Supporters of a new community of homes, offices and shops around an intermodal transit center by the Hercules waterfront say they have gathered more than enough signatures to get the plan on the November ballot.
Developer AndersonPacific LLC envisions more than 1,200 homes as well as upscale shops and restaurants, an Amtrak Capitol Corridor station and a ferry terminal connecting Hercules with San Francisco as part of a pedestrian-, bicycle- and transit-friendly "Bayfront" development. There also would be a bus pickup and drop-off area.
An early version of the concept conceived in 2000 stalled when the city, other government agencies, an earlier developer and the Union Pacific Railroad, which owns the tracks that Amtrak uses, disagreed where to place the station platform. More recently, a consultant to the city proposed moving the train station to the north bank of Refugio Creek and building a multi-story parking garage near the waterfront.
The developer-sponsored Waterfront Master Plan Initiative would amend the Hercules General Plan and Zoning Ordinance and approve a development agreement between the city and the developer group.
The plan enjoys broad support among residents of the nearby Promenade and Bayside neighborhoods, many of whom are impatient with what they perceive as the slow progress of the waterfront concept.
Tom Koch, political consultant for AndersonPacific, said sponsors submitted more than 3,700 signatures
Contra Costa County election officials said that generally, 10 percent of registered voters' signatures are needed to qualify a measure for the ballot at the next municipal election, which would be in November. Fifteen percent would be needed for a special election.
Hercules had 11,266 registered voters as of May 20, according to the county. Ten percent of that total is 1,127; 15 percent, 1,690.
Mathews has forwarded the signed petitions to the county Election Office for formal verification.
The City Council would have to formally call an election by Aug. 8 for the initiative to make it on the ballot in November, according to the county, which runs Hercules' elections under contract.
Mayor Joanne Ward has endorsed the concept of a ballot initiative.
"Since the residents of the City of Hercules have been waiting (and, for the most part, waiting very patiently) for development on our Hercules Waterfront to begin, I think this ballot initiative that is now underway could help us expedite the process," Ward said in an e-mail. "Therefore, I think that it is a good idea."
The council could adopt the plan directly as an alternative to a ballot initiative, Mathews and county election officials said.
Resident Jeff Wisniewski, a strong backer of the AndersonPacific plan, has urged the council to adopt the plan as "their own."
Reach Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760 or email@example.com.