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on Mar 19, 2013
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The Lin's have pending a Breach of Warranty lawsuit against the city filed in superior court. After reading this ruling as well as the complaint in that lawsuit it seems unlikely to me that the Lin's will continue with the Breach of Warranty lawsuit.
SAD, SAD, SAD that anyone can STOP someone from using THEIR property as it was zoned is a SAD day. NO ONE SHOULD have their property rights restricted...this is surely a case on NIMBY...NOT IN MY BACKYARD although all of them who bought in Kottinger Ranch knew from day one that there could be building on the hills surrounding their homes but when it came time to build they fought it.
Yes TJM you are right that it is a case of NIMBY. And why not. If I do not want anything in my area and I can legally get it stopped then why not. We did not do anything illegal.if you are so concerned maybe you can have some low income housing across the street from where you live.
The Lins got the zoning changed way back from agriculture by using their influence and as developers they know there are risks. So please dont pity them.
It is double sad because this development would have brought in more taxes for the schools. The city of Dublin allows more housing development like this, and Dublin was able to main a higher level of services in the classroom and smaller class sizes than Pleasanton.
Just because something is legal doesn't make it right.
A scaled down development up there would be nice.
The Lins should have opted to built high density housing, they would have had the full backing of the government and the courts, because it would speed up our march to become Oakland.
"SAD DAY" indeed, I don't feel sad except maybe when I look north from 580 toward the Dublin hills. Wonderful job the Lins did up there isn't it?
The biggest problem the Lins faced was they did not have the required TWO exits required by the City's General Plan. At one point they were trying to say a poath by a water tower was a street access!
high density crime infested section 8-good; low density high taxed attractive homes-bad.
Tim wrote: "high density crime infested section 8-good; low density high taxed attractive homes-bad."
Let me give you a little help in understanding the situation, Tim:
High density section 8 on Pleasanton hills - bad. Low density, high taxed attractive homes on Pleasanton hills - bad.
Every time I look at the masses of high density homes scarring the Dublin hills, developed by the Lins, I am so glad Pleasanton did what it could to protect all our hillsides and ridgetops. The Lins can still build on the property, just not on the ridges.
"Wonderful job the Lins did up there isn't it?"
Yes. I have no problem with it.
"Low density, high taxed attractive homes on Pleasanton hills - bad."
Oh, now I get, we should tear down the houses that are already on hills in Pleasanton? Sound good to you Sam?
I can't believe all the "bleeding hearts for the Lins" posting here. They have done more to trash the Tri-Valley than anyone else. Turning the Dublin hills north of I-580 into a LA style eyesore, wanting to to the same to the Pleasanton hills, and costing Pleasanton millions of dollars. And, they don't even live in the United States.
Just because you have property rights doesn't permit you to do anything you want, especially when it is against the best interests of an overwhelming majority of the people.
I also don't understand why so many people in the Tri-Valley are turning this lovely area into another Los Angeles, or for that matter into the type of dump that exists over the hills to the west.
John wrote : "Oh, now I get, we should tear down the houses that are already on hills in Pleasanton? Sound good to you Sam?
Oh, so now I get it: We already have some houses on the hills and so therefore there should be no limits at all on building on the hills. Houses and more houses. Let's go ahead and pave the hills over with asphalt and put up some supermarkets and gas stations up there as well for the convenience of all those additional houses on the hills.
Sarcasm cuts both ways, John,
It may be the right for city of pleasanton to fight the Lins. No problem. But is the city liable for monetary damages by rezoning the property?
At some point you need to say STOP building on the hills. The voters decided, and so let's all move on to something better.
In summary we have the majority of Voters in Pleasanton saying NO to the development, 2 court cases stating the Citizens have a right to vote on this matter if they want to, 2 legal decisions that the poison pill with the DA and PUD is valid (even though the Lins flip-flopped on their stance), we have the Lins bullying/suing citizens over their constitutional right to gather signatures to place the project on the ballot, we have deep pocket donations made to some of our past elected officials (and one still in office), a it would be nice to put all of this behind us and move on to something productive and good in our town.
Anyone want to join me?
I would love to have joined you . . . in the park no one in our community gets to use.
Great argument, Kath. Thanks for sharing.
I think the park was a loss to the entire community. While I am disappointed, the majority of voters chose differently.
I would also like to think there is some compromise that would still make a park possible. Are two roads really the only stumbling block to approval?
I don't know the Lins (although they may have been the developers where I live, in which case I would never let them build a home for me).
We don't know the Lins. Even the news media don't know the Lins. Do a Google search and you'll find Jennifer and Frederic Lin come up as "matriarch and son", "brother and sister", "siblings", etc. They're not part of this community, they live in Taiwan.
I am concerned that some things can be made artificially complicated. "Yes, Lins, build a house for me; no, do not build more homes near where you built for me." While they do not live here, they own land here, have property rights, and had zoning. What might be the compromise . . . one or two fewer homes (that aren't on a ridge top so they block my view), a park, and two ingresses/egresses? Still fewer homes? Give us the land? I don't think knowing the Lins would change anything--it seems to me they could be the kindest, most generous people in the world and people still would want what they want. And if they are indeed greedy, it just makes it easier to justify not giving them what they want.
I know this was mentioned when this was brought to the voters, but how are any of us here? Someone had to allow us to have homes; where would we be had they said no to our ruining their quaint little community? And how about those houses on the ridge along Foothill? I would agree it is good to be selective and careful, but not to the point that we eliminate all of a landowner's options.
Most of us libertarians know that greed is okay. So, maybe if we had the Lins over to dinner, we could think up ways to make everyone even more money. Maybe charge admission to the park? I wonder how they feel about all the corrupt teacher unions and unsustainable pensions that are causing a tsunami that will sink even the highest of the Pleasanton hills.
Hi Phil! Where did I say greed was okay? And just who is greedy in the scenario, the Lins, Pleasanton, both?
I don't think Phil was talking to the egocentric one. It's not all about you Kathleen. He was talking aobut the greedy unions and greedy teachers and other greedy public employees who get benefits and pensions. Without doing something about they're greed we're left at the dinner table looking down at very expensive potatoes.
Kathleen, you are welcome anytime to come up with my wife and our kids when we go hiking and exploring in the foothills above Kottinger Ranch. We know the ranchers family that lives over behind the GC and as long as the cows (& especially bulls) are not grazing it is indeed one of the more beautiful, scenic and pristine areas in Pleasanton.
Personally, I'm glad the Linn's don't get to build, we like our private little "Ridge" just the way it is.
Thanks Samuel; kind of you to offer. I'll wait with everyone else. And if that never changes, I have other favorite places I like to go. Luckily, California has plenty to offer.
The Lins gambled on their buying this land as an investment and as we all know there are no guarantees when you speculate. Living in Taipei, they don't get that we don't want every hill and ridge built on.
Kate, not allowable on every hill, but allowable on those hills where plenty of people already live? There's development on the hills in Ruby Hill, all along Foothill Rd., and the hills above my home.
From the article above: "The application received extensive review by various city commissions and also had the approval of the board of directors of the Kottinger Hills Homeowners Association, an action some members of that community group protested. . . . since Nov. 6, 2007, when the council approved the Oak Grove development plan and a citizens' group called Save Pleasanton's Hills began a petition-signing effort to overrule that decision."
I don't have a dog in this fight, but it seems the owners went through the process required of them and someone(s) was determined to take away that approval and all the options available to the landowners. If this was a gamble, it's more like the chips were played, won, and a bystander grabbed it all.
Kathleen- do us a favor and move to LA where the local government and citizens never said STOP. You would fit in perfectly. Then if you want to walk a ridgeline in Pleasanton, go to the western ridge! It is free, gorgeous and is an important part of our Tri-Valley area.
The Line will probably win their restraint of trade lawsuit which will cost the city the profits they would have made by developing the land. Anyone care to guess how much that would be?
That's Lins. Excuse my typo.
George, The majority got their way. But I think I've asked fair questions and pointed to some inconsistencies. It's my opinion. I see no reason for me to move. By the way, isn't stop the word always used by the guy who wants to be sure he's the last one in? If you aren't sure about the answer, look at the threads about the housing yet to come to Pleasanton.
So you're saying all the building was okay until after they built your house. After that no more.
Personally Pleasanton is just fine like it is.
Come on we do not want it to look like Dublin.
Nor do not need anymore homes, large, small or Section 8.
Let Dublin and Livermore have it.
People who drive thru enjoy the view of the hills.
We do not want it to look like LA with homes stuck everywhere.
By the way, Ruby Hills is NOT as nice looking as someone above says. The community has far too many homes stuck in it. Looks like a sub-division with big homes and not near enough trees or variation. We do not want our hils to look like that. Plus the traffic!!!
Long time, I listed areas of Pleasanton where there already is development on hills (forgot Happy Valley). I made no judgement on the beauty of Ruby Hill. For those residents that I know there, they seem quite happy.
The questions are, why stop this one development and lose a park? Is the hangup having two roads? Is the goal to stop this development (no area for compromise--50 homes, 30 homes)? Any plan to compensate the owners by buying the land to preserve it as a permanent open space?
Kethleen wrote: "Any plan to compensate the owners by buying the land to preserve it as a permanent open space?"
"Compensate"? You make it sound like the Lins are some poor victims who were treated unfairly or unjustly by the city. They presented their case but it was opposed by the people of Pleasanton with support from the courts. Nothing underhanded or unfair went on. The Lins lost fair and square.
As for this park that you keep harping about, I've heard that it was a "throwaway" of land which was not developable for houses anyway, such as land on steep slopes or in ravines. In other words, the primary consideration in the proposed park land selection was for the profitability of the housing development, not how appropriate the land was for park use.
There's a lot of information on all this at the "Save the Pleasanton Hills" web site, including the following FAQs:
From "Save the Pleasanton Hills" (Web Link)
8. Question: I thought the city was receiving a park by this property owner?
Answer: After the property owner subdivides and sells off their lots, they do not want to pay the property taxes on the rest of their land since it will not have further development potential. Also there will be significant costs to maintain to prevent fire danger to the new homes so they want to "give" it to the city. The trails with provide great views of the mega-mansions. There will only be 11 parking spaces for the trails so it is hard to call this a park.
9. Question: Who will maintain the trails and the open space?
Answer: The City will. The draft of the Fire management plans has significant requirements for fire abatement. So the taxpayers of Pleasanton will be paying for the maintenance of this property, which essentially is a scenic corridor for the mega-mansions.
I think a park which serves as a 'scenic corridor for mega-mansions' is exactly what we need. It surely is worth the 'price' of 30-50 additional huge homes that would save a green area from just being green. And like Kathleen says maybe we can compromise ;-) And think of the property taxes the city would gain. Ah, but any revenues would just be eaten up by unsustainable salaries, pensions, and other liabilities. Who's ultimately responsible for this? I want to blame someone in government!
I don't think the Lins are poor or victims. I do think we voted away their rights. I also wonder that we expect the Lins to give up.
Hearst Castle was a "gift" to the state. We've enjoyed going, and don't mind paying for that or other parks, including what would have been this one. Maybe 11 spaces are enough; surely there's a reason (limited space or limiting visitors?). Taxpayers are paying for protecting the other areas of developed hills in Pleasanton.
Plenty of other answers for unfunded liabilities; it's not like they've decreased because we didn't develop Oak Grove.
Kathleen wrote: "I don't think the Lins are poor or victims. I do think we voted away their rights."
Oh, please, Kathleen, you're not even being self-consistent anymore. You first say don't think that the Lins are victims but then in the next sentence you say that we "voted away their rights"? Huh? You've got to keep your story straight and pick either one viewpoint or the other.
It's interesting to see, though, how enthusiastic you are about promoting the idea that the multi-millionnaire (billionaire?) Lin family should be "compensated" by the taxpayers of Pleasanton for their setback in this matter. This is coming from the same Kathleen who awhile ago was chastising me on these forums for voting for a Proposition to increase the sales tax by 0.25% to provide life support to our school system. Apparently, Kathleen feels much more generous when the recipients of public largess are not school children but multimillionaire land developers.
Interesting case of "reverse - Robin Hood" thinking: I think I'll have to warn my daughter to watch out on her morning walks to class at Lydiksen Elementary to make sure that there's not any old lady hiding in the bushes waiting to steal her lunch money to give to the Lins.
I'm not hanging out at Lydiksen, so your daughter is safe. I don't think I'm old either, thanks.
I think "we" should buy the land. "We" want it to stay as is, right? Without 51 homes, maybe we even can get a few more parking spaces to call it a park.
Whether the Lins are worth millions or billions is inconsequential. Would anyone be more sympathetic to compensating owners if they were down on their luck ranchers that needed the money from development to cover their medical bills due to a health crisis? And it's consistent to say the Lins aren't victims and acknowledge we took their property rights away. They went through the process and got approval. A referendum gave us a chance to vote them out of their choices. They have the wherewithal to battle on if they choose.
As to parcel taxes, the issue for me was not about the amount. I continue to support education in every way I can.
I call shenanigans on you all! Unless you either live above my neighborhood (lower KR, Hearst Dr. & vicinity) or somewhere on Vineyard, Grey Eagle or are driving down Stanley YOU CAN'T SEE THESE "SUPPOSED" RIDGELINES!
Somebody, anybody (except Steve Bozorsky who already has a Ridgeline home in that neighborhood) tell me how this development would have had ANY impact on the cutesy, small town allure of P-Town? Oh, you can't because it wouldn't.
We lost a park, our Constitutional rights and a hefty degree of dignity if you ask me.
Please explain. Especially about the Constitutional rights being lost and the part about dignity.
The point is you can't "take" someone's property without compensation! So yes, if you want those hills to stay untouched forever, buy the land.
Rights of property owners to develop land purchased that had been zoned and assigned for residential property development that can be arbitrarily taken away with no financial compensation?
Where is the dignity and civility in that Steve?
Jaclyn M. wrote: "Rights of property owners to develop land purchased that had been zoned and assigned for residential property development that can be arbitrarily taken away with no financial compensation?"
Tell it to the judge who ruled against the Lins. Maybe you can give her a lecture explaining why you think you know more about Constitutional law than she does.
There are examples of being legally right and morally wrong. Without taking sides on the issues, they could be the death penalty, abortion, slavery, who can vote, who can ride on a bus or use a drinking fountain, letting friends drive drunk . . .
If the city had NO intention of allowing Oak Grove to be developed, why did they negotiate and sign an agreement? You can read what the court had to say about this latest appeal; all the legalese is there to say the Lins are wrong. It still doesn't feel right.
Kathleen wrote : "If the city had NO intention of allowing Oak Grove to be developed, why did they negotiate and sign an agreement? You can read what the court had to say about this latest appeal; all the legalese is there to say the Lins are wrong. It still doesn't feel right."
It's my understanding that the "agreement" in question (ordinance #1961) had specific language in it saying that it was void if opposed by voters in a referendum. So the agreement you are referring to was a conditional agreement. There was never and cut-and-dried finalized agreement for going ahead with Oak Grove.
If I read it correctly, Sam, it was 1961 that we voted on, but the agreement was part of 1962. Then it gets more complicated as the links between 1961 and 1962 are tenuous and the reach into the agreement seems a stretch. But I'm not a lawyer; I could be totally wrong. And the voters said their piece. And the courts have had their say. Understanding even that much doesn't make me feel any better about taking property rights from someone else (P.J. O'Rourke's Parliament of Whores covers the topic well).
Well if Kathleen's moral compass doesn't feel right, then that must be the basis of our property rights and our US constitution. Perhaps as the Supreme Court is deciding Gay Marriage, one of the justices should call her up to find out if it "feels right" to her, then make their decision from there.
I have to correct a few errors on Kathleen's part, the lower KR development was a land sale to a home builder called Westbrook. The Lins did NOT build these homes. Remember they are land speculators, they buy and hold land, they contribute to political campaigns and they hired high priced attorneys to sue citizens and cities like Pleasanton.
The hillside property is and was zoned 1 house per 5 acres - rural. This is NOT the type of development that was proposed.
The Lin/Tong group donated generously to 3 of the previous city council members, 3 of the 4 that originally voted in favor of the development. Political? yes.
Lastly, the photos of Yes on Oak Grove showed people walking the tops of green hills, but it was very misleading. The photo was taken on a hilltop which would be cut off and a mega mansion placed there. You were never going to hike on that unless you purchased the lot.
Kathleen, you sound nice, but you were lied to by the developer, and when you are presented with the facts, you refuse to listen, learn and accept that you were lied to. Stop relying on your feelings and accept the truth.
I'd tell the justices I was for equal rights, but I don't imagine anyone will call.
If you read everything Shawn, I said I don't have a dog in the fight. And I said it was entirely possible the Lins owned the land my house sits on (and I would never let them build for me again if that is the case.)
You don't have to share or like my opinion. There is development all over Pleasanton on hills. This, to me, did not seem out of line with other developments and plenty of space would have been preserved (and 11 whole parking spaces!) and available to the community. It doesn't matter if the Lins built or sold or were not involved in Kottinger Ranch. Voters decided there was some magic line after KR, after Ruby Hill, after Foothill Road. Wasn't it nice that someone invited me to over to KR so I could participate in their view?
Kath- stand on the Bernal park land and look South. You will enjoy the crowning victory of the majority of voters, our southern and southeast ridges!!
And Pleeeeze never run for political office in this town. You would ruin the greatness we all enjoy just so you could hike on someone else's land. Wise or leadership? No.
Stay at home and blog, then whine because you didn't get your trail. You were in the minority even though the Lins spent 2/3 of a million dollars trying to sway voters, thousands more on political campaigns for elected officials in the past, and high priced bullying attorneys.
This is a victory for the citizens, the little guy, the David to the Goliath.
I already served in a political office. Even if I did do it again (not), I would be one voice (albeit with a title), just as I am now.
This was about a loss to the community, not just me. Don't we love to say the other side is in the minority when, in this case, your side wins? The voters spoke, the Lins continue to lose, and life goes on. I've only expressed my personal opinion that this victory feels hollow when we've selfishly voted away the rights of others without compensation. You realize, I am certain, this vista you like so well cost someone else.
No, Kathleen, I think "the little guy" was suggesting you NOT run. I guess you must have misunderstood him.
Yes, perhaps it is all but wishful thinking to think this is about a loss to the community, and not just you. The latter hasn't been put to a vote yet. Have no fear, however. Should the community vote to lose you, too, I'll come on here and let my voice be heard.
I understood, Phil. I was merely pointing out that being in office still only allows you one voice/one vote.
We have taken something that is not ours without compensation to the owner, and so far that has been determined to be legal. Still, there are many other places I can, and do, go. This was never about me; it was not even about the Lins. I wouldn't want it to happen to you either.