When Mount Hermon announced the purchase of the Felton meadow, as this article shows, the community felt that the purchase (after the affordable housing controversy that had lasted several years) was a good solution to the issue. It seemed that virtually all the problems that housing would have caused were no longer of concern, as Steve Homan’s comments demonstrate. Mount Hermon made some promises that supported the idea, both to the public and to the residents of the Mount Hermon subdivision. In the article, Acting Director Aiden Johanson, offers assurances that they don’t expect to do any “significant builds,” and it would be kept scenic and green. However, virtually every issue that came with the housing is, to some degree, an issue with the “Felton Meadow Project,” and will transform the entire meadow – there is no more “meadow” in the Project except in the name. (Ironically, the final version of the housing plan preserved 65% of the land as open space, including the wetlands and oak woodlands.)
A further irony is that the other “Felton Meadow” (across Mt. Hermon Rd. where the horses are) was up for sale years before, and would soon have had condos or the like built there. The community reached out to the VWC for help. A campaign was started and funds were sought to purchase the land for the community or find other ways to save the meadow. The delay enabled the neighboring Christian Campground (Daybreak Camp) to raise the funds and put in an offer to buy it – promising not to build on it, but instead to use it for hiking and nature study for the campers young and old. And the horses could stay. The offer was accepted and the promises were kept. That meadow is still part of the welcoming view to the San Lorenzo Valley and the town of Felton.
The title given to the Mount Hermon “Adventure,” the Felton Meadow Project, is misleading. It is not Felton’s own plan, nor is there any “meadow” in the Felton Meadow Project — except in the name. Instead, it destroys rare open space, damages the cherished bucolic nature of the town, increases already severe traffic congestion, and potentially threatens both neighbors and the watershed.
When first hearing that a “bike park” was planned for a historic and unique meadow on Graham Hill Rd. and Conference Dr., it sounded like a fun idea for kids, like a skate park. Mount Hermon is a well-known and highly respected Evangelical Christian organization founded in 1906. It has a well-crafted plan, but that plan goes too far beyond their first assurances when announcing their purchase of the property. Because of that, we find ourselves leading a rapidly growing groundswell of opposition, as the massive scope and enduring impacts are understood of what is now being called an amusement park, transforming more than 12 acres at the entrance to the SLV. Mt. Hermon changed the name from The Mount Hermon Youth Recreation Project to The Felton Meadow Project, in an attempt to reshape both the ownership and intent of the development that rivals The Beach Boardwalk in size.