The trouble started in 2013, when the City of Alameda, under then-Mayor Marie Gilmore, moved to rezone the property to residential use, to support a 48-unit housing development plan from Tim Lewis Communities.
Then the parks district asserted it had long coveted the property, and had tried to purchase it from the federal government, to expand Crown Memorial Beach.
Now, the district says that it has agreed to purchase the property, which formerly housed a U.S. Department of Agriculture office, for $2,182,500.
The district’s board of directors is expected to formally approve the purchase at its November 3rd meeting.
In 2014, a local citizens group called Friends of Crown Beach, pushed back on the developer and the City of Alameda with a successful signature drive for a ballot initiative that would re-zone the property as open space.
The City of Alameda blinked, re-zoning the property, and Tim Lewis Communities dropped plans to develop it.
At one point in the dispute, the United States Government initiated an eminent domain action against the parks district and the State of California to seize control of McKay Avenue itself, the main access road to Crab Cove, within the existing park, and the main road to any new residences on the federal parcel.
With the purchase agreement, ownership of McKay Avenue will return to the State of California.
“The public’s interest prevailed with this agreement,” said Doug Siden, long-time Park District director representing Alameda. “Much credit goes to the Friends of Crown Beach who worked hard to share the voices of thousands of residents who thought public access to the shoreline was more important than creating a few dozen luxury houses. We are appreciative of their efforts.”
The State of California, through the Attorney General’s office, sided with the parks district throughout the dispute.
Trish Spencer parlayed her work with Friends of Crown Beach into supporting votes at the polls in November of last year, narrowly edging past Marie Gilmore in the contest for Mayor of Alameda.