning changes in July 2012 to meet the city's affordable housing and other residential needs.
The submission of the petition follows 11 environmental groups writing a letter to U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to stop the federal government's effort to use eminent domain to secure McKay Avenue, which leads into Crab Cove, which they say is being done to facilitate the property's sale.
Contact Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654. Follow him at Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.