Published May 20th, 2015
Targeted Study For Recreation Use on MOSO Land
By Sophie Braccini
One rule in the Moraga Open Space Ordinance - stipulating that recreation on MOSO land be managed by nonprofit, not for-profit, entities - could kill the recreation project proposed by Adventure Day Camp on the site of the former Moraga Tennis and Swim Club before it's even submitted. At its May 13 meeting the Moraga Town Council recommended a limited change to the rules to allow recreation activities managed by for-profit entities as long as they would operate facilities that preexisted MOSO's adoption, and would not change the footprint of that former business.
In her presentation to the council, Planning Director Ellen Clark indicated that staff did not find in the MOSO any conflict to a change of the rules to authorize for-profit recreation uses. "MOSO treats recreation uses generally, and only talks about land use in term of residential density," said Clark. She also noted that it is unusual for land use zoning to make the distinction between nonprofit and for-profit use. "This does not connote a land use, but is more a business model," she said. She cited activities that could be nonprofit and yet not very desirable in Moraga open space, such as off-road vehicle clubs. She recommended that this section of the MOSO rules be revisited, but from the perspective of the type of activity rather than the way it is operated.
Residents neighboring the site expressed their concerns over modifying MOSO rules, fearing that it would invite more applications and more development than originally intended. They also listed their concerns about increased traffic on a neighborhood street traveled by many school children, as well as parking issues.
Vice Mayor Mike Metcalf reminded them that all the impacts would be studied if Adventure Day Camp submits an application, and that the topic of the night was only to make recommendations regarding the MOSO rule.
Councilmember Dave Trotter proposed a short-cut to the long process that would be needed to revise a part of MOSO, suggesting adding a sub-paragraph that would authorize a for-profit recreational use of recreational facilities that were constructed prior to the adoption of MOSO, provided that this new use on MOSO land would not result in any increase or change in the development footprint that existed at the time of MOSO's adoption.
Other council members supported the idea, as did Susan Jones, representing Lamorinda Open Space - the group formed to support MOSO.
The final direction given by the council to staff was to study, in the short term, the possibility of the customized addition to MOSO, and also, for the long term, to look at how to better define the types of desirable recreation activities permitted on MOSO land.

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