News


Oak Grove developers sue Pleasanton to force housing project OK

Claim opponents failed to include development agreement in referendum aimed at overturning City Council approval

The Pleasanton City Council has scheduled a special meeting Thursday to review a lawsuit filed by landowners of 562 acres in the city's southeast hills who are seekng a court order to allow them to develop 51 large lots on a part of their property for custom homes.

Jennifer and Frederic Lin argue in their suit that a referendum last June 8 that was supposed to have scuttled their development plans only concerned Ordinance No. 1961, which was a Planned Unit Development (PUD) plan for how the lots would be placed, not the project approval which was specified in Ordinance No. 1962, which also was approved by the City Council.

At Thursday's meetng, council members wil gather behind closed doors to discuss the lawsuit and also hear an analysis by City Attorney Jonathan Lowell. The options for the council appear to be to take no action and let the Lins proceed with the development or to vigorously defend the results of the referendum and that is applied to both ordinances dealing with the Lins' project, called Oak Grove.

Before moving into a closed session, the council will hear public comments on the lawsuit starting at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in the council chambersd in the Civic Center, 200 Old Bernal Ave.

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Although Pleasanton voters sided with opponents of the development last June 8 in a referendum that overturned the council's approval of the project on Nov. 2, 2007, the Lins claim that the council, as part of its action in 2007, approved both ordinances but that the referendum only dealt one.

By failing to include Ordinance 1962 in their referendum, the Save Pleasanton Hills citizens' group headed by former Councilwoman Kay Ayala missed its opportunity to referend the council's 4-1 vote that allowed the development, the Lins' lawsuit claims.

If the council decides to defend the city against the Lins' suit, it will likely argue that Ordinance 1961 and Ordinance 1962 were inseparable, that a "poison pill" provision was inserted into the language of both ordinances that in effect makes one invalid if the other is declared invalid.

But in their lawsuit, the Lins, through their attorney Andrew B. Sabey of the San Francisco law firm of Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP, argue that the poison pill language was only included in the text of the ordinances and was not "a condition or term in the actual Development Agreement."

"The Development Agreement is an integrated contract and makes no reference to the 'poison pill' language whatsoever," Sabey states in the lawsuit.

"The city has ordered the PUD referendum petition to be placed on the ballot for the June 8, 2010 regular election," Sabey continues in his Development Agreement brief filed the same date. "The referendum, if successful, would set aside the PUD Ordinance. Setting aside the PUD Ordinance will give rise to a claim, already informally asserted by proponents of the PUD Referendum Petition, that referendum will also have the effect of setting aside the Development Agreement even though the Development Agreement itself was not referended and should remain in full force and effect regardless of the outcome of the PUD Referendum Petition."

"Thus," Sabey adds, "the pending PUD Referendum Petition presents a circumstance requiring the city to acknowledge, protect and reaffirm the Development Agreement and the vested rights it confers in favor of the Lins."

If the City Council decides to defend the city against the Lins' claim, the first hearings in Superior Court are expected to start in late spring or summer of 2011.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 9, 2010 at 8:31 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I forgot whose idea it was to add the poison pill language. I only remember that Cook-Kallio voted no on that motion. Can state law on referendum be circumvented by poison pills? If the intent of the law is that voters are provided with the full text of what is being referended, does that mean they needed the full text of the second ordinance that was referended by poison pill?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 9, 2010 at 8:38 am

Wow,
We have some big decisions that need to be made, which will impact our City Purse Strings. This Election for Mayor is also very crucial for the City's growth direction. I for one, will make sure all of my friends are aware of this issue!

It feels like it is time to let the Lin's finish off this project!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by To Editor
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 9, 2010 at 8:53 am

Ordinances referred are 1961 and 1962 as well as 1991 and 1992. Are they different?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Diana
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 9, 2010 at 9:04 am

It feels to me that the Lin's, and their representatives, are bad for Pleasanton. Anyone who supports this extortion of pleasanton is bad for Pleasanton and should be voted out.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by No surprise here!
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Aug 9, 2010 at 9:08 am

I can remember the "Yes" folks warning that the Lin family will be back with a development of some type on this land. All the money, all the time, all the frustration and now we are back to square one. I, for one, will vote against anyone who would recommend defending against this, unless they are willing to use their own private money. In this economy it is criminal to spend public money this way. Better yet, maybe Cindy, Kay and Karla could do something positive, instead of always saying no to everything. How about they put together a group to buy the property and donate it to the city? That is what they are asking the Lins to do. Let them lead by example or get out of the way.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by All we need
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2010 at 9:12 am

In an economic downturn all the City of Pleasanton needs is another litigation. The affordable housing thing was ludicrious enough...now this is continuing. Maybe the Lins should be the ones to build the "affordable housing" and we can "kill two birds with one stone" (sarcasm used here - I'm not serious). I don't necessarily like the idea of housing on ridges - but we would have been better off having the smallest number of houses and saving the City's money to help PUSD. Lin's won't be building anytime soon in this economy.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Capitalism Rules
a resident of Mission Park
on Aug 9, 2010 at 9:30 am

Far from "extortion" like another reader said... this is pure capitalism at its best. I'm sure the Lins pay their attorneys a lot of money to protect their investment interests. Just like YOU would, just like ANYONE would. If the language of the referendum was ambiguous and allowed this new suit to happen, it's not the fault of the Lins. The Lins are working within the judicial system to protect their interests... they are not villains. If you bought a piece of investment property and wanted to build on it so you can make a profit on your investment... what would you do in this situation? Roll over? This country wouldn't be much if we didn't fight for our interests.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Shelley
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2010 at 9:43 am

I applaud the Lins for standing up for our individual property rights and making legal agreements binding regardless if NIMBYs have a problem with it. I also agree that if Cindy, Kay and Karla want to dictate what is done with the land owned by someone else with a legal agreement on what they can do with it, the should buy the land. Those hills are not our hills, they are the Lins.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2010 at 9:53 am

Kay Ayala, Karla Brown and their cohorts continue to cost this city millions of dollars, all in the interest of protecting the views and traffic around their own large, Lin Family-built hilltop homes. It is time to put a stop to these special interest politics.

Let's save our new community park, while protecting this landowner's right to perform reasonable development on their land. Whether your politics are liberal or conservative, there are good reasons to finally let this project move forward.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Just say NO
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2010 at 9:55 am

Bullies extorting Pleasanton. Just say NO, to the Lins and anyone who supports them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2010 at 10:08 am

"Whether your politics are conservative or liberal" What I find interesting is that it is the "liberals" that are upholding a person's private property rights and the "conservatives" that are trying to take them away and expand government's control; but at the same time trying to make protecting property rights sound liberal! How the conservative's tune changes when what the tout doesn't meld with what they personally want. I am a staunch independent finding all this amusing in the fact that it just goes to show most people just want what is good for them and change their stance with their own selfish interests, but think no one notices.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Susan
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Aug 9, 2010 at 10:08 am

To Just Say No: Can you explain the extortion that is taking place?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2010 at 10:17 am

The people getting the petition signed against this were the true bullies. I was followed into a store, being berated because I wouldn't sign. The woman kept telling me I was "uneducated" if I wouldn't sign and I should let her "educate" me. I assured her that I was very familiar with the issue and did not want to sign. She followed me all the way to the back of the store until I told her very emphatically that she needed to go back outside and leave me alone. I have always wondered how many of their signatures were acquired because people were actually scared into signing. I can't express my lack of respect for the entire Save Pleasanton Hills, or whatever they call it, movement. It embarrasses me to call these people neighbors and no, I do not know and have never even met the Lins I just respect our laws and the responsibility to abide by legal agreements, as well as people's property rights.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Laurie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2010 at 10:28 am

Bullies?? Extortionists???.....is this seriously what you are calling someone who is LEGALLY defending their property rights? How sad it has come to this (sadder still that we knew it would and let it happen anyway!). Measure D was a great compromise between the City and the Lins and by saying NO to that compromise we landed exactly where we are right now. I, for one, hope the City Council elects to do the right thing and NOT defend this suit and thus let the Lins develop their property according to the council approved plan and just maybe this madness will end!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nothing to do with Saving the Hills
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Aug 9, 2010 at 10:32 am

IMO, this has very little to do with saving the hills and the environment. This has to do with current homeowners not wanting to risk that their property values might go down if these homes are built. They could care less about the hills . . .

The Lin's are playing this as they should. Keep in mind, they will recoup their legal costs somehow and they will develop the land.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on Aug 9, 2010 at 10:58 am

The Lins should have worked with the Pleasanton community instead of brokering a deal with the city council and fighting tooth and nail to push forward with the plan. When they saw that the community wanted a ballot measure, they should have welcomed the opportunity to work with community groups to modify the plan or put their plan on the ballot. Instead, they fought the whole way to maintain the plan for big houses on the ridge. Now that they continue the fight for the original plan, it certainly sounds like there's more to this plan than meets the eye. Is there something that we'll only find out a few years down the road? Is there another agreement that will suddenly come to light? Now, more than ever, I don't trust the plan worked out between the city council and the Lins.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 9, 2010 at 11:13 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Here's the case number: RG10519153


 +   Like this comment
Posted by pleasanton hiker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2010 at 11:29 am

Maybe the city should purchase the land from the Lin's. Hey we could put a parcel tax on the ballot. I wonder if those who voted to stop the development on the Lin property would be willing to put their money where their mouth is and campaign as diligently to get a parcel tax approved. Somehow I doubt it. My feeling is that those who are so passionately opposed the city council's agreement on the Lin property did so out not to benefit the city but for political reasons. Too bad we didn't take the 500 out of 562 acres when they were offered for free.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 9, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Basically the lawsuit says that...

- Ordinance 1962 was not the subject of referendum within the 30 day period (as per the state referendum law) which means that...
- the City has a signed contract with the Lins that is in full force and effect and...
- under the contract the City has an obligation to protect it from changes in law due to things like referendum so...
- because it did not remove the poison pill language from Ord. 1962, the contract was breached. The City did not act in good faith in executing the contract.

In other words, just because Ord. 1961 was subject to referendum, 1962 was not and therefore, the Lins contend, the City could not withhold their contractual obligations in anticipation of the referendum of 1961. The City needed to fulfill its contractual obligations prior to the referendum of 1961.

Now the ball is in the Council's court.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by The sue happy Lins are at it again.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2010 at 12:28 pm

For someone who doesn't actually live in this country, the Lins sure do spend millions of our tax dollars on the court system for their frivilous lawsuits. I'm sure their lawsuits are in the double digits by now.

Oh brother.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Aug 9, 2010 at 12:33 pm

The true 'extortionists' are the two affordable housing coalitions and ex-Gov Jerry Brown who are costing you and I $2.4 million.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 9, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Kay Ayala was on the City Council for 8 years and understands very well all of the related parts of a housing development project. She chose to challenge only ordinance 1961 and eventually won on that challenge. She knowingly did not challenge ordinance 1962 which, therefore, still stands. The result is that the Lins have a valid contract with the City. The City should now honor that contract, let the project proceed, and put a lot of people in the hard hit construction industry back to work in the process. If there needs to be someone to blame for this situation it goes to Kay and her crowd for doing half a--ed job.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by David Cannon
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 9, 2010 at 1:59 pm

David Cannon is a registered user.

Anyone who did not see the lawsuit(s) coming on this issue surely had their head in the clouds. The only unknown was how the suit(s) was(are) going to be aimed and worded.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sickofit
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 9, 2010 at 2:06 pm

If the vote didn't matter, then why did the Lins spend over 600K to try and get it to pass? No, this is just another in the long line of maneuvers. Don't forget that the City Manager was ordered to sign the agreement. Will that stand? Of course, our current City Council Majority may choose not to defend the lawsuit. Afterall, that is the surest way for them to ensure massive campaign contributions from the Lins!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 9, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Pretend you promise someone (in writing) that you will sell them your house after, say, one month. Three months later, if you still haven't sold your house to that person because you anticipate that another person is going to buy it for more money in a few more months, shame on you. You get sued.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by D W
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Stoneridge Steve's point is clear: Because they were not interested in working with the community/neighbors, the Lins therefore have been untrustworthy. The disregard for the dangers this project may provide both in building the project and distracting other residents, especially the children that play there, is why each side - the Ayala/Brown/McGovern side and the Hosterman Council - is stuck in the middle of the endless litigation.

Let's hope that a week from tomorrow, the Council considers our economy before making their decision with or against the chronically suspicious Lins. And don't give us this "It's capitalism at its best" crap! It's reckless. That's what it is.

Where's the accountability? Even the best capitalists would ask this very question toward all sides. Everybody is already suffering financially from this endless saga. Next Tuesday, let's just say STOP to all of this and remind the Lins that their irresponsible actions are directly and indirectly hurting the city's citizens!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sickofit
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 9, 2010 at 3:30 pm

D.W.

The Lins don't care. They don't live in Pleasanton and to them, it is all about the $'s. They want their pound of flesh from the City and don't appear to care what it costs them or the citizens of Pleasanton.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 9, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Steve's point may be clear, but debatable. There is the perception that the Lins have not worked with the community. Is it ok to ignore the evidence that the Lins had a representative meet with various neighbor groups in order to believe that perception?

And dangers of the project represented by children at play? Now you're just grasping at straws.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 9, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The road paving on Santa Rita endangers children at play! What disregard the City is showing its residents!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Olfthfl
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 9, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Maybe this time Pleasanton will get it right. Go Lin family!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by VotedYes
a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Aug 9, 2010 at 5:54 pm

DW and Stoneridge Steve - The Lins DID work with the citizens - they worked with the CITY COUNCIL that we, the citizens, voted in to represent us in matters such as this.

This is what happens when you do not recognize the rights of property owners. It is their land and the proposal on which we voted sounded more than fair. If you actually though that the 'no' would put it to rest, once and for all, you are naive at best and stupid at worst. Of COURSE they are suing. This town and its collective coffers will now get what it deserves.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by justsayin
a resident of Stoneridge
on Aug 9, 2010 at 7:27 pm

The Lins don't live here in Pleasanton? Where do they live?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by VotedYes
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Aug 9, 2010 at 7:28 pm

justsayin - I believe they live in Taiwan.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by AJ1111
a resident of Country Fair
on Aug 9, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Love it!!! Nice to see that the Lin's have a reasonable argument to short circuit the folks who tried to use the referendum process to cut off the development. I hope that the city decides not to defend and they get the injunctive relief.

What was exactly the end game with the "Save the HIlls" campaign anyway? Do any of our green activists get the fact that the Lins would sue and force the town to by them out? Where would that money come from?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Aug 9, 2010 at 8:57 pm

This situation is particularly interesting because of three things:

1. There appears to be no related case law regarding a poison pill which attempts to circumvent the referendum law. Therefore, it is very uncertain as to how courts at the various levels will rule. Will they say that the contract the City entered into (involuntarily because of an earlier lawsuit) become invalid because the poison pill language has precedence? Or will they rule that established state law cannot be undone by creative poison pill language? That you cannot referend two-for-one through poison pill language.
2. The ultimate legal outcome may be where the poison pill stands but the city may still be liable for breach of contract, which is the subject of the lawsuit. Since there was an earlier lawsuit wherein the city was forced to ministerially sign the development agreement, one may assume that the development agreement was in effect until June 8, 2010. Until this time, the lawsuit accuses the city did not abide by its terms and thereby caused damages to the Lin's, which is apparently true given the facts.
2. Political will has now been forced into play by the Lin's lawsuit. Will any political side of this have the will to see this through to an end, which may be at least two years off into the future? Certainly the Lin's will appeal any adverse judgment to the highest level they can. In the short term to win seats in the next election some folks can benefit by playing on the emotions of the electorate. However, 46 percent voted against the referendum, which means there is a sizable portion of the electorate already against those who would use Pleasanton taxpayer's money to create new case law through the appellate courts, just to prove how right they think they have been. Worse, think about the likelihood that the poison pill stands but the city is still liable for damages!!!!

Best case scenario for those against the 51 homes and a 500 acre park are approximately 50 homes on 10 acre lots and no park. Worst case scenario for them is enormous damages awarded the Lin's as a result of breach of contract. Or do you think the Lin's are now ready to donate the land to Pleasanton as those against Oak Grove have indicated as the likely end game?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 9, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Two points:
First, to all the Lin-bashers out there, you should be reminded of the fact that their first approved project on the property, Kottinger Hills, included a free public golf course. Our city later spent $45,000,000 to build one!
Secondly, now that it's in the court of law, this has Neal School and Housing Cap writen all over it! Yet another embarrassing loss to the tax-paying people of Pleasanton...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kate
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Pleasanton could sure use the hugs that Karla Brown told the voters her grass roots No on D movement were giving out at the first Wednesday Street Party. Perhaps we'll see Karla and Kay on the corner of Valley and Hopyard with their signs "Collecting for the legal defense fund that was created by our cute, short-sighted, NIMBY grass-roots group". Hmmm, maybe those hills really are the Lins...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Conservative
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Aug 10, 2010 at 7:22 am

Well said by Kate, Jack, Capitalism Rules, No Surprise here, Shelley, b and more... it's time to end this NIMBY nightmare, let the Lin family proceed with the development and free up the two Ks to channel their efforts into a new pet project that would actually benefit all residents.

Re: "Children at play" on Santa Rita... Huh??? Who allows their children "play" on a major traffic artery? It's actually refreshing to see our tax dollars at work instead of funding expensive European vacations the rest of America can only dream of taking.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fed Up
a resident of Avila
on Aug 10, 2010 at 9:13 am

What a waste of our tax dollars. We need this non-sense to stop and protect individual property rights.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 10, 2010 at 10:54 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Conservative,

It was a bad joke trying to illustrate the absurdity of the idea presented by another poster that the Oak Grove construction would somehow endanger children at play, as if there would be no mitigation.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda
a resident of California Reflections
on Aug 10, 2010 at 11:56 am

Unbelievable that any Pleasanton citizens would support this land developer that will not respect the will of the Pleasanton Voters. Land speculation has no guarantees. They have declared was on our City and citizens with their law suites.

The voters have repeatedly weighed-in on the spirit of this project. Shame on all who support this attack on the citizens and City of Pleasanton.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda
a resident of California Reflections
on Aug 10, 2010 at 11:56 am

Unbelievable that any Pleasanton citizens would support this land developer that will not respect the will of the Pleasanton Voters. Land speculation has no guarantees. They have declared was on our City and citizens with their law suites.

The voters have repeatedly weighed-in on the spirit of this project. Shame on all who support this attack on the citizens and City of Pleasanton.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda
a resident of California Reflections
on Aug 10, 2010 at 11:57 am

Unbelievable that any Pleasanton citizens would support this land developer that will not respect the will of the Pleasanton Voters. Land speculation has no guarantees. They have declared war on our City and citizens with their law suites.

The voters have repeatedly weighed-in on the spirit of this project. Shame on all who support this attack on the citizens and City of Pleasanton.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kate
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Linda, You lost me the third time I read your post. Also, what is a law suite? Is that a big room where you discuss law?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fed Up
a resident of Avila
on Aug 10, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Unbelievable that any Pleasanton citizens would NOT support this land developer and at the same time think property owners do not have rights. From where I stand, I see the Lins defending their property rights.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Aug 10, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Linda insults the 46 percent of Pleasanton voters who voted FOR Oak Grove by deluding herself in thinking the 54 percent on her side of things somehow are "the citizens" and the rest are to be shamed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda
a resident of California Reflections
on Aug 11, 2010 at 12:29 am

100% of those who voted knew their perspective may not win but they participated in the process. To disregard the outcome of the election disrespects everyone who voted.

The voters have weighed-in on the spirit of this project with PP and QQ as well.

It is sour grapes that the vote did not go your way to support these malicious actions on the Lin's part.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 11, 2010 at 8:16 am

Stacey is a registered user.

"Majority rules" is a method of determining the winner of an election, not a means of distributing justice or even proving which side is right. It is wholly within the bounds of the system to seek justice through the judicial branch, to try to correct a perceived injustice. Voting is only one aspect of the whole system. That one would call one party's seeking of justice to protect their rights "malicious actions" shows their own disrespect for the system.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Laurie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2010 at 9:05 am

I would venture to say that nearly 100% of us who voted YES on D knew exactly what would happen if that measure was defeated. We not only thought the measure was a good compromise and maybe more importantly, we fully believe in property ownership rights.

Even after all this it seems there are still folks who think the hills do not belong to the Lins.......go figure!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Are You Serious?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2010 at 10:00 am

Posted by Kate, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2010 at 11:59 pm
Pleasanton could sure use the hugs that Karla Brown told the voters her grass roots No on D movement were giving out at the first Wednesday Street Party. Perhaps we'll see Karla and Kay on the corner of Valley and Hopyard with their signs "Collecting for the legal defense fund that was created by our cute, short-sighted, NIMBY grass-roots group". Hmmm, maybe those hills really are the Lins...


Well Said




Now - To those that think the Lin family are the bad guys – Are you serious?

This family worked with the CITY – YOUR elected officials and Staff – and they received APPROVAL to move forward – years ago. They jumped through the hoops, they did their due diligence. They received APPROVAL. They were set to go, and spent a ton of money to get to that point.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Seriously – think about that?

YOU OWN land
YOU want to build
YOU go through all the processes
YOU RECEIVE APPROVAL
YOU are giving back hundreds of acres to the city for a park
YOU are giving money toward schools


Then, along comes Kay etc. Heck, I was even told by the No on D people that the Property in question was the PLEASANTON RIDGE to the West of highway 680. There was so much disinformation given to citizens being asked to sign petitions – it was terrible. OK, you don't want homes built above you, you want your view. Get over it. YOU don't own that land.

And some think the city or other developer would buy the property from the Lins? That's a laugh. The city has no means to purchase that land. And, do you think with the litigious citizens we have in Pleasanton, that any developer or investment group wants to buy that land – knowing that they will have to fight tooth and nail to try to do 'anything' with it?


Also, let's get back to how YOU would feel:

Vote is over
BAM…..
YOU are now told you can't build there. Everything you worked for and PAID for is 'null'.


Anyone that can honestly say they would just 'listen the will of the people'…and in essence leave their land and THEIR INVESTMENT just dying on the vine – well, if you think that way, you are not being honest with yourself.


The Lins should be able to build there. I have no interest in it personally. Don't know the Lins. But, what this city is doing to itself, regarding this land development which was APPROVED, is very sickening to me.

On principal – anyone that believes the Lins should just 'take it' will not get my vote…now or ever.


I hope this city has the courage to move forward, allow the Lins the ability to put up some houses – and to GIVE BACK to the city some land and cash (as agreed upon already). Those 'hills' are not sacred ground. There is a time when what is BEST for the city should have some merit.


And those that might have to see a house higher on the hill then their own home – get over it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Aug 11, 2010 at 10:13 am

Voting to take away owners' property rights is wrong, period. We never should have gone down that road to begin with. I'm thankful that the law abiding and tax-paying Lins are exercising their rights to challenge this injustice. Those of us who are property owners should support their efforts.

I don't even want to imagine what our wonderful town would be like if any of those NIMBY types made it into the city council or the mayor's office.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda
a resident of California Reflections
on Aug 11, 2010 at 11:02 am

Owning a piece of property does not entitle me to negatively impact the quality of life in my surrounding community. There are no guarantees for land speculators.

The property rights arguement in this case is a red haring that the community has seen through three times now QQ, PP, D.

I never had an interest in the project but I am angry about the disrepect to our community.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 11, 2010 at 11:22 am

Stacey is a registered user.

How disingenuous. The claim of negative impacts are Linda's red herring. The developer went along with the planning process several times, which aims to mitigate impacts. There are no guarantees for a community that wishes to string along a property owner through one process after another indefinitely.


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Posted by Linda
a resident of California Reflections
on Aug 11, 2010 at 12:48 pm

It is appropriate that the community has more protection than a land speculator. They have so much land they have speculated on around this country and probably others, they know the risk. They are being prompted to go after our city by their local representatives and supporters.
Why are you, Frank and others so determined to cause harm to our community for what has little consequence to them as land speculators? By harm I am not referring to 51 homes or ridges but the disrespect and cost to our citizens and city through threats and repeated lawsuits.


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Posted by Huh?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Linda,

YOUR staff and council APPROVED it for the Lins. They did what they were to do. They spent a ton to get it to that point. So, they should just give up now so a few people don't have to see a house higher up on that ridge than their own????

A few citizens decided to stop it - their right to do so.

BUT, the Lin family has rights too.

I honestly do not believe you understand all that has gone on with this issue.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 11, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Linda,

The only harm to our community I see is when the opponents to Oak Grove thought they could take a shortcut with the referendum process and only referend Ordinance 1961. If someone is going to do a job right, then they should try to ensure that they cover all bases, not attempt to do things half-a**.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 11, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

They got the requisite number of signatures within 30 days to referend 1961 and they were able to get enough signatures for putting PP on the ballot. Could they not have also gotten signatures for 1962? The meat was in 1962. They went after the deserts only.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 11, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Ayala stood up at the Council meeting and said they were planning to referend the ordinance. Hosterman responded to ensure that she understood there were two ordinances that would need to be referended. I need to go back and look that up, whose idea was it to add the poison pill language. I think everyone but Cook-Kallio voted for that motion.

The basis of the lawsuit is that the Lins and the City had a valid contract and that the City breached the contract. Perhaps the City can try to argue that the contract was in suspension because it was awaiting the results of the election so the City didn't need to abide by its terms, but that argument was tried already. In the first lawsuit, the City was forced to sign the contract because the poison pill language says nothing about suspending the ordinance, only setting it aside. Remember that lawsuit? Now think about how all these lawsuits could have been avoided if only the opponents referended both ordinances in accordance with State law.


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Posted by Linda
a resident of California Reflections
on Aug 11, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Just think about how all of these lawsuits could be avoided if the Lin's respected the concerns of the majority of Pleasanton voters, X 3. The intent is clear that this project is not wanted.
I support my fellow comunity members over a land speculator who does not care about our community......why don't you?.


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Posted by Agree
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2010 at 9:47 pm

I agree with Linda.

Property owners have rights but only if they do not infringe upon the well being of the community.

If the actions of a property owner cause an impact that the local community does not desire, then the needs of the overall community should prevail.

I have a fair amount of assets to invest in real estate but I would NEVER consider an open-ended project such as purchasing the Oak Grove property...such a purchase would be frought with fiscal uncertainties like the ones the Lins are experiencing now.

Such are the perils of speculation....They speculated that they would make a great deal of money on their investment at Oak Grove but the problem is that the community opposes their plans. Sorry...but I believe that the community must prevail over the financial interests of one property owner.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 11, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Linda,

Majority does not make right. If a majority feels that their need to breach contracts should prevail, why do you support that? I do not agree with you that engaging in endless land battles is in the best interests of our community. It seems really naive on your part to operate under the assumption that just because there was an election then the developer will "go away". You said it, the land speculator doesn't care about this community. They are just doing as land speculators do, protecting their interests. We can help them along by being smarter than the old "us vs. them" mentality. We can get them on their merry way by either purchasing the land from them or by coming to a fair mutual agreement regarding development.


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Posted by Fed Up
a resident of Avila
on Aug 12, 2010 at 9:00 am

The community is represented by its elected officials. OUR elected officials approved the development of Oak Grove so I don't see anything wrong with these land speculators wanting to build on their own land based on a contractual agreement approved by YOUR representatives.


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Posted by Linda
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Aug 12, 2010 at 3:47 pm

The community is entitled to challenge the decisions of the council, again part of the risk of land speculation. I am sure you read the Times opinion pointing out the sleazy way the council has handled this project; I share that opinion and applaud the citizens for persevering.
I don't care about the houses one way or another, but I will support my fellow community members who care about our city. I am disappointed in those who defend land speculators who, you admit, do not care if they damage our community with malicious lawsuits.


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Posted by Linda
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Aug 12, 2010 at 3:47 pm

The community is entitled to challenge the decisions of the council, again part of the risk of land speculation. I am sure you read the Times opinion pointing out the sleazy way the council has handled this project; I share that opinion and applaud the citizens for persevering.
I don't care about the houses one way or another, but I will support my fellow community members who care about our city. I am disappointed in those who defend land speculators who, you admit, do not care if they damage our community with malicious lawsuits.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 12, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Linda, I don't appreciate your two thinly veiled attempts at accusing me of not caring for this community. Have you spent the hours it takes to read through all the documents, follow the meetings, or visit the site to become a more informed citizen than in taking your talking points from a one page Valley Times editorial (the author didn't even tour the site)?

You keep talking about the risk of land speculation when the issue goes beyond that. How about the risk the citizens took in trying to shortcut the referendum process and referend only one of the ordinances? How about the risk the City took in trying to suspend a valid contract while the referendum on the other ordinance was pending? Do you think that was so great for the community? Is that what you want to really support?


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Posted by Linda
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Aug 12, 2010 at 8:40 pm

You bristle when I share my perception that anyone who supports the land speculators in these lawsuits, may have a misplaced loyalty that I do not understand. Then you make bold accusations about a group of our community members deliberately doing something wrong? Not for a moment do I think they have done anything but work very hard on an issue that they believe in.
I do not need to stand on dirt, (but I know the property) my concern is not about the houses. I have followed the issue choosing not to get deeply involved until it became an attack on our city and citizens.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 12, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Sure I bristle because you're flat out wrong in your characterization of me. I don't support the land speculators. I don't want them building without limits on those hills, like they did with Kottinger Ranch. I support finding fair mutual agreements that put an end to potentially endless land use battles. I support gaining a 500 acre park/conservation easement for this community to preserve the Southeast hills. That's why I supported the Oak Grove measure. It was a win-win situation for both the developer and the City. And I've written here frequently that the other solution is to buy the land outright. How could I support the land speculator if I advocate purchasing the land from them?

And I did not accuse the opponents of doing something wrong _deliberately_, as if they sat down and said to themselves, "Let's get sued by doing it this way". These are the unintended consequences from their actions. Two ordinances had to be referended. It was talked about at the Council meeting. They hoped that the poison pill language would be adequate. Now it is in court.

This was the Oak Grove plan:
"How To Win Land Development Issues" Web Link
"Chapter 37: Negotiate with the Applicant
No other strategy option offers the benefits or challenges of negotiation. For all the parties involved - you, the applicant and government officials - it is the least expensive in terms of hours, dollars and emotional strain.

A win-win solution is one which genuinely resolves your concerns while allowing the applicant to achieve their goals. This will usually be a solution which requires project modifications but not to the point where the project is no longer viable. However, if you feel a project is so fatally flawed impacts cannot be designed away, then the win-win solution could be buying the applicant out by convincing government agencies and/or private parties to acquire the site for preservation in total or in part."


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Posted by Fed Up Tax Payer
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 13, 2010 at 1:13 pm

The City should oppose the Lin's lawsuit, IF AND ONLY IF, Kay Ayala and Karla Brown agree up front to pay all legal fees and court costs which the City becomes obligated to pay. Those two got us into this mess by neglecting to challenge the Lin's project properly. They, AND NOT US TAXPAYERS, should pay to get us out of it.


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Posted by Really! Really!
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Aug 13, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I agree. It's time for these individuals to fight their private battles with their private money. I believe the Oak Grove development would be a wonderful benefit to our city. if others want to deprive us of a 500-acre park to retain their private views, let them fight and pay for their own battles. The City Council needs to stick their original, well-intentioned, well-informed. decision.


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Posted by Al Slim
a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 14, 2010 at 7:19 pm

I occasionaly check this site to see what rest of the town is thinking. Never seen so much discussion as there has been on this matter. What I dont get is why so much focus from folks who live here, in homes they bought, are working to pay off, and why care about hills most of them will never be able to afford to live on. I'm more concerned - worried - about the everyday things that are happening here already. Where's the outrage for all the prostituion and pimps cruising up and down Stoneridge and Hacienda? Criminals and hustlers hanging out at the Chevron and soliciting? Where are the mom and dads that should be pounding on the City Coucils doorfront to get porn sales out of these "Quick-marts" right across from the elementary schools; the car-loads of teenagers smoking pot and buying beer at the Seven-Eleven just taking up all the parking spots while they get high; the criminals harrassing and stalking people at shopping mall parking lots, armed robberies in broad daylight and when the police say they need our help they tell you the suspect is white, and on the same page one column over tell us their looking for gunmen who held up the Blockbuster with no suspect description and the entire neighborhood and the poor kids working there know the suspects are "other-than white". Hey- had enough of the "Flush-bergers" capitalizing on the whole down-turn of this city, leaving their sale-pending signs up in waste high weeds for over a year? You think besides all the motivational group-garage sales and community park events, wilted tomato plants and plastic American flags dumped on the last of us who still own homes, you think any one of the real estate agents out here could get a few of the lawns mowed on those forclosures?? Lots on a hill? LOTS ON A HILL! Are you people nuts? Worry about the condition of the neighborhood you live in and where your kids walk to school. Get out and clean up the the weeds in that empty house on your block so the filthy homeless guys that go through the lovely blue recycling bins we were forced to make room for in our tiny lots wont have a safe place to keep peeing and throwing their pints, fiths and beercans they stole from Luckys. For crying out loud- do all of live up there on one of those hills? Or do you live down here where it's getting filthier and more dangerous? Thank your lucky stars you dont live in Fremont (a lesson learned) and try putting as much energy into saving the town - the one down here on the ground.


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Posted by wiley
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Aug 21, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Kay Ayala is still angry over getting beat by the Hippie in 2004. She needs to move to Oregon or somewhere far away, she has outlasted her welcome here and people are waking up to her self serving self. Kay Ayala cares about Kay Ayala. "Minnie Kay", Cindy Mac, does a pretty good job of carrying on the angry, non producing, tradition. See you on the corner of Valley and Hopyard with your Mormon prop 8 freaky supporters. get a life lady.


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