History

It's important to know the history of an area to understand it's full meaning to the community.  We believe that the Kimber Park area has historical significance to the City of Fremont.   Please read through this timeline of events to help understand more about the property.
 
In 1925, Kimber Farms was started by John and Alice Kimber.  Kimber Farms was a pioneer and started a poultry genetics facility using 800 pedigree hens.    In 1934, they hired their first professional geneticist and veterinanrian pathologist.   This was very forward thinking for the time and one could argue was one of Silicon Valley's first biotech companies.   
 
By the early 1950's, they were keeping advanced statistical and computerized breeding records.  In 1955, the KimberCHIKS logo took off  with 40 associated hatcheries across the USA.  That same year John Kimber created and sponsored the Kimber Genetics Award within the National Academy of Sciences.  The medal was awarded to 14 scientists between 1955-1967.
 
In 1956, a new corporate headquarter building was built on  Mission Boulevard (In 1977 this became the Fremont Community Church).
 
During this time, the parcel where the tennis and swim club is located, was used by the corporation for corporate gatherings and social events.  It had a lake, baseball/softball field and other amenities.  The beautiful trees were planted randomly after baseball players were asked to throw potatoes as far as they could and wherever one landed a tree was planted.  Trees were specially selected by University of California scientists to fit into the landscape and thrive.
 
Kimber Farms was instrumental in many medical breakthroughs.   In 1965, at a 40th anniversary event, major milestones for the company were recognized, including:
    a)  The creation of virus free eggs from genetically engineered Kimber chicks made possible the first successful vaccine for
          measles!   Before widespread vaccination, measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year.
    b)  First successful control of Avian Encephalomyelitis, a viral infection of the central nervous system in poultry.
    c)   A Kimber Farms scientist, while at UCLA, produced the first successful vaccine for Infectious Laryngotracheitis, an acute
          respiratory disease of chickens, pheasants and peafowl.
 
In 1974, Kimber Farms was acquired by Dekalb Poultry Research Inc. (DPRI) for its Intellectual Property. 
 
Also In 1974, Shapell Industries unveiled its plans for a a special neighborhood that would be created through a Planned Development to be called Kimber Park.  It would consist of 339 homes that would be built between 1974-1975.  Shapell in its sales brochures described striking architectural designs, with "exceptional planning extendng beyond your front door into the total community environment.  Kimber Park homes are centered about a 12.7 acre park with a beautiful tree-lined lake next to which a private racquet/swim club is being developed."  "There are also 51.9 acres of land within the community dedicated to natural open space, with pedestrian and bicycle trails that gracefully wind toward the foothills.".  "You are purchasing a total living environment of exceptional value."
 
In 1976, the Kimber Woods Tennis and Country Club opened, offering a slight discount to residents but open to anyone who was interested. 
 
In February 1989, the original Landscape Agreement was modifed because maintenance of water in the Kimber Lake was not economically feasible.  This was during a severe drought in California that occured from 1985 - 1991. 
 
In 1997, Kimber Park Associates sold the tennis and swim club to Mission Hills Tennis Club, a California corporation.  Emiko Hatayama was President and CEO.  It sold for $1,120,000.  
 
In late 1998, a $705,000 construction loan was taken out to finance the construction of 6 new tennis courts where part of Kimber Lake had formerly been located.   The number of tennis courts now available at the club increased to a total of 13.
 
In November 2004, the property was sold to Fremont Mission Hills, LLC with Sheena Chang and Chin-Che Huang listed as the managing members of the LLC.  The property was purchased for $6,193,119.   A loan of $2,900,000 was taken out with United National Bank.   In July 2006 a loan for $3,200,000 was taken out with Far East National Bank.  The name was changed to The Club at Mission Hills.
 
In approximately 2005, the #1 Junior tennis program in northern California, Tompkins Tennis, began running their operation out of the club. 
 
In November 2009, the City received a preliminary review proposal to remove 6 tennis courts to facilitate a development of 44 single-family homes on the property.   In December 2009 the City staff provided record information from the 1973 Planned Development summarizing the fact that the parcel was provided as private open space and that this private open space was an integral part of the overall design of the planned district.
 
In November 2010, the City received a revised application for 28 single-family homes and and associated site modifications.  Staff stated in a March 2011 letter to the owners that they were "clear in their determination that the private open space parcel in question was planned for that purpose in conjunction with the overall development plan for the area, and that the record reflects that."   Staff went on to say that "We remain concerned with this proposal, and do not support the proposed project." 
 
In March 2011 a couple club members who are also neighbors met with City staff and learned about the proposed project.  A neighborhood meeting was called and the "Save Kimber Park" effort was initiated with a Steering Committee elected.
 
In April 2011, the Save Kimber Park group was notified by Sheena Chang that she intended to sell the property.   The prospective buyer was a Los Gatos development company called Civitaf, led by President, Ed Daou. 
 
During June and July several community meetings were held.  Two hosted by Ed Daou of Civitaf and one hosted by Save Kimber Park.   In these meetings Mr. Daou showed plans for a development of 26 homes in a "U" shape on the back part of the property and elimination of 8 of the 13 existing tennis courts.  He planned to build a new club house, add a spa, update the pool and add some fitness stations around a walking path.   During all of the meetings community and club members listened and were respectful but did not support the proposed development.  
 
On July 27, 2011, the Save Kimber Park effort learned, in a tragic turn of events, that Mr. Daou had killed himself and his son in a murder-suicide.  There was uncertainty regarding what impact this horrible tragedy would have regarding the planned development.
 
In August 2011, Steve Saray, Ed Daou's associate stated that Civitaf was moving forward under the Bella Vina Development LLC, although no sale of the property had actually occurred.
 
On October 13, 2011, the City of Fremont Planning Commission voted in a 5-1 vote to approve the City staff's recommendation to designate the parcel in the Updated General Plan as private open space changing it from its current General Plan designation of low-density residential.  The zoning for the property, which is the more specific and therefore more important designation, has been since 1973, shown as private open space with recreational purposes within the Planned Development.  The owner and prospective owner had requested that the Kimber lot be carved out and excluded from the General Plan vote and handled separately; however, the Planning Commission did not agree.
Save Kimber Park supporters came out en masse and spoke about their support for the city's staff's recommendation regarding the land use designation in the Updated General Plan.   To see the video go to around minute 47 online here.
 
On October 28, 2011 the owner of the Mission Hills Tennis and Swim club sent a letter to members stating that they were closing indefinitely for remodeling on November 1st.
 
On November 8, 2011 a chain-link fence was put up around the entire perimeter. 
On December 6, 2011 the City Council discussed staff's proposed 2011 Updated General Plan .  For the Kimber Park parcel,  the Planning Commission voted 5-1 in October 2011, to accept the city staff's recommendation to align the General Plan designation of private open space with recreational purposes to match the existing zoning.  However, on December 6th the City Council voted 3-1 to make the Kimber Parcel a "study area" for 1 year in the General Plan.  Mayor Wasserman, Anu Natarajan, and Bill Harrison all voted against the city staff and the planning commission and made it a "study area" while Dominic Dutra voted "No" to making it a study area as he wanted to see it marked as private open space in the GP to align with the existing zoning.  He sided with both the Planning Commission and the city staff.  The developer now has until December 13, 2012 to submit a plan and have it voted on by council.  If they do not submit and have it voted on within that time frame then the parcel will be changed in the General Plan from a "study area" to private open space with recreational purposes.  This matches the 35 year old existing zoning.  
 
On April 17, 2012 the City Council received an update from city staff on the Kimber Park project.   Speakers from both sides (community and developer) presented as well as city staff.  Council gave direction to city planners that no additional community meetings were needed since they had not been fruitful so far and stated that the developer should submit a plan by May 18, 2012 or it may not be able to be reviewed and voted on within the one year study period deadline.  They also recommended that a "preliminary site plan" be submitted to avoid extensive costs for the developer in creating a final plan.
 
Draft EIR (Environmental Impact Report)  was published on August 2, 2012.  

On September 7 the new developer, Dwane Kennedy of City Shapers, submitted a new proposal that removed residential but instead included 41,920 of buildings including 9 hotel rooms, a business center and conference center.   3 pools are now included and 6 tennis courts removed for a total of 7 remaining.   Kimber Park remains opposed to this latest plan.  The developer is asking for a Preliminary Planned District (PPD) that would change the zoning.  City Staff released their report on October 12th that showed that staff is recommending APPROVAL of the conceptual PPD.   

The commend period for the draft EIR ended on September 17th and the Final EIR was released in October 2012.   

October 18 the Planning Commission had a public hearing and Lisa Quan became ill resulting in not enough commissioners for a vote to occur.  The public hearing will be continued to October 25.  After the Planning Commission makes a recommendation the project will move forward to City Council for review and vote on November 20, 2012.  

October 25 the Planning Commission public hearing was continued.  A motion passed to extend the EIR comment period to November 20th.  A motion FAILED to limit the parking to 80, remove the lodging, business center and conference centers and to preserve the trees (Vote was 3-3).    A motion FAILED to reject the proposal outright (Vote was 2-4).   The applicant will now have to appeal the matter to City Council if they want it to be voted on and there will be no recommendation from the Planning Commission either for or against.
Subpages (1): Kimber Park Documentary
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Christina Broadwin,
Nov 10, 2011, 12:40 PM
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