Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - April 30, 2010

Letter: Don't mar our ridgelines

Dear Editor,

Join me in voting No on Measure D. Don't be fooled by glossy fliers of pristine hills and promises of money coming soon to our School District to rescue us from the current funding crisis. If and when homes are built in the Oak Grove development, the fees paid by homeowners (not developers) cannot be used for programs, smaller class size or salaries; they would not save our schools! The proposed houses would be built on ridgelines visible from all over our city. Pleasanton residents voted to save our hills from projects like this. Voting No on D will stop multi-millionaire landowners or anyone else from building any dwellings that would mar our beautiful ridgelines.

Christine Bourg


Posted by Former Pleasantonian, a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2010 at 1:40 pm

While I agree with the general sentiment opposing expansion of the Oak Grove development, unless this and other letter writers own the land, they ought not to refer to it as "our beautiful ridgelines".

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2010 at 10:35 pm

This is similar to the main Pleasanton ridge. This was owned by different owners; some bought it for speculation. We protected those ridges by a vote of the people. The government does not have an obligation to a property owner to make a profit by purchasing a piece of land. The southeast hills were part of the land purchased by the Lin family. They were not ranchers, and they never lived on this property. It was purchased for speculation. The City already approved a subdivision on that property called Kottinger Hills. They probably made significantly money on that that gave them a profit for that part of the parcel plus the Oak Grove part of the parcel.

This parcel does not have entitlements and so the property owner took a risk in purchasing the land. They got Kottinger Ranch. While they kept part of the parcel to see if they can develop at a future time, they knew this was speculation. It turns out this part of the parcel, Oak Grove, has some environmental challenges being in an earthquake and geological slide zone (hence the need for a geological hazard abatement district there), steep hills that require grading (at least because they are developing throughout the property and not limiting it to one area and they want huge houses which requires major grading for the house pads), lots of native oak trees, plus sensitive butterfly habitat area.. Sometimes these risks work out, other times they don't.

The land owner could propose a development that places all the homes in a single area. They see more profit by spreading it out. We do not owe the additional profit to them.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 1, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Anonymous wrote: "The government does not have an obligation to a property owner to make a profit by purchasing a piece of land."

But the government does have an obligation to provide just compensation. We cannot use the power of government to take this land without such compensation. Parkland in Pleasanton ridge was purchased. It wasn't done just through a vote. It involved negotiations between the governments of both Pleasanton and Hayward.

Posted by Bigot, a resident of Birdland
on May 1, 2010 at 11:27 pm

If you want the ridgeline so badly, go buy it. If it ain't yours, you don't have a say. Deal with it.

Posted by Jack, a resident of Downtown
on May 3, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Kottinger Hills and Oak Grove are the same piece of property. And if the intent was not to have the property developed, why is Hearst a dead-end rather than a court?

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