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Measure D Question

Original post made by Jared, Birdland, on May 21, 2010

This may be a dumb question, but I'm wondering why we are allowed to vote on this. If the land is zoned for houses and it's owned by the Lins (not the city), can't they build on their property without voter approval?

Comments (35)

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Posted by Rights
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2010 at 4:46 pm

You're right. IF this was only still the America that valued our founders' concept of PRIVATE property RIGHTS ! Well, their vision worked for 200 years, but they feared we wouldn't be able keep the Republic. Article by article it gets whittled away.


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Posted by Clueless
a resident of Birdland
on May 21, 2010 at 5:29 pm

I agree with Jared and was wondering the same thing. If the city council had approved and zoned for it and it's privately own, why do they need approvals from voters. Isn't that's why we elected our city council to represent us in these matters?


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2010 at 6:09 pm

I don't agree! I don't know the particular legal constraints pertaining to owners' developing their properties but...think about it....what a neighbor does to his property could severly affect the enjoyment of homeowners in the community, so.... it makes sense that the community be allowed to have a say in what a neighbor does to his property. That's why there are planning commisions etc.

In this case, the property is so large that it affects many, many people in Pleasanton.

On a smaller scale, how would you like it if your neighbor built a 4 story monstrocity next to your lovely, sunny backyard which also impacted your bedroom window? I think most people would be relieved that there are controls for not having something like that happen.

It's not much different in the Lin's scenario. Their plan will impact many people and they should not be allowed to whatever they want on their land.


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Posted by Clueless
a resident of Birdland
on May 21, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Hold on, Karen. If that's the case, the city council and city planning commission has the choice to not zone the area as rural residential and not approval the request. It's just a waste of taxpayer's money if the community has to vote on every construction project. Are we to apply the same standards to all construction work? If so, we won't need a city planning commission since we can entrust all the voters to make those decisions. Afterall, who would know better than voters when it comes to city planning...


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Posted by Rights
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2010 at 7:16 pm

The distance is SO great that NOTHING starts CLOSE to ANYTHING ! ! THE FIRST house, which is one story, (the first 5 are all one story). ALL the houses are space out. But that first one is quite a long distance from the start of that property, which itself is well beyond the end of Hearst cul-de-sac....NOTHING is as close as houses on Hearst.
That's why everybody should do a tour. There have been some dreadful exagerations.(being polite) It's not anything like a subdivision....but all spaced out. That's the advantage of a tour...to see the placement and spacious lots.
They will all make Pleasanton an even more valuable city in which to live...and will sort of offset all the subsidized housing we have been ordered to build. ..the park and the houses helps Hearst and all of YOUR averages !


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2010 at 7:19 pm

I do not think voters should be voting on every issue relating to homeowners' uses of their properties. That would be ridiculous. But I do think that standards that repreesent community values (PP) and comunity representatives (planning commissioners) should steer development toward community goals. I thought I read that the planning commission wasn't in favor of the current plan to develop the Lin property (not really sure - maybe someone could clarify).


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 21, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Karen wrote: "I do think that standards that repreesent community values (PP) and comunity representatives (planning commissioners) should steer development toward community goals."

And that is EXACTLY what occurred. The current Oak Grove proposal has more requirements than other developments in Pleasanton. The Lins are not being allowed to build whatever they want on their property (that would be 98 homes, not 51). The grading requirement is so that homes can be nestled along the contours of the hillside rather than sticking out and up into view. The General Plan calls for the City to work with developers to obtain such things as land dedications (i.e., the 500 acre park in Measure D) to preserve the southeast hills. Etc...


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Posted by Jared
a resident of Birdland
on May 21, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Just to clarify, I wasn't making a statement promoting libertarian ideals. I honestly don't understand where the voters get jurisdiction over a property owner's ability to build houses on land that is zoned for housing.


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Posted by long time resident
a resident of Birdland
on May 21, 2010 at 9:15 pm

First, the General Plan has "general" land-use designations. It does not say the exact number of houses but rather gives a holding capacity. When a General Plan is done, the city is not surveying the whole city to see exactly where each home fits and what the physical constraints are. When a development is proposed, there is a much higher level of detail and the city has the right to decide what goes there that is consistent with the zoning. Our General Plan does not entitle anybody to any specific development. While the General Plan talks about holding capacity in the land-use section, there are also other parts of the General Plan which contain policies that have to be met. These include traffic, environmental, health and safety, and other sections.

Pleasanton does not have "right by zoning". The General Plan instead gives a "general" direction but no entitlements.

As for the voters chiming in, California Constitution allows this by giving the voters the right to vote on any ordinance by a legislative body. This is called a referendum. It requires a certain number of signatures to get this on the ballot. The approval of a housing development is done by ordinance and thus is an action that is subject to referendum.


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Jared - I was thinking this exact same question earlier today!

Long time resident - I think you answered it, thanks


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 22, 2010 at 8:00 am

Voted no. If given the choice (which I was) I support less development on the hillside.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 22, 2010 at 8:39 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Measure D _is_ less development on the hillside (51 vs 98). Voting no does not mean no development. Read the "no project" and "no development" options in the Sample Voter Guide page PLMD-8.


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Posted by long time resident
a resident of Birdland
on May 22, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Voting no means that if the developer wants to develop the property, he must bring back a development plan that is consistent with Measure PP hillside protections voted on, and passed, by the Pleasanton residents at the last election.

I don't think Stacey read what I wrote that the developer is not entitled to 98 homes. A General Plan designation is not an entitlement to a specific number of homes.

With Measure PP that was passed last election, there is no way this developer can come back with a plan that is 98 units, or probably even 51 units (unless they can put them in places other than the ridges and steep slopes; don't know if the physical constraints of that property will support that).



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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I did read that. It was not relevant to the point I was making, which was that the developer is not being allowed to build whatever they want.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 22, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Another proposal that would be consistent with PP would be 10 giant "Hayward Hotels" sitting on top of hilltops (so as not to require so much grading) anywhere within Oak Grove's 489 acres that lie within the voter-approved Urban Growth Boundary and no 500-acre public park.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 22, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

If I were a land speculator and I held a piece of land like Oak Grove that has primo development value and I had invested in the value of this land for over 30 years, I'd probably go for the 10 very exclusive mega-estates/ranches (12,500 sq ft of course) built on top of hilltops. The homes have to be really large and the lots marketed as mini-ranches in order to sell to the right market for that sort of thing. And the entire property would be privately held. I'd never donate the land as a tax write-off. It is too valuable for that.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Parts of PP have been struck down by the court. The attorney's impartial analysis says that the definition of slope and ridgeline would have to be defined.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 22, 2010 at 8:27 pm

"donate the land as a tax write-off". These people who want this are "la nuova communista'". They now use direct democracy to seize private property. Jefferson called this the tyranny of the majority.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 22, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

As in this letter: Web Link

"Donate all the land to the city of Pleasanton as a "Preserve" and get a tax write-off."


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Posted by Linen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 24, 2010 at 8:30 am

You are kidding of course Frank -Have you any idea how many times "private" property has been stolen in America's history from day 1? All needs to be done is just make it economically impossible for you to keep your "private" property. One way, try not paying your taxes if you need proof -


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Posted by junebug
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on May 24, 2010 at 12:25 pm

The election is possible after the City Council has approved Oak Grove because a rezoning, a general plan amendment, and a development agreement are all what is called legislative actions in matters related to land use planning and regulation. That means if you collect the requisite number of resident signatures to challenge the action, you can qualify it on the ballot. Unlike the example of a house addition scenario cited earlier which is not subject to a voter action because it is called is called a discretionary action, however private parties could still file lawsuits against each other for lost of property value, sunlight, etc.


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Posted by junebug
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on May 24, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Tim Hunt's editorial in the Oakland Tribune regarding Oak Grove is point-on!!! BRAVO. He correctly calls out the irony of the "No on D" campaign tag line "dont mess with our ridgeline" when in fact the land is not publically owned by the voters, the City, County, or any other public agency. The fact is a "YES ON D" will result in 496 acres of that privately owned land becoming accessible to the public as open space for our use and enjoyment. Ummmmm, now I see, perhaps the opponents who live adjacent to the Oak Grove (ya know the people with big houses up on those hillsides) dont really want the Pleasanton plebians to be able to walk or enjoy the open spaces anywhere near their private property. Fact is the 51 new houses that would be permitted can not been seen to most of Pleasanton, new tree planting will exceed the number of trees being removed and each one of those future 51 lot owners will undoubtedly face a living hell trying to obtain architectural review approval for every wall, window, roof tile, planter box they design for their homes.


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Posted by long time resident
a resident of Birdland
on May 24, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Stacey, distorting the facts again. Measure PP has an exemption of parcels of up 10 homes from being forbidden but any developer, even if 10 or less homes, still has to go through the city planning and discretion. They do not have entitlements to build 10 12,500 square foot homes. The City Attorney even confirmed this at a City Council meeting when PP was on the ballot.

If you want a definition of ridgeline, look at the Municipal Code 18.76.100 ("Ridgeline" means a ground line located at the highest
elevation of the ridge running parallel to the long axis of the ridge.). If you need a definition of a slope,any dictionary has that, and slope is used throughout the municipal code already. Same people who were campaigning against PP ridgeline protections in the last election are still spewing the same garbage about 10 homes and not definition of a slope or ridgeline.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 24, 2010 at 10:56 pm

Go back to math class.
The slope is determined by the where you start to measure. If one starts at the very base of a long hill the slope will be less over the long hall.

Look at the impartial analysis of PP. It says that ridgeline and slope will need clarity and it is not as simple as a dictionary definition.

Even using your definition of ridge, none of the homes are on the highest ridgeline. A trip up there would verify that observation.

Parts of PP were thrown out by the court. Other parts are questionable.

PP was designed to eliminate Oak Grove without having to explain the development. There are few to no places left in Pleasanton where PP would even apply. If PP had been in place and was legal, almost none of the original group of opponents to Oak Grove would NOT be living where they are living in Pleasanton.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on May 25, 2010 at 7:50 am

If interested, take a drive on Benedict Ct and look up either side to Hearst Dr and Smallwood Ct. If I lived on Benedict, I would say that homeowners on Hearst/Smallwood are living on the ridgetops. Take a look at the one and two story decks that protrude off the back of some homes on Hearst.
There's approx 250 feet of elevation gain from Bernal/Hearst intersection to the highest homes in Kottinger Ranch. There's approx 120 feet of elevation gain between the highest lot in Kottinger and the highest lot in OG. It seems that the Kottinger residents won't acknowledge their ridgetop perch. (well, except for the Benedict Ct homeowners.)


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 25, 2010 at 8:05 am

I asked this before, what do No on D voters stand FOR; I only see that its against landowner rights, and quite possibly only this landowner's rights. Would any of us have voted away the rights of those landowners who built the homes we now reside in? A no vote also eliminates the possibility for everyone in our community to have access to a 500 acre park. I am for rights of landowners (and this one has more than met all the requirements/limitations/compromises) and I would love for all of us to have legal access to this land. Vote Yes on D.


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Posted by A better way
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 25, 2010 at 10:40 am

Kathleen... it sounds like the center of your thought process is, "What is in it for me?" You want a park- great. That would be nice. However, you don't care if there is environmental destruction, mega mansions, harrasment lawsuits or lies about funding coming to the schools and city?

Nationally, the Sierra Club is AGAINST Oak Grove! The East Bay Regional Park District is on record as being against Oak Grove. If it is built, Oak Grove is in a high fire danger area, risking peoples lives whom live in the development or live in that areas around it like Vintage Hills I & II, Kottinger Ranch, Grey Fox and more.

Now do you know what NO on D people stand for? It is not a good park, EBRD says so. It is not safe, Cal Fire says to not build on ridges. It is not a good development - The Planning Dept. of Pleasanton rejected the EIR.

Oh, but you want a park.... :-(


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Posted by Clueless
a resident of Birdland
on May 25, 2010 at 11:28 am

"No on D" is all about preserving the rights of those rich people who are already living at those hills and ridgetops to be free of neighbors and hikers and such. It's never about protecting the ridge and environment. If they really care about the ridge and environment, what are they doing living up there? Again, it's just a bunch of rich people playing us...what's new? I'm voting YES on D so they can learn to live like the rest of us...with neighbors!


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Posted by sknywench
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 25, 2010 at 12:51 pm

sknywench is a registered user.

To A Better Way: The Sierra Club, although a reputable organization on a policy level, leaves its local communications to various local Chapters and an assortment of loosely knitted individuals when it comes to weighing in on land use planning matters. Those local individuals are typically biased against growth or development and do not balance the facts and competing interests of economy, balanced housing, private property owner rights, or even recognize the merits of habitat conservation areas, replacement planting, restoring riparian, flood control, etc.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 25, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Greenbelt Alliance and the Audoban society are in favor of the project!
Call East Bay Regional park District. They have not taken a position on this development. They expressed some concerns, some of which have been addressed.
Again it is about balance.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 25, 2010 at 4:04 pm

It's more of a sound bite, and I am speaking about all of our rights--not just my own. I can respond to the rest later, but others have already done so.


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Posted by junebug
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on May 26, 2010 at 11:51 am

To Fact Checker: Im glad you pointed out that the Green Belt Alliance and Auboban Society support YES ON D. Just who is the local Chapter Sierra Club representative anyways.


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Posted by local
a resident of Birdland
on May 26, 2010 at 12:47 pm

I do know that Jon Harvey is the representative on the Green Belt Alliance. Jon appears in the advertising for Yes on D. He used to live next to Oak Grove but has since moved.

I checked the Audubon society and do not see any endorsement from them. I assume you meant Audubon unless the "Auboban Society" is a new made-up organization by the developers to make it look like the Audubon Society endorses their projects.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 26, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Audubon Society
It was a typo. Thanks for letting me clarify!


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Posted by junebug
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on May 27, 2010 at 11:45 am

Thanks Local for making a simply typo into a veiled plot by developers to overthrow the world. BTW, anyone and everyone who is involved in the construction of commercial, office, hospitals, residences, city hall buildings, etc is a developer /builder and that includes plumbers, heating/air conditioner companies, carpet installers, flooring, woodworkers, landscape and irrigation installers, etc. . . you get the picture, fit in the category of developer or builder. So I guess that means there are alot of sneaky people out there,eh?. . . according to you.


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