Opinion - April 9, 2010
Letter: Planning Commission didn't review Oak Grove
Oak Grove has been "ram rodded" without appropriate review by the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission did not certify the EIR and the developer appealed this decision to the City Council. In an astonishing display of hubris, the City Council approved not only the EIR, but surprisingly the Development Agreement (DA) and the Conditions of Approval (COA).
The City Council should have sent the COA and DA back to the Planning Commission for detailed work and revision. The PC goes over these documents in great detail to ensure that they are consistent with the General Plan and other planning constraints (e.g. viewscapes, greenpoints, FAR ratios etc.). This did not happen in the case of Oak Grove. These documents, written by the developer, are detrimental to the city and the southeast hills of Pleasanton.
It is clear that the current majority on the City Council will approve Oak Grove at any cost. Sadly, the city has violated its own rules -- there has been no input from the Planning Commission on either the DA or the COA.
Oak Grove will destroy our southeast hills -- vote "no" on D!
Philip J Blank
Member, Pleasanton Planning Commission
Posted by fact checker with the real facts,
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2010 at 1:14 pm
Fact Checker is incorrect and is probably either one of the ballot argument writers or their hired consultant. The ballot arguments for Oak Grove the city clerk has received say there were 9 public hearings/workshops before going to the City Council. This is not at all true. Check with the city clerk. There were 4 public hearings in all... 3 required by California law (Scoping, DEIR, EIR) and 1 requested by a Planning Commissioner (Trails/Park and Recreation).
The rest is bogus spin by the developer.
Minutes from hearings required by law are on the city's website:
1. One Scoping session Feb 8, 2005
2. One Draft EIR hearing with two meetings July 12, 2006; August 23, 2006
3. One Final EIR hearing with two meetings June 13, 2007; June 27, 2007
Requested by planning commissioner:
1. Combined Trails/Parks and Recreation Meeting January 11, 2007
The developer's website is incorrect and lists fictional city meetings Web Link.
2007 - The Planning Commission held five public hearings on Oak Grove (March 28, June 13, June 27, July 12, August 23.)
This is false. There were actually only two public hearings held on June 13, 2007 and June 27, 2007. There were no city meetings held on that topic July 12, 2007 and August 23, 2007. Ask the city clerk for minutes for the fantasy July 12 and August 23 meetings. On March 28, 2007 it was postponed to the next month. Ask the city clerk for emails from the principal planner for proof.
2004 City holds Scoping Hearing to launch preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Oak Grove.
Not true. This statement is FALSE. The city of Pleasanton held no scoping hearing on Oak Grove in 2004. At a city council meeting, the developer requested an "alternative process" on February 17, 2004 to the regular city approval process where they requested they would receive special treatment and bypass the regular review process. See the letter and hearing on the city's website. There was no official action from the city council and the request was continued indefinitely. It wasn't a scoping session. It was the developer asking for them to have special treatment. See the city's website for the letter and the city council minutes.
Then city manager Deborah Acosta on Sept. 28, 2004 deferred all hearings until after the election, holidays, new city manager was appointed. Ask the city clerk for all staff emails regarding scheduling for PUD-33 for proof.
A scoping meeting for the Oak Grove Project was held before the City Council and Planning Commission on February 8, 2005. By that time, the developer had hired ex-mayor Tom Pico to be their paid consultant. There are minutes to prove that. Get them from the city clerk.
Developer's website claims from 2004-2006, there were lots of meetings.
From 2005 to mid 2006, there were no public workshops held, but there were a series of invitation-only, back room, private meetings. There were not one-on-one meetings with "hundreds of people." Actually those meetings were comprised of 3 individuals with Mr. Harvey, Mr. Hadley and Mr. Reagan and the developer's attorney and sometimes ex-mayor paid consultant Tom Pico.
2006 As a result of public input, Oak Grove applicants revise their application to halve the number of custom lots from 98 to 51, create the trails and public access in the park, give the park to the City, and secure conservation easements over the 496-acre public park to preserve it as open space in perpetuity.
This statement is again not true. There was no public input. Just input from 3 individuals. The end result was a proposal for trails so only Kottinger Ranch and Oak Grove homeowners were allowed access with no public access and no staging area. During the single Draft EIR hearing which spanned two meetings on June 13, 2006 and June 27, 2006, the Planning Commission heard for the first time there was no public access and no staging area.
The vice chair of the Planning Commission sent an email August 23, 2006 to the city manager's office asking whether the Trails Ad Hoc Committee and Parks and Recreation Commission were aware there was *no public access* and *no staging area* and requested that the Trails Ad Hoc Committee be made aware of it and the Parks and Recreation Commission be made aware of it and hold public hearings about it.
Also, no conservation easement with Trivalley Conservancy has been secured, so this statement is false as well.
2007 Oak Grove is reviewed in public hearings and recommended by the Trails Ad Hoc Committee and Parks and Recreation Commission (January 11).
This statement is also partially false. Private meetings were held regarding the 'no public access' issue so prior to the public hearing, there was a deal struck without public input. The Pleasanton Weekly published stories about secret meetings about that time.
After five months from the Planning Commissioner's August request, the Trails Ad Hoc/Parks and Recreation Commission met January 11, 2007 and deleted the 6.5 acre public park.
Hope that sets the record straight. Ask the city clerk for all emails and minutes for PUD-33. That way you can verify what is fiction and what is not.