On Wednesday, the City of Antioch informed the Save the Yard Petitioners that they did not collect enough signatures to potentially place an initiative to save the Beede Lumber Yard property on the November Ballot.
According to the Letter sent by Arne Simonsen, City Clerk of Antioch, after conducting a prima facie signature count on July 5, 2015, it was determined that there were 5,139 signatures on 214 petitions.
On July 18, the Contra Costa County Elections Division completed their petition results on 214 petitions and was determined the petition had insufficient signatures and no action shall be taken on the petition.
According to a letter sent by Jessica Datangel, election service technician, she stated:
“Upon the completion of the random count the number of valid signatures id 394 signatures and one duplicate. The statistical total of valid signatures for this petition is calculated at 89.70%.”
Save the Yard was formed after residents in the Rivertown District tried to work with the City and it’s council for nearly a year on the Beede Lumber Yard. When a proposal was to be submitted, the city rushed into a closed session meeting and approved the development of 9-parcels, including the Beede Lumber Yard at an August 25 meeting with City Ventures.
Although the meeting and agreement was legal, members of the community were taken by surprise and did not feel their voices were heard or given a fair chance to turn the property into a park-event center.
To force a ballot initiative or the City Council into potentially reversing its decision on the property development, the committee needed to successfully collect 4,437 signatures.
According to Joy Motts, she says the initiative process was only one avenue to go and they have other options.
She explained that all that happened with the initiative is they did not pass a sampling of 500 signatures but instead the focus should be that more than 5,000 people in the community agreed with what they want to have happen with the Beede Lumber Yard in turning it into a town square.
“Bottom line, more than 5,000 people in the community in a short period of time signed the petition, it was just one avenue we explored. This is not the end of the road. We will move forward with our attorney and fight it every which way we can,” said Motts. “We are going to fight on. This is way to important not to. It’s so disappointing that the current City Council and City Manager think Waldie Plaza is the best we can do for a community gathering spot.”
The item was set to come up on the August 9 Antioch City Council Agenda had the initiative collected enough signatures. It’s unclear what steps will now be taken by Save the Yard going forward but they vow the fight will continue.