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Original post made on Apr 9, 2010

Letter: Planning Commission didn't review Oak Grove

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 9, 2010, 12:00 AM

Comments (35)

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 9, 2010 at 9:47 am

Stacey is a registered user.

"The City Council should have sent the COA and DA back to the Planning Commission for detailed work and revision. "

Has the City ever done that before? If the Planning Commission turned down the whole project essentially by rejecting the EIR, why should the project get sent back to the Commission? Where's the requirement?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by fact checker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2010 at 2:47 pm

The planning commission is advisory only. It is also true that one planning commissioner said he would have voted yes if specific information was known to him at the time.

The issue dealing with emergency access was resolved.

There are some people who will do anything to ensure that nothing passes the council. This was a project that was approved 4-1. 51 homes, 496 acres of parkland with trails and tax money going to the school district and the city.

With the housing CAP gone perhaps there could be more homes built up there.

This was a collaborative effort. There were at least nine public meetings with agendas and minutes.

Get the facts. Be informed. Ask for each side to point to where they obtained the information.

Vote yes on Measure D


 +   Like this comment
Posted by iwastheretoo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2010 at 10:41 pm

I think it should be noted here that Phil Blank lives on Hearst Drive and Oak Grove is essentially in his back yard.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by iwastheretoo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2010 at 5:11 am

Blank doesn't get to vote.

Unfortunately, what he said is true. Read the minutes!

There were no workshops at the PC either.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by annonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2010 at 9:47 am

There were at LEAST nine, some say 11 public meetings with agendas and minutes.

The person who fronted the money for all this opposition has property right above Oak Grove and cashed a check from the Lins for $50,000 to compensate for the inconvenience of having the emergency vehicle access road through part of his property.

It is reasonable to disagree about things.

However, look at the facts. Many of the people who started the referendum just didn't like the outcome of the very pubic process that went on for four years.

It pays to get the facts.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2010 at 4:37 pm

see the video

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 10, 2010 at 4:48 pm

The letter is a joke. Oak Grove has been in play with trying to get a development plan approved for 20 years.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 10, 2010 at 5:12 pm

The joke is the folks that want to Ramrod this whole development down the throats of its citizens.

If Oak Grove came before the planning commission OR City Council today -- it would be REJECTED!! WHY? Because the citizens don't want ridgetop houses - by almost 60% on PP and more than 50% on QQ.

Get informed! This is bad for Pleasanton! And that IS a fact.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 10, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Gee, Karen. When did you move into Vintage Hills? Certainly not within the recent two+ years. I don't ever recall you posting anything during the entire time of the court case. Do you know the ordinance in question was passed in November 2007? Oak Grove has been discussed in this blog ad nauseum. Where have you been? A recent NIMBY? Your claim about RAMRODing belies your historical knowledge of Oak Grove.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"This is bad for Pleasanton! And that IS a fact."

Actually, that's an opinion.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by iwastheretoo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2010 at 7:40 pm

I would like to see the documented nine meetings in the public record. I have searched for the alleged 9 meetings...and while the developer lists dates etc. there are no minutes in the City Website that reflect this. If there were a public workshop, there would be minutes. If there were a PC meeting on the subject, there would be minutes. If there were a City Council meeting on the subject there would be minutes. There are, of course, no minutes for 'off the record meetings' which are rumored to take place.

Anyway, please provide the dates and times of these meetings and a reference to a website that is objective (perhaps the city???). Let's get to the bottom of this issue. 9 public and documented meetings, I can't find 'em.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 10, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Gee, if youweretheretoo, you would know more than you admit to. In November 2003 the Lin's began the current proposal by submitting a 98 home plan. Fast forward to August 2006 when the EIR public review period ended. Can we count at least this as a "public" input? Then, the planning commission extended a public hearing over two different days, June 13 and June 27, 2007 to hear the EIR. This is two public, documented meetings by my count. We have at least two meetings now of public record. Then, the City council opened a public hearing on Sep. 4, 2007. This meeting continued to Oct. 4 which ended in certification of the EIR. Let's count this as another two public meetings of record because it is, practically speaking. We are up to four meetings of record now. The rest of the public record is the November 7, 2007 City Council meeting at which the ordinances passed after a public meeting input. We now have five practical public meetings which are governmentally certified with minutes.

Now give us poor souls a break and admit that the Lin's engaged with the community as they said they did in a series of meetings prior (between 2003 and 2006) to get buy in on their plan which went from 98 down to 51 homes. Of course, there were not minutes of such meetings, but Kottinger Hills people were there of course.

I think you are living up to your name because simply youwereNOTthere.

(For some of my sources, go research the Superior Court briefs and read them for a listing of this information. The briefs don't lie.)

And for Karen.... This timeline does not support your claim of RAMRODING.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 10, 2010 at 9:33 pm

BTW, this letter is still a joke.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 10, 2010 at 9:43 pm

From the PW after the November, 2007 passage of the ordinance:

"Two years ago, the Lin family submitted a revised development plan for their property, this time for 98 homes but without a golf course. Aware of strong opposition again, their representatives James Tong and Marty Inderbitzen initiated a series of meetings with the neighborhood, city officials and others in the public, eventually reaching a compromise which the Lins accepted to reduce the number of homes to 51, although much larger ones than originally planned, and to give the 496 acres to the city."

Note the report of the "series of meetings". If "youwasthere", tell us it is not true.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 10, 2010 at 9:46 pm

I listed five council and planning commission meeting dates that discussed Oak Grove. Why can't "iwasthere" find them? Selective amnesia?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by iwastheretoo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2010 at 9:59 pm

There was a public hearing to scope the EIR for the project, then a public hearing to get input on the EIR as well. The Park & Rec Commission/Trails adhoc Committee had a joint public hearing on Oak Grove where a number of residents from Kottinger Ranch spoke so it was well publicized. Also, the Housing Commission had a public hearing on Oak Grove. There's 4 public hearings right there.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by iwastheretoo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2010 at 10:13 pm

BTW, the posting 2 hours ago under this name was not me--I was there all along the way and someone else is trying to negate my comments as I am aware of the facts since I was in attendance for at least 8 of the public hearings


 +   Like this comment
Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 10, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Ah-ha! There is an anti-Oak Grove person who has stooped to counterfeiting another poster's identity. Some can't stand facts and will do anything to promote their NIMBYism, including deception and lying.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

iwastheretoo,

I was wondering about that. The posts under your name seemed conflicting.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by fact checker with the real facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Fact Checker is incorrect and is probably either one of the ballot argument writers or their hired consultant. The ballot arguments for Oak Grove the city clerk has received say there were 9 public hearings/workshops before going to the City Council. This is not at all true. Check with the city clerk. There were 4 public hearings in all... 3 required by California law (Scoping, DEIR, EIR) and 1 requested by a Planning Commissioner (Trails/Park and Recreation).

The rest is bogus spin by the developer.

Minutes from hearings required by law are on the city's website:

1. One Scoping session Feb 8, 2005
2. One Draft EIR hearing with two meetings July 12, 2006; August 23, 2006
3. One Final EIR hearing with two meetings June 13, 2007; June 27, 2007

Requested by planning commissioner:

1. Combined Trails/Parks and Recreation Meeting January 11, 2007

The developer's website is incorrect and lists fictional city meetings Web Link.

Developer's website:

2007 - The Planning Commission held five public hearings on Oak Grove (March 28, June 13, June 27, July 12, August 23.)

This is false. There were actually only two public hearings held on June 13, 2007 and June 27, 2007. There were no city meetings held on that topic July 12, 2007 and August 23, 2007. Ask the city clerk for minutes for the fantasy July 12 and August 23 meetings. On March 28, 2007 it was postponed to the next month. Ask the city clerk for emails from the principal planner for proof.

2004 — City holds Scoping Hearing to launch preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Oak Grove.

Not true. This statement is FALSE. The city of Pleasanton held no scoping hearing on Oak Grove in 2004. At a city council meeting, the developer requested an "alternative process" on February 17, 2004 to the regular city approval process where they requested they would receive special treatment and bypass the regular review process. See the letter and hearing on the city's website. There was no official action from the city council and the request was continued indefinitely. It wasn't a scoping session. It was the developer asking for them to have special treatment. See the city's website for the letter and the city council minutes.

Then city manager Deborah Acosta on Sept. 28, 2004 deferred all hearings until after the election, holidays, new city manager was appointed. Ask the city clerk for all staff emails regarding scheduling for PUD-33 for proof.

A scoping meeting for the Oak Grove Project was held before the City Council and Planning Commission on February 8, 2005. By that time, the developer had hired ex-mayor Tom Pico to be their paid consultant. There are minutes to prove that. Get them from the city clerk.

Developer's website claims from 2004-2006, there were lots of meetings.

From 2005 to mid 2006, there were no public workshops held, but there were a series of invitation-only, back room, private meetings. There were not one-on-one meetings with "hundreds of people." Actually those meetings were comprised of 3 individuals with Mr. Harvey, Mr. Hadley and Mr. Reagan and the developer's attorney and sometimes ex-mayor paid consultant Tom Pico.

Developer's website:

2006 — As a result of public input, Oak Grove applicants revise their application to halve the number of custom lots from 98 to 51, create the trails and public access in the park, give the park to the City, and secure conservation easements over the 496-acre public park to preserve it as open space in perpetuity.

This statement is again not true. There was no public input. Just input from 3 individuals. The end result was a proposal for trails so only Kottinger Ranch and Oak Grove homeowners were allowed access with no public access and no staging area. During the single Draft EIR hearing which spanned two meetings on June 13, 2006 and June 27, 2006, the Planning Commission heard for the first time there was no public access and no staging area.

The vice chair of the Planning Commission sent an email August 23, 2006 to the city manager's office asking whether the Trails Ad Hoc Committee and Parks and Recreation Commission were aware there was *no public access* and *no staging area* and requested that the Trails Ad Hoc Committee be made aware of it and the Parks and Recreation Commission be made aware of it and hold public hearings about it.

Also, no conservation easement with Trivalley Conservancy has been secured, so this statement is false as well.

Developer's website:

2007 — Oak Grove is reviewed in public hearings and recommended by the Trails Ad Hoc Committee and Parks and Recreation Commission (January 11).

This statement is also partially false. Private meetings were held regarding the 'no public access' issue so prior to the public hearing, there was a deal struck without public input. The Pleasanton Weekly published stories about secret meetings about that time.

After five months from the Planning Commissioner's August request, the Trails Ad Hoc/Parks and Recreation Commission met January 11, 2007 and deleted the 6.5 acre public park.

Hope that sets the record straight. Ask the city clerk for all emails and minutes for PUD-33. That way you can verify what is fiction and what is not.









 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 11, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

In other words, the project was publicly vetted and hasn't been "ramrodded".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by fact checker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Not a ballot writer or paid consultant. Not even a consultant for that matter. . .and please do check. Ask the housing commissioners and Trails Ad Hoc committee members, as well as parks and rec commissioners because they were actually at these meetings and will tell you there are more than nine!

Yes, please do check!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by fact checker with the real facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Stacey, the project was conjured up in private with 3 individuals with the developer and the ex-mayor/paid consultant and with no public input and no input from any environmental organization that could have modified it to be far less environmentally destructive.

It was expedited through a sham process. There were more far more hearings for last years' school district parcel tax. And a budget advisory committee.

When the referendum happened in 1993, the developer said in the ballot arguments that they would bring next ridgetop estates, which they have done.

Then though there were a few so-called "public hearings", none of the concerns such as: 1) bulldozing the ridgelines into oblivion 2) that 950 trees lie within or adjacent to the area to be graded and 3) also burying nearly 30 acres of nature under tons of soil and 4) the monstrous mansions are in an extremely high fire danger and hills are so steep for the emergency egress/ingress the fire marshal said it violates state law brought up by the public or planning commissioners were incorporated into the proposal so even though the public was "heard" it was not "listened to." The EIR was so incredibly bad, the planning commission refused to certify it. What a joke.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Secret meetings? How do you know if they were secret?

Plenty of people had time to weigh in on the project. Two Councilmembers, Matt Sullivan and Jennifer Hosterman actually facilitated the project.

This is a distraction to avoid the real facts.

"Fact checker with the real facts" has posted his or her opinion, not verified facts. One of the planning commissioners later publicly said that he would have voted yes on the EIR if emergency vehicle access information had been known by him. The parks and Rec and the Housing Commission voted yes on the project. Ultimately all of these commissions are advisory in nature.

The City Council voted 4-1 to approve the project.

Some of the opponents of the project themselves are sitting on huge amounts of fill right below the proposed development.

This is nimbyism at its worse. (an acronym that means Not In My Backyard) They want to protect this piece of private property so that they can enjoy it and not have it open to others in Pleasanton.




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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 11, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Yes, most projects are "conjured up in private" before they're presented to public agencies.

fact checker with real facts wrote: "There were 4 public hearings in all...

Minutes from hearings required by law are on the city's website:
1. One Scoping session Feb 8, 2005
2. One Draft EIR hearing with two meetings July 12, 2006; August 23, 2006
3. One Final EIR hearing with two meetings June 13, 2007; June 27, 2007
Requested by planning commissioner:
1. Combined Trails/Parks and Recreation Meeting January 11, 2007"

frank wrote: "Then, the City council opened a public hearing on Sep. 4, 2007. This meeting continued to Oct. 4 which ended in certification of the EIR. ... The rest of the public record is the November 7, 2007 City Council meeting at which the ordinances passed after a public meeting input. ..."

Now we're up to SEVEN verifiable public meetings from which voters can read minutes to see what the arguments were for decisions that have been made. This project has been publicly vetted, not "ramrodded".

Moreover, counting meetings is really a digression and distraction from the actual issue facing voters: do you think the Oak Grove project is beneficial to Pleasanton? Do you think that the pros outweigh the cons?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by iwastheretoo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2010 at 8:01 am

No - I don't think it is worth it.

Why doesn't the developer simply comply with QQ and PP. They could put approximately 30 homes up there and no one could nor do I think they would be able to say much about it. Instead they insist on their 51, sue the City, sue anyone who opposes them...and then wonder why folks are upset.

Comply with PP and QQ and the whole thing would go away.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 14, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Agreed! It is a fact (not opinion) that this development would not be approved - as proposed - if it came before the Planning or Council today. WHY?? Because the citizens do not want environmental decimation to their ridges. How do we know? PP and QQ election results on November 4, 2008.

Yes Frank/Marty, I know the order things happened. And sorry you can't remember, but I have commented on this whole project many times on the blogs. Didn't like it then, and hate it now.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 15, 2010 at 12:20 am

"frank, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood"...

Is this the same "frank" that virtually assured us the Lin's would win the court case???

Just wondering...:)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by fact checker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2010 at 5:49 am

The Vintage Hills and Kottinger neighborhoods would not be approved under PP today. But they were approved before PP, as was Oak Grove.

Your point?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 15, 2010 at 8:37 am

Both Vintage Hills and Kottinger Ranch are at the base of the Oak Grove ridgelines. Both areas are tiny and almost flat land by comparison. Step back and look at these ridges from a distance. Vintage hills is nothing by comparison. Are you trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill? lol.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 15, 2010 at 9:36 am

Stacey is a registered user.

It is my hope that interested readers use an application like Google Earth to view the area in question in 3D instead of relying upon Karen's fallacious description of Oak Grove, Vintage Hills, and Kottinger Ranch properties.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 15, 2010 at 9:36 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Or better yet, take a drive up Kottinger Ranch.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 15, 2010 at 9:39 am

Stacey is a registered user.

The nice thing about Google Earth is that it reports elevation above sea level too. So, for example, one could find out that there's a few Kottinger Ranch properties that actually are built at a higher elevation than a few of the planned Oak Grove properties.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 15, 2010 at 9:41 am

Stacey is a registered user.

And one can also see that the _primary_ ridge line of the South East Hills actually lies south of the Oak Grove border, that most of the area south will remain undeveloped as part of the park, thereby locking up most of the South East Hills from any future development.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 15, 2010 at 9:49 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Here's an old screenshot from Google Earth with the proposed Oak Grove development overlaid and elevations marked: Web Link


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