UPDATED: CITY PREVAILS IN BELT LINE CASE
Updated 2:15 p.m. Thursday, July 9
The city has prevailed in the latest legal appeal over the Alameda Belt Line property. And they said in a just-issued press statement that the owners of the Belt Line have no plans to take the case any further, ending the years-long legal battle over the land.
Judges Terence Bruiniers, Barbara Jones and Mark Simons affirmed a judgment in the city’s favor in the long-running case on June 22 in the California Court of Appeal, First District.
City officials said the attorneys representing the Belt Line’s owners notified them on Tuesday that they don’t plan to continue pressing their legal case.
An attorney for the Belt Line did not returned a call seeking comment.
The city plans to buy the 40-acre property – which includes a 22-acre rail yard that occupies a 300-foot swath from Sherman Street to Independence Way and the rail line, which runs the length of the Island – for $966,207. The money will come from the city’s open space fund.
The Belt Line’s owners, who stopped operating the line in 1998, had planned to sell the land to a developer for $18 million. But local resident Jean Sweeney found the 1924 agreement the city made when it sold the rail line that said the city could purchase the land back for $30,000. The new price includes extensions and improvements.
“This is a tremendous victory for the City of Alameda and the entire Alameda community. I’m thankful that the Court recognized the City’s rights in this matter and is ensuring that the property is returned where it belongs,” Mayor Beverly Johnson was quoted as saying in the city’s press release.
Sweeney, who also put a successful measure on the ballot to turn the land into a park, said the city will investigate the land for any environmental contamination in an effort to determine whether the Belt Line folks need to do cleanup there.
Deputy City Manager Lisa Goldman said the city needs to develop a process for examining possiblities for the property, and for determining any environmental issues and remedies.