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State Supreme Court rejects Oak Grove developers' plea

Original post made on Oct 15, 2009

The California Supreme Court Wednesday denied without comment a petition by developers Jennifer Lin and her brother Frederic that affects their plan to build a 51-luxury home community in Pleasanton's southeast hills, a development called Oak Grove.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, October 15, 2009, 7:47 AM

Comments (42)

Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 15, 2009 at 8:21 am

So now that we will absolutely not be needing access to the hills from the south, can we disable the dangerous and poorly planned new signal at the bottom of the small hill on Vineyard that blindly stops traffic for the questionable benefit of a couple of short, dead end streets? If it has not yet caused a catastrophic accident, it will if left functioning. It is the most egregious combination of complete waste of taxpayer dollars and disregard for road safety that I can remember.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2009 at 9:24 am

Thank goodness for Kay Ayala.

How sad that in a democracy that developers act in a manner to shut out the voters from the democratic process. Given the Pleasanton voters rejected the project already when it was referended in the 1990s, the developers this time used to court system to try to block the referendum from appearing on the ballot at all.

I look forward to casting my ballot and voting no on this ridgetop development (similar to how I voted no to the same ridgetop development in the early 1990s).


Posted by This is sad, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2009 at 9:27 am

This is just one more case of a small majority in Pleasanton using bullying tactics and the cost of litigation to get their own selfish adgenda to over-rule what is best for the city. I happens over and over. When I denigned to sign the petition at Raley's, the woman FOLLOWED ME IN THE STORE telling me that is I didn't want to sign it I knew nothing about it and she would educate me right there so I would sign it gladly. I was totally shocked at this attempted intimidation and wonder how many people that signed it, were prey to it and the lies about the project they were telling. I can't believe we continue to let this happen. Instead of trusting the conclusions of the people we elected to make these decisions after extensive research, we put it to the voters, many whom vote based only on what their neighbor says about the project. I can't believe how many people do no research of their own, but vote anyway because "oh, I heard that was going to be really bad". Why can't we let the people who have spent years researching their decision based on real knowledge and data and have found to be the best decision for our city as a whole make these decisions.


Posted by Karen, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 15, 2009 at 9:36 am

I consider this article to be quite bias. The Lins sued the petitioners but they also sued the CITY OF PLEASANTON! An important aspect that Jeb skipped over. The Citizens were sued by these guys. They are not generous in the park gift, they want big houses on those hills and they will sue anyone that gets in their way. Including the citizens of Pleasanton in which they are now going to try to ask to vote for their development. Our citizens are too smart for that! -- if they are reminded by the press, that is!


Posted by karen, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 15, 2009 at 9:38 am

Regarding the light... This development has nothing to do with a light on Vineyard and Bernal. The possible location of a light to help off-set the City's estimate of an additional 510 (10 trips a day x 51 homes). The Kottinger light (and funds) will only be installed IF DEEMED NECESSARY by the city officials. This is currently a 4 way stop sign.

BTW, the mayor lives just down the street off Vineyard Ave. - perhaps the light has something to do with that?!


Posted by Chris, a resident of Foothill Place
on Oct 15, 2009 at 9:48 am

Dear "This is Sad"... You are under the mistaken belief that your city elected officials are making good decisions. Why do officials get recalled? Why don't incumbents always get re-elected? Because of empty campaign promises like Mayor Hosterman's reference to the South East Hills, "Over my dead body, there will be no development on those hills." Now she is there biggest supporter.

Because on occassion, when a council member steps into power some of them think they are more important than their very own citizens. Case in point is Measure QQ! The city officials put it on the ballot to confuse voters about PP and to offer the voters an option of - "you decide council what is good for us".

Well the end result was voters overwhelmingly passed PP. They don't trust this Mayor or majority council to make smart decisions.

Face it, citizens will not trade their ridgetops for a steep hiking trail for the mayor's horse.


Posted by Jim, a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Oct 15, 2009 at 9:53 am

Hey.. the person that is SAD now. Give it up. These folks gathered signatures 2 years ago. Yeah someone should not have followed you into the store, but were you rude and insulting to them? I bet you told them just how you felt in clear terms about the referendum.

Go sit in your easy chair of ignorance and let other people decide your fate.


Posted by Kathleen, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Oct 15, 2009 at 10:31 am

I am with you, This is Sad. If Ayala really wanted to limit growth on the hills at that end of town, she should have done it when she was a councilwoman by proposing to amend the city's general plan. She had the opportunity to work with the Lin family for many years, and did nothing. Maybe Ayala and the rest of the NIMBYs in Ptown should have to pay out of their own pockets for the costs associated with their efforts to block the legal owners of the property from developing it within the existing statutes, which is all that the Lins are doing.


Posted by javadoc, a resident of Dublin
on Oct 15, 2009 at 10:34 am

javadoc is a registered user.

Time for the obligatory comment.

Out come the petty tyrants who want to tell others what they can and can't do with their property.

Hey "Anonymous," how sad it is in any society that people can't build HOUSES on their property because their neighbors - or someone who lives miles away - say so. You have a twisted sense of morality and propriety.

And Chris, is the ridgetop in question here really "the citizens'?" If not, then I presume you are amenable to an eminent domain payout to the owners, since you seem hell-bent on a takings action by reducing the value of the property through restrictions on use?

You're one giant homeowners' association run amok.


Posted by mmm,mmm,mmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2009 at 10:56 am

It is now law so get over it. We have building requirements in the city that I not agree with but then again they are the law so that is it. I actually agree with not allowing the homes to be built like that because I do not think Pleasanton needs more homes and residents unless they come up with an infrasture plan to support it. It is difficult to get through town now as it is. Good planning, approval, and then how to pay for it is key. Otherwise we will end up like South San Francisco.


Posted by mary, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Oct 15, 2009 at 11:08 am

Yeah!! and many thanks to Kay, Greg and company for all their hard work!! As for trusting your elected officials yeah right, you need to go see the new Michael Moore movie; Pleasanton's elected officials could have had their own segment in his movie!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 15, 2009 at 11:14 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Yea! Don't trust elected officials because the voters are able to do the job better! Why, just look at how well the voters have governed California!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 15, 2009 at 11:19 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Resident,

Just get a group of your friends together and start a petition drive to ban that streetlight!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 15, 2009 at 11:22 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Voters: Now it will be our turn. It seems like it is too late to get put on a November ballot. I guess we'll have a long time for campaigning.


Posted by Rob, a resident of Jensen Tract
on Oct 15, 2009 at 11:53 am

Thank you to the poster above to point out that the lawsuit was Lin v. City of Pleasanton. I never knew that. I will voting no on any developer for any development that has sued the City of Pleasanton or the Pleasanton Unified School District (Signature Properties comes to mind---the one that failed to build Neal School).

I will vote NO on this development.


Posted by $$$$ Loses, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Hooray! Kay Ayala you are our hero!

Now the next step should be to vote out the Loonie Mayor and all Coucil members except Cindy McGovern. They approved this hillside abortion 4-1.

Do you remember when the Loonie Mayor said hillside development would be done over her dead body; and the Stoneridge extension would never happen on her watch? What changed???

Hey Jeb, here's a clue for an enterprising reporter - FOLLOW THE MONEY!


Posted by Shirley Ewejest, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Dear $$$$ Loses,

Are you suggesting that money could be involved in the "hillside abortion"? Money? Nah! Money? It reminds me of when a certain member of the Dream Team seemed to do a quick 180 turn as well.

Shirley Ewejest


Posted by iwastheretoo, a resident of Amador Estates
on Oct 15, 2009 at 2:11 pm

The challenge is with the political machines. Jennifer and Cheryl had the support of a national party and a signicant and very professional campaign effort. While it may be easy to say, dislodging them will be difficult to do. Her broken campaign promises were evident during the last election but she won by a landslide. Matt cannot run again. Will probably be Jerry Pentin for that open seat. No, the council is definitely probusiness and prodevelopment and it will take a significant effort to change that along with probably two election cycles. The local Pleasanton Business PAC is well organized and well financed and they have taken a long term and methodical approach to this and it has paid off. The people don't stand much of a chance.


Posted by This is sad, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Jim, for your information, I was not the least bit rude I just shook my head and said "no, thank you", and walked in the store. The woman kept following me wanting to educate me and finally I had to be rather blunt to get rid of her assuring her I was already "educated". I don't know the the Lins but I do think the fact that 3700 people out over well over 60,000 can stop them from making money off property that they own, and were within their rights under the zoning of the city and the general plan is just plain wrong and it should be illegal. Apparently it is not.

I enjoy hiking the many trails in Pleasanton and enjoy looking at the beautiful houses that enhance them. Do these 3700 people who don't think beautiful houses enhance the hills want to want to put up money to buy the property from the Lins for what they would get developing it? I would rather my neighbors didn't have so many people at their pool every weekend disrupting the quiet of my back yard. But it is their property not mine and if they want to do that it is their right. Just as it is the right of the Lins to develop their property under the laws to which it was approved and zoned. Look at the facts:

"The Lin family has owned the Oak Grove property since 1977. The site was zoned for residential development of up to 98 homes in 1991, and designated again for residential development when voters approved the city's Urban Growth Boundary ordinance in 1996.

The city's new General Plan and its voter-approved 29,000-unit housing cap also allow for up to 98 homes on the property."

I bet most of you who are going on and on against this and costing us all money, would also sue the city if this were happening to you. You just won't admit it, it doesn't fit your agenda to acknowledge that the Lins are doing nothing wrong. You site city leaders for not living up to their promises, yet you ask the Lins to just walk away and accept that the city is not going to live up to the fact they have had both city and voter approved rights to build on their property since 1991. You think your personal feelings on the issue should over-ride this fact. Personally, I don't.

But yes, lets recall all the city leaders. Things got so much better after Gray Davis was recalled - I'm just waiting to see how soon there is a move to recall the peoples' choice of a replacement. The majority elects these people, let them do their jobs. If you don't like them vote for someone the next election.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 15, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The City was a part of the suit, yes, but one can become a little bit more informed of the process to understand why that was and what direction the case could have gone in if the Lins didn't name the City Clerk in the suit.


Posted by Representative Government?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2009 at 3:12 pm

There is looming up a new and dark power... the enterprises of the country are aggregating vast corporate combinations of unexampled capital, boldly marching, not for economical conquests only, but for political power.... The question will arise and arise in your day, though perhaps not fully in mine, which shall rule, wealth or man; which shall lead, money or intellect; who shall fill public stations, educated and patriotic freemen, or the feudal serfs of corporate capital?

~ Edward G. Ryan, Chief Justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court, 1873

The corruption of our state and national politics has come home to roost in Pleasanton. Bill Clinton led the democrats away from their traditional role as champions of the common people to the trough of big money corporate contributions. Jennifer and Cheryl have followed in his footsteps locally under the tutelage of democratic activist and professional campaign consultant Angela Ramirez-Holmes. When you have liberal democrats ignoring the public and behaving like Chamber and Developer Stooges, the people are lost. Our representative government has failed us in Pleasanton, as evidenced by the proliferation of voter initiatives and referenda. It's a sad state when the public has to take matters into their own hands to get justice.

As I've said many times, you get the kind of government you deserve. It's up to us to change it – Cheryl and Jennifer ain't gonna help!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 15, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

OK that gave me a good laugh, using the proliferation of voter initiatives and referenda as evidence of the failure of representative government. Seems more like the cause to me. Hey, you do know that "big money corporate" uses the referendum process too, right?


Posted by Ron, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Oct 15, 2009 at 3:29 pm

I am guessing that the new traffic light referred to is at the corner of Yolanda Ct (right where?) and Vineyard. I agree it is a useless and possibly dangerous instillation, but I am not sure that the development was the motivation for the light. Then again, why would you stop traffic on a through street at the intersection of three short dead ends without any developed properties attached unless something more was intended?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 15, 2009 at 3:36 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Here's from the General Plan, approved back in 1996 apparently by a Chamber "big money" controlled Council because it mentions working with developers. I guess "the public" didn't have much to do with that either.

"Consideration should be given to preserving
large open space acreage in South Pleasanton
by a combination of private open space and a
public park system. Trail rights-of-way and
LAND SHOULD BE ACQUIRED BY WAY OF DEVELOPER
DEDICATIONS, as well as by bond measures,
corporate and personal donations, regional
State and Federal funding programs, etc.
ATTEMPTS TO ACHIEVE PUBLIC ACCESS TO OPEN
SPACE AREAS AND TRAILS SHOULD NOT CREATE
ONEROUS IMPOSITIONS ON PROPERTY OWNERS."


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 15, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Representative Government?,

"The site was zoned for residential development of up to 98 homes in 1991, and designated again for residential development when voters approved the city's Urban Growth Boundary ordinance in 1996."

There's the referendum process at work! The public wants homes on that site! The people have spoken! (Excuse me for this Cholo moment...) VIVA!


Posted by Vern, a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Oct 15, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Wait a darn minute. The 1996 General plan was modified with the help of M. Inderbitzen. Isn't he the attorney representing the Lins? Does anyone think that this is a conflict of interest???

This property was zoned 1 house per 5 acres. If that area was ever sold with chickens, a horse and mountain goats (the only animal that can traverse those steep hills), I doubt there would be a problem. And they can put the old farm house on the hillside - not on the ridges. Oh wait -- it IS a working farm full of cows and a lot of bull(s..).


Posted by Karen, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 15, 2009 at 4:37 pm

I doubt anyone - Even Kay - wants to gather signatures to put something on the ballot. It is only with disgust & anger that a group of citizens would try to override a council's decision, and this one was SOOO bad, it needs to be given to a vote of the people. Obviously the majority of our Council does not represent the Pleasanton Citizens anymore. And they swore they would. Now that is sad.


Posted by Karen, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 15, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Why I believe Vern is right. The '96 General Plan had it zoned as 1 house per 5 acres (Rural Density Residential).

The all of a sudden, boom, the developer comes in and wants 1 house per every 1/2 acre. And the houses, if you can call them houses, are around 8000 - 12000 square feet in size!

But in the Draft EIR for the new project, they showed renderings of visual representations with the houses half that size (4000 - 6000 sq feet) plus used a hocus pocus camera lens to make them look even smaller. And put the hocus pocus camera lens size in a footnote. You have to say that was pretty ingenious strategy to deceive the elected officials.

But not the public.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 15, 2009 at 5:45 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"land should be acquired by developer dedications, as well as by bond measures, corporate and personal donations, regional State and Federal funding programs, etc."

Karen, stop trying to legislate from the ballot box and cough up the money to purchase the land instead.


Posted by rufous, a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Are conflicts of interest common in California? does anyone even recognize a potential conflict of interest in this case? Im from another state. There we have hearing examiners so city councils don't have to make land use decisions. Hearing examiners know state laws and City council members don't know land use laws. It avoids many costly lawsuits and upholds a property owners rights. The system here is bizarre by any measure.


Posted by Oh for heaven's sake, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2009 at 6:32 pm

I can just hear you all talking about how big government was trying to take away your rights if this was your land. Maybe all of you that can do nothing but tear down our elected officials should run for office. Then we could see how you would do when you have to actually deal with fact and studies and figure out what is best for the community as a whole instead of your petty little wants that you stomp your feet for. Maybe you would see that it is not as easy as you think and what a pain people that are constantly fighting for their own narrow-minded agenda are. No?? I didn't think so.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 15, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Web Link

Lawsuit, $29 Million Damage Claim Filed over Mobile Home Park Decision

"The city has ... arbitrarily and capriciously interfered with plaintiff's property rights"

So much for our supposedly pro-developer City Council, huh? Hey, where is that Home Depot on the corner of Stanley and Bernal/Valley?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 15, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Isn't that mobile home park right near where the Mayor lives? There MUST be a connection!


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Seems like the homes would provide some much needed tax revenue. Let's get this land developed somehow.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Oct 16, 2009 at 1:17 am

If the referendum goes to the ballot and is successful, I predict the Lins will come back with a progect that doesn't include houses on top, or near the top, of the ridges that will be acceptable. Wasn't that the objection to this project???

In my opinion, this referendum wasn't about taking away the Lins "right" to develop this property. It was an objection as to how the property was to be developed - same as your neighbor could object to you building a structure on your property that the neighbor found objectionable...

Now that this has played out in the courts, it wll be interesting to note if the council will kill the project(as presently proposed)or spend funds to place it on the ballot. Could campaign contributions play a part in the final decision...:)

By the way, where is Frank(don't remember his neighborhood)when we need him to "educate" us on the merits of the various court rulings that he almost assured us would be a slam dunk for the Lins...:)

It would seem "direct democracy" won the day...:)


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2009 at 5:14 am

Direct democracy??? Four years and nine public meetings, not to mention Alan Roberts agreement with the city over the EVA and the next day he pulls papers to collect signatures for the referendum. This was the ability of a number of people who had a vested interest in NOT seeing the land go to the city and NOT seeing that property developed for their own selfish interest and they sold that idea to people out side of grocery stores. Alan Roberts owns and planned to build a huge house on the ridge overlooking the proposed development. Many of the referendum proponents live on 25% slope or greater, Cindy McGovern, Steve Brozosky, Karla Brown, and some had political vendettas, Kay Ayala.

This referendum is to take a vote on the project. Please be informed about what this means and do vote. This wasn't an exercise in what is best for the community, for most of the proponents it was a political exercise to protect land they use for free from the rest of Pleasanton.

And think about the density of this project, 51 homes and 50 acres of publicly accessible public land. If the city looses the housing cap lawsuit, the development and the public land may go away in favor of higher density housing.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 16, 2009 at 7:45 am

Stacey is a registered user.

If the Council listens to the Oak Grove opponents and doesn't allow this to go to a vote, all that's been written here about just giving people a chance to vote on it will sound really hollow.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2009 at 7:46 am

TYPO

500 acres of open space accessible to all of Pleasanton.


Posted by Vern, a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Oct 16, 2009 at 8:32 am

Whoa, there is no way the council will reverse their decision. They are afraid the "sue happy" Lins will sue them for all of the "deals" that have been made before the last 4:1 approval. Marty Ind. would love to sue the city again! He gets paid when he is involved in a law suit, remember!?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 16, 2009 at 9:54 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Uh, that's how lawyers usually get paid.


Posted by Vern, a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Oct 18, 2009 at 12:06 am

But a sue happy lawyer is not a well respected one. They get paid for frivalous lawsuits too and harrasment suits as well. The only requirement is that they convince someone to pay their bills - whether they win or not.


Posted by Diana, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Nov 1, 2009 at 12:26 am

Thanks Kay!


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