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State Court of Appeal rejects Oak Grove developers' bid for a rehearing

Original post made on Aug 12, 2009

The state Court of Appeal yesterday denied a bid by attorneys for developers Jennifer Lin and her brother Frederic to have the justices rehear arguments made with regard a legal battle over the Lins' plan to build at 51-luxury home community in Pleasanton's southeast hills, a development called Oak Grove.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 12, 2009, 7:57 AM

Comments (27)

Posted by Nosy Neighbors, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Aug 12, 2009 at 10:45 am

You know, this is just too bad that a few shortsighted, selfish individuals (Kay, Steve, et. al.)thought that they would "be the voice of the people of Pleasanton" & save us from an unholy blight upon our cities southern hills. Now it's perfectly OK for Mr. Brozosky to live in a nice big old ridge line home & of course if there were 20 or so more homes like his just maybe his property values just wouldn't quite be the same anymore now would it? Nor would the 500+ acres of open park space donated to the city by the Lin's be a city council win either. I smell bull#%&t in the air & nobody seems to have a problem with this!

Lets make one observation quite clear. I have lived in the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood for well over 25 years & have seen the development of Kottinger Ranch & remember the opposition against it. IMHO it has become not the eyesore that the opposition painted it to be at the time but a well thought out & planned community with trails, well maintained & landscaped grounds & a nice addition to the area. Those in opposition to the development will say that the ridge line homes will detract from the scenic beauty of the hillside...? Just one problem here folks, YOU CAN'T SEE THE RIDGE LINE UNLESS YOU ARE EITHER ON BERNAL OR RIGHT IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD!! Do me a favor. Drive around Pleasanton, anywhere around Pleasanton. Downtown, on Hopyard, coming up Stoneridge, Santa Rita, etc. Unless you are specifically on certain parts of either Stanley, Bernal, Kottinger Dr. or up in the neighborhood itself the view of the ridge line is obscured by the tree growth, street alignment & general orientation of the area. That & the fact that the homes will be built not ON the ridge line itself but 20-45' behind a retaining berm makes their argument even more senseless.

My final point is a sorta selfish one but that area behind the hills that was to be donated as a park is also (& don't tell anyone) one of the best kept secret trails to hike, bike & just roam around in Pleasanton. I've been "pirating" these trails since the late 70's when my father & I would go hunting back there & have always wondered why (but never objected)he city never developed the area.

Well politics do make strange bedfellows & by the looks of it the citizens of Pleasanton are the ones getting the short end of this deal if you ask me.


Posted by Lin No Mo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2009 at 10:59 am

Let's get this clear. We don't want our hills looking those in Milpitas, Hayward and Dublin where they have built on the ridgeline. If you want you city to look like cr*p, move to one of those places. Better yet, move to LA. The Lins have been throwing their suit-happy weight around too long. Kudos to those that got the petition done. I can't wait for the election where we can kill this project once and for all.


Posted by Karen, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Aug 12, 2009 at 11:53 am

Whether you are for the OG development or not, it is unconscionable for the majority of the council to NOT support its citizens right to referend a building, development, trail, park, etc. This is a basic right of US citizens to request the right to vote on a controversial issue. Democracy NOT in action. Instead of supporting their own citizens, our dear elected officials & by their own direction, our city attorney was not where in site. Remember the people AND the city was being sued by this developer, and they sat there and helped/supported the developer!! It is clear, given the choice these folks side with the developer above their own citizens!!

I just wish OG went to the ballot on the same day as its biggest supporters: Hosterman, Thorne & Cook! I can't wait to vote them OUT where they belong!


Posted by Karen, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Aug 12, 2009 at 11:57 am

Dear Nosy Neighbors, that Lin property often has cattle on it. I would stay off before you get arrested for trespassing - which you would deserve.

BTW, I can't see the Mt. Rushmore from my house either, but that does not mean I want it destroyed or that it is not valuable.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2009 at 2:23 pm

The council asked that the referendum petition be circulated in an honest forthright manner. It was not by some. It remains that NOT ONE SINGLE home has been approved by the council. Not one!

Everytime someone says they don't want a house built on a ridgeline they are MISREPRESENTING the project. Evey house proposed would have to go through the planning commission and the council.

To say the council did not represent the will of the people is ludicrous. There were 5000 signature of which only 10% of those were verified. Last count there are over 40,000 voters in Pleasanton. Can you do the math? All the petition authorized was to put it on the ballot, one can't assume that all of the signers would have voted against the project.

Do be distracted by misinformation or innuendo. It is now likely to be on the ballot. Be informed. Look at the development agreement and the map. The correct one, not the one some of the petitioners were carrying around. Call you representatives and talk to them and see what their thoughts are. Do not let others misrepresent the council on this. They all are accessible by phone or email.

Finally, check out who is financing the opposition. Some small checks yes, but a lot of it came from someone who plans to build on the ridge overlooking the development. What could be the motivation? (Remember PP excludes developments of ten or less units. They can build right on top!)

Pleasanton prides itself on good planning and balance. Be informed. Ask questions. involve yourself in dialogue with your representatives. This is a small number of people trying to protect their street from the rest of Pleasanton and they have misrepresented the project. Balance out the pros and cons.

Is the number of units (51) and the 500 of acres of open space a benefit to all of Pleasanton? This 500 hundred acres added to the green built with the urban growth boundary of Pleasanton, ensuring the we are NOT urban sprawl? Could we use the revenue for the many amenities we have here in town? Could the school district benefit from the tax dollars?

Do we want this to remain a private park people use illegally, protecting the view below of those landowners who do want to build on the ridge?

Inform yourself and then vote.


Posted by Member, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Aug 13, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Talk about misrepresentation:

"The council asked that the referendum petition be circulated in an honest forthright manner. It was not by some. It remains that NOT ONE SINGLE home has been approved by the council. Not one!

Everytime someone says they don't want a house built on a ridgeline they are MISREPRESENTING the project. Every house proposed would have to go through the planning commission and the council."




These statements are very misleading although factual. No HOUSES have YET been approved. What HAS been approved is 51 approved building sites for houses. The approved sizes of these houses are between 9,000 and 16,000 sq. ft.. The council majority and the city staff were originally arguing for 12,000 to 22,000 sq. ft.. The majority of these building sites are on the ridge tops. Many of the ridgetops are the horizon for many neighborhoods. Also approved is the max. height of the houses 27' (IIRC) for single story and 35' (IIRC) for 2 story.

Saying that no houses have been approved for Oak Hills is misleading. No one is going to buy a 2-3 million dollar LOT from the Lins without the guarantee that they can build a dream mansion on the property. That is guaranteed in the development plan. They even have recommended building styles. What is NOT guaranteed is the exact size, style, orientation, color, and materials. THAT must go through the planning department for their blessing ( the same department that thought 22,000 sq. ft. houses were the "environmentally preferred option").

Unless there is a protest of each house (and only neighbors within a few hundred feet will be notified) each house does NOT have to be approved by the council. The first the majority of the citizens will know of a new house on the hill is when they see a new "Hayward Hotel" being erected on the Southeast HIlls and think to themselves, "Oh my god , who approved THAT!!!

If you would open your eyes, while driving around Pleasanton, you will find that these ridges are visible from hundreds of different locations:Agustin Bernal Park, the new city park on the Bernal property, Foothill Road, Moeller Ranch, every 580 overpass,Stanley Blvd, Valley Ave, Bernal Ave, Bonde Ranch, Vintage Hills, Kottinger Ranch, Gray Eagle, Golden Eagle, Hopyard, plus hundreds of places in all the neighborhoods where there isn't a tree blocking the SE horizon. If you stand on the hills where the houses are to be built, you see HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of windows of homes below. Every one of those homes will have their horizon turned to rooflines.

"Finally, check out who is financing the opposition." Check out who is financing the support! The same people who wanted to build North Livermore. The same people who proposed building four 16-22 story skyscrapers in Dublin by Lowe's. Oh, that would look nice!!! They don't care about how the Valley looks, they care about how the Valley PAYS.

A park would be great. But, at what COST. Siting these homesites in a responsible manner (not on horizons) would be less of a price to pay. They have over 600 acres, yet they chose the MOST visible ridgetops to site the building sites. As currently proposed the COST is TOO HIGH!

When the time comes, get very informed about what is proposed. It has already been proven that the developers used photographic dishonesty to underrepresent the true visual impact of the proposed development.

The screening with trees will be done with 15 gal. Oak trees planted at the property lines (in some cases 60ft in elevation BELOW the foundation of a 35 ft tall house. A 15 gal. Oak tree will not grow to 95ft. in your lifetime or the lifetime of you kids or grandkids. The skylines will be dominated by rooflines for generations. What a legacy!

Vote NO when the time comes.



Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2009 at 5:31 pm

You actually believe that because the council has not yet approved a single house, that the developers are going to spend millions cutting off the tops of the ridges, grading the sites and paving the roads, installing water tanks, water pipes, sewer pipes, electrical, so they can leave the lots vacant???? You're delusional.

If not referended, houses will be built there. Massive ones.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2009 at 8:22 pm

"No HOUSES have YET been approved. What HAS been approved is 51 approved building sites for houses. The approved sizes of these houses are between 9,000 and 16,000 sq. ft.. The council majority and the city staff were originally arguing for 12,000 to 22,000 sq. ft.. The majority of these building sites are on the ridge tops. Many of the ridgetops are the horizon for many neighborhoods. Also approved is the max. height of the houses 27' (IIRC) for single story and 35' (IIRC) for 2 story."

Thus is incorrect. The 9,000 to 12,000 sq feet approved is called an FAR. That is NOT the size of the home. It is the ratio between the size of the home and the size of the lot. It is a misrepresentation of what the council did. Go back and look at the council meeting. There was substantive discussion about the type of lot, the fact that the house would come before the planning commission and the council. The design and the type of lot would be considered. This is not a forgone conclusion, it is part of the discussion.


Posted by Member, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Aug 14, 2009 at 10:59 am

Once the FAR that allowed 9,000 - 12,000 sq. ft. homes was approved the city gave up most of its leverage to make them smaller. The council and the planning department didn't see anything wrong with 22,000 sq.ft. houses on these ridges. What makes you think they will require a home builder to go smaller than the FAR that the finally approved??


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2009 at 2:50 pm

They are not ON the ridges. That is another misrepresentation.


Posted by member, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Aug 14, 2009 at 9:12 pm

And your statement that they are not ON the ridges is an out right LIE!

They specifically said that they were placing them on the ridge TOPs to minimize grading.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Ok, one of the petitioners issues was the massive grading. Some grading would happen to nestle the houses between knolls.

So they are not grading so the houses can be out on the ridges? Huh? Oh by the way. where are the defined ridgelines on that side of town? Geologically, there is no defined ridge in the SE, certainly not to the same degree one can see on the west side of town where we all can clearly see a RIDGE.


Posted by member, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Aug 15, 2009 at 9:57 am

So you are NO ridges in the SE hills of Pleasanton????

Even the developer, planning department and the council said that there are ridges where the homesites will be located and the homesites will be located on the ridges.

I don't care about the "geological" definition of ridges. We are not a community of geologists. We should be using the common community understood definition of ridges. Otherwise we are just deceiving the community.

Webster's Collegiate: Ridge: the long and narrow upper edge or crest of something as a hill. A long narrow elevation of land; a chain of hills or mountains.

There ARE ridges (commonly understood definition of ridge) where the houses will be built. The part of the hill that meets the sky is generally referred to as a ridge.

The homesites are NOT between the knolls. They are on top of them. The tops of the ridges will be knocked off to place the roads and homesites there. The houses will be placed on the highest parts of the development. Look at the topo maps!


Posted by member, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Aug 15, 2009 at 10:16 am

Quote from "Applicants Written Narrative" (developers own words, not mine) "Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Oak Grove Planned Unit Development":


"By locating the building envelopes and access roads mainly on the ridges, impacts to the trees will be minimized."


Your spreading of misinformation is not helpful to maintaining the character of the town we all love.


Posted by member, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Aug 15, 2009 at 10:26 am

Some of the ridgetops will have as much as 43ft. chopped off the tops.

Check the grading map if you haven't already (I'm sure you haven't based on your previous statements!).


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 15, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Does this mean that I can't build on top of my 20ft. high pile of dirt?

I'm not going to argue regarding the definition of a ridge, only point out that all ridges are not created equal. It is safe to say that no one is building upon the primary ridgeline of the SE hills because that lies outside of Oak Grove and the Urban Growth Boundary. That makes comparisons of Oak Grove with the Pleasanton Ridge (which absolutely towers above the whole valley) and the Hayward Hotel weak at best.

I think it says in the EIR, or one of the other related documents, that the geology of the SE hills is rather complex. The location of the housing pads and other build requirements were done the way they are because they want to minimize visibility of these homes. That's why the grading is the way it is, to basically bury the homes into the hill so they don't stick out like a sore thumb (i.e., homes built on a hill with minimal grading like what is seen if you drive west on 580 into Oakland). Why go on about grading anyway? Why not just come out and say you don't want anything built there? How much dirt is going to be moved seems like a moot point.

Hrm, could the edge of a gravel pit be considered a ridgeline?


Posted by New in town, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Can someone give a quick 'overview' of the history of what is going on? Or, at least point us in the direction of a previous story. Thank you. For those of us new to the area, it's tough to catch on when the story is mostly recent.

Thanks.


Posted by member, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Aug 15, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Stacy,

Saying that the ridges within the development are insignificant just because there are higher ridges to the South of them does not hold water.

Using your suggestion, the Pleasanton Ridge should not be significant because less than a mile behind it is a 400ft TALLER ridge. We can't see this ridge from most of Pleasanton but it is there.

What I would suggest as a more meaningful idea of a ridge is if it is a horizon (nothing visible behind it or above it but sky) for a large number of residents or a large area of town.

For example the proposed court #1 is the horizon (nothing visible behind it or above it but sky) for most of the Park on Bernal property, the Fairgrounds grandstand and golf course, the houses on the Bernal property and hundreds of houses in south east Pleasanton.

Your comments about a 20ft pile of dirt or the edge of a gravel pit reflect the serious thought you have given this matter.

If you truly care about the future appearance of this town, I would suggest you look more carefully at the details of the DEVELOPMENT instead of being swayed by the developers "shinny bauble" of the park. Everyone wants a park, but the "price we have to pay" for it (the development) should be better thought out than this one was.

There are more than 600 acres back there in which to more thoughtfully place these homes. If this plan is defeated they are welcome to come back with a better plan that has less visual impact on the character of our city. I would gladly support such a plan.


Posted by Member, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Aug 15, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Stacy,

Your comment about the grading in order to "bury the homes into the hills" is also completely off the mark.

The overiding idea behind the layout of the building sights was to MAXIMIZE views from the lots.

Putting them on the highest part of the property closest to the end of Hearst accomplished this AND minimized cost AND maximized profits (I have nothing against them trying to be very profitable, just not at the expense of our communities character).

It was cheaper (to level off the tops of the ridge for building pads and roads than to nestle them into the side or at the bottom of the hills. The commanding views from the tops of the ridges will make these lots VERY expensive. The views for the rest of us of these massive houses on top of of the horizons will be less uplifting.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 15, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Member,

Maybe you didn't find humor in my 20 ft. pile of dirt, but I did find humor in your suggestion that homes built in a hilly area should not take advantage of the view.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 15, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

New in Town,

This thing has a 15 year history behind it. There's no real quick way to learn it all so I recommend you just look at the websites of the two sides. Web Link and Web Link More detail can be found in the actual development plan available from the City.

I became interested in the subject a few years ago just about the time certain Gray Eagle residents (one of whom is bankrolling Ayala's defense in this lawsuit) were mad over the Emergency Vehicle Access route which would go through Gray Eagle. This latest iteration of a plan for Oak Grove calls for 51 larger homes than the 98 smaller homes the land is zoned for. It also gives 500 acres open space for public access instead of the private country club of previous plans.


Posted by New in town, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Hi Stacey -

Very helpful information. Thank you for your insight. Looking forward to getting educated on the issue.


Posted by Debt Settlement Program, a resident of Ridgeview Commons
on Aug 17, 2009 at 9:02 am

charming post. upright one decimal where I quarrel with it. I am emailing you in detail.


Posted by Hopeless, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2009 at 4:06 pm

You all are amazing. From the comments here you would think this was publicly owned property. News to Karen - we live in a republic, where we elect representatives to study the issues and vote on what is best for the whole. There is no God given right in life or anywhere else to vote on any issue, controversial or otherwise. Unfortunately, what we have here is mob rule where emotion and self-interest take precedence over the rights of the PROPERTY OWNER and the best interests of the community.

News to the rest of you opponents, life is too short to get this worked up over a few houses. Get one.


Posted by Settlement, a resident of Ridgeview Commons
on Aug 25, 2009 at 8:54 am

punctilious post. upright one decimal where I quarrel with it. I am emailing you in detail.


Posted by Karen, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Aug 25, 2009 at 9:47 am

Comment to dear "hopeless" perhaps a local history teacher? Yes we live in a republic, which normally works out just fine IF our elected officials do a good job of representing their voters. The cost and encumbrances of taking each small item to a vote of the public would be ridiculous.

However, when these elected officials have their own agenda and use their elected office as a place to abuse their power or turn a deaf ear to their voters, then the system fails. When these officials:
*Refuse to take the points of view of their constituents into consideration, discounting it as a small handful NIMBYs in an effort to discount the majority of voters (ref. PP & QQ landslide success).
*Calling the majority "mob rule" shows a lack of representation
*The same elected officials go to farmers market pleading with the voters to "not sign the petition". Is there goal to prevent the group from exercising their constitutional rights?
*When the city and some of its residents are sued by a developer, and the elected city officials do nothing!

Then the Republic in this little town fails!

When our elected officials do not represent the public, then those residents musts rise up, leave their cozy homes and gather 5000 signatures to put an issue on the ballot- Sad but true. Absolutely NO one wants to spend their weekends gathering signatures, but there was no other choice.

BTW, I am not talking about God given rights, I am talking about Constitutional rights. God didn't give us the right to referend/vote – the Constitution does.


Posted by Debt Settlement, a resident of Ridgeview Commons
on Sep 2, 2009 at 1:41 am

Apologize for my bad english, I over its a nice hell of your writing. Kind-heartedly I obtain faced alot of difficulties in this train but your article will definately escape me in future. Hold responsible You


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