San Ramon takes action on old Mudd's property sale

Successor agency chair now authorized to sign agreement with potential buyer

The San Ramon City Council, acting as the board of the Successor Agency to the former San Ramon Redevelopment Agency, took action during closed session Tuesday night toward advancing the prospective sale of the old Mudd's restaurant property at 10 Boardwalk Place.

The successor agency board authorized its chair, Mayor Bill Clarkson, to sign an agreement with a potential buyer for the parcel once an agreement is in place, though no agreement has been reached yet, according to assistant city manager Eric Figueroa.

Figueroa said he could not disclose the identity of the prospective buyer Wednesday morning, and he didn't have a timeline for when that and other sale details, including price, would become public.

The sale of the city-owned property has been discussed at recent council meetings, receiving some backlash from nearby residents, most notably in the form of an online petition -- which has 1,095 signatures toward its 1,500 goal.

Several community members came to the podium at the regular meeting immediately before the closed session to ask the council to reconsider the sale.

“What is it going to take to get you to stop the sale of Mudd’s land?” asked Franette Armstrong, who organized the online petition. She appealed to each individual council member and their own love for the outdoors and limiting growth.

"Nothing so far has kept you from once again going behind closed doors to negotiate selling a piece of our city that we the residents here, the voters, the taxpayers, very much value and want to keep for our children's children to enjoy," she said.

The parcel, which used to house the old Mudd’s restaurant, is 2.2 acres in total and is located adjacent to the city-owned Crow Canyon Gardens. It was purchased in 2008 with redevelopment funds, but in 2011, redevelopment agencies (RDAs) across California were dissolved and projects like the Mudd’s were thrown into a state of limbo.

Successor agencies were created to wind down these projects, and, according to city attorney Bob Saxe in a staff report, because the Mudd’s land doesn’t fit into the category of a government purpose property, it should be sold, with profits distributed to local taxing entities like the fire district and school district.

Residents also used the Mudd’s debate as an example of how communication needs to improve between the government and residents.

Andrew McCarthy, a recent Cal High graduate who spoke at the last council meeting about keeping the Mudd's property, came to the podium to "talk about communication."

"I feel that there could be a lot more effort being put into educating us, the citizens, on what's going on in the city," McCarthy said.

He added that he'd visited the council's posts on NextDoor after the last council meeting, but found the site to be "very vague" and difficult to navigate.

"Why don’t we do Twitter polls for Mudd’s?" he said. "Or all these other different things?"

According to Clarkson, council members could only speak to public comments on agendized items, and thus couldn't respond to any of the residents' questions or concerns, which were voiced during the portion of the City Council meeting for public comments on non-agenda topics. The successor agency's separate closed-session meeting took place after the regular council meeting.


9 people like this
Posted by Franette Armstrong
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 13, 2017 at 9:28 am

Once again, thank you for another informative article. As I asked the Council Tuesday night, "Do the priorities of the five of you outweigh the priorities of 1236 of us? If so…tell me the ratio: how many voters do I have to get on MY side to get you there too?"

Apparently they gave us their answer: they do think the priorities of five of them outweigh all of us.

Is that the way we want our government to run?

9 people like this
Posted by San Ramon Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 13, 2017 at 9:32 am

Not a surprise that the City Council moved in the direction to sell the Mudd's property. The current city council has shown that they really could care less about public/resident input. The decision was made long before any of the citizens were even given a chance to speak up. We have seen this over and over again for the last few years. The face of San Ramon is changing quickly with the actions of the current city council with excessive building and development. Is this the San Ramon we want for ourselves and our children? Overcrowded schools and streets? Crowded homes/apartments on every inch of land?

We never hear of any mention of the City Manager, just the Assistant City Manager who is a pawn for the City Council. Maybe it's time to have a recall election for the current City Council. Enough is enough.

12 people like this
Posted by Scott Hale
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 13, 2017 at 9:47 am

Scott Hale is a registered user.

not to ask a really ding dong questions, but why the secrecy on the possible buyer? And why only one? No other bids? One wonders why.

6 people like this
Posted by Karyne Ghantous
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 14, 2017 at 7:23 am

We have an out of control City Council and Mayor who have fiduciary obligations to serve in the best interest of San Ramon and its residents but who have consistently elected to breach their duties. Three votes from them and the Mayor's hand picked Planning Commissioners and our City's specific plan is in jeopardy. They can hire and fire our City Attorney and City Manager and they have both a salary and monthly car allowance along with the unspoken benefits they receive --just like any politician receives.

There were over 1300 signatures to oppose the sale of Mudds, an adjacent property to and part of a 10 acre parcel where at least 3 protected species reside and they did so without performing a CEQA study.

San Ramon has the legal right to declare this property a "government use" property and the Mayor and Council elected to sell it without any public hearings disclosing the terms as they elected to do so in closed session. We want to preserve it as a park and historical landmark as it was prior to a potential sale that never happened (where the City previously elected to sell it for private use but the deal fell through so the property was always used by the City as an open space)

Whether you live on the East or West Side of San Ramon, their decisions are bankrupting us. The residents are too busy to watch him and his hand picked Planning Commissioners destroy this City's specific plan while depleting our reserves while giving up our open spaces, golf courses, trees, etc to developers while paying the millions for unnecessary projects. Our Mayor sells houses for a living and boasts that "he never talks to developers" but does that mean the Planning Commissioners and Council members he influences don't have the power to favor the developers? Look how many changes we are now forced to fight because our Mayor and Council won't. Why are the developers not fighting ? Because we have a Mayor and Council JUMPING at any opportunity they propose!

They have unilaterally decided to make decisions like spending $7 million dollars on library renovations without public hearings approving this spending. This decision was made by someone within the Council and to the joy of a contractor who proudly built a glass staircase in a 1980's building after it was decided that the very same staircase was too expensive to build in the $14 million dollar City Hall being built across the street. Instead of adding a floor as a library within the City Hall, Mr. Perkins deemed it appropriate to spend $7 million dollars on renovations when our City's budget was deemed "unsustainable."

Harry Sachs said to me in public comment that "this isn't tax payer dollars" explaining that "we sold the former City Hall to pay for the library renovations." Really, this is who we have elected to run the wealthiest City in the Country?

They have no checks and balances and no vision and no one is protecting San Ramon from THEIR DECISIONS. Their decisions are destroying this City. Staff wants to take the path of least resistance, doing whatever it is to cut time on their end (and thousands of our trees to the tune of $6.5 to $30 million dollars) but we as taxpayers paid and continue to pay for their time regardless of the destruction of our trees, fountains, turf strips, golf courses, open spaces, etc..We won't get any of our money back when they eliminate services and the beauty of this City, while continuing to pay every year for them.

I am looking for a Mayor and Council to protect and defend our City's specific plan. Please email me if you know someone who lives in San Ramon with any interest in running, I am desperate to find someone who will listen and ACT upon what the San Ramon residents want. We are all here because of our City general and specific plan and this Mayor and Council need to be accountable regardless of the pay they receive. These folks need to do their jobs and honor their fiduciary obligations to the residents of San Ramon, not the developers who directly or indirectly support their campaigns. We need them to fight for San Ramon, not shift the burden on us to fight them for what makes this City our home.

Thank you for any assistance you can provide. I am I no politician I just want someone to do what they should be doing -- fighting for us not the developers.

Karyne T. Ghantous, Esq.
Ghantous Law Corporation
2603 Camino Ramon, Suite 200
San Ramon, CA 94583
Tel. (925) 242-2431
Efax (800) 485-8201

3 people like this
Posted by Jan
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 14, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Very good write up, Karyne. Thank you!

I am of the thinking that if you can't control or have a say in your local governments...forget about the state and federal. Everything begins at home. Check local governments and the state and federal will, mostly, take care of itself.

I actually applaud you all above and will help wherever I can.

Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 17, 2017 at 2:52 pm

The vote was 4 to 1, not 5-0.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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