Fremont City Council tables approval of new Mission Peak lease agreement

The East Bay Regional Park District has been managing and operating part of Mission Peak for the city of Fremont for close to half a century, but residents that live near one of the entrances to the regional park are unhappy with how the district is handling parking.

That was one of the main issues that prompted the Fremont City Council to unanimously table approval of a 25-year lease agreement with the park district to manage 900 acres of Mission Peak Regional Preserve on Tuesday night. The council plans to hold a future work session to address issues that members of the council and public had with the lease.

“A work session on this very specific topic, where staff can understand what your interests are on each of the items of the agreement would be most helpful,” said Fremont City Manager Karena Shackelford.

The city owns about 900 of the 3,023 acres of the park that has been leasing to the park district since 1978, according to the city. That lease was renewed for 27 years in 1993 and expired July 7, 2020, after which it became a month-to-month agreement.

City staff recommended approving the lease for a 25-year term, but several residents living around the Stanford Avenue entrance, which is city-owned, expressed their opposition to the lease.

They said that people who visit Mission Peak are frequently at the park past the 9 p.m. curfew and create a congested parking situation in their neighborhood more generally. Their suggestions included prohibiting park visitors from parking on the street and limiting park hours.

Others, however, urged the council to maintain its current hours and level of access.

Some members of the council appeared ready to approve the lease agreement because the city doesn’t have the resources or the workforce to manage the 900 acres by itself. However, councilmembers also had concerns about the agreement that they wanted to be addressed before they approved it.

For instance, councilmember Teresa Cox said the side letter attached to the lease agreement stating that the park district would not construct 300 new parking spaces didn’t have enough legal teeth.

The council did not pick a date for the work session, but staff said they will publicize the date once it is set.

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