Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - May 28, 2010

Letters: Opportunity to vote No

Dear Editor,

Beware! Multi-million dollar homes on the Oak Grove ridges will not be paying their full share of expenses. Here's why:

* School Fees: By law, future homeowners must pay mandatory school impact fees, but they fall short. Operating school fees come from the state on a "per student basis," called ADA for Average Daily Attendance. Schools get the same ADA for all students, and it is not enough. We ask kids to sell wrapping paper, cookie dough, magazines, etc., for more money, but it is not enough. More students mean even more shortfalls for the schools. Vote No on D.

* City expenses: We'll pay for more firemen to keep their homes safe due to the high fire danger region. Plus we need more police, librarians, planners and road repairs. We will need more coaches, fields and pools for kids to play football, baseball, swimming and soccer. The income from their taxes will not begin to cover the total city costs. Vote No on D.

* Carbon footprint: We teach our children to conserve resources, save water, gas and electricity, or just walk. This development is a giant black carbon footprint on our earth. Resources to build and maintain huge mansions are a staggering. Vote No on D.

This development was approved before Pleasanton's ridgeline protection in 2008. Delays were due to legal bullying by the landowner. We fought and won, so now you have the opportunity to vote No on Measure D/Oak Grove.

Karla Brown, Co-Chair for No on D


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mission Park
on May 30, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Wait a minute...the "co-chair" of the NO on D thinks that 51 homes will mean we have to hire more librarians? 51 homes mean we'll have to hire more "coaches, fields and pools". Really???This is truly funny. I am someone who was on the fence but you just pushed me off to the yes side with this letter. I would expect someone who is co-chairing this measure could come up with better reasons to vote no. I will be voting yes, that's for sure. Who is Karla Brown, anyway??

Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 30, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Jake, I have to agree...that may be the stupidest letter/argument I have ever read and it is from a "Co-Chair"?

There are many valid reasons to vote No on D, but not one of them was listed in this letter.

Carbon footprint? Really? More coaches? Since when did the city pay for coaches? I think my nearly $1000 to Rage pays for plenty of coaches.

Posted by fact checker, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 31, 2010 at 6:31 am

Reasons to vote yes

Opinion - Friday, November 16, 2007

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 Bob, a resident of Happy Valley
on Jun 1, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Was this letter really written by the co-chair? I would expect a co-chair to be more educated on the merits of the No vote. Appears that Karla Brown-Belcher is nothing more than Kay Ayala's sidekick who by the way, lives on a ridge so please don't mess up her view.

Posted by Tango, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jun 2, 2010 at 9:18 am

Why is it that when I drive around town I see a lot of vote no on D, and I have only seen 2 vote Yes posters? Are we all that misinformed?

Posted by justwondering, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2010 at 9:40 am

Remember this letter when the author makes noise about running for City Council in November and ask yourself if this is the kind of leadership the City needs?

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