http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2011/03/25/oak-grove-developers-are-back-with-a-new-plan


Pleasanton Weekly

News - March 25, 2011

Oak Grove developers are back with a new plan

Long-time foe Kay Ayala makes disclosure at Tuesday council meeting

by Jeb Bing

Proponents of a 51-home development called Oak Grove in Pleasanton's southeast hills are back.

Former City Councilwoman Kay Ayala, who has led the fight -- successfully, so far -- against the hilltop project told the City Council on Tuesday night that she had heard the developers, Jennifer and Frederic Lin, had talked to council members and city staff about submitting a new development plan. Ayala said city law bars them from resubmitting a development plan until one year has passed since the June 8 referendum last year when voters rejected their 51 luxury homes.

"That means they can't be coming back to you before June 9 of this year," Ayala said.

Her comments, made during the "Meeting Open to the Public" session on the council's agenda, faced a somewhat hostile Mayor Jennifer Hosterman. She objected to Ayala's insistence that council members and staff respond, pointing out that the council a few minutes earlier had considered a "Lin vs. City of Pleasanton" issue in closed session. Those in that meeting are barred from disclosing specifics of the discussion, she said.

But Councilman Matt Sullivan took the microphone and said that, indeed, representatives of the Lins had contacted him to discuss a new development plan. Since that conversation was not part of the council's confidential discussion, he had no problem talking about it, he added.

Then, City Manager Nelson Fialho said publicly that some members of his staff also had been queried by the Lin development team.

City Attorney Jonathan Lowell said that he would have to research municipal laws governing re-applications of development plans once one had been turned down.

No one seemed to have any specifics on what the Lins might be proposing. They have tried several times over the last 12 years to gain approval for houses on the more than 500 acres of property they own at the end of Hearst Drive in Kottinger Ranch, a custom-home community they also developed.

At one time, they sought to build 98 homes there along with a golf course. That plan, such as the much-reduced 51-home development plan proposed five years ago, also was rejected by voters in a referendum after the City Council had given its approval.

Ayala pointed out that the Lins' new proposal comes just a few weeks after they lost a suit in Alameda County Superior Court contesting the June 8 referendum. That followed years of costly litigation that started in 2007 when Ayala led a citizens' group in petitioning the council to reverse its approval of the Oak Grove project.

"If they (the Lins) are coming back with a new plan, they at least should apologize to the people of Pleasanton for putting us through this costly process," Ayala said.

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