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Letter: Measure D deceives voters

Original post made on Apr 23, 2010

Dear Editor,

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 23, 2010, 12:00 AM

Comments (54)

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Posted by Christine Bourg
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 23, 2010 at 9:12 am

I agree with Greg O'Connor. Vote NO on D to protect our southern ridgelines from development. Any more houses visible on any ridgelines in our city are unacceptable. The trails and parks promised in this development plan can still be given to the city and the 51 homes could be built --just NOT on the ridgelines. Vote No on D and make the developers come up with a plan that retains the natural beauty of these hills that are seen from throughout the city.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 23, 2010 at 10:14 am

Stacey is a registered user.

It is wrong to believe that a no vote on D will prevent any more houses from being visible on any ridgelines in our city. For example, Measure PP doesn't prevent homes on ridgelines. There's that 10 unit exemption that allows homes to be built on top of ridgelines. Furthermore, Oak Grove requires mitigation measures for visibility concerns.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2010 at 2:19 pm

It is correct to say that a Yes vote will ensure houses being visible on the ridgelines. While they might put some trees to screen, those trees will take decades to be of sufficient screening, if ever.

Measure PP has a 10 unit exemption and if Oak Grove came back with a development that was only 10 houses, PP would not outlaw that but the council would still have to approve (and subject to referendum). Usually the Planning Commission works through these visibility issues but the Council short-circuited the approval process and removed the Planning Commission from doing a review and approval of the development plan. I was expecting to see some planning commission hearings on the development plan (not the EIR) but I was never allowed that opportunity. Interesting this if the Council did not short-circuit the approval process of the development plan but allowed public hearings at the Planning Commission, where they can make recommendations of improvements, we might not have had a referendum. The Planning Commission has made many recommendations in other developments on placement, design guidelines, and landscaping. That was not allowed for this development.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm

I think most people could live with only 10 houses and lots of park land. If the numbers are right, 10 houses x $3,000,000 is still $30M. And the Lin's made a zillion dollars in Dublin and San Ramon already.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 23, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Do you think the Lin's could see an Oak Grove 12,500 sq. ft. house + an 800 sq. ft. garage + a 1200 sq. ft. mother-in-law house (totalling 14,500 sq. ft.) from Taiwan? Maybe!


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Posted by Patriot
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2010 at 9:27 pm

This issue is complete nonsense. Let's see. You've got your house and you don't want anyone else to join your exclusive club. Nobody else gets to build one.


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 23, 2010 at 10:10 pm

I'll typically support any limited development of our ridgelines.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 23, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Anonymous,

I don't get your argument about the council having to still approve 10 homes. How is that any different from the current Oak Grove plan whereby no homes have been approved and all 51 housing units still have to go through the approval process? Rather than have 10 homes go through the normal process, 51 homes have to go through the extra conditions placed upon the development by ordinances 1961 and 1962.

My point was only that if one believes that voting no on D will translate into no homes on hilltops, they're mistaken. A yes vote on D, however, will translate into an already known and vetted plan that gives approval to build only half of the number of housing units the property owner is entitled to along with over 90% of the property being dedicated to the City for parkland and open space preservation.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2010 at 10:10 pm

The council would approve 10 homes on the ridgelines with the same extra conditions. All 10 homes would have to go through the approval process. The exclusion in PP meant that if there are only 10 homes, it goes through the standard process which has conditions or whatever else the city requires (and the council can also deny the 10 homes also). PP only prevents the city from approving more than 10 homes on the ridgelines.

The vetted plan; you are talking about the one that was written behind closed doors and without a planning commission hearing? Those plans were not vetted.

Also, the property owner is not entitled to any amount of homes. Not sure why you are making that up, you know better Stacey. The General Plan shows some potential holding capacity, prior to engineering work being done. The Council does not have to approve anything. That property is not pre-zoned.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 25, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Ah yes, the play with the word "entitlement". I admit you've got me on "pre-zoned".

Zoning currently allows up to 98 homes. The developer is entitled to 51 homes as per Ordinance 1962 (which is not subject to the referendum). The average voter will not distinguish between what is allowed by zoning and what is "entitled" through the land entitlement process. If the land is zoned to allow up to 98 homes and Pleasanton has gotten that down to 51 homes including dedication of 90% of the land to parkland, that's a win for Pleasanton.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 25, 2010 at 11:27 pm

Actually a win for Pleasanton is to leave it as it is! If you want to live on a mountain top, go to Montana.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 25, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Pleasanton can purchase the entire property in order to win that way, Joe.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2010 at 6:02 am

The fact remains that this is NOT visible from any part of Pleasanton that I can find except for those people who live up in Kottinger Ranch. Some of the homes built in Kottinger are actually HIGHER than some of the homes planned for in Oak Grove.

Something one might think about and that is what the housing cap lawsuit will do to any limitation of housing units. The judgment is far from clear. It specifically strikes down definition of a housing unit and any mention of a cap. So what does this mean concerning the ten unit exception? It certainly would not mean less housing!


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 26, 2010 at 8:44 am

Stacey, you are all wet on this one. Darn my daughter's property went down in value due to the economy... should the city buy that too?

And Anonymous, I live in Danbury park and I care about our environment. No everyone lives in Kottinger that will vote NO for Measure D.

I don't live in Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, or Yosemite either. I can't even see them from my house, but I don't want them developed. The smart presidents that saved these National parks can't see them and aren't alive, but preservation is the right move.

I may be old but I know right from wrong. Save the hillsides now before they are all gone-forever!


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 26, 2010 at 10:05 am

I continue to be shocked that people in this community don't understand that this is PRIVATE PROPERTY.

This is a taking of the worst kind. This is not Yellowstone, Yosemite or the Grand Tetons, which are, it goes without saying, National Parks.

Nor are they "Our Ridges". They are private property and the private property landowners who have been paying property taxes on those hills and maintaining those hills have worked out a fair deal with the City.

The Planning Commission didn't get to review the Development Agreement or the Conditions of Approval because by a 3-2 vote the Planning Commission declined to approve the EIR. That's it. Game over. Nothing was done behind closed doors. Nothing was subverted.

There is no conspiracy.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 26, 2010 at 10:21 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Joe,

What does that mean that I'm "all wet"? I'm not talking about purchasing someone's property that went down in value. I'm talking about the Bill of Rights, you know, can't take property without just compensation Fifth Amendment type stuff. If you want to preserve land that is inside the voter-approved Urban Growth Boundary, zoned for 98 homes, etc. so that no homes can be built there, BUY IT.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2010 at 10:50 am

Stacey, you are wrong again.

You state, "The developer is entitled to 51 homes as per Ordinance 1962 (which is not subject to the referendum). "

That is not true because of the poison pill provision in both ordinances. If the plan is referendumed, the other ordinance goes away also. The developer was trying to play tricks by splitting up the ordinances instead of having a single one. They were assuming that if the public wanted to do a referendum that it would be most difficult if there were two ordinances. Fortunately members of the public let the council know about the loophole the developer was trying to pull over and the council put in the poison pill clause which makes the other ordinance go away if either one is referendumed.

And, this land is not zoned to allow 98 homes! It has a General Plan designation like I explained before. You are either believing the statements the developer proponents are trying to say, or you are working with them to spread misinformation.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 26, 2010 at 11:52 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Anonymous,

I am not wrong in stating that Ordinance 1962 entitles the developer to 51 homes.

Ordinance 1962 is signed and not subject to referendum. If you think that the "poison pill" language is enough to circumvent the referendum process and that no on D will cause both ordinances to "go away", then you should equally believe that the Gift Agreement will obligate homebuilders to pay the higher school impact fee. No, in fact, I'm going to take a pretty good guess and say that the poison pill is going to be the subject of the next lawsuit. Have you ever heard of such poison pill language standing up in case law as an acceptable alternative to the referendum process?


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Both ordinances have language that says it goes away if the other ordinance goes away. I would imagine the developer will sue since they sue everybody else for everything else. But they will probably sue even if they get their plan approved by the voters and say that the conditions put in their by the council are wrong. We have already seen that this developer is a bully by suing the city, the referendum proponents, and who ever else they can. Sorry but their behavior is enough for me to not support their project. I am voting against their plan to send a message that I will not be bullied by suing and other tactics.

The second ordinance should have been part of the first ordinance but the developer asked for two ordinances in an attempt to circumvent the public process of referendum on taking place. There is no logical reason why they have to be two ordinances. Since the second ordinance specifically references the first ordinance, while I am sure the developer will sue, the appeals court will uphold the language. IMHO.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Developer bully. . .?????

Hmm, they arrive at the city with a plan and the city tells them to put it away and engage in a dialogue with the stakeholders. Two council members lead this effort. They reduce the number of homes, ensure open space and other amenities to the city.

There somewhere between 9 and 12 public meetings. Some people agree and some disagree. The planning commission could have reversed the order and taken up the development plan first but refused to. One No vote on the planning commission mentioned in front of the council he would have voted yes if he had known certain information.

Then a group of people, two of whom live in the adjacent area, and one who had never weighed in before, launch a campaign full of misinformation. The developer defended a process set in motion by the city and facilitated by Matt Sullivan and Jennifer Hosterman. In addition to be fully vetted by the process.

The city and the council must live by a set of rules. Those who oppose the development don't. They can stand in front of the cameras and make unbelievable accusations about the people who serve our community and they are not held accountable when they lie or misrepresent something. Many don't know that the Brown Act prohibits the council to respond.

I don't always agree with the council. But I think it is cowardly to wage a campaign knowing the other side can't address the issues raised in the same forum, to present pictures purportedly of ridgelines that are obviously done from very different perspectives and distances. They can talk about council members with whom they disagree receiving thousands of dollars from developers, without mentioning that Cindy McGovern, Kay Ayala, and Steve Brozosky received money from the very same developers. The unspoken truth is that very often developers will send a check to each candidate.

Look at the merits of this project. This is not public land. This is the preferred alternative and if this goes away, the next proposal will probably not include the gift of almost 500 acres of land. These are not our hills.

Educate yourself. Don't rely on sound bites. This is a good project.

Vote Yes on D


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Posted by Jon Harvey
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Apr 26, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Just to calibrate on some the facts....

Many homes in Kottinger Ranch have a good view of the Tri-Valley, and the converse is also true (obviously). The same is true in the Oak Grove plan. I have walked the proposed lot locations; some will be seen like a KR home and some will not. I fact, most will be visible from the valley.

As for building in the valleys rather than ridge tops, please consider there are many more trees in the valleys or riparian areas. It is where the water collects so it follows there is a lot of life there. While it is true the homes would be less visible if they were built essentially on season streams, it would be pretty devistating to the ecosystem. The riparion zone is the nursury of the ecosystem much like coastal wetlands. On or near ridgetops are likely the least worse place to disturb the land from my perspective.

Regarding the relative openness of the meetings during the planning process, I don't know that I've seen anthing more open when it comes to a PUD process. Perhaps others have been more open, but I don't know of any. I do know there were many opportunities for people to voice their concerns and even get more involved. The property owner and associates really got screwed. I honestly believe they tried hard to work with the process as it was put to them. It's not that I feel sorry for them, but I feel we didn't act in good faith as a community when we allowed the sequence of events to unfold as they did.

Jon Harvey


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2010 at 10:13 am

In fact this project development plan did not go to the planning commission for vetting. The commission spent time on the EIR and then denied it. Once an EIR is denied, the planning commission was not allowed to work on the development plan as the plan has to be consistent with an approved EIR. Then the Council overturned the planning commission on the EIR. At this point, the Council should have sent the development plan to the planning commission so they could review it and make sure it was consistent with the EIR the council approved. Instead, the council went ahead and approved the development plan without the planning commission.

Jon, you know as well as anybody else, being you were a planning commissioner, that the planning commission looks at much more details of a plan than a city council. The commission spends more time talking with all parties and making recommendations or new conditions of approval. This can take a meeting or two for a large project. The council has many other responsibilities and does not look at the details of the projects. Even the Bernal property which had a very tight deadline to meet some obligations had the planning commission working on the plan. I do not think there has ever been a project in Pleasanton that the development plan was not vetted and voted upon by the planning commission, except for Oak Grove.

And Jon, while you were talking with the developers and their paid lobbyist/consultant Tom Pico on closed-door meetings where the public was not invited, or allowed, this was not an open process for others. I know you had the best interests of the city at heart but if you were not the person directly involved with the developer and it was somebody else and that person "negotiated" items that you did not necessarily agree with, you would be upset also and not felt the process was completely open.

I do want to thank you for being honest that most of these houses will be visible from the valley; something the proponents keep denying.

You and I agree that the stream beds are not the place for the homes but where we disagree is you think it is ok to cut off the tops of the ridges for the building pads and moving the equivalent of 62,000 truck loads of dirt and dumping into some existing valleys. I think they should be building less houses that fit in the areas next to existing development (sorry but I know this is closer to your house).

I also agree that the council did not act in good faith (or actually the best interests of the public and developer). If they did not try to push this project through but rather allowed the planning commission to hold hearings and make recommendations and vote on the PUD like every other development plan in Pleasanton, I believe it is possible we could have had a plan that was not referended. As a planning commission you saw how conditions to a project and somewhat minor changes could mitigate some of the concerns.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 27, 2010 at 11:13 am

Stacey is a registered user.

The Planning Commission is beholden to the Council, not the other way around. Funny how some people forget that.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 27, 2010 at 11:15 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Since the planning commission turned down the whole project effectively by denying the EIR, why is the outcome such a surprise?


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Posted by Jon Harvey
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Apr 27, 2010 at 11:53 am

Hello anonymous person,

First, I need to make a correction to a typo whereby you accused me of being honest. I meant to write most of the homes will *not* be visible from the valley. That's just my opinion from standing on some of the lots and looking around. In any event, they will certainly not be invisible and they likely won't look much different from any other homes in the hills (east or west).

Regarding the Planning Commission, I agree that this part of the process was effectively skipped. However, I believe the PC has steered away from being a problem solving body that it was in the days of Matt Sullivan, Trish Mass, and Brian Arkin. They were all three thoughtful and rigorous reviewers of proposals. The current PC seems more of an activist group and very preloaded which utimately erodes their relevance. The Planning Staff seemed to be also more able to spend the necessary time and research on technical aspects and lead field trips.

I take your point about being upset with the process if I thought I wasn't very well represented. On the other hand, you can't conduct what amounts to a mediation with the public invited. By nature they need to be stakeholders who represent the interests of all of the the other stakeholders. I think I did that and I understand that you and others may think otherwise.

I pushed to have the houses closer to Kottinger Ranch and did not get what I was after. I also pushed to have a much lower cap on the size of the homes and lost that battle. I knew it would blow up later, but my hope was that the public would take on those obvious shortcomings of the project and modify the plan during the CC hearings. Instead, there was largely just wholesale opposition which wasn't that helpful. Anyway, I wish Matt Sullivan would step up and take some responsibility on this. He probably has the power to explain where we are and how we might move forward in a way that no one else has been able to.

Lastly, my understanding (I cannot claim I know this as absolute fact) is that no fill will be placed in the valleys as it was done in KR. My understanding is that one of the lower ridges (think elevated pasture area) will be built up and building pads and related grading will take the rest.

Jon


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Posted by Laura Danielson
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Apr 27, 2010 at 12:49 pm

I have made my concerns about this developer known as regards to misstatements about school funding in another letter to the editor of this newspaper. I absolutely feel that that deception is enough to garner my NO vote on D. Adding the litigation with the city and citizens is a red flag that should not be so easily dismissed.
That aside, I am unclear as to why we are in such a hurry to get this project pushed through at this time. Those hills are precious no matter who owns them and should be given more consideration than this project has offered. Why can't the city ask for more? Many other communities are recognizing that development does not always "pay" for itself and are demanding that builders produce more than just bare mitigation.
Vote No on D and send a message that Pleasanton better understands that adding more kids to our schools, more traffic to the streets and houses to our hillsides needs to come with compensation.
Demand that the Lin's come back with a plan that perhaps offers money for a new library (my pet project), and more traffic $$$$ than just a stop light for their community. A plan with the other land owners that designates a TRUE trail system (not a 1 mile trail from nowhere to nowhere) from Callippe to Shadow Cliffs that can be enjoyed by generations to come (as South Livermore did in their vineyard development), and a signed and sealed agreement that makes sure the school district is helped and not hurt by the addition of new students.
The Lin's are real estate speculators and it's their job to get the best deal for themselves, Pleasanton has the power to do the same thing.
With the loss of the housing cap a real possibility we need to show developers and speculators that we care about our community and won't stand for closed door agreements, law suits, misstatements or shenanagins of any kind.
Join me in voting No on D to send that very strong message.


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Posted by Laura Danielson
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Apr 27, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Jon, as I recall filling in the riparian areas was one of the reasons cited by the East Bay Regional Park System for not taking on the "trail" in the development. Tons of fill (rare plants, trees and whatnot) were to be literally bulldozed over the edges of the ridge tops to avoid trucking it out.
As you can imagine from our days together at TVC I was pretty appalled when I read that (in the material given to us by the city).
Those documents are still floating around if someone cares to correct my recollection.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Stacey, the EIR and development plans are two completely different sets of documents and in fact most cities do not even look at or accept a development plan until after an EIR has been approved. It is not uncommon for a city planning commission to deny the EIR but after approval by a council, approve a development plan that is consistent with an EIR.

While the Planning Commission reports to the City Council on most items, the Planning Commission is one of the few city commissions that is required by law and are given some legal authority and the ability to make final land-use decisions; unless appealed by the public or the Council. Every commission in the city is completely advisory except for the Planning Commission.


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Posted by Jon Harvey
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Apr 27, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Laura,

What are "misstatements about school funding?" Is it the "$2,000,000 to the school district in one-time fees" on their website? The way I get to the $2M number is 5000sf*$8.63/sf*51 = $2.2M. They explain this on the website. The rest of the fees comes from property taxes.

I completely understand opposing the project. Believe me, this is a hard compromise for me. I do like to understand the facts and cut through the claims. I've heard a lot of BS coming from No on D such as 1000 trees, 12,500sf homes, high visibility (vs some visibility), developer deceit, etc. I can find no evidence for any of this. Frankly, the developer rep is a stand up guy from my direct experience, but I don't confuse my agreement or disagreement with him for truthiness.

Jon


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 27, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Anonymous wrote: "unless appealed by the public or the Council"

You wrote it. Not I. The Council has the final say. There's no requirement (other than apparently that it is not uncommon?) that the development plan has to go back to the Planning Commission if the EIR was turned down. If there is such a requirement, please point out where it says so. It would be informative to everyone for learning about how local government works.

Laura wrote: "Why can't the city ask for more?"

I'm sure they could. But it is like the school impact fee. There's a limit as to how much one can ask for. The City met with the developer to come up with a plan that works for everyone.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 27, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Hah, or the public has the final say, or the courts, or the State legislature and back...


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 27, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Web Link

"65100. There is in each city and county a planning agency with the
powers necessary to carry out the purposes of this title. The
legislative body of each city and county shall by ordinance assign
the functions of the planning agency to a planning department, one or
more planning commissions, administrative bodies or hearing
officers, the legislative body itself, or any combination thereof, as
it deems appropriate and necessary. In the absence of an assignment,
the legislative body shall carry out all the functions of the
planning agency."


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 28, 2010 at 9:21 am

I think there should be a sit down meeting to discuss the facts with tree counts, school fees, grading maps and more, without the council and cameras. An open dialog. In the end it is fine to disagree - if everyone knows the real facts.


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Posted by Kurt Kummer
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Apr 28, 2010 at 9:28 am

Karen, that's a great idea. I'll go over to the library and reserve the meeting room. When would be a good time for everyone?


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Posted by Laura Danielson
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Apr 29, 2010 at 8:43 am

Jon, Implying to the public that this money is a donation from the developer as well as directly saying that the money will help offset the current financial problems at the district is pretty lame given that neither is technically true. The money will come from the homebuilders not the Lin family and can ONLY be used for facilities and not restoration of class size reduction or teacher jobs.
What I find to be outright chicanery however, is promising $2,000,000 without a signed gift agreement in place with the district. There is NOTHING in writing (the school district has recently confirmed this) to compel anyone to pay more than the $2.97 per square foot required by law. Do the math, that does not come close to the windfall calculations I have seen. It would also do little to cover the students generated from the project and the district could end up having to subsidize the influx.

I watched Signature Properties sue their way out of nearly every agreement they made with this district-predicted the outcome actually, and can tell you that if there isn't something signed and sealed by fifty lawyers on a stack of bibles it will not hold up in court.
Why should we think that these developers, who have already demonstrated their quick ability to litigate when things don't go their way, would act any different.

Why should we accept this behavior when we teach our kids that integrity and honesty count? We are not a community of deer caught in the headlights. We can act by voting NO on D to make them come back to the table when all the T's are crossed and the I's dotted. We all deserve that. What's the hurry?

Vote No on D


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Posted by annonymous
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 29, 2010 at 9:18 am

Who are you talking to at the school district? The developer has put in writing that they will pay the gift tax. Thast has been mentioned at a school board meeting and John Casey has said he would execute the agreement.

This is an example when the public needs to get the facts on their own. Check this out. Ask questins. be very concerned when someone can't explain where the info comes from. . .this includes ballot arguments.

The information is not hard to find. It is there. Be informed. get the information.

I am confirdent that if you take the time to get the real facts you will come to the conclusion that what is best for Peasanton is voting

YES of Measure D!


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Posted by Kathy
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 29, 2010 at 9:50 am

Jon;

Over and over I had said we want to educate the public. The goal of No on D has always been to educate the public with the truth. I know you are a man of character and want to do the right thing. However, I disagree with your paragraph:

"a lot of BS coming from No on D such as 1000 trees, 12,500sf homes, high visibility (vs some visibility), developer deceit, etc. I can find no evidence for any of this."

There are 3 lots in the development that have FAR numbers of up to 12,500. The Council approved a house larger than that within the Vineyard Specific Plan for more than that size. When Cindy McGovern asked her council members to limit that size of the OG houses, they said NO. Why would we think they would not approve such a home, experience says they most likely will.

The tree data is OLD and is only taking into consideration the roads and some lot grading. Where is a 5, 7, 9000 sq. ft. houses (or more) going to go? Some of the larger tree numbers from No on D take into consideration house locations and smaller trees. What is the date on your tree report? Can we share our tree data from Google maps and more?

Regarding developer deceit, suing signature collectors, knowing that their ability to defend themselves would be extremely costs, is in my opinion hard to accept. Having to -upfront- fund the lawsuit to defend ourselves was unacceptable. We were within our legal rights to collect signatures and the developer knew it. It was legal intimidation. Everyone followed the directions to the letter that the city council and city attorney told them to do, and the Lin's forced us into an expense lawsuit just to protect ourselves. That was legal intimidation on the little guy, and it was wrong.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 29, 2010 at 10:06 am

Perhaps Jon gets along so well with the developer's group because they are using him for his reputation as an environmentalist. Just a test, Jon, did you support Measure PP to protect the sloped lands and ridges?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 29, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Measure PP was created with the express goal of restricting development in Oak Grove. It was meant to be on the same ballot as the referendum.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 29, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Laura,

If there isn't a signed deal yet, that's great. Ordinance 1962 requires the city to withhold building permits until it has approved any agreements between the developer and PUSD.


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Posted by Jon Harvey
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Apr 29, 2010 at 4:10 pm

It is nice to see some people using their names.

My view on the FAR and possible home size issue is that they should have been restricted to a lower number. And, I think they should be restricted to a lower number everywhere in the city, or at least there could be some offsetting tax if you choose to go over a certain size. 40% FAR makes sense on a typical residential lot, but I don't think this rule extends very well to a half acre and above. So, when the OG zoning ordinance allows 3 lots to be up to 12,500sf, I know there are many, many lots in Pleasanton that could theoretically accommodate a house that size or larger and they don't. With that perspective, I don't assume that all three lots would be built out that way. Of course, I could be wrong but I'd take the bet for sure. The No on D folks would have the unknowing public believe they will be 12.5ksf all over the ridges. This is completely bogus (whether I have friends who build houses or not).

School fees – has anyone on this list pulled a permit recently to do an addition or build a house? It is eight dollars and sixty something cents a foot. There is no fee agreement; you just pay. This is another completely bogus issue and it has almost nothing to do with the Signature/PUSD debacle.

Trees – I don't know what more to say. Trees will be removed. I don't know the exact number; nobody knows. It looks like it will be on the order of 100 and not 1000. There aren't many small trees, and there are zero (or close to zero) young trees. The developer is offering tours to go and see the proposed lots and where trees will be removed. The irony is that fewer trees would be removed if the homes were actually on the ridges, because oak trees generally do not grow on the tops of ridges. Brushy peak is an exception and why it is so remarkable to look at.

Remember Measure I? We could not even get the citizens to pass a $50M bond to preserve the Bernal land from hundreds of homes (we worried then it could have been over a thousand homes). As much as I would like to pass a bond and buy the property from the Lins, it probably would not pass.

So now what? Measure D fails (which I believe it will) and then what? When the property owner comes back with a modified plan and it is rejected, does it end up in the courts again and we lose control? Do you think they will agree to building 10 homes under 8Ksf (or something like that) and give the rest of the land over to the public?

It is mostly disappointing to me that we have completely lost sight of the broader vision to create a protected land buffer inside of the urban growth boundary in southeast Pleasanton, thus solidifying the boundary to its theoretical maximum strength. When Matt and Jennifer were in solidarity on this issue they were at their best and they served the public good very well.

Jon


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 29, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Jon wrote: "Measure D fails (which I believe it will) and then what?"

Probably what would first happen is that the outstanding questions on the legality of the poison pill language (i.e., using one referendum to overturn two ordinances contrary to State referendum law) and whether or not PP applies would lead to another lawsuit before any further PUD proposals were offered up. If PP applies, more likely it will be all 600 acres of the land subdivided into 10 parcels for 10 little ranch estates for the super-rich. There's no economic incentive for the property owner to dedicate 90% of the land to a public conservation easement when they can only sell 10 small parcels.


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Posted by Linda
a resident of Country Fair
on May 1, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Jon,

"What are "misstatements about school funding?" Is it the "$2,000,000 to the school district in one-time fees" on their website? The way I get to the $2M number is 5000sf*$8.63/sf*51 = $2.2M. They explain this on the website. The rest of the fees comes from property taxes."

The gift fee is up to the discretion of the homebuilder. Any amount over the state mandated fee can not be assigned to someone else. Unless the Lin's write a check for the fees themselves any letter is worthless.
The Bond obligation from new homes brings no new money to the district, only shares the obligation.
New homes are not needed to acquire more ADA dollars.

New homes do not pay their way when it comes to schools.


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Posted by Jon Harvey
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on May 1, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Linda,

I don't understand how this relates to the part you quoted and which I quoted. Are you saying there will not be a $8.62/sf school fee on those houses because it is discretionary? (note I wrote $8.62 earlier. I was off by a penny and corrected that)

When you say "new homes do not pay their way when it comes to schools," I don't know what that means or how you get to that conclusion. If I want to build a 5000 sf home, the City will require me to go and pay the school impact fee which is currently $8.62/sf => $43,100. Is that not enough money to offset the impact
on public schools? I don't know if it is or isn't, but that is what anyone has to pay. It is not discretionary, or I am completely confused. I didn't say anything about bond obligations or gifts, just the school impact fee.

Jon


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Posted by Linda
a resident of Country Fair
on May 1, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Jon,
Knowing how long you have been involved in this community it is hard to believe you are not pulling my leg but I will answer as though you are sincere.

The $8.62 is a combination of the state statutory fee of $2.97 + what is titled the Gift Agreement fee. Legally the only amount a builder is required to pay is the state mandated amount. A builder can of course agree to "gift" the district additional money but it would not be legally binding for the Oak Grove developer to assign the obligation to someone else. Therefore the now infamous letter that the Lin's have agreed to but not yet written means NOTHING!

With the State required fee of $2.97 SQFT with a cap of 7000 (or 5000 according to the developers). Based on the developers cap this is $757,350. of capital only dollars that are probably 10 or more years away.

The figures of 2-3 million that you and other Oak Grove supporters are throwing around to mislead the community are what are totally "bogus".

If you are genuinely uninformed about the school mitigation fees read this letter and the comments that follow.

School dollars from D?
Web Link

I think Ms. Danielson said it best: "I absolutely feel that that deception is enough to garner my NO vote on D. Adding the litigation with the city and citizens is a red flag that should not be so easily dismissed."




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Posted by Linda
a resident of Country Fair
on May 1, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Jon this was on another thread. I am using it because they explain the ADA (property tax amount) much better than I do.

Posted by longtime parent, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 10:33 am

For each kid that goes to school, the district receives money from the state. It does not matter what the property values are. Does not matter is it is a new home, or an existing home. The District is currently claiming that they do not get enough per student to pay for the programs we want to offer. That is why they want supplemental income. So by adding new students from this new development, we are actually hurting the schools since the money we get from the state is not enough (according to the district). If we really wanted more students to get more income, our district would allow students from outside of Pleasanton attend our schools. This is allowed by law but our district makes you supply a lot of paperwork when you register your child each year because they do not want the students from outside our district attending our schools because the money the state gives us is not enough.

So technically the new homes do result in some new income to the schools but it does not offset the cost to educate those students.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 1, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I'm amazed that some would base their decision on the whole of Oak Grove over questions regarding school impact fees. Even if you believe that homebuilders will not pay the gift amount, you cannot predict that they will not. I'm going to guess that most pay $8.62 per sq. ft.

Oak Grove is more than about school impact fees. It's about saving 90% of a property that is within the urban growth boundary from development. It's about creating the keystone in a PUBLIC trail system throughout the southeast hills so that we don't have to be trespassers in order to enjoy the beautiful hills around us. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Why should Pleasanton throw away the bird that is in the hand for some fanciful belief (as has been written here in the past) that the property owner will just give us the property as a tax write-off?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 1, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The worry over whether 51 homebuilders may or may not pay $8.62 per sq. foot is a bit like cutting off the nose to spite the face. The nose sometimes leaks snot all over so that's enough of a reason to cut it off.


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Posted by Linda
a resident of Country Fair
on May 2, 2010 at 7:59 am

Stacey,

It is the developers through their expensive propaganda that are asking the voters of this community to base their decision about Oak Grove on misleading claims of millions of dollars for schools. I and others in the community are holding them accountable for the misinformation. I also believe that school funding is not a basis for this decision. I want voters to understand their is little to no benefit to our schools with this project, and in fact a small negative with additional crowding and more underfunded students.

However the demonstrated lack of integrity in using misleading information and hostile actions in suing our City and citizens is a factor in my decision. Along with my concerns about environmental impacts and safety concerns.


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Posted by Linda
a resident of Country Fair
on May 2, 2010 at 8:01 am

I want voters to understand there is little to no benefit to our schools with this project, and in fact a small negative with additional crowding and more underfunded students.


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Posted by Kristina
a resident of Downtown
on May 2, 2010 at 9:23 am

If this plans for this construction have been so open to the public, why is that most residents of Pleasanton still have no idea what Measure D? Also, why is that this has to be voted on in a special election in June instead of November? From what I understand, it is costing Pleasanton $95,000 to hold this special election when most people are out of town or unaware of its existence. Seems sneaky to me. I have also learned that Mayor Hosterman has received campaign contributions from the Lin family while former mayor Tom Pico works for the developer. Smells like Bias to me. All of this aside, we need to remember how precious our hills are. How would the Ohlone feel if they saw their sacred hills being desecrated by bulldozers and giant mansions being placed on them? Take a stand for Mother Earth at this time. Money comes and goes, but the land is here forever if we protect it. Furthermore, Pleasanton is a wealthy community...we are not exactly hurting for money so if needs be, we can fund-raise on our own...we do not need filthy developer money that would only go to ONE school (Vintage Hills) and would not pay for teachers. Stand up for the Earth as she needs us in this time!


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Posted by Kristina
a resident of Downtown
on May 2, 2010 at 9:24 am

VOTE NO ON MEASURE D!


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Posted by Jon Harvey
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on May 2, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Linda,

Will you go on record with your real name with an estimate of what the schools would receive in school impact fees? We don't need to break it down to its components or who pays them.

This is feeling more an more like a red herring issue. I hope someone with some credibility on school fees will get up and explain this on Tuesday.

Jon


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 2, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

That's because it is a red herring issue. There's a lot more to Oak Grove than school impact fees. The developer's mailings (propaganda) outline a lot more than just school impact fees. They're asking voters to look at the whole package. The opponents on this thread want to only focus on minutiae.


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