Our Mission, Vision, Goals & Who We Are

Our Mission

Save-Riverside is a non-partisan grassroots alliance dedicated to promoting positive social and political change through the democratic process. Our primary purpose is to put an end to Eminent Domain abuse, restore the democratic process and expose and fight corruption within City, County, and State governing bodies.

Vision Statement

Save-Riverside seeks to serve as an instrument for the unification of community voices to take action by advocating for empowerment, protection and restoration of democracy and citizen rights while building a solid social and political movement.


To end Eminent Domain abuse, restore and protect the democratic process and call attention to and fight for citizen's issues and concerns within governing bodies. To have sane controlled growth and development that doesn't result in forcibly taking private property or businesses. To stop the uncontrolled overcrowding of the city's infrastructure with unfettered development and the destruction of Riversides rich history.

Who We Are

We are a group of progressives, sympathizers, and friends being Democrat, Republican, Independent, Green, Libertarian, and others who are concerned and angry with the current City Council and the Riverside's planned "Renaissance". We are organized to protect and preserve our rich history and parkland from the wholesale destruction by members of the City of Riverside. We feel the City's "Renaissance" amounts to nothing but cultural and economical racism and gentrification as well as an attack on the economically disadvantaged.

We are committed to preserving the rich history and culture of Riverside for our children and their children. We are not opposed to development or modernization but we feel that there needs to be a controlled and intelligent plan that doesn't decimate neighborhoods, wipe out small businesses, destroy our culture and local talent, and obliterate our history.

Save-Riverside's 6 Core Issues

Eminent Domain Abuse

Eminent domain is the taking of private property by government. Until relatively recently, it was only used for essential public purposes such as the construction of roads, schools and other public facilities. However, under the doctrine of “redevelopment”, eminent domain has been used by government agencies to seize private property such as businesses, farmland and even homes and resell that property to private developers, often for less than the redevelopment agency paid to acquire it. In 2005 redevelopment advocates received an unfortunate boost when the US Supreme Court upheld the Kelo decision by a 5-4 margin.

In recent years many businesses, apartments and even homes in Riverside have been taken by eminent domain or the threat of eminent domain and the properties subsequently sold for redevelopment, mostly to development companies located outside of Riverside. In Riverside, the properties targeted by eminent domain have been disproportionately owned or occupied by lower income residents, immigrants and people of color. The developers who buy the seized properties are often major contributors to the campaign funds of the very Council members who vote to condemn private property and who choose which developer may buy it. This is an obvious conflict of interest for elected officials and may even lead to systemic corruption.

In the fall of 2005 a Riverside citizens group attempted to qualify an initiative to allow the people of Riverside an opportunity to vote to place reasonable limits on the city’s power to use eminent domain to seize private property for private development. Although several California cities including Anaheim, Dana Point, Newport Beach and Chula Vista have permitted their citizens to vote on similar measures, the response of the Riverside City Council was to direct the City Attorney to sue to prevent the measure from being placed on the ballot. Nearly two years later, the case drags on and the city has spent more than $115,000 in legal fees on its misguided attempt to thwart democracy. Save-Riverside urges the city to drop its lawsuit and LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE.

Parks and Open Space

Parks and open space are vital to the life of any city. We all need a place to play, exercise, gather outdoors with family and friends, or just hear and see the natural world. The State of California has set a recommended standard of three acres of park land for every thousand city residents. Riverside is well below the standard at less than two acres per thousand residents. If that weren’t bad enough, the city has allowed several large proposed parks including Andulka Park and Tequesquite Park, to languish for decades without building the facilities that would permit the public to use them.

Earlier this year, Councilman Dom Betro proposed selling Tequesquite Park for high density residential development. Betro was forced to back down after overwhelming public opposition, but has instead proposed making 17.5 acres of Fairmont Park frontage along Market Street available for development. Save-Riverside STRONGLY opposes any attempt to remove this acreage for non-park uses.

Save-Riverside believes that the city’s parks have suffered from neglect and under-investment for decades. We believe that the city needs a first-class park system and that city park land should NEVER be sold or traded for development.

Open Government

Traditionally, people in Riverside have counted on easy access to their elected officials and other city employees to resolve problems they might have regarding city services. Unfortunately, in recent years the City Council and other city officials have made it more difficult for citizens to provide input on city services and policies. City officials have refused to talk to citizens and the press about city actions and policies, have refused to respond to legitimate requests for information, and have been dismissive of citizen concerns. In July 2005 the City Council voted 6-1 to rescind the long-established policy of permitting citizens addressing the Council to speak about matters from the Council’s “consent calendar”, drastically curtailing the ability of citizens to participate in Council meetings.

Save-Riverside believes that democratic government cannot function without openness or without a commitment to enabling citizen participation beyond the simple act of voting. Save-Riverside is committed to restoring a more open relationship between Riverside’s citizens and their city government, including the restoration of a greater participatory role for citizens in Council meetings.

Integrity of Code Enforcement

Enforcement of city codes is vital to maintaining the safety and habitability of Riverside’s homes and workplaces. Unfortunately, the city’s Code Enforcement Department has become politicized and is being used as a tool to raise revenue and to intimidate those who have taken issue with city officials. Save-Riverside has received several reports from people who have lodged complaints with city officials and subsequently received visits from Code Enforcement officers. A recent article in the Inland Empire Weekly reported that Code Enforcement officers have an unwritten quota of 25 citations per day, despite the fact that such quotas are explicitly forbidden in their employment contracts. Officers report having to work through their lunch breaks and having to ignore serious code violations that would take too long to process.

Save-Riverside believes that Code Enforcement should return to its core function of protecting public health and safety. Using Code Enforcement as a means of intimidation and harassment is illegal and MUST stop. If you believe that you have been unfairly targeted by Code Enforcement Save-Riverside would like to hear about your experiences. If you prefer, you may remain anonymous.

Affordable Housing

Riverside is a very diverse city. It has within its boundaries people of all economic classes and conditions from the very wealthy to the very poor. Maintaining affordability of housing is vital so that those who work in Riverside can live here with dignity. Regrettably, Riverside city government does not share this goal. The city has undertaken a deliberate policy of displacing lower income residents. The city has demolished hundreds of affordable housing units without replacing them. The vast majority of new housing approved is targeted to the affluent or the very affluent. The results of this policy are evident throughout the city. Homelessness has increased and so has the number of families doubling or even tripling up in homes or apartments only designed for a single family. Many residential streets are packed with parked cars and city services are strained.

Save-Riverside believes that keeping housing affordable for all Riverside citizens is imperative to maintaining our quality of life. Because demolished affordable housing units are almost never replaced with units of similar affordability, we advocate the rehabilitation of existing units whenever possible. To this end we support incentives to renovate older structures and keep them in the housing stock.

Preservation of Historic Buildings, Landmarks and Local Arts

One the most appealing aspects of living in Riverside is being able to travel around the city and see buildings constructed in different eras and in a variety of architectural styles. Unlike many Southern California cities Riverside does not look as though it were built in a single decade because, of course, it wasn’t. The many older buildings are tangible evidence of the dreams and aspirations of past generations who also made Riverside their home. The members of Save-Riverside cherish our city’s heritage. We are saddened to see many historic older buildings succumb to redevelopment.

Although Save-Riverside recognizes that not all older structures are historic or worthy of preservation, we support and encourage reasonable efforts to rehabilitate and adapt older structures for new uses. We are concerned by the efforts of some city officials to weaken the Cultural Heritage Board and by city plans that dictate sweeping redevelopment for large portions of Riverside. Save-Riverside is committed to working with the many groups and individuals who believe that planning for our future includes maintaining a meaningful connection with Riverside’s heritage.

Save-Riverside understands that resident local bands, artists and venues are part of our rich culture. Local arts and music suffer most under redevelopment. We recognize that the only way we can keep Riverside's vibrant culture alive is by uniting the issue of redevelopment and the survival and nurture of local music and art.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Save-Riverside recommends supporting these businesses and organizations

If you would like your business or organization listed here please let us know. If you are a chain store, please be locally owned or operated.

Riverside Historical Society
Old Riverside Foundation
Save Our Chinatown
Downtowne Bookstore
Tio's Tacos
Pip Printing
Butch's Grinders
La Cascada Mexican Restaurant
Wendie Monrroy on Main
Amazing Grace Antiques
Elliott's Pet Emporium
Romano's Italian Restaurant
Brookle Berry's Antiques
Pepitos Mexican Restaurant
Forget Me Not Antiques
Back Street Restaurant
Rob's Vintique
Golden Ox Restaurant
Cabin Sushi
The Upper Crust Restaurant
Back To The Grind
Gram's Mission Barbeque Palace
Dairy Queen on Magnolia
Mr Beasley's Antiques
Antones Italian Foods
Soup Shoppe
Delights and Invites
Thai Bay Restaurant
D & D Airport Cafe
Minato Sushi
Cuban Cafe
Life Cafe
Ten Ren's Tea Time
Rising Savor
Grapow Thai
Best Thai
Pho Ha
Punjab Palace
Tummy Stuffer
My Hero Subs
Los Jibertos
Baguette Bakery and Cafe
Genealogical Society of Riverside
Yum Yum Donuts
6th Street Antiques & Toys
El Sarape Mexican Restaurant
Mission Burgers
Templo Del Sol
Plum House
Lake Alice Trading Company
Maria's Antiques
Zacatecas Cafe
Riviera Family Restaurant
VIP Club
D'Elia's Grinders
Flabob Airport Cafe
The Peace Festival
Renaissance Book Shop
Little Green Onion
Crest Cafe
Mediterranean Palace Grill
Papi's Tacos Al Carbon
Jammin' Bread
Tin Lizzie's
Crooks Skateboard Shop
Top Hair Styling
Pho Saigon
University Cafe
Vinam Pho Restaurant
Jammin Bread
Mediterranean Palace Grill
New India Sweets and Spices
Maxi Foods
Small Animal Hospital
Crest Cafe
Papi's Tacos al Carbon
The Art Exchange
Odekirk's Estate Sales
Parkview Nursery
Pho Star Bowl
Food Not Bombs
Saturation Arts and Music Festival
IE Burrito Project
IE Weelky
Division 9 Gallery
Minato Sushi
Mission Tattoo
The Pharaohs Den
Riverside Area Peace Justice Action
Dragon House
Joe's Sushi
Dr Butchko Veterinarian
Pietro's Italian Cuisine
The Menagerie
Don Jose's
Elliotts' for Pets
Life Arts Center
VIP Nightclub & Restaurant
Order Son's of Italy in America

Ron Loveridge Wins Mayoral Race

Mayor Ron Loveridge was elected to another term in this mayoral race carrying around 70% of the vote.

Save-Riverside chose not to endorse anyone in this last election for Mayor.

Judge derails Riverside Chinatown sale

10:00 PM PDT on Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Press-Enterprise

A pending deal to sell the site of Riverside's historic Chinatown can't be completed because the Riverside County Office of Education, which is the seller, didn't follow the law, according to a final court ruling this week.

The Tuesday ruling from Judge Sharon Waters did not stray from the tentative ruling she issued in July. It could slow down or potentially derail developer Doug Jacobs' plans to put a medical building on the site.

Jacobs made a deal in 2007 to buy the 2.3-acre site from the education office. The city of Riverside later approved Jacob's development plans.

The Save Our Chinatown Committee, a historic preservation group, challenged the land sale and the city's approval of the medical building. Waters' final ruling maintains the city's actions followed state environmental law, but the education office did not follow procedures for selling surplus land.

If the education office wants to make a new deal with Jacobs, it might have to first re-offer the parcel to other public agencies, though Waters declined to rule on what specific procedures a future sale would require.

Ray Johnson, an attorney representing the Chinatown committee, said the law also states that the property must be offered to nonprofit groups before it can be sold to a private buyer. If the property is again offered for sale, he said, the committee likely would seek a nonprofit group to buy it.

Reach Alicia Robinson at 951-368-9461 or arobinson@PE.com

Save-Riverside mourns the loss of Yolanda Garland

Yolanda Garland passed away last week. She was one of Riverside's most active activists. This City has lost a true warrior. Riversiders mourn the loss of a true friend.


Frank Schiavone is voted out of office. On June 2nd the people of Ward 4 elected Paul Davis to represent them as their new City Councilman.

Dear Friends,

Yes, we know you haven't heard from Save Riverside in a while but that doesn't mean we haven't been busy. Acting on a tip, for the last five months we have been submitting a series of Public Records Requests to the City of Riverside. The story we have uncovered is shocking and still unfolding. It is not often we get to peak behind the curtain and get a sense of the real insider world of our city's movers and shakers. It had taken us a great deal of time and effort to bring this story to the public. Because this story has serious legal ramifications that can affect peoples careers and reputations, we wanted to ensure we had substantial documentation to support the story. Delay by the City in responding to our Public Records Requests, contributed to delay in our ability to construct this story in a timely manner in reference to the current council election.

Our pursuit of this story is driven by our goal of transparent and ethical governance for the common good. Where there is true evidence of malfeasance, we must follow the trail, no matter how painful.

Save Riverside May 2009

The Press Enterprise finally published the article about this story.

You can see the story here.

While you're at it check out the 5 Before Midnioght blog. It looks like Mr. Schiavine has more troubles on his hands.


Councilman Schiavone's Bradley Estate Project costs taxpayers $133,000, state laws broken.


Ward 4 Riverside City Council Member Frank Schiavone had the City of Riverside spend $133,000 of taxpayer money to pay legal expenses to defend a land development he owned from a lawsuit. The City required Councilman Schiavone to indemnify and reimburse the City for those legal expenses, but he failed do so. Councilman Schiavone voted for changes to the Riverside Municipal Code that he would later use to increase the number of lots in his subdivision. Councilman Schiavone participated in closed session council meetings to receive legal counsel and then voted to direct the City Attorney to take action on issues which he had a financial interest. Councilman Schiavone voted to spend City money to settle a lawsuit in which he had a financial interest. Councilman Schiavone's actions appear to violate State Legal Codes regulating ethical behavior by elected officials, violations of which can lead to serious penalties (fine, prison, permanent disqualification from holding any public office). The Councilman appears to have been aided and abetted in this improper conduct by City Attorney Gregory Priamos.

This story is complex but all statements in this report are supported by public documents, as noted in the citations. The documentation was acquired from the City of Riverside website, the Riverside County Recorder's office, the Riverside County Court website, the State Attorney General website, and through a series of Public Records Requests made to the City of Riverside from December 2008 to May 2009.

Read the entire report here

Public Records Requests & City Responses
BB&K Invoices
Form 700 Statements

Work on the Chinatown site will not be resumed according to the Riverside County Superior Court.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise) An appeals court on Wednesday denied a request to overturn a judge's order that halted work at the site of a former Chinatown near downtown Riverside.

The Riverside County office of education filed the request. The office owns 2.3 acres of the 4.2 acres on which developer Doug Jacobs plans to construct a medical office building.

The sale of the 2.3 acres to Jacobs is in escrow, and the March 20 order by Riverside County Superior Court Judge Sharon Waters is preventing escrow from closing, the education office said in legal papers.

The education office said it wants the sale to close because it urgently needs the proceeds to buy property for an educational facility it plans to build in Indio.

The 4th District Court of Appeal, Division 2, did not explain its decision.

“Revoke the Vote!”

A public demonstration to preserve the site of Chinatown in Riverside

The Save Our Chinatown Committee will stage a peaceful demonstration at City Hall (3900 Main St., Riverside, CA 92522) on Tuesday, May 12, 2009, from 6:00-6:30 p.m. and will then attend the City Council meeting to ask the Council to revoke their approval of the Jacobs project. Please join us! The Save Our Chinatown Committee calls on the Mayor and City Council to rescind their approval of the treatment plan for the Jacobs Medical Office Building. The public is invited to attend and to address the Mayor and City Council members during the public comment period.

The City Council voted to approve the project on February 10th, 2009, and developer Doug Jacobs chose to begin work on the site on Presidents Day weekend, violating the terms of the treatment plan and the conditions of his permit. Since then, City Council member Frank Schiavone (Ward 4) has publicly called Jacobs’ actions “deplorable” and has re-donated Jacobs’ campaign contribution to help the campaign to save Chinatown.

The Save Our Chinatown Committee is a grassroots community organization. It was formed in October 2008 and its mission is to save the archaeological site of Riverside’s Chinatown from destruction by the Jacobs Medical Office Building project proposed by the City of Riverside and the Riverside County Office of Education. Its long-term goal is to establish a Chinatown Memorial Park at the site.

FOR MORE INFO Contact person: Deborah Wong Email: deborah.wong@ucr.edu Tel.: 951-333-8121 Web site: saveourchinatown.org

Dan Bernstein on the Kawa Market

Video content borrowed from "Bernstein with a Twist", http://www.youtube.com/inlandnewstoday.

City Council Meeting Public Comments Regarding Chinatown Site

Public comment section of the Riverside City Council meeting on February 24th 2009 regarding the Chinatown site being destroyed by developer Doug Jacobs

Temporary Restraining Order Granted For Riverside’s Historic Chinatown

Save Our Chinatown Committee

For Immediate Release:
February 24, 2009 8070

Temporary Restraining Order Granted For Riverside’s Historic Chinatown

Riverside, CA – In a hearing at Riverside County Superior Court this morning, Judge Sharon Waters granted a temporary restraining order, halting further work at Riverside’s historic Chinatown archaeological site.

Judge Waters issued the temporary restraining order, citing the potential irreparable harm that could be done to the historic site as a main determining factor. The temporary restraining order is in effect until March 20th, when parties will meet again for a preliminary injunction hearing.

The Save Our Chinatown Committee requested a temporary restraining order after contractors hired by Jacobs’ Development Corporation brought heavy equipment to the site and worked throughout the Valentine’s Day weekend. This work was conducted in violation of City code, through the night, and in the rain.

“We are overjoyed with the ruling, but mostly relieved that Riverside’s historic Chinatown is protected from further destruction,” said Rosalind Sagara, a member of the Save Our Chinatown Committee. “We expect Doug Jacobs to respect the court order and we will remain vigilant.”

Riverside's Valentine's Day Massacre!

On Saturday, February 14th, the County of Riverside School Board allowed developer Doug Jacobs access to the Old Chinatown lot to dig up and destroy the archeological site. This "bulldozer archeology" is what Doug Jacobs and the City of Riverside think is the adequate way for historic preservation of the Chinatown artifacts buried below the surface of the earth. Developer, Doug Jacobs plans to build an office building on the site. The City ignored the people of Riverside and voted to sell off the site and destroy one of the last remaining undeveloped Chinatown sites in California.

Still Photos can be seen here

“I have never, in my experience, seen a research design [treatment plan] that included an explicit and detailed plan to justify the disposal of artifacts even approaching what is in this plan. This is clearly a plan for disposal rather than a plan for preservation.”

Dr. Scott Fedick, Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at UC Riverside on the Chinatown site.

Press Release from Save Our Chinatown

Community Alert!

February 5, 2009

City to Vote on Controversial Discard Policy for Riverside’s Historic Chinatown Archaeological Site

On February 3, Jacobs Development Corporation uprooted and destroyed plants and century-old palm trees from Riverside’s historic Chinatown archaeological site at the corner Tequesquite and Brockton Avenues. The actions were taken before the City Council approves the controversial archaeological treatment plan for a proposed office building at that location.

The proposed development is in the early stages of litigation brought by the Save Our Chinatown Committee (SOCC). “The developer [Doug Jacobs] has been granted access to the site by its current owner, the Riverside County Board of Education, and is acting as if he is already the rightful owner. Both parties appear to be acting in complete disregard of the law and the public’s concerns,” said Eugene Moy, SOCC member. “The SOCC opposes any premature work on the site, including landscape removal, or surface grading which may destroy archaeological and historic context, until a final Historic Site Treatment Plan has been approved by the City of Riverside, and a work plan has been prepared by qualified professional archaeologists retained specifically for this project.”

Despite appeals by local citizens and recommendations from archaeological experts at a recent Land Use Committee hearing on January 29, the archaeological treatment plan submitted by environmental consulting firm IFC Jones & Stokes was approved and recommended to the City Council. The Land Use Committee approval was granted with the condition that substantial revisions be made to the controversial discard policy.

“I have never, in my experience, seen a research design [treatment plan] that included an explicit and detailed plan to justify the disposal of artifacts even approaching what is in this plan,” said Dr. Scott Fedick, Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at UC Riverside. “This is clearly a plan for disposal rather than a plan for preservation.” The controversial discard policy currently available to the public calls for the disposal of artifacts based on any of nine different criteria. Final approval of the archaeological treatment plan may be voted on by the City Council as early as February 10.

Save-Riverside attends the Save Our Chinatown Chinese New Year Banquet

Representatives of Save-Riverside were able to attend the Save Our Chinatown Fundraising Event held at the Dragon House on January 25th.

The night was a total success! With the arrival of the “Year of the Ox” we were greeted with a gourmet 8-course dinner and guest speakers. The event was a fund-raiser for the effort to save the archaeological site of the second Riverside Chinatown from destruction. The guest speakers were Eugene Moy, Vice-President of the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, and renowned artist Sam Huang.

Through the efforts of Save-Riverside members our organization was able to offer our friends in the Save Our Chinatown a donation as well as attend this event. Members of Save-Riverside rounded out the attendance and contributed to make this event a packed house.

Save-Riverside urges everyone to help out our sister organization's efforts to rescue the archaeological site. For information on how you can get involved please contact Jean Huffman Wong at (951) 328-1239. For information in Chinese contact Leon Lu at (626) 378-8518.

Save-Riverside sends out a big Thank You!

Through your donations Save-Riverside raised enough money to purchase film and audio equipment and to train members to upload video and audio online for easy access for the public.

Due to your generosity, there was even enough donations for many other projects to get off the ground as well.

Save-Riverside would like to give a heart felt thanks to all who contributed and continue to contribute. Your kindness is overwhelming. Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts!

We need your help to save Greyhound

The City of Riverside is forcing Greyhound Bus Service out of town. The company wants to stay and you can help the nearly 80,000 trip takers yearly by contacting members of the City Council, the Mayor and the County Clerk and County Supervisors at the e-mail addresses listed below.

Include your name and address in the email, and make sure to mention that your message relates to the Greyhound Bus Station. Have a subject line, such as “Greyhound Bus Station’.

Riverside City Council phone number: (951)826-5991 Riverside Mayor & City Council e-mail addresses

Mayor: Ron Loveridge: rloveridge@riversideca.gov

Ward 1: Mike Gardner: mgardner@riversideca.gov

Ward 2: Andrew Melendrez: asmelendrez@riversideca.gov

Ward 3: Rusty Bailey: rbailey@riversideca.gov

Ward 4: Frank Schiavone: fschiavone@riversideca.gov

Ward 5: Chris MacArthur: cmacarthur@riversideca.gov

Ward 6: Nancy Hart: nhart@riversideca.gov

Ward 7: Steve Adams: sadams@riversideca.gov

Riverside County Supervisors and County Clerk:







Riverside's Most Endangered Buildings

Check out the Riverside Historical Society's brochure of Riverside's Most Endangered Buildings

Save-Riverside is not affiliated with the Riverside Historical Society

Check out Historic Aerial Views of Riverside!

Check out how much Riverside has changed with this great site.


We've played with this site a little and found some points of interest.....

Check out the corner of Bandini and Magnolia and you'll see Kawa Market through the years.

Check out the Fairmount Park frontage and you'll see that it's always been part of the park. You can clearly see the lawn bowling area and the tennis courts in 2005, 1967, and 1948.

You can also see that the De Anza Statue was on an island at 14th St and Market before the City gave the land away and gated the statue in.

Check out what Downtown looked like before the pedestrian mall was created.

You can see Riverside before the advent of the Freeway that cuts through Downtown.

And White Park before it was made into a cage.

Check out the old Mission Blvd bridge before the flood washed it away.

See Tequesquite Park when it was a Dairy. You can still make out the lines from when a bicycle race track was there.

Discover Riverside history and have fun!

Most oppose Fox Plaza plan in downtown Riverside

The Press Enterprise published the following article about the Fox Plaza project.

It's a must read:


Letter from the Old Riverside Foundation to the City Council

Note: 4/26/2008

Save-Riverside has voted to support the Old Riverside Foundation in this action.


April 21, 2008

Every place looks like no place, and no place looks like home.
- James Howard Kunstler in The Geography of Nowhere

Dear Friend of Historic Preservation:

Riverside is at a crossroads. City management and the Council see future downtown Riverside as a vertical building mass in the heart of the historic Mission Inn district. Others in the community, including those on City Boards and Commissions, desire to see growth that is compatible with, and incorporates Riverside’s historic past. The epicenter in the current debate is the Fox Plaza project. The plan features six and seven story condominiums, parking garages, and ground floor retail spaces located on the Fox Theater block (excluding the Theater itself), the Stalder Building block, and the block containing Aamco Transmissions and RB Graphics. All buildings on these blocks, other than the Fox Theater, are slated for demolition.

The Old Riverside Foundation is seeking to work with the City to establish a plan that incorporates the restoration and/or reuse of the:

Stalder Building;
buildings north of the Fox theater that are now used as antique stores;
Press Publishing Company (Renaissance Antiques) facing Fairmount Avenue.

The Foundation was forced to use its resources to retain legal counsel to protect the public’s right to due process and to protect our irreplaceable historic resources. The reason? The City scheduled public hearings and recommended that (1) the Cultural Heritage Board (CHB) approve a Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish the Stalder Building (April 16), and that (2) the City Planning Commission (CPC) approve a Conditional Use Permit for the condos at a density of 105 units per acre, together with a subdivision map (April 17). This hearing followed action by the City Council (April 15) to approve a Development and Disposition Agreement with the developer.

These actions all occur during an ongoing public review period of the project environmental impact report, (EIR), that does not conclude until May 2.

The Old Riverside Foundation, other community organizations, and private citizens intend to provide comments pertaining to the EIR and the project. These comments require responses by the City that will complete the environmental document and form the Final EIR. In essence, the CHB and CPC were asked to approve a Final EIR before the document even exists.

The Fox Plaza project, a development that readily could be an asset to downtown Riverside, is flawed in many ways and at many different levels. The project proposes 105 units per acre (similar to high-density areas along Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles), whereas the Downtown Specific Plan allows only 60 units per acre. The height of the proposed buildings will range from six to seven stories, which will dwarf the Fox Theater. The current project averages 72’ with portions as high as 96’. The plan destroys the architectural and visual connectivity that links the Mission Inn and the Fox Theater.

This callous disregard for public input, avoidance of superior design alternatives, and needless variances are contrary to state environmental and land use law, and lead the Board to seek legal intervention. However, because the CHB and the CPC continued their respective cases for one month, the public has the opportunity to state their concerns to these bodies on May 21 and 22, and to offer comments about the EIR by May 2. Letters received before May 2 will be incorporated into the Final EIR.

Until now, our Council and Commissions have heard only from board members of the Old Riverside Foundation. They need to know other Riversiders also want growth that respects Riverside’s historic past and protects rare and unique quality of our historic downtown. The question is: do we want to be as highly urbanized as downtown Cincinnati or Denver or Los Angeles? Enclosed are illustrations of the proposed project that show the magnitude of change that is planned for this very important and prominent Riverside location.

It is critical that you schedule time for 3 PM May 21 for the next CHB hearing, and May 22 at 9 AM for the next CPC hearing to make your views known. Be sure to tell your friends and bring a neighbor.

If you cannot attend these hearings, please send a letter to Steve Hayes, Senior Planner, Riverside City Planning Department, 3900 Main Street, Riverside, CA 92522.

And finally, we need to be fully prepared for an extended legal battle to protect Riverside’s downtown historic district. A special legal fund is being established for this effort. Please send your tax-deductible donation to the Old Riverside Foundation, P.O. Box 601, Riverside, CA 92501.

Yours in Preservation,

David M. Leonard, President
Old Riverside Foundation

Contact Save-Riverside

All images copyright of the Author. All rights reserved. You may not use the name Save-Riverside or the images connected to the name or distribute them commercially or otherwise. It is illegal to use the name or images on your web site and to post on community web sites unless permission is obtained by the author of this blog.

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