Update December 2018: Developer returns with plan for mansions on Fairview Open Space
After two years of silence, the group that wants to build 38 large homes on the 15-acre Fairview Open Space has submitted a new proposal to the city.
Trail Trekkers opposes any development on the site, which is the northernmost and last undeveloped section of El Cerrito’s Hillside. The area is just to the north of Motorcycle Hill, bordered by Fairview Drive, Tamalpais Avenue and the houses above on Arlington Boulevard.
The Fairview Open Space is a beautiful site featuring two creeks – one of which includes a series of scenic cascades — as well as steep slopes, some relatively flat sections, rock outcrops, and wildlife. We hope to add the land to the city’s Hillside Natural Area.
The latest development proposal resembles the last proposal, including plans for the same number of houses, which was an issue for city planners two years ago. At the staff level, the decision was made to send the previous proposal back to the developer for not complying with city ordinances or planning principles.
While differing from the last plan in providing greater distance between homes and the larger of the site’s two creeks, the new plan calls for channelizing the second creek. This would violate the city’s creek ordinance, and would also violate regional water quality rules.
We anticipate city staff will again send the plan back to the developer without bringing it before the Planning Commission.
Trekkers will continue to watch over this property, which is one of the city’s treasures, the last significant piece of undeveloped open space and habitat in our city, and a natural continuation of the Hillside Natural Area.
Four years ago Trekkers led an effort that resulted in the city buying and adding the Madera Open Space to the Hillside Area. (Find out more about that successful campaign here.) That success owes much to the strong support of the community. We will need that support again to save the Fairview Open Space.
Note added July 12, 2016: The city has received a new development plan for the Fairview open space. When we can get a copy of the plan we will post it here.
El Cerrito Hillside Organization (ECHO)’s new website is here.