NEWARK -- In late March, Trumark Homes' plan to build nearly 250 houses had just one more hurdle to clear for city approval.
Two months later, that final step has stalled, as ongoing talks between the developer, Newark leaders, and a business in the middle of the project site have yet to yield an agreement.
Gallade Chemical, a Newark company that supplies chemicals to high-tech businesses, owns land that the city wants to convert to a two-acre park. And Gallade has not yet agreed to sell its property to make way for the park, which is part of Trumark's plan to build 244 single-family homes on nearly 24 acres around the intersection of Enterprise Drive and Willow Street.
The issue might lead Newark leaders to use eminent domain to seize and purchase the company's site, city staffers said.
But Gallade's attorney has fought back, sending a 19-page letter to City Hall on March 27, the same day the City Council was set to approve the project.
Gallade's letter argues that the city cannot take action on the project because Newark failed to properly notify the company of its plan before holding public meetings on the issue.
"Gallade has not received notice required by law and ... was unaware of the pending actions by the city until March 25, 2014, after the Planning Commission hearing already had been held, and only two days prior to the City Council hearing," the letter states.
The city then removed the item from the council agenda and Trumark's plans have been on ice ever since.
A clerical error led to the failure to properly notify Gallade, said assistant city manager Terrence Grindall.
Newark City Attorney David Benoun declined to comment on the matter.
The city designated the Gallade property as park land in 2011, when it adopted the Dumbarton Transit-Oriented Development Specific Plan.
"That end of town is the most deficient in park land, so a park being built there is very important," Grindall said.
A Trumark Homes representative could not be reached for comment.
Meantime, city staffers, Trumark officials and Gallade attorneys have met once in person in the past six weeks, in hopes of finding a solution.
Talks so far have centered on helping Gallade find a new plant site in Newark, said Grindall. "We're not going to put the item back on the agenda until we've exhausted all options on finding a good place for them to land," he said.
All parties since have continued to communicate by phone and email, and another face-to-face meeting will be held "in the near future," said Gregory Trimarche, an attorney representing Gallade.
Trimarche said the March 27 letter "continues to accurately represent our views of the situation." He added that the talks had led to progress among the three parties but declined to give details.
"I'm hopeful the meeting was the start of an amicable and beneficial resolution to the matter," he said.
Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.