Open Letter on East End Waterfront Parks

The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter addressed to Amy Wooldridge, director of the Alameda Recreation and Park Department.

Ms. Wooldridge: 
I recently attended the memorial service for Lee Padway at Crab Cove Park. Many of her family and friends were in attendance. Vice Mayor John Knox White came and showed his respects as well. During the service several people made references to Lee’s dedication to restoring the East End public parklets and waterfront access.

For more than four months you’ve advised us that the process of reclaiming the public waterfront parkland is being held up by the City Attorney’s office while they do their legal research. It has been six weeks since I last heard from you regarding this research I’m respectfully requesting an update on the findings. 

This should not be a difficult issue to research. Alameda has good land-use records, the residential developer had to submit a development plan for Fernside Boulevard and Eastshore Drive communities, and the Alameda County tax records and maps are very clear. 

There is ready access to the powerful and comprehensive Lexus-Nexus database. The only issue that the City Attorney has to deal with is whatever obfuscating misinformation and baseless conjecture and claims that a few of the 10 adjacent property owners are using to try to keep their hands on this parkland and waterfront access that they don’t want to return to the people of Alameda. 

While I’m not a lawyer, it seems to me that the City of Alameda should have long ago sent certified letters to the 10 adjacent landowners, advising them that it appears they or the prior property owners have unlawfully fenced and misappropriated valuable city property. 

The letters should advise the adjacent property owners they have 60 days to either provide the City Attorney’s office with documentation that they have a deeded legal right or were officially granted an easement or right-of-way to fence off this public waterfront property, or that they have to adjust their fence lines to their lawful property lines.

If the adjacent property owners fail to do either one, the fence lines should be adjusted by the city, and the property owners should be billed for these fence line adjustments, and also face fines for their ongoing misappropriation of this public waterfront property. 

This waterfront access issue has been dragging on for more than two years, and during those two-plus years the adjacent property owners who unlawfully fenced off this public waterfront access have continued to enjoy the exclusive use of these public parklands, while the residents of Alameda have been denied the use of these public parklands.

It’s time for the city to get proactive on this issue, and to reclaim these public lands for the use of all Alamedans.

Jeff Wasserman