Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - April 23, 2010

Letter: Support Measure D

Dear Editor,

I sincerely hope that residents will support Measure D.

Many of Pleasanton's long time park and trails advocates worked for years to secure a development compromise that would ensure permanent preservation and public access to these 496 acres of gorgeous, walkable, oak woodlands. Do you know of another community that enjoys such a unique open space asset within its city limits?

Look around at the many homes on Pleasanton's hills. A few more (and less visible by comparison) seems a small price for such a big park that all Pleasanton residents will enjoy forever.

Vote Yes on Measure D.

Becky Dennis


Posted by Annie, a resident of Foothill High School
on May 6, 2010 at 7:32 pm

i still havent decided yet!!

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 6, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

You've got time!

Here's the documents to read. Ord. 1961 is being put on the ballot. Ord. 1962 would be affected too due to "poison pill" language in both so both should be looked at.

Ordinance 1961: Web Link

Ordinance 1962: Web Link

Posted by her husband works for a builder!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Before you believe that this guest article is a neutral homeowner, you should know her husband has been working for a developer building homes. Plus she lives on top of a big hilltop in town. Of course she is in favor of building on ridges! NOT just another homeowner. A nice person, but she has a reason to want mega-mansions in Oak Grove.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Becky is an affordable housing, open space advocate and has been so for years. Why is it when you disagree with someone you have to make it out like the other has ulterior motives???

Go back and read the minutes of the council meeting when the project was approved. They are on the city website, October 2, 2007

Also check out the guest opinion by Jennifer Hosterman and Matt Sullivan in the Pleasanton weekly in November of 2007 entitled Save our Pristine Hills and Open Space.

It is Illuminating.

Vote yes on Measure D

Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Could you enlighten me on what "is illuminating"

I'm a Yes on D, because I support land owners right. I believe this area is zoned residential (or at least was when it was purchased) so the people who own it should be allowed to do with as they please (within the guidelines that were established when they purchased the land). I do have a problem with certain tactics that are being employed, but that's another thread.

Posted by Measure D is bad for Pleasanton, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2010 at 10:28 pm

yes on Measure D cuts of the ridges. Leave them alone.
Stop wasting your money on surveys.
Stop wasting your money on fliers.
Stop taking away the home of wildlife.
Stop the huge tractors and earth moving equip.
Stop watching your pocket books from Taiwan and leave us alone.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 6, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Foxborough Estates is "hilltop"? How come you have to drive downhill to get to it?

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 6, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"Plus she lives on top of a big hilltop in town. Of course she is in favor of building on ridges!"

That makes no sense! If that were true, there should be no Grey Eagle and Kottinger Ranch residents who are against Oak Grove.

Posted by Farm land is great, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on May 6, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Ms. Hinek is wunderlusting over the beautiful farm lands of her youth. Great! I agree, let's leave the land for the farms. I say yes to Farms. No to builders!

Good we agree.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 6, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Web Link

Save our pristine hills and our park

by Jennifer Hosterman and Matt Sullivan

We had planned to stay out of the debate over the Oak Grove referendum; however misinformation about the project and confusion in the public about our support considering our history of slow growth, environmental advocacy, and support for neighborhoods, compels us to provide this clarification.

Over three years ago, the property owner started work on a 98-unit plan, which was opposed by the adjacent Kottinger Ranch neighborhood. We have both campaigned against development in the hills and in support of affected neighborhoods. But instead of entering into yet another endless land-use battle, we thought there might be a better way: a collaborative process with the neighbors, the developer, and the city to see if agreement could be reached and these outcomes avoided. Our goals were threefold: empower the neighborhood to help shape the project, provide "finality" from future development, and create a model for the acquisition of public open space for the remaining developable properties in the southeast hills.

The result has been a resounding success! A consensus plan was facilitated by the city for a 51-unit project--half the size of the original--with the addition of $1 million in traffic mitigation fees for the neighborhood, and the dedication of a 497-acre public open space park. The plan then went through the normal Planning Commission and City Council public review process, input was sought throughout, additional issues identified, and adjustments were made. Regulatory agencies will evaluate habitat and mandate mitigation measures, or prohibit building on environmentally sensitive areas. No taxpayer monies will go to fund the open space park--the developer will deed the property to the city, will construct the trails and a staging area, pay the endowment to the easement-holder Tri Valley Conservancy, and the future HOA will be responsible for ongoing maintenance costs. For the units potentially most visible from the valley floor, one story limits, reduction in size, strict design guidelines, and plant and earth berm screening have been mandated. Finally, not one single house has been approved for this project--each will submit detailed plans and visual simulations to both the HOA Design Committee and the city for approval. The Planning Commission can choose to bring each to a public hearing, and any house can be appealed to the City Council for final decision. With these requirements and processes in place, the images presented by some project opponents of two- and three-story 12,000-square-foot white glowing "mega-mansions" sitting on barren hilltops are simply false.

Similar to what the city achieved with the Bernal property, Oak Grove provides nearly 500 acres of public open space in exchange for minimal development within the context of a collaborative neighborhood process and the support of four out of five councilmembers. With this success, the council has taken the first step in achieving a vision for a magnificent 2,000-acre natural park completely accessible to the public stretching from Shadow Cliffs to the Callippe Preserve Golf Course--forever protecting these hills from development. This is an important legacy that this generation can leave to future Pleasantonians.

Jennifer Hosterman was first elected to the City Council in 2002, elected mayor in 2004 and re-elected as mayor last year. Matt Sullivan, after six years as a planning commissioner and two years on the West Las Positas Interchange Committee before that, was elected to the City Council in 2004.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 6, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

There'll be another endless land-use battle yet!

Posted by justwondering, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Becky Dennis does NOT live on a ridge top and her husband does not build homes. Please don't say things if you don't know unless you are resorting to deceptive tactics against the project.

Residents need to take a step back and remember what the vision was/is for the southeast hills and isn't that really what we all want. A green belt owned by the City and accessable for all. Consider some of the alternatives if Measure D fails. First PP/QQ will be in effect for any new project submitted for the property. Having 98 homes in the General Plan and then being allowed to only build 10 sounds ripe to be considered a taking which would mean yet another lawsuit against the City. Plus with the Housing Cap in question, who knows what the legal system will do to Pleasanton with regard to this land as well as other parcels in town such as the Merrit property. 51 homes could end up being a real bargin not too mention the nearly 500 acres the City gets. People need to think beyond the emotional rhetoric coming on and what do they really want for the City.

Posted by her husband works for a builder, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2010 at 6:54 am

sorry I was not commenting about Ms. Dennis, instead it was comment about the May 7th letter to the editor by Ms. Hart Hinek. My error. Ms. Dennis does not live on a ridgeline.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Danbury Park
on May 7, 2010 at 7:23 am

What is a few more? That is her best arguement!

What is cutting off a few ridges? - Oh yes, we don't have ANY more south east ridges in our city limits!

What is 620,000 cubic yards of dirt? See I read my voter pamphlet.

What are 3 lawsuits from the developer to the city, people and city manager?

What are a few (3) houses up to 12,500 sq. ft?

Too much to just look the other way. Ms. Dennis, you have blinders on. Sorry.

I am voting NO on D

Posted by Karen, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 7, 2010 at 8:08 am

Thanks for digging that up! Boy were they on another planet? If the Kottinger folks liked Oak Grove so much, why is Hearst drive lined with signs saying "No on D". Guess they were just talking to their "friends" not the average person. Some of those friends moved out and won't even see the ugly McMansions anymore.

What is great is that Matt saw the writing on the wall and pulled his support of the project. he listended to the people when they voted in Measure PP. Obviously Jennifer refuses to see the error of her ways.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 7, 2010 at 8:14 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Oh? I haven't seen that Sullivan pulled his support for the project. Where has he publicly come out and said that he is no longer for Oak Grove? That's the perception he wants you to get from supporting the signature gathering and referendum process so that you'll continue to support him.

Posted by Fact Checker, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2010 at 10:02 am

Not all referendums are good.

This was a collaborative process. No on D people are misrepresenting the project by telling voters they can go back and get something better. This developer did everything that was asked by the community and then some. Many of the D people did not avail themselves of the public process and now just want you to think that there is a chance of amending the project.

If this project goes away there is no incentive for the developer to work with the neighborhood. They did it in good faith once.

With the housing cap gone, they could come back with more single family homes and no open space.

Loosing this open space will surely sink the plan for the two thousand acres of open space planned for by the council to connect trails surrounding Pleasanton. The is one piece of a bigger plan to increase open space around Pleasanton protecting it in perpetuity.

They could come back with higher density condos on the lower elevations that would generate more traffic, more school impact and less revenue.

There is no definition of ridgeline or slope in PP. The impartial analysis of the measure states that. The council will have to define slope and ridgeline before anything can be approved under PP. Parts of PP have been struck down by the courts.

This is not the Pleasanton Ridge. (The one we clearly see on the west side of Pleasanton. We purchased the property on top of the Pleasanton Ridge.) The area is adjacent to Kottinger Ranch to the SOUTHEAST. Take a drive up there and see the property for yourself.

Finally, this is private property zoned rural residential. These are not OUR hills. They belong to someone else.

This is a good plan, it was collaborative. Many people were involved in the discussion. The benefits to Pleasanton are huge.

Vote yes on Measure D

Posted by Mark, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on May 7, 2010 at 10:56 am

To"her husband works for a builder". I agree with Stacy,you make no sense. If this is your logic, can you tell me why the house at the tip-top of Smallwood Court has a NO on D sign? A mega mansion on the top of the highest ridge in Kottinger Ranch with a NO sign. NIMBY???

Posted by A Skeptic, a resident of Valley Trails
on May 18, 2010 at 11:12 am

If something is too good to be true...

I keep getting slick 'Yes on D' campaign materials. By only focusing on the wonders that await if we vote Yes and not addressing the concerns of residents, they're having the opposite of their intended effect on many voters. I have seen the hyperbole on both sides of this issue, but the 'Yes on D' full court press worries me as I await the drop of the other shoe (and my wife was so annoyed by one of the phone calls she received that she's voting No on principal).

Posted by full court press?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 18, 2010 at 9:25 pm

"but the 'Yes on D' full court press worries me"

Uh, how about all slick the No on D signs planted every 5 feet in this town (including on public property) and the No on D fliers left on my porch?

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