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March 4, 2013
Update from Vinnie Bacon
Fremont City Councilmember

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Greetings!

I'm sorry it's been a while since I've sent out any general email updates.  I'm going to try to get in the habit of sending out more regular emails.  These will mention upcoming significant Council agenda items and recap the more important decisions that City Council makes. A few of these are below.

 

I have been quite busy juggling my new duties as a City Councilmember, getting my life back together after the campaign, and working to pay the bills. As a Councilmember, I'm now being asked to attend many events and meet with many individuals.  I'm trying to accommodate as many of these requests as possible.  I enjoy it but it definitely is time consuming.

 

I am thoroughly enjoying being on the City Council. It makes me appreciate more and more all of the help that the campaign team did to help me get to into office.

Please continue to stay involved in Fremont city politics. I have always felt that the more active our citizenry is, the better off Fremont will be.


THANKS again to all of you for your support!!

Upcoming Study Session on Warm Springs / South Fremont

Tomorrow the Council will be meeting at 5:00 pm to talk about the Warm Springs / South Fremont Community Plan.  This is arguably the most important development to occur in Fremont in the near future.

You can read more about the meeting at the link below.
 
Council Approves Sabercat Development (Hirsch Development)

On February 5th the Council approved a 33 unit development near Sabercat Park (near Washington and I-680).   This is the last parcel to be developed on the original Hirsch property. 

 

I was the lone dissenting vote that didn't approve of the project. I felt that it was simply too many homes for the area in question. The park that is right next to the development is one of Fremont's gems. The homes will be built on a sloping parcel where the lots will dip down near the valley floor. 

 

Below is a photo of the area to be developed as it is today.  

 

 

Council Votes to Retain the Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB)

The Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) has met sporadically over the last year or two as development in the City has slowed.  Staff had recommended that HARB be discontinued and that their responsibilities be taken on by the Planning Commission.

The Council voted 3-2 on February 19 to keep the HARB going.  I was glad to be on the winning side of this vote.  Fremont's history is something that we need to preserve and that it warrants its own commission.  I honestly believe that history, arts and culture are key not only to a city's identity, but that they are key elements of a successful economic development strategy.
Development on Beard Road Sent Back for Modifications

There was a proposal for a 63 unit development at Beard Road in North Fremont.  The project was recommended by staff and approved by the Planning Commission.

Council took a different approach.  I started the discussion saying that I felt it was too dense of a development to be all single family detached homes.  Vice Mayor Natarajan and Councilmember Chan then spoke critically of the project.  Mayor Harrison at that point suggested that we vote to have the developer make modifications and present a modified plan sometime in the future.  That motion passed unanimously.
Large Artwork to be Installed at Stevenson and Paseo Padre

February 19 was a busy night.  The meeting went on until past midnight.  The last big decision that was made was to approve a large art sculpture at the corner of Stevenson and Paseo Padre.

The work is named "Unity" and will be designed and constructed by renowned artist Bruce Beasly.  A rendition of what the work will look like when finished is below.

There were two main reasons I joined with my other Councilmembers in voting unanimously for this.

First, the Art Review Board has been working on this project for a couple of years now.  They unanimously approved this.  I feel that if we are going to have commissions to work on specific tasks, we should respect the time and energy that they put into their efforts.  This is not just out of courtesy.  These commissions are often experts in the commission's purview and, unlike City Council, these commissions can spend the time needed to thoroughly study an issue.

Secondly, I wanted to see something get done.  The alternative was that we wait until the Downtown project is well enough along to use these funds for public art in that area.  It may be a while before that happens.  And when we do see development in the Downtown area, we will be receiving additional funding for public art there.

Some people have criticized this decision as saying the money could have been used elsewhere such as paving our streets.  Actually, these funds are specifically set aside for public art.


 

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments that you may have.


Sincerely,

 


Vinnie Bacon