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Council could take final action on Oak Grove plan Tuesday

Original post made on Feb 11, 2010

Remember Oak Grove?

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, February 11, 2010, 5:56 AM

Comments (45)

Posted by Joshua B., a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2010 at 8:44 am

I know the property. It's up behind Kotinger, tucked away back there. Trading 500 acres of public wilderness land in exchange for 51 houses back there is a no brainer - I'll take it.

Posted by Furdog, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 11, 2010 at 9:06 am's a NO BRAINER!!! The trade off makes perfect sense.

Posted by Andrew Morgan, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Feb 11, 2010 at 9:43 am

Don't build! You'll take away my favorite personal trails that both my father, me & our children have been using for hiking, biking & all around meandering for the better part of the past 22 years.

The rest of the newbies, yuppies & disgruntled, angry & do-gooders that have slithered into this town over the past few decades don't deserve these trails to be opened up for their use.

Posted by trekmtb, a resident of Heritage Oaks
on Feb 11, 2010 at 9:46 am

Andrew, do you mean the property that you have been trespassing on?

Posted by Joshua B., a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2010 at 10:09 am

Exactly. Andrew, right now, that property is private. Which means we can't really access it without tresspassing. With 51 houses, the property owner would turn 500 acres (that's 500 football fields!) over to the city so that we would be able to use that property for the types of hikes you and your family has been going on - legally and forever! Like I said, no brainer.

Posted by Smellin Payola, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2010 at 10:15 am

I'll tell you what's a no-brainer. Tuesday the City Council get's the opportunity to correct their previous big-time error. If they punt, and force a costly election on the city, then any council members that punted WILL be removed from office. Many folks in Pleasanton are really getting a gut full of the Lins building houses in the foothills, and trying to build many more.

Isn't anyone going to do a payola investigation here?

Council Members be forewarned, you punt Tuesday and YOU WILL BE VOTED OUT!

Posted by runner24, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2010 at 11:20 am

The Oak Grove property is zoned residential and the Lin family has a right to build on it. Most of the homes in Pleasanton are built in the foothills, so does that mean they should be torn down? The City Council made the right decision, and when it goes to the ballot, the public will make the right decision too.

Posted by Karen, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 11, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Here is the problem, the Council voted in favor of Oak Grove (OG) before measures PP and QQ, which protect us against housing and building construction on Ridges and steep slopes. If the council did not know how the public stood on hillside developments at the time - they do now.

It appears a few bloggers do not reprent the majority of our voters. Do I need to reference the November 2008 election? It was clear - NO our voting citizens don't want developements like OG. If the majority of 3 Council members go against their own citizens it will mean one of 3 things: They are stupid, they thinkg we are all stupid and THEY know better, or they are getting paid off - All 3 are reasons to vote them OUT A HERE.

So let's see what happens!

Posted by Bryan Moran, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 11, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Dear Andrew Morgan,
I give you credit for putting your name on your comment as it was so rude. Dear neighbor, as one of the new people in town (15 years) I take great exception to your slander and stereotyping us Pleasanton residents. Perhaps it is yourself that has some sort of problem if you see it in everyone around you. We have a great town with absolutely great demographics, nice people who care, and yes it's true many of us have not lived here the required 22 years for status as a person but try to forgive us. Please keep your name calling inside your own head and not in the public cyberspace. We are all important and what we say means something. Take yourself seriously.
It might be nice to have that acreage in the public domain, its tempting. Then we could all enjoy it and not just the trespassers. In fact I would say, Andrew, someone with your attitude is the person who does not deserve access to the hiking and biking trails.

Posted by Karen, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 11, 2010 at 11:31 pm

No matter how we all came here, or no matter what year we arrived, we don't need 12,000 sq. ft. houses on our ridgetops.

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 12, 2010 at 1:48 am

The land donated to the city is un-buildable land that, in my opinion, the Lin's suckered the city into accepting in order that the Lin's could remove it from their property tax liability. From the photos shown on the slick mailers, one would need to be a mountain goat to use most of this land...

In a prior newspaper article(don't recall which paper)written about this project, one of the Lin's attorneys was reported as saying another petition would probably be necessary to kill this project, or words to that effect...

Any bets on the direction the council will go???

As Yoggi said - "It ain't over til it's over"...

Posted by Jack, a resident of Danbury Park
on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:33 am

I remember hearing about Developers from Ponderosa in the past that harrassed the citizens and those guys were thrown out of town. I think the Mayor was Ben Tarver. Now there is a guy that knew how to control the situation and not get pushed around!

This mayor lets the City get sued, the city clerk get sued, the people holding clip boards trying to put stuff on the ballot get sued AND the council themselves go sued! But they are STILL letting the scum hang around and cram Oak Grove down our throats.

Sounds like very weak leadership to me. Who is in charge... The developers? I did not vote for them to be our leaders!

Posted by jpf, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Feb 12, 2010 at 9:13 am

Having developed several properties in Pleasanton since the mid-seventies,it never ceases to amaze me that the citizens without a 'nickle' invested have GREATER control over a property than the person that sacrificed to acquire it and try to build something that the City needs. EVERYONE of us live in a property that someone built to fullfill a need......whether an apartment, condo or detached single family home.
If the public feels a development is NOT in the best interest of the community and the land was annexed and in the General Plan for some allocation of density,then ALL of OUR taxes should be raised and the public should BUY IT and keep it in open space.
A private citizen that is paying the taxes on that land that is in the City limits should NOT be required to provide that open space for the benefit of the citizens of the City at his sole expense!!!!

Posted by iwastheretoo, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 12, 2010 at 11:05 am

YOu know it will be a 3-2 vote and we will have another 'vote of the people'.

Does anyone remember the first time this came up? Cheryl Cook-Kallio gave us a truly teachable moment. Remember when she said that she didn't believe in all these referendums and votes and that she believed in a representative form of government and therefore she was voting to proceed with Oak Grove etc. Well, that was when the issue favored her postiion. Now that the position is reversed, how much do you want to bet that Cheryl votes to send it back for one of those referndums that she doesn't believe in.

I love politics - especially politics on the small scale of our city council.

Posted by Gumby the NIMBY, a resident of Old Towne
on Feb 12, 2010 at 11:33 am

People throw around the term NIMBY an awful lot when discussing new development. Is it really so selfish to want to live in a community that is "right sized"? Is it so unreasonable to want to limit growth when it leads to stop lights and four-lane roads in residential neighborhoods or near grid-lock on some streets during commute time?

Should we expect the city council to understand? The easiest way to bring in revenue to the city is to build more houses. Yeah, the city gets 500 acres of hillside, but is that their real motive? I don't believe it.

Should we expect the developers to care about how their project affects the quality of life in the community? The majority of them didn't settle or work the land - they purchased it as an investment and they expect a return on that investment.

Should we as citizens just assume that Pleasanton will never stop growing until the only unbuilt areas are those that are too steep to put a house on? Is it so selfish to fight to keep this from happening?

Posted by Mr T, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Feb 12, 2010 at 12:41 pm

The property is entitled for density; the aesthetics of the development undertaken to satisfy the entitlement are subject to community politics. Which brings us to the present day. The proposed development doesn't get the balance of development benefits and viewshed impact right, at least in the view of its surrounding community. Everyone would like 500 acres of new public land. The fact that not everyone is clamoring for this deal reveals the imbalance. The Lins need to go back to the drawing board and propose a most modest plat map & architectural guidelines that bring more weight to their side of the equation. Then enough of the community will support their plan to get it through, and we'll be done.

Posted by Janet, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 12, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I believe that developing 51 homes on that property would generate quite a bit of funds for the Pleasanton Unified School District through developer fees.

Posted by JJ, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 12, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Janet, the fees that you are talking about for the school district are to mitigate the increased capacity of the students who will be in the new homes. Those fees can only be used for building the new facilities that will be needed because of the impact of that development. That is why those fees are called "Developer IMPACT fees". Those fees cannot be used to pay for teachers; it is a one-time fee for development impacts. Those fees would be collected when each home goes for approval and based on the economy, this will not happen for some time. Also, the developer will not be paying any of the fees. Whomever purchases a lot and builds on it will have to pay when they get their permits.

The same for the traffic fees they claim they are "donating" to the community. The traffic IMPACT fees are what the city expect the traffic from that development to be. The city said the impact to traffic from that development will be $1M. This is not a donation by the developers but only a way to pay a fee to "mitigate" the traffic that will be added to the city.

Posted by just wondering, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I believe that our current city council is already in violation of building anything on the hill areas. The city council put measure QQ on the ballot and the ballot measure explicitly said that the council would produce hillside residential regulations by no later than November 2009. Measure QQ passed, and so did PP (the people's initiative). Since QQ passed and the council has not done anything and has not met the legally-mandated deadline the council put in the initiative to the voters, can the council be sued? Should they be allowed to vote on anything in the hills? Seems like the council just lied to the public when the put measure QQ on the ballot. They had no intention on doing any regulations in the hills; they just wanted to confuse the public since there was a initiative on the ballot (PP) that restricted the powers of the council. Time to vote out this corrupt council in November.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

just wondering,

With PP implementing hillside regulations in the General Plan, it overrides anything that could be produced by a QQ committee and would thus make the practice just a waste of time and money.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Stacey is a registered user.


Yea, but imagine how much in property tax those homes are going to be paying into our community.

Posted by dman, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Feb 12, 2010 at 3:17 pm


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:03 pm

This whole thing was started by a few disgruntled Kottinger people with a few others thrown in to make sure this was as political as possible. It was bank rolled by a guy who owns property on a ridge overlooking the development. No conflict here. It was after four years and nine plus public meetings brokered by Matt Sullivan and Jennifer Hosterman. In fact, initially CouncilMember Sullivan was out trying to educate people about the project and asking them NOT to sign.

Let the people vote but let them have the facts. Get educated about the balance involved. Every house proposed will go through the planning commission. Impact fees do offset increased attendance but the amount those homes will garner will far exceed the impact, not to mention the continued property taxes generated.

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 13, 2010 at 6:24 pm

It may have been started "by a few disgruntled Kottinger people with a few others thrown in" but it grew to over 5000 "others" that apparently agreed and were "educated about the balance involved" regarding this project...

Both camps produced educational material, so to say someone wasn't "educated" regarding the scope of this progect sounds rather like a slam against those that signed the clipboards...

By the way, before this progect was proposed, didn't someone report Hosterman and Sullivan, while campaigning for election, went door to door saying they would be opposed to projects such as this???

Posted by fact checker, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Sullivan and Hosterman worked with the community to get some kind of compromise in order for Oak Grove to work. I talked to Sullivan about it at one point and he thought it was a good project that brought most of the community together including Kottinger HOA.

To say that the 5000 or less people who signed this did so educated is misrepresenting the referendum. All it says is that it will be put to the people of Pleasanton for a vote. That's it! I used to be one of those people who would sign anything when that tag line was used. Not anymore. In fact there were many reports of instances of misrepresentation, a few I witnessed myself.

Posted by resident, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 13, 2010 at 8:25 pm

I thought we already voted to not have houses in the southeast hills at the last election. Maybe the council is being paid big bucks by the developers to ignore the will of the people.

Posted by fact checker, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2010 at 8:05 am

That vote came after the development was approved. Oak Grove would not be on top of the ridges. Go look at the property.

Posted by resident, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 14, 2010 at 10:10 am

fact checker, you are mistaken. They are cutting the tops of the ridges off to put the building pads so those homes have the best views. I was at those meetings.

Posted by Diane, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2010 at 3:03 pm

The reason those houses are going on top of the hills is that the areas below are more environmentally sensitive. I was at the meetings too and actually read the materials...

Posted by resident, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 14, 2010 at 3:50 pm

If the areas below are more environmentally sensitive, why are they dumping all the dirt they are removing from the top of the ridges down below into the canyons?

Hum, maybe if the non-ridges are environmentally sensitive and they can only build that many homes by cutting off the tops of the ridges, they should not be building out there.

On Measure QQ, that passed along with PP but the city attorney at the time said that the point of doing a study by November 2009 was not in conflict with PP. Remember the City Council claimed that after studying the land, they could be more land that could not be developed on. The wording of doing a study of the southeast hills is in the current General Plan (adopted after the last election) as Program 21.2

Program 21.2: Study the feasibility of preserving large open-space areas in the Southeast Hills by a combination of
private open-space and a public park system (Measure QQ, Nov. 2008).

The ballot languages said that had to occur no latter than November 2009.

Posted by fact checker, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2010 at 9:09 am

I was there too. Sometimes by nestling a house within or among rolling hills you can preserve the view. If you travel throughout the city there are few areas where those hills are even visible because it is NOT a defined ridgeline like the Pleasanton Ridge. There would be some grading and that is true with almost all the houses built in the vineyard corridor, vintage hills and kottinger. The images put forth by the signature gatherers were photo shopped and had nothing to do with the actual development.

If you walk the hills and look at the map it make sense. The referendum proponents are people who were part of the years and numerous public meetings and just didn't like the outcome.

Posted by Jack, a resident of Danbury Park
on Feb 15, 2010 at 11:26 am

Dman and jpf, you are all for houses on the OG land- BTW you do you not need to SHOUT!! So that is what you want, what about what is right for the community? Just because 3 or 4 members of the City Council voted years ago to approve a zoning change, does not mean that converted this cow farm over to huge homes is the right thing for our City today.

If the council is not willing to meet the needs of our Citizens by protecting open space and ridgelines, sadly the residents undertake the arduous task. The majority of the Council knows the citizens don't want construction on the ridges, let's see if they are going to keep to the same plan, as if the PP and QQ votes never happened, or are they going to listen to their constituates?

Posted by Karen, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 15, 2010 at 11:27 am

Yes, great point, where is the QQ plan to protect our hillsides? They could always come up with a tighter more restrictive plan than PP.

Posted by Jack, a resident of Danbury Park
on Feb 15, 2010 at 11:30 am

Hey, I can see the southeast hills in lots of place in town and even from most of new Dublin like by the movie theater, by BART, and more. But the easiest site to view those gorgeous hills is all over the new Bernal Park.

Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2010 at 8:21 am

So what was the outcome of the Council meeting? Anyone care to start a new thread or report?

Posted by Jack, a resident of Danbury Park
on Feb 16, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Watch tonight on the Pleasanton station (I think it is 29 or 30), see it live and in person or read the paper tomorrow.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

There were just two speakers who wanted to get themselves put into the public record speaking about campaign donations instead of the agenda item. I see they made their decisions based upon criteria extraneous to the merits and demerits of the project itself. I hope they run for office sometime so I can vote for the other guy.

Posted by Jack, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 16, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Let's try and learn from our mistakes: Oak Grove a.k.a. Kottinger Hills, was once an approved +/- 80 home project that would have given Pleasanton a public golf course for free. This all went down in the early 90's. Fast forward to today, where we finally have a public golf course and the cost to the Pleasanton tax-payer was well over $40,000,000!
Here we go again?

Posted by Karen, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 17, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Speaking of money, part of last night's meeting was discussing how much it would cost to put Oak Grove on the Ballot. Get this--- $97,500 to put it on in June 2010 and approx. $10,000 for printing cost to put it on the ballot in November because we already have the Mayor + 2 council members running at that time. Difference? A wasted $87,500 by our money wasting politicians! I say vote them out for Fiscal irresponsibility alone!

Oh yeah, there was the other choice of Repealing - which WAS on the Referendum. The council could have saved the Developer, the Citizens and the taxpayers $97,500 in full and said NO to the Lins. But of course, that would never happen.

Posted by Karen, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 17, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Dearest Stacey,

Since you have the inside track on campaign funds, can you explain some of what the speakers said when they commented that the Mayor raised $16,000 in non-election year of 2009? And lots of it came in FROM the developer and his attorney, just after her YES vote for Oak Grove? Isn't she supposed to avoid voting on items where she has a perceived bias or personal interest?

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2010 at 9:51 am

Stacey is a registered user.


I can't explain what speakers said because only they can explain what they said. All I can explain is that it should have been said during the public comment period because it seemed really off-topic from the agenda item.

And yes, they're supposed to recuse themselves from voting where there's a bias or personal interest. Taking campaign donations doesn't necessarily constitute bias or personal interest (if the developer were a relative of the Mayor, yes). Campaign donations are considered a part of free speech (even corporations get this right according to SCOTUS recently!). Donors give their support to like-minded candidates.

The real question though for you is, do you think the Mayor would have voted differently if the developer didn't donate to her?

Posted by Karen, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 18, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Well, I keep hearing her quote about no building in those hills - over my dead body. Then she runs for office, gets lots of developer $$, Pico collects $ from the same developer, and all of the sudden she is out at Farmer's market with signs saying don't sign the petition. Oh, and what about $4000 from the Green Caucus (Mr. Tong and Tsai) right AFTER she won her last election and about 1 month after she voted yes on Oak Grove.

I am just saying it looks like there might be something to all of this. Something smells a bit fishy. But I am no pro at politics so please help me understand.

Posted by Vinelander, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Feb 23, 2010 at 10:02 am

Admit it. One way or the other we are, someday, going to get a development in the Oak Grove/southeast hills of Pleasanton. It will either be 51 homes or 98 homes, or something in between. There is no guarantee that we will get 500 acres of open space with any project other than the current Oak Grove project. Using the rationale that the opponents are using, Kottinger Hill should have never been approved. Interesting to note that the most vocal opponents of Oak Grove are the Kottinger residents that live at the top of Kottinger Ranch and have views overlooking Oak Grove. Also interesting that Kottinger Hills has prominent posting on the property that states that the trails are PRIVATE PROPERTY AND TRESPASSING IS PROHIBITED. This does not to seem very neighborly. It would not surprise me to see the same kinds of signs on Oak Grove - if the current project is not approved. BTW our Mayor is the biggest environmentalist out there. She approved this development because it is the most environment option available. The home will not be on the "tops of ridges". They will be tucked below the ridges.

Posted by Sorry just not the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Dear Vinelander....

Yes the Mayor USED to be an environmentalist, but those days are long gone. I voted for her back then, but not anymore.

Did you look at the road and house lot placement(PUD)? Almost all of the houses sit on freshly cut dirt - right on the ridges or crests of the hill tops. They will have the best view of the city from there; hence, are the more valuable for the developer to sell. Check out the maps with the cut and grade data - not the biased developer maps.

Can you address how measures PP and QQ would affect this develpement? The city estimates show under PP the number of houses is very, very small (they could have at least 10 homes under PP). Why? Because houses on 25% grade, within 100ft. of a ridge and on top of a ridge are not allowed. And PP was voted in by a huge margin - now THAT is what the people want.

Last, regarding KR HOA and thier own land.... The Lin's property is protected with all kinds of signs and barbed wire. Last time I walked my do on Kottinger Ranch land, 3 people said hello to me. I really don't see your concern. If anything, barbed wire says - keep out or else.

Posted by Sorry just not the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2010 at 8:54 pm

correction/typo - I walked my DOG on the Kottinger Ranch trail and everyone was very friendly. Maybe they weren't from there - I don't know. But they were nice and no one kicked me off or asked me where I lived. And no barbed wire either.

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