As we noted in yesterday’s post, this is an issue that should be resolved through voluntary sale of private property rather than coerced selling through eminent domain to further recreational goals benefitting the few.
Our organization does support the concept of a Sacramento River Parkway trail, as part of the envisioned Golden Necklace Trail—see map on our news page April 2012 post—we have been advocating to occur through a process of collaboration rather than coercion.
Respect for private property is at the very foundation of the American way of life and it should not be so readily violated.
An excerpt from the Sacramento Bee editorial about this issue.
“The prospect of bicycling or even hiking all the way from Folsom to Freeport along the American and Sacramento rivers has been but a pipe dream for decades.
“One big roadblock is the lack of public access on the levees running through the Pocket and Little Pocket neighborhoods. In some places, there are locked gates.
“Finally, City Hall appears to be getting up the gumption to guarantee access, The Bee’s Matt Weiser reported Thursday. This could be an important milestone, though it’s only the start of a long, potentially expensive undertaking.
“City Councilman Darrell Fong, who represents the Pocket, is right when he says that public access is “for the good of the community, for the region.”
“Fong deserves credit for sticking his neck out.
“His council colleagues need to have his back. They are scheduled to vote Nov. 13 on moving ahead with the council-approved 1997 Sacramento River Parkway Plan, which calls for opening the levees to the public.
“With a council go-ahead, the city has $100,000 to start the planning, primarily to research property titles and legal issues to determine where public easements are necessary.
“It’s not clear how much acquiring the easements would cost, or where the money would come from, though the city hopes federal, state and private grants could help.
“Of the riverfront parcels in the Pocket and Little Pocket, 118 are privately owned. When the neighborhoods were subdivided in the 1960s, neither the city nor the state required property owners to give up title to the levee or to grant easements. On the American River, by contrast, local officials acquired land for the parkway during the 1960s, before many houses were built.
“Ideally, property owners will voluntarily sell the easements for fair compensation; the more civic-minded might even think about donations. If the city has to, it should use its power of eminent domain to obtain holdout parcels, but with enough engagement with property owners, that shouldn’t be necessary.”