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Housing opponents wage grassroots campaign

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Group fights big money with old-fashioned organizing

BRISBANE — Opponents of residential development in the Guadalupe Valley Quarry are trying to make the most of the small amount of money in their coffers, printing posters and planning postcard mailers in the next month.

But they’re competing against the deep pockets of the Committee to Close the Brisbane Quarry, which has nearly $75,000 from three donors to spend.

In its Oct. 5 campaign finance statement, the Campaign Against Quarry Housing reported that it collected $2,790 in contributions, including a $1,000 loan from San Bruno Mountain Watch, a nonprofit focused on preserving the local environment of the mountain.

The campaign has nearly $1,600 cash on hand to go up against the Yes on B committee, which reported nearly $75,000 in its coffers. California Rock & Asphalt, Inc. gave $25,000 and $40,000 came from Catamount Management of Stockton.

Michele Salmon, 52, the co-chair of the campaign against Measure B, said they’re printing posters and flyers to hand out and they are getting set to conduct a postcard mailing as soon as possible.

"Then, of course, we’ll do door-to-door until our feet bleed," Salmon said, noting that because of Brisbane’s small population, every vote counts.

Advocates for redevelopment preferred to wait to offer comments on their campaign until after last night’s Brisbane Chamber of Commerce debate between Salmon and development advocate Owen Poole.

A 2001 ordinance requires that voters have the final say on any redevelopment of the quarry, and Measure B on the Nov. 7 ballot would allow developers David Johnson and Bradlee Johnson to build a 183 housing-unit development on the site.

Their proposal for the 144-acre property includes 129 single-family dwellings and 54 condominiums. Twenty-eight of the housing units would be designated affordable. The project also includes dedicated trails, money for ecological rehabilitation, a soccer field and a 2.7-acre park, among other things.

The surrounding area is home to endangered animals, including three different species of butterfly.

Quarry operations at the more than 100-year-old site have essentially ceased, with California Rock and Asphalt Inc. focusing more on recycling such materials. Developers noted that the quarry will not close if the residential housing is not approved.

If developed, the project is expected to bring 500 new residents to the 4,000-person city, roughly a 12.5 percent increase in population.

dsmith@examiner.com