Defend Richmond Hills Initiative

$3,653 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 30 people in 9 months
Thanks to over 50 donors, we have raised $13,500 towards our goal! We just reset our GoFundMe page to reflect this. 

For more than forty years, residents of the El Sobrante valley have fought off proposals by land speculators for unwise hillside development. In 2017, the Richmond City Council unanimously approved the Richmond Hills Initiative (RHI), which protects 430 acres by rezoning the land for agricultural and open space compatible uses only. The Initiative was signed by 5000 voters from every neighborhood across the city of Richmond. 

However, as we feared, the story is not over. The owners of parcels in the RHI lands (who include foreign speculators) are now suing the City of Richmond in an attempt to overturn the Initiative. The Sierra Club has agreed to help the City respond to the lawsuits. We – local residents on the RHI Committee – have hired a specialist lawyer to help build the case, aiding Richmond's attorney.

To help the city of Richmond mount a strong legal defense, we need to raise $5,000 by Nov. 15th, 2017. We have already raised $13,000!

Please note: Your donation is not tax deductible. 

If you would like to make a tax deductible contribution, please send a check made out to the Sierra Club Foundation. The memo line should say 'S.F. Bay Chapter', and a note should be attached that says that the money is to be used for the legal defense of the Richmond Hills Initiative. If this format isn’t followed, the checks will be returned. Donations to the Sierra Club Foundation are tax-deductible. Mail to:
Sierra Club, S.F. Bay Chapter
2530 San Pablo Avenue, Suite I
Berkeley, CA 94702-2000

Richmond Hills Initiative area. On the right  is a Sargent's Cypress,  registered as a National Champion Big Tree.

Lawsuits are not uncommon following passage of such initiatives. The RHI language has been carefully crafted to stand up in court in anticipation of this possibility. We are hopeful this lawsuit will fail, as other initiatives in other Bay Area communities have withstood similar legal challenges.

The Richmond City Council voted to pass the RHI in order to protect these sensitive hillsides forever – in accordance with the Richmond Hillside Ordinance and the city’s General Plan. With this lawsuit, the speculators now seek to overturn the will of Richmond voters and the City Council, in order to develop these last remaining hillsides with unsupportable high income single-family housing. 

The RHI provides for Transfer of Development credits, which gives the landowners the right to sell credits to developers working in other areas of Richmond that are appropriate for, and in need of, smart development. Richmond needs housing, but not high-income, single-family homes on slide-prone open space where the city and county cannot provide necessary infrastructure. 

There is a larger context as well. We are buffeted on all sides by the runaway effects of climate change and environmental degradation. It is imperative that we protect remaining open space. Through proper legislative channels, the voters of Richmond have expressed their wish to preserve these hillsides. These housing development schemes would financially benefit only a few individuals at the expense of both the East Bay communities who have already chosen to preserve these hillsides, and the larger community working for a more sustainable relationship to the environment. 

Please help us support the city of Richmond in defending this legislation against speculative development. 

To see the text of the Richmond Hills Initiative, adopted unanimously by the Richmond City Council in 2017, go to http://www.savetherichmondhills.org/
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$3,653 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 30 people in 9 months
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Kristin Johnson
2 months ago
Whit Clifton
4 months ago
john herriman
6 months ago
Martha Booz
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Ausberto Beltran
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Leslie Rowe
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Marinell Daniel
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Forests Forever
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