Pleasanton Weekly

News - December 20, 2013

Planning commission OKs Ruby Hill right to govern home design

Denies bid by homeowners in dispute over newly-finished house

by Jeb Bing

The Pleasanton Planning Commission has reaffirmed the city's longstanding agreement that gives the Ruby Hill Architectural Design Guidelines Committee municipal-like powers to handle its own development standards.

The action came in a 5-0 vote at the end of a near-three hour public meeting which pitted homeowners Divya and Anvil Reddy against the committee over a design and structural dispute over their new $2-million-plus home on West Ruby Hill Drive in the upscale gated community.

Pleasanton architect Terry J. Townsend, who represents the RHADGC, said the home as constructed violates a number of architectural guidelines, and that the Reddys have failed to make changes required by the committee or even to meet with the committee board to discuss compromises.

These include the stark white color of the home, not the more subdued colors Ruby Hill requires, too-tall columns with light posts in the front, two separate two-car garages, including one with a marble floor and ornate windows that don't match the conventional wooden doors of the other, and a partially-constructed backyard gazebo that, when completed would have a domed roof 15-feet high, again too high to comply with Ruby Hill standards.

Although city staff recommended allowing some of the architectural style and structural parts of the Reddy home that go against the Ruby Hill guidelines, all five members of the Planning Commission said no.

Their vote against the Reddys' application for city planners and its design review staff to take control of the dispute was not only a strong rebuke of the Reddys' petition but a reaffirmation of the agreement at the time Ruby Hill was built to give developers complete control over the homes constructed there.

That policy, which Townsend and others who addressed the commission Wednesday night, has worked well for the more than 800 homes now built in Ruby Hill, has worked to the advantage of both Ruby Hill residents and the city, planning commissioners said.

Once the RHADGC signs off on all aspects of a home's design and construction, and advises the city in writing, then the city completes its routine construction inspections and issues an occupancy permit.

The Reddys have lived in their new home since it was completed after posting an $80,000 bond to cover the cost of structural and design changes that could be required.

Commissioners urged the Reddys and members of the RHADGC, who were at the hearing, to meet to work out their differences. However, they made it clear that no permanent occupancy permit was likely to be issued by Pleasanton until the RHADGC says it is satisfied that all compliance issues have been resolved.

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