The Richmond Hills Initiative has been adopted! However, we have hit a legal snag.
For more than forty years, residents of the El Sobrante valley have fought off land speculator’s 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 are appealing the ruling, and expect to win. The Sierra Club, with help from the City of Richmond and Friends of the Richmond Hills, has filed an appeal. The briefing should be over sometime this year (2019), and then the Court will set a hearing date for our appeal.
We feel that we have a very strong case, backed by precedent, and we anticipate a ruling in our favor. We hope you will join us in supporting the RHI !