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.