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Brig claims Belvedere council broke law during Mallard Pointe hearing

A Belvedere group fighting the 40-unit redevelopment of Mallard Pointe is accusing the City Council of breaking the law when it ruled the landowner has a legal right to build apartments, despite local zoning that otherwise bans them on the lagoon-front site.


A Feb. 15 letter from Belvedere Residents for Intelligent Growth’s lawyer, San Francisco-based land-use and environmental attorney Mark Wolfe, gave the city 30 days to “cure and correct” the alleged violation of California’s open-meetings law, the Ralph M. Brown Act, or face a lawsuit seeking court invalidation.

 “The city disagrees with Brig’s allegation,” City Manager Robert Zadnik said Feb. 22, setting up a potential showdown. He added that Belvedere will provide Brig with its written response by the deadline but declined to elaborate further on the city’s position.


Wolfe, along with Brig co-chairs Jon Hansen of Santa Rosa and Tom Price of Belvedere, also declined further comment.


The allegation stems from an intermingling of rules that address some of Brig’s objections to the project, which would demolish 22 units of Mallard Road duplexes between the Belvedere Lagoon and City Hall. The latest version of the plan made public last week would replace them with six single-family homes and an accessory dwelling unit, four duplexes, one fourplex, two triplexes and a 15-unit apartment building. If the project’s approved, the owner plans to add two more second units at the houses by right for 42 units overall.


Brig says the city is misreading a state housing law about its obligations to allow the proposed apartments, while saying the entire project, including any apartments, poses significant environmental risks.


The latter has been the subject of two public hearings on whether the project qualifies for an urban-infill exemption from further study under the California Environmental Quality Act.

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