Dear Mayor Schaaf:

As plot owners and family and friends of the deceased, we have long valued the serene, spiritual, unique setting of Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland.

However, recent actions by the City run contrary to protecting this special historic and cultural place of rest and solace.

We are asking you to please help resolve the City's actions against the Cemetery's repair and landslide prevention of Hill 500.

A brief summary of the situation:

Following a five-year application process, in 2018 and 2019 Mountain View Cemetery re-graded several acres of undeveloped land to both create plots for the future and to repair the land, much of which was formerly a rock quarry. Repairing unstable soils was foreseen by the application process and made a condition of the project's approval. While grading following "atmospheric river" events, the Cemetery's soil engineer determined extensive repairs were necessary to the Hill 500 area. The Cemetery made such repairs to safeguard life and to protect this historic property. Had the Cemetery declined to make such repairs, it would have put life and property at risk, would have been in non-compliance with its soils engineers instructions (a permit condition) and would have risked loss of insurance coverage. The City had never required a grading permit for the maintenance of Hill 500.

In response to complaints from a handful of politically influential neighbors who have a track record of opposing the Cemetery, the City issued grading citations. Since then, the Cemetery at tremendous expense has cooperated with every request made by the City's planning and building departments. In response, the City has threatened to make the Cemetery return the dirt to its unstable state and has proposed no reasonable path to resolution. It makes no sense.

The City's values should be on safety and sustaining this historic Cemetery. The Cemetery has spent hudreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, because it repaired an unstable hillside. Ultimately, these costs are passed on to the public in the form of higher costs of burial, less Cemetery maintenance and less park like access and costs thereto. Most cities would be glad a property owner repaired its land.

Therefore, we respectfully ask for your help. Please intervene with the Planning and Building departments to bring about resolution of this matter.

Thank you for considering our petition.






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