Honoring their promise to not drop the issue, a group of concerned citizens along with the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE) have—at least temporarily—halted the expansion of Pixar animation studios in Emeryville.
After watching Pixar receive approval for their expansion project at an Emeryville City Council meeting last May, EBASE and a number of citizens filed for a referendum and then hit the streets to gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. With a referendum, the council is forced to either rescind the project approvals or submit them to a vote of the people.
At the Emeryville City Council meeting Tuesday, the council did not vote to rescind their approval but instead directed city staff to come back to them with a proposal about how to set up a special election that would let the voters decide.
In the space of thirty days, EBASE organizers and community volunteers gathered over 400 signatures, or 10 percent of the electorate, to qualify the referendum.
Pixar’s current expansion would more than triple the size of their current studios in Emeryville from 218,000 to 750,550 square feet and increase their staff from 625 to 1,975. EBASE and other community members have protested the city’s approval because they say neither Pixar nor the city has adequately addressed the concerns of the community surrounding the expansion.