By Jack Stubbs
The future of Black Mountain, a 25-acre wildlife and nature reserve that comprises some of the last undeveloped land in San Carlos, became a little more certain this week. The 25-acre preserve has for several months been the part of a dispute between residential developers and the city. If the city does not decide to purchase the land, developers might instead.[contextly_sidebar id=”UMV66SkXpDflK98rs2hx7SrOhX4PgMco”]On Monday, July 13th the San Carlos City Council voted unanimously in favor of including a bond measure—a $45 million measure with an annual cost to residents of approximately $20 per $100,000 in assessed property value—as part of the November 3rd ballot. The bond measure required a four-fifths majority vote from the City Council, but the measure received all five votes. In order for the bond measure to pass as part of the November ballot, it will require two-third of voters’ approval, according to San Carlos City Manager Jeff Maltbie.
The unanimous 5-0 vote on July 13th in support of the measure means that the decision-making process is now a more community-oriented one. “What the vote means is now the community members [of San Carlos] can go forward with an election. The voters of San Carlos have the opportunity on November 3rd to vote either for or against the bond measure, and that campaign and process is something that is not managed by the city, the community manages it. The vote concludes the city’s role in the bond measure process for now,” Maltbie said.
Decisions regarding the bond measure—and possibly the future of the Black Mountain property—are expected to come to a head over the next several months, according to Maltbie. “If the voters were to pass the bond measure in November, then bonds would likely be issued [around] February of 2016. We’d be looking to do an outreach process beginning in 2016 about designing the park, with the hopes that the park would be built and open by 2017.”
While the unanimous decision to include the bond measure as part of the November ballot might seem overwhelmingly positive, the robust response regarding the bond measure is more of a statement about what the Black Mountain property means to the community of San Carlos.
“I think the vote was a reflection of the overwhelming response that we got from the community about [the Black Mountain property]. The City Council certainly always thinks very long and hard about any of these decisions. That’s why they put so much effort into the outreach component of the process, to make sure there was a strong desire from the community for [the bond measure] to go forward,” Maltbie added.