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A new legal challenge to the RHI has arisen! See NEWS page for more details.
For more than forty years, residents of the El Sobrante valley have fought off land speculators’ ill-conceived proposals for development of the hillsides to the south of El Sobrante. In an effort to find a permanent solution to the battle over these landslide-prone, unstable hills, the Richmond Hills Initiative was created. The RHI protects 430 acres of hillsides from large-scale residential subdivisions by rezoning the land for agricultural and open space-compatible uses only. The Initiative was signed by more than 6,000 voters from every neighborhood across the city and was unanimously approved by the Richmond City Council.
Soon after the RHI went into effect, however, 4 of the speculators who own parcels in the RHI area filed a suit against Richmond in an attempt to overturn our Initiative. The judge upheld every aspect of the Initiative, but found that we had created an inconsistency between the RHI and Richmond’s Land Use maps. Rather than sending the RHI back to the City to be fixed (as we believe he was required by law to do), he invalidated the Initiative entirely.
We appealed the ruling, and won. The Appeals Court reversed the decision of the Trial Court and directed the City to cure the inconsistency. Richmond did so on April 29, 2021, which further solidified the validity of the Richmond Hills Initiative.
Now, (2022), another legal challenge to the Richmond Hills Initiative is being pursued by speculators. The first phase has already been heard in court and was dismissed. The second phase will have its second hearing on September 22, 2022. See NEWS for more detail.