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San Carlos Voters to Decide the Fate of the Black Mountain Water Land.

by Chuck Gillooley

San Carlos Measure V

It’s hard to believe, but we are just a little over a month away from the November elections. And what would an election be in San Carlos without a bond measure to vote on? Well, this election year will be no different from those in past, except for the first time in years the bond measure being voted on is not directly related to the San Carlos School District.

On November 3, San Carlos voters will be asked to approve a bond measure which will provide the City of San Carlos with the necessary funds to purchase the old Black Mountain Water land. Located along Alameda de las Pulgas between Madera Avenue and Melendy Drive, the Black Mountain land is a nearly 25-acre plot that is currently owned by developers. The City of San Carlos wishes to purchase this land and preserve it as open space since it offers the potential for tranquil walking paths, trails, and recreation as a city-owned park.

San Carlos Black Mountain Parcel Boundary (approx)
San Carlos Black Mountain Parcel Boundary (approx)

The bond measure, which requires a 66.7% voter approval to pass, will raise nearly $45M not only to purchase the 25 acres, but also to develop it as a usable park for the public. Like other bond measures in San Carlos, this bond will be funded as an additional property tax — this time at a rate of $20 per $100,000 of assessed value of each residence in San Carlos. So recent home buyers in San Carlos can expect to pay between $200 – $300 per year in additional property tax, while long-time residents who are protected by Prop 13 will likely pay less.

The City of San Carlos has dedicated an entire section of their website to promote the purchase of the Black Mountain Site, which includes an FAQ document as well as a professionally done slide deck.

For and Against the Measure.

Yes on Measure VThere is an organized and very visible group of citizens who are lobbying aggressively for the passage of the bond measure. They have created a website called in which they explain the benefits of purchasing the site, including:

  • Permanently protect some of the last remaining undeveloped land and open space in San Carlos as park, not 100 homes.
  • Provide tranquil walking paths, trails and recreation for all ages to enjoy.
  • Protect a local water source.
  • Protect San Carlos taxpayers – all funds will stay in San Carlos and can only be spent to create a park on Black Mountain; none of the money can be used for City administrator salaries.
  • Ensure local control of Black Mountain forever – an important legacy for future generations.
  • Establish an open, public process involving San Carlos volunteers to finalize plans for the new Black Mountain Park. There will also be independent citizens’ oversight of spending to ensure funds are spent as promised.

There is also strong opposition to the bond measure from an equally organized and vocal group which has outlined on their website why they believe the bond measure should not be approved, including:

  • No signed agreement on the purchase price.
  • No certainty that all acres will be purchased.
  • No plan on use(s).
  • No budget to clear, clean, protect and insure the property.
  • No cost analysis for the proposed uses.
  • No “in perpetuity” guarantee.
  • Other issues pertaining to size and terrain that would prevent it from becoming a viable park.

How Will YOU Vote?

The lines are now drawn in the sand, and there’s only a month before the election is here. There will be a strong push from both sides to garner your vote. So which side of this issue are you on? Register your vote in the poll below.

How Will You Vote on San Carlos Measure V: Black Mountain Bond Measure?

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And of course, feel free to air your opinion in the comment section!

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Comments 1
  • 100 homes is just not reality. It is a scare tactic by the city and they should be embarrassed considering they’ve received a proposal from a developer for 40 homes.
    Rather ironic, playing the 100 homes and more traffic cards while at the same time approving HUGE new projects downtown.

    Given the number of existing bonds burdening tax bills, with more to come, I see a limited number of chances to ask voters for more $$. Meaning, the next school ask will have a harder time passing.

    I will vote no for Measure V, not because I am against parks and open space, but because I believe that it was VERY poorly planned by the city, no info, no budget, no due diligence. I expected more out of them.
    There is no clock ticking down. It has been for sale for 10 years. Sending it back to City Hall with a NO vote will not necessarily be the end of this. Make a real plan and come back to the voters when you are ready.

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