Future of Alhambra Hills Open Space
Apr 01, 2016 01:09PM
● By Jennifer Neys
At the March 9 city council meeting, public comment was directed to the Alhambra Hills Open Space, an area in jeopardy of development. Several speakers spoke in support of keeping the open space preserved. Tim Platt said, “Alhambra Hills is the heart of Martinez,” and suggested that the city consider a bond to assist with the purchase of the open space. “A ten million dollar bond, which could cover more than just Alhambra Hills, would cost the average home owner about $13 per $100,000 of assessed valuation. That’s sort of ball-park, but it comes from my having been on the Measure H committee and knowing a little bit about bonds.”
Council went in to closed session with Richfield Investment Corporation to talk about the multiple parcels within the Alhambra Hills Specific Plan area known as Alhambra Highlands Project to negotiate a possible purchase price and terms of payment. The meeting, called for by the developer, could mean he would rather sell the property rather than develop it. Alhambra Highlands was to be a residential community, encompassing 297.5 acres in the hills of Martinez. The developer wanted to develop the site as a custom/semi-custom home community. Currently the project is comprised of 110 lots, ranging in size from 7,500 to 20,000 square feet, with a majority from 10,000 to 14,000 square feet.
After the closed session, Mayor Schroder said, “We are negotiating with Richfield Investment Corp. under negotiation of purchase price and terms of payment. We gave direction to our property negotiators and have nothing else to report out at this time.”
The Alhambra Hills Open Space Committee has been instrumental in educating and informing the public about the land. Their goal is the acquisition of Alhambra Hills and Alhambra Highlands as open space for perpetuity. The Alhambra Hills are filled with hundreds of heritage oaks, wildlife (including endangered species), and views in all directions.