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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Answering questions from my last blog on the cemetery

Uploaded: Sep 8, 2014

My last blog on Vice Mayor Phil O'Loane's objections to the cemetery in Tassajara Valley brought out some comments that I want to reply to. My answers are long enough for a new blog, so I figured I'd make this a follow up to my last blog to explain why I believe Phil is playing politics with the cemetery.

One Danville resident three miles away in Alamo Creek said it would lower her property values. Property values go up and down depending on the market. Real estate is cyclical. If property values are down, just wait a few years and they will go back up. For example there's a house in south San Ramon near the 405 Freeway listed for double the price it sold for in 2012.

The Alamo Creek lady questioned my claim that "Many residents in this area want a cemetery nearby." "Well, Roz, I didn't see the 'many' residents at the San Ramon City Council Informational Session in June get up and speak about how they would like a cemetery in the Tassajara Valley. BUT I DID SEE more than 'many' residents speak against the so-called cemetery development."

That's because that so-called Informational Workshop was staged. The attendees were all prepared to speak out against the cemetery and said pretty much the same things. No one who was for the cemetery was invited.

The Chinese residents of Dougherty Valley are culturally opposed to living near a cemetery. If they are so opposed, they should move, but I still don't get why some non-Asian residents of Danville are opposed to a cemetery located miles away from their residential neighborhoods. As I pointed out above there are worse things to live near, but so many people want to live in San Ramon even those homes still sell for outlandish amounts.

The Alamo Creek resident should know that the Tassajara Parks development is planning 152 homes next door to Alamo Creek. You might want to focus your discontent closer to home.

A poster named "Citizen" brought up the defeat of Measure W. "Most of the voters were longtime residents living on the west Side of San Ramon who were already fed up with the decade long development in the Dougherty Valley and did not want any more in the city or adjacent to the city."

The No on W campaign used scare tactics about an obsolete plan for 4000 houses to get it defeated. I've been criticized for bringing back that possibility in my last blog, and yet that's exactly what the No on Measure W campaign ran on. It wasn't San Ramon's City Government that considered the original 4000 homes in Tassajara Valley. It was Contra Costa County.

Dougherty Valley was developed by Contra Costa County, which permitted 3000 more homes than San Ramon would have allowed. That's why Measure W included moving our Urban Growth Boundary into Tassajara Valley, to keep the County from having total control over whatever happens out there. If you didn't like the way Dougherty Valley was developed, that was a major reason to vote FOR Measure W.

A person posting as "Hiker" asked, "What IS the job of a politician? To cram something damaging and unneeded down the throats of residents in order to appease developers?" No, the job of a politician is to get elected.

The job of an elected official is to follow State Laws and protocols. A City Councilman is elected to keep the City running smoothly, prepare a budget that is realistic while protecting citizens from potential or unexpected hazards, and to keep spending from going over the budget.

You may have noticed that cities like Stockton, where expenses exceed revenues, go bankrupt. That means some development is necessary because development is a big source of revenue for cities and counties. The quality of life of the city you live in is often based on the quality of the developments in that city.

Also, and this is the important part, property owners have rights. A city or county cannot prevent a property owner from doing something on his or her property if it is within his or her rights.

A cemetery is a permitted use for Sid Corrie's property in Tassajara Valley. The County Supervisors cannot prevent it on the basis of zoning or being outside their Urban Limit Line because it is not considered an urban development.

Bill and Harriet Newman who live next door to Corrie's property claim the mortuary building is too big and the plans to cut a ridgeline to add an upper level make this development too urban for that area. I visited the Newmans four years ago and I agree with those two complaints.

That does not mean a cemetery can be prevented. It means those aspects can be "mitigated" by making the mortuary building smaller and not allowing the ridgeline to be flattened for the upper level. I favor both of those mitigations.

I see no point in opposing this cemetery other than for political gain. It is a permitted use and there's no reason why a handful of even 450 out of 72,000 residents of San Ramon, should be so vocally opposed to something that in my opinion is a benign use of the property.

Elected officials walk a thin line between what the public wants or doesn't want and the legal rights of property owners. Since this property is under Contra Costa County jurisdiction, San Ramon's Vice Mayor Phil O'Loane has no authority to make any changes unless he runs for County Supervisor.

And, yes, I am speculating that Phil is planning to run for County Supervisor. If he is not, maybe I'm giving him the idea.

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 6:45 am

1. Alamo Creek is not in Danville.
2. It's Holly Newman not "Harriet"
3. The cemetery will permanently damage the property values near it; that is not a cyclical issue. In many cases, people can't just "wait a few years" to sell their house. Why would waiting a few years help anyway?
4. "No one who was for the cemetery was invited." What in the world does that mean? This was a public meeting of the City Council. No one was "invited" any citizen could come.
5. "I see no point in opposing this cemetery other than for political gain." Once again, you are being completely disingenuous.
6. "Also, and this is the important part, property owners have rights." Is this the Onion I am reading?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 8:14 am

Yeah, voting on Measure W didn't really help but some of us tried. The Dougherty valley is, from my vantage point, an ugly mess of OVER housing and cannot be changed, unfortunately.

-The cemetery will go forward as planned and I hope it does.
-Key issues will be mitigated.
-The PRIMARY issue IS indeed dissent by Asians and fear of living close to a cemetery.
-The property values WILL NOT fall (except it will eliminate SOME Asian buyers interest...what world does "hiker" live in when it comes to local real estate? One can only wonder...

It's a "done" deal really.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 8:40 am

Ms. Bunny,

If "key issues were mitigated" the project would be shrunk to such a small size it would no longer be economically viable and would never be built. Remember this is a for-profit cemetery.

There's also no reason to believe it's economically viable AS PROPOSED or would ever be built. Since, you know, there is actually plenty of cemetery space in much more accessible locations. But that's a separate issue.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of another community,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 9:15 am

Not all Asian are opposed to living near a cemetery. Please name the groups of Asians who are opposed.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 9:46 am

Cholo,

All of San Ramon is opposed to living next to a cemetery. That's why when they tried to build a cemetery within the San Ramon city limits, there was a citizen uprising and the plan was scuttled immediately. That was before the development of Dougherty Valley.

Why you and Ms. Bunny are so obsessed with turning this into a racial issue is beyond me. Honestly, this obsession with race is a little un-nerving. I wish Roz would stand up against the race-baiting that goes on in comments. It shames our community.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Bob P, a resident of another community,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 9:46 am

I am curious about how much staff time and expense was/is being spent on this issue in San Ramon, particularly since it is not an issue that the San Ramon City Council can make a decision about?

Also, did the two City Council members who attended this 'informational' session do so as concerned citizens or elected officials, who get paid for such meetings?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 9:53 am

Ummmm... Bob.... Nice to see you posting again!

Did you know that in 2005 the San Ramon City Council passed a resolution in support of the cemetery? So the City Council back then got involved. Why did they do that?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 10:38 am

Hiker...It does seem like you came "on board" here rather late in the conversation, otherwise you'd KNOW that "all of San Ramon" is NOT "opposed to living next to a cemetery". You would also realize the several major issues as to height and water can be mitigated STILL. IF you had been here at the inception of this conversation? You would also know that at the beginning it was CLEARLY Asian dissenters that expressly aired here about living close to a cemetery being both bad "luck" and against their beliefs in general.

I call a "spade a spade" and I'M NOT THE ONE making it a racial issue, rather? The several Asians who have initially blogged here HAVE...Again, you're "late to the party" It's catch up time for you...


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 10:48 am

Ms. Bunny,

I have read all of your comments on this issue. I frankly couldn't believe them. I can't imagine what people think about our community with comments like yours.

There was a cemetery proposed already in San Ramon. This was before Dougherty Valley was built out. Why didn't the residents of San Ramon applaud the cemetery at that time? If they so desperately want a cemetery nearby, why oppose that one?

I don't understand why the cemetery resolution was passed by the City Council in 2005, but the we've heard nothing since. Why hasn't the City Council passed a new resolution in support of a much-needed cemetery, if the citizens of San Ramon are so in favor of one?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Bob P, a resident of another community,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 11:04 am

Hiker, I believe the proposed cemetery in 2005 was in the Old Ranch area? Last I looked that was within San Ramon's City Limits.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 11:14 am

No Bob. The 2005 resolution was for the graveyard we are all talking about. In 2005 the City Council of San Ramon passed a resolution in favor of building a cemetery in the Tassajara Valley. THAT is the issue before the City Council in 2014, their resolution from 2005.

BEFORE THAT a cemetery planned inside city limits was scuttled after outraged citizens fought back. Just like they are doing now. There are more people live in San Ramon now than then, and the demographics may have changed a bit, but nothing else has.

Ms. Bunny wants to make this into a racial issue. But San Ramon is still San Ramon no matter what's served on the dinner table. People move to San Ramon and love San Ramon for the same reasons, no matter where they or their parents were born.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Sorry Rosalind, my mistake. "Harriet" is correct for Mrs. Newman (as is "Holly").


 +  Like this comment
Posted by SR_Resident, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Invitation to the hike was distributed door to door for everybody to participate. It makes no sense to say that 'No one for the cemetery was invited'. This in itself could tell people that you are not informed enough Roz.

Another disturbing mention there that this workshop was staged!!! is this write from you staged??? you seem to have absolute disregard to thousands of people living in the are so close to the proposed project. If people are that much in love of a cemetery.. they can have one in their backyard... that's owners rights as well!!

Property values are cyclical!! yes that's no rocket science... but if a MEGA 60 acre cemetery borders your neighborhood, it doesn't need any science.. I myself would never want to buy a home next to such a big commercial project of any kind... leave alone cemetery..

Sorry Roz, your blog is totally biased...you are talking about Phil's intentions... whats in it for you to write such a blog??


 +  Like this comment
Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 2:55 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

I just saw all the comments in my email. Here are my answers to Hiker's comments.

1. Alamo Creek is not in Danville.

Correct, it next to Danville, but the message was identified as "a resident of Danville." I asked planners there what they were doing about New Farm. The Senior Planner said they didn't object to it. The new New Farm is Tassajara Hills, and the housing plan has about tripled for the property next to Alamo Creek.

2. It's Holly Newman not "Harriet"

She prefers Holly, but her given name is Harriet. Maybe you don't know everything you think you know.

3. The cemetery will permanently damage the property values near it; that is not a cyclical issue. In many cases, people can't just "wait a few years" to sell their house. Why would waiting a few years help anyway?

You haven't noticed that property values sky rocketed last year and are still very high. Real Estate is cyclical. It goes up, it goes down, it goes up again. If you buy your home during the up cycle, it will probably drop below that during a low cycle. It has nothing to do with a cemetery miles away or being right next to the 405 freeway.

4. "No one who was for the cemetery was invited." What in the world does that mean? This was a public meeting of the City Council. No one was "invited" any citizen could come.

This was NOT a City Council meeting. Only two Councilmembers were present, so there was no quorum. This was a staged Gripe Fest to keep the cemetery from being built. The Chinese residents of Dougherty Valley all came prepared, not only with speeches, but with Dinner!
It was "billed" as an Informational Session, not as "Tell use if you are for or against the cemetery." All of the people AGAINST it knew what it was for!

5. "I see no point in opposing this cemetery other than for political gain." Once again, you are being completely disingenuous.- Huh?

6. "Also, and this is the important part, property owners have rights." Is this the Onion I am reading?

Oh you don't know about "property rights," or you don't believe in them. Developers have rights and if they are prevented from developing their property within the allowed uses, they can sue and often win. Ask a lawyer.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 3:02 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Cholo,

Read my blog on "Cemetery Gripe Fest" Web Link The original group opposing the cemetery are mostly Chinese immigrants living in Dougherty Valley. This was a staged event to publicize their objections.

Roz


 +  Like this comment
Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 3:11 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Hiker,

You said, "All of San Ramon is opposed to living next to a cemetery. That's why when they tried to build a cemetery within the San Ramon city limits, there was a citizen uprising and the plan was scuttled immediately. That was before the development of Dougherty Valley."

All of San Ramon is NOT opposed to the cemetery in Tassajara Valley. The cemetery proposed for Old Ranch Road was near the Senior Center. Some seniors and residents living on or near Old Ranch Road opposed putting a cemetery there. Very few residents not living near there even paid attention to the proposal.

Tim Hunt is right, San Ramon is a city of NIMBYs. Residents object to almost everything proposed nearby. A few years ago a big crowd came out to object adding another road off of Old Ranch near Alcosta. It was put in, people moved in, and nothing terrible happened to all of the people who complained it would ruin their property values!

Roz


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Rosalind, the point is that property values will be depressed from where they would have been without a cemetery. This has nothing to do with overall gyrations in the housing market.

I said "public meeting of the City Council" not "City Council meeting with a quorum". Officially it was a "City Council Workshop."

I'm sorry if San Ramon citizens offended you by eating dinner at 7 pm. My guess is that a lot of people arrived after the meeting after a long commute from work and were quite hungry.

No one has a right to destroy the environment in order to build a massive cemetery on agricultural land. The planning commission/board of supervisors have the power to grant a "special use permit" to do so. But it's not some absolute right.

Anyone can sue anyone for anything if they can afford the lawyers; what does that prove?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Citizen, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 3:28 pm

'Informational Workshop was staged' How did you show up there ??- Were you the stage director - You were the first one and was called to speak first. And how come you were able to get 350 plus people to act ??


 +  Like this comment
Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 3:48 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Bob,

Nice that you still keep in touch. Please move back. We need you!

SR Resident,

Once again this shows how some people need reading comprehension lessons. My comment about "No one against it invited," referred to the so called "Informational Session" about the cemetery. This was staged to bring only the opposition. Web Link

Also you said the notification for the hike was "distributed door to door." Not on my door or anyone's in my neighborhood. So clearly certain neighborhoods were selected for this hike.

Bob,

It was not a City Council meeting because only Phil and Bill Clarkson were there. They "hosted" the meeting, but I think Bill was blindsided by the hostility of the speakers.

Staff was there. Debbie Chamberlain gave a presentation on the planned cemetery. It might have been the same one used at an earlier Council meeting. I don't think it was prepared just for this one. I think Phil Wong was also there, but I don't know if they were paid overtime for this meeting.

There is a video of the meeting on the City's website. I have been told I embarrassed myself with my incoherent outburst at the meeting, but I was ready to explode from all of the total ignorance I heard for an hour and a half that no one on the dais bothered to answer or address.

As you know, ignorance of the FACTS and the LAW are two things I take as my mission to correct. I also do not like people being manipulated by false and emotion-based balderdash. Phil is doing a number on these people and I find it exploitative and offensive. So those are my motives for writing these blogs.

I really don't care about the cemetery. I am neither for it or against it. I am for Property Rights and I am for business and and development with limitations.

For some reason Hiker believes his opposition or Phil's opposition, or even the opposition of everyone living in Dougherty Valley will make this cemetery go away. It won't. Right now the law is on Sid Corrie's side. I'm not saying that's good or bad. It's just true.

Hiker you suggested that if the cemetery is mitigated enough it won't be profitable anymore. Now that's logical thinking. I don't think it would work, but at least it is looking it the problem sensibly. The other possibility I have suggested is to raise enough money to buy the property.

The cemetery should be mitigated. I've already said I don't like cutting that ridge down for the upper level or building a gigantic mortuary. Both of those things could be reduced and the number of graves could be cut at least in half. This does not have to be all or nothing.

Roz


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Rosalind,

"Right now the law is on Sid Corrie's side."

I get that's the new talking point. It used to be "this is NEEDED". Then it was proved that there is no need for the cemetery. It's not even commercially viable.

Then "it will improve the land, more beautiful than ever! cemeteries are gorgeous!". Then people realized the environmental impact and how absolutely ugly all of those structures and concrete would be. Getting 450 people up on that ridge to see for themselves made a big difference.

Now "nothing we can do, it is his RIGHT as a landowner!" with its implicit (empty) threat of endless litigation.

The arguments shift, day by day. But they are all hollow nonsense.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Citizen, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Roz-

1. NIMBY - The very fact we are called NIMBY is that something bad is being pushed on to us knowingly. Tassajara Valley is Dougherty Valley's backyard. If it deteriorates then it will impact rest of San Ramon negatively. So all of us have to be NIMBYs.

2. Cemetery use in an Agri land is a compatible use not an 'allowed' or 'permitted' use. If it was a 'Permitted use' like you had mentionmed there is no need for an application for 'Special Use Permit'.

3. Can some of the home owners can ask the City to convert their homes to a 'liquor store' or 'laundromat' as they have property rights without due regard to the neighbors. My car is designed and manufactured to drive upto 160 MPH speed. Does it mean that I can start racing in the streets and highways at 160 MPH without due regard to the local speed limits and other fellow drivers safety.

Please use some logic and common sense in a public blog



 +  Like this comment
Posted by Bob P, a resident of another community,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Roz, I keep in touch because I still have family and friends living in San Ramon. I miss the area, and I miss the people. I do love where I live now though, although I am not nearly involved as I was when I lived in San Ramon.

I have dealt with the attitudes of a few vocal people in San Ramon before. I would not use the term NIMBY, but many are opposed based on illogical arguments and they emotionally react to rhetoric and fear mongering of the politically motivated.

Property owners rights are important, they are legally protected. If the cemetary doesn't get built, then houses are a permitted use in the agricultural zoned area. That is a fact. Now, Sid Corrie or any land owner for that matter, can't build whatever they want, they have to follow the law and everyone knows that.

The property value argument is always brought out, with no basis in fact. This proposed cemetary brings out very emotional reactions from those opposed to it, and it always has.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 4:59 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Citizen,

Now you are the one being disingenuous. Your #3 is just plain silly and not worth an answer. Your #1 speaks for itself.

#2 is a valid question. I have not researched the difference between "compatible use" and "allowed" use," but I do know that a "Special Use Permit," is not hard to get. It isn't the same as a zoning change or exception.

Bob Patrino was on the Planning Commission and might know if a Special Use Permit can be granted by the Planning Dept. or if it requires a vote by the Planning Commission or Supervisors. I'm pretty sure it does not go to the Supervisors.

Roz


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Citizen, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Roz

So per your reply for # 1 we agree that I am a Nimby and a bad thing is being pushed on us


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Citizen,

What makes me sad is how all of these "insiders" (former politicians, former city officials, bloggers) always side with the land speculators. The average citizen is the bad one, the person protecting his home and family is the enemy. The land speculator is the one with the property rights that need to be protected. Never is there any concern for us.

If we band together to fight, we are just pawns in some politician's grand game. If we speak out, our voices are meaningless. Our words were just put in our mouths by someone else.

We aren't even allowed to provide food for each other if we are hungry!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by LBV, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 11:15 pm

I have been using ?Danville? to post, as Alamo Creek is located in what has been referred to as "unincorporated Danville", under the jurisdiction of Contra Costa County and there is no ?unincorporated Danville?on the pull-down menu for the comments section.

As to property values not being affected if one is living near a massive commercial burial site or, for example, a jail, sewage plant or rubbish dump, and only being related to a cyclical real estate market, then please show me the data on that research, Roz, since you write as one that presents herself to be an expert on the real estate market?s price fluctuations. I would like to see all or any research that has been done on developing a massive140,000 burial plot cemetery next to one of the most affluent suburban areas in the country and its effect on the property values. And on a side note, all you have to do is look at the rules of the "Monopoly City" game and you can see that, "If another player builds a hazard in one of your districts, all of the residential buildings in that district become worthless and do not count towards the rent value of that district." This is a game based on real life building development. The hazards include: a power station, prison, rubbish dump, and sewage plant. But a large commercial urban cemetery could easily be one of those ?hazards? in this game that makes residential buildings have far less value. In my opinion, the proposed massive urban development is an environmental and aesthetic hazard in every sense, just like the Monopoly City hazards that players are trying to avoid.

As for your horrific comments saying that the Chinese and Chinese American population that has moved in to the area (with no knowledge about what would possibly be developed within a few miles of them), that is completely discriminatory. America is an amazing melting pot of wonderful cultures and to tell people of a different origin or culture to just move if they don't like it is completely below the belt and completely disgusts me. The Chinese and Chinese Americans living in the Dougherty Valley who are paying taxes and living here legally have as much of a right to speak out against something they don?t want to be developed near their home as anyone. And they shouldn?t be told as an ethnic group to move from their homes if they don?t like it. That is quite a racist comment. Will Pleasanton Weekly approve of your racist blog that also includes false information presented as fact? These days you cannot just write whatever is going through your head in public media or even ?private? emails for that matter.

And to say that the SR Informational meeting in June was staged and that, "No one who was for the cemetery was invited? is COMPLETELY ludicrous and absurd. It was a well known fact that ANYONE could come and listen to what was happening and ANYONE could fill out a card to speak to the public. It was not "invitation only?. You appear to be upset that the ?many? that you have referred to that are allegedly not opposed to the cemetery did not speak up at this meeting. This is such a blatant lie. Your credibility as a blogger is going down the tubes here.

And in terms of where I should focus my attention, I can focus my attention on whatever I choose, be it the Tassajara Parks Development or the Creekside Memorial Park ?Cemetery" or the atrocities in South Sudan. But, quite frankly, your chosen word of my ?discontent" with the possible development of the Creekside Memorial Park is an understated word for what I feel about this.

And although YOU state that ?...property owners have rights. A city or county cannot prevent a property owner from doing something on his or her property if it is within his or her rights,? that is only true to a certain extent. In this case the County CAN prevent Sid Corrie from developing a massive urban burial site on this property, as the Contra Costa County Supervisors would have to issue him a Special Land Use Permit to do so, since this land is currently designated for Agricultural purposes. Hopefully the CCC Supervisors will do the right thing for this community and not allow this to be developed, as they will certainly have A LOT of unhappy constituents at the next county election.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 1:12 am

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

LBV,

I'm not trying to belittle anyone. I was hoping to calm everyone down but I seem to have made your fears even worse. So far nothing has happened. So far no cemetery has been built. So far it has been almost ten years and there is no cemetery there and one is not even close to being started.

I did not intend to demean any of the Chinese residents who are concerned about the cemetery. However, this group of residents opposed the cemetery for "cultural" reasons. This is what the speakers at the Informational Meeting said themselves.

You certainly have the right to protest and make your opinions known to the City Council and County Supervisors. But I consider a lot of this opposition to a cemetery that hasn't been built or even started to be out of proportion to whatever may or may not be put on that property.

As I pointed out and even you pointed out, there are worse things to be living near, e.g. a sewage processing plant or a freeway, and the houses nearby still sell for very high prices in a hot market. The one next door to mine sold a few months ago for over $800K, which is very high for this neighborhood.

Monopoly is a game. It was developed 80 years ago during the depression. It is based on Atlantic City. I don't know anything about the real estate market in Atlantic City in 2014, but I'm willing to bet it isn't the same as it was in 1934.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by redtail, a resident of Blackhawk,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 6:48 am

Dear Sid Corrie:

Consider giving up the cemetery idea. The surrounding community hates this idea, and it will never be welcome. You do not seem to have the water issues that other CA landowners are facing right now, so why not build your seven wells, and devote that land to an agricultural use? I would think it would be profitable during this severe drought period. As much as it pains me to say it, eventually, the urban growth boundary will be extended into our beautiful Tassajara Valley, and it will be developed with homes. You or your decedents can cash in then.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 8:29 am

Well HIKER, all I can say is you're living in a "bubble" of deception. Your own in believing this viable project is simply unwanted in San Ramon.
You also think you're clever in attempting to take my comments regarding the Asian dissension and MISREPRESENTING TRUTH, that I'm the ORIGINATOR of their long held beliefs, upset and concern. You say you've read all I've written? Clearly, this is not so.

This marks you as a speaker/writer in my estimation? As a person who clearly, has their head buried deeply "in the sand". Who is unable to face truth, deal with it and discuss as an adult. You honestly make me laugh when you state you're "protecting" your home in opposition of this project. "Protecting" from what? The dead and gone? How sad. Sorry you feel so dejected as to consider yourself a "pawn" here. That's REALLY sad.

Perhaps a day will come when you truly can express yourself better than you have since hopping on to this blog. Because for now? You're just, well, "hot air".


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 8:35 am

You "demean" no one Roz. People of culture, ALL cultures, have their own set of fears, superstitions, beliefs, etc. It's basic fact: they are fearful of living next to a cemetery or eyeing one from their home. Nothing mysterious, racial or prejudice about TRUTH AS THEY HAVE STATED IT.

I hope you continue to be the voice of reason and realize, as I do, that this is a county project that has spent seven years coming to fruition and if it can be mitigated as to memorial (statuary) height and water and ingress/egress? It will add a lovely dimension to what is currently nothing more than a stretch of buildings as far as the eye can see when one views Dougherty from the top of Bollinger. A very sad sight; we know it got out of hand in housing so short of building nothing and creating a park (my choice) this IS a viable alternative and choice of land utilization on Mr. Corrie's part. I wish him continued luck in his pursuit and hope he is listening to suggested measures of mitigation.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by LBV, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 9:15 am

Monopoly City is a different game than the original Monopoly. It was real released in 2009, not 1934, and is not based on a 1930's real estate market.

And whether or not you intended to demean the Chinese and Chinese Americans in our community, you certainly did by telling them that their option is to move away. Should we tell the Jews in Alamo Creek that don't like the proposed massive development that they should also move away?

As for not trying to make things worse with this complex and sensitive issue, you certainly are. Especially because you are writing as though this is a factual news blog on your part and most of what you write has no basis in fact and has no supporting evidence.

Therefore, your blog is misleading to those reading it because it is just your thoughts without any backup information provided.


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Posted by LBV, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 9:22 am

And I NEVER said there are worse things to be living next to like a sewage plant or a freeway. Read what I said please. I SAID a massive commercial cemetery near residential I buildings could be seen as being in the same category of hazards as, for example, a jail, rubbish dump or sewage plant. You are changing what I say when you respond to my comments. Therefore, I DID NOT say there say there are worse things to be living next to than this massive urban monstrosity.


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Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 10:00 am

I think my favorite comment from HIKER is, "no one has the right to destroy the environment in order to build a massive cemetery on agricultural land".

-But it's okay if it's massive, ugly, concrete WALL TO WALL housing?
-And okay if it's high rise heat-retaining commercial or educational or religious buildings, etc?

Yeah. I'm sure you get my drift here (-what world does this person LIVE IN?)

The GREATEST damage to the Dougherty valley, stepchild to San Ramon at this time is the damage done by OVER building on housing - PERIOD. Both in the NUMBER built and in the failure to provide MORE paths, if not more mature trees AND vegetation TO BEGIN WITH.

I soooooooooooooooo doubt a cemetery will make it uglier than it already IS and quite honestly, will give a better visual and aesthetic diversive look compared to what it looks like NOW.


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Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 11:43 am

Ms. Bunny,

I hate to break it to you, but the Dougherty Valley is part of San Ramon. Those houses you hate so much are filled with tax-paying families. The schools are filled with real-life children. There are more houses still being built in Dougherty Valley and they will soon be filled with even more families.

These are San Ramon citizens whether you like the style of homes or not. These are San Ramon citizens whether you like their ethnic heritage or not.


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Posted by Bob P, a resident of another community,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Hiker, I suggest you re-read what Ms Bunny wrote. I don't think she inferred that Dougherty Valley was not part of San Ramon. She called that area a "step child" of San Ramon, and that was exactly what we feared when that massive county led development was born.

Hiker, you have knowledge, and you use it to your own best advantage. Congrats to you for being able to paint your picture, for which I assume, you are choosing the most vivid and visible colors. The issue I have is that you are painting a Dali, when what people need is a blue print. Facts vs emotional rhetoric.


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Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Bob,

If you wish to defend Ms. Bunny, it is your right, but I suggest you read some of the other things she's written on other threads on this issue. It's not pretty. In fact, it's shameful stuff completely against the spirit of San Ramon.

The San Ramon of today looks a lot different from the San Ramon of 20 years ago. I for one am proud as hell to be part of this diverse community.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by redtail, a resident of Blackhawk,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Dear Sid Corrie:

Do not build a graveyard on your beautiful land. Your land is too pretty, and the location too ideal to be wasted on the dead. I can only imagine the amazing views from your parcel. Wait until the land can be developed into a high-end, luxury housing development. The homes will be gorgeous. It may take another good part of your life-time, but it will happen eventually. Once a cemetery goes in, it will be hard to move, and I am willing to bet the county has bigger plans for the valley.


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Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 2:25 pm

You HIKER have serious issues with fact, truth and reality. This ISN'T about "past issues" This is about CREEKSIDE MEMORIAL PARK to come. Get a grip. BTW "kid" I've lived here 35 years and watch and participated in its maturation to date. Something I doubt you can say truthfully. Aside from this?

Your childish rhetoric that this matter is about "diversity" is ridiculous(please, my last 20 years was working for an institution well versed in diversity and I was a part of it) This issue is about a man who would develop his land and meeting adversity head on and all of us dealing with the many issues of support for his rights AS WELL AS mitigating what can be mitigated under the auspices of the COUNTY, and AT THIS POINT IN TIME in regard to a seven year old project that is COMING TO FRUITION.

Now either you're deaf, dumb and blind here? Or you're so incredibly hellbent on your voice being heard you can't "see the forest for the trees" (yeah, that's rich, and a HIKER at that!)


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Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 3:29 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

LVB,

I didn't know there's a new version of Monopoly out. I have not played it in years. It's still a game, not reality.

You say my blog is not factual. Hello? Don't you know that "blogs" are opinions not news. Even some news reports are slanted, in case you haven't watched cable TV lately.

Well I consider living near a sewage pumping station or a freeway WORSE than living miles away from a cemetery. I think most other people would too. But the comment was on property values. You questioned my comment that property values rise and fall in cycles, so I provided examples of properties in locations that MOST buyers would find problematic, which did not lose value in an up market.

Frankly I've had it with you. Go ahead and give yourself ulcers. Have a nervous breakdown. Let irrational fears and superstition make you crazy. I'm done trying to talk some sense into you.

Roz





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Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 3:37 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

I downloaded the Final EIR for the cemetery. It was published in December of last year. All of the objections and/or concerns are answered with mitigations proposed, including Bill and Holly Newman's 33 page letter. Web Link

That means Corrie can start developing the property in accordance with the required mitigations. This appears to be a done deal.

Roz


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Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Roz,

You need to spend a lot more time studying this issue and the county planning process.

If you've only just started reading the EIR after all of these blog posts, I don't know what to say...




 +  Like this comment
Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 5:18 pm

It is YOU HIKER, who needs to understand and grasp the "county planning process" that is all but completed on this project. It really doesn't matter that Roz was late in reading the EIR - she has her facts down pretty good here. Your conjecturing is merely just that: CONJECTURING.

Your inability to accept truth, any of the truth's expressed here BY MANY, makes it clear? You have LITTLE credibility. You are unrealistic and less than authenticate in knowing the full story, even now.

I DO KNOW "what to say" about your statements TO DATE...Just a lot of real "hot air" to many here. Your passion for preservation up to a point was admirable, then you fail to accept and grasp what's been done to date and where this project is at. You stand on righteous indignation that to me and others it's about discrimination. You could not be MORE wrong.

Whether any one likes it or not? The project will come to fruition in one form or another. It is, a DONE DEAL, as I've said oh so often before. The only hope is to mitigate some of the key measures of water usage and statuary height and a few other details. The county knows this. The city knows this. Roz knows this. I know this.

You just don't get where it's at guy. You have my sympathy...


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Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Ms. Bunny,

What is the point of your mis-information campaign? Who are you trying to confuse on this issue?

Have you been following the news coverage of this issue? Maybe open the newspaper or watch TV or listen to the radio... Or read the actual news reporting (and not just the "opinion" blogs) on this very site.


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Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 5:37 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Hiker,

Finally you don't know what to say. Yipee. So please don't continue to kvetch. I have no need to study the issue. It isn't something I'm trying to prevent.

Roz


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Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 5:48 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Hiker,

If you are talking about Joyce Tsi's articles in the CC Times, I sat next to Joyce at the so-called Informational Workshop and give her my copy of Sid Corrie's 2005 plans for Creekside Memorial. So you are welcome that the cub reporter for the Times (they almost always assign a junior person to cover San Ramon), has this background information.

Roz


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Posted by HC Newman, a resident of another community,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Roz,

You are correct that the final EIR for the proposed Creekside Memorial Park cemetery was issued in December 2013, but the project is not "a done deal." The next step is for the Contra Costa County Department of Conservation and Planning to schedule a public hearing before the County Planning Commission. At this hearing, the Planning Department will give their recommendation as to whether a special use permit should be granted to the project as originally proposed, or to the project as described in one of the alternatives in the EIR, or to some other version of the project; the Planning Department could even decide to deny the permit altogether. The date for this meeting has not yet been set. And after the County Planning Commission holds this hearing (or, possibly, multiple hearings) and makes their recommendation, it is almost certain that their decision will be appealed to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors for them to make the final decision. And there will be additional public hearing(s)for the Board of Supervisors.


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Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 7:01 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Thank you Holly for adding this and for your calm, informational tone. I hope you know that I am not for or against the cemetery. I have no stake in it either way. I am just trying to be realistic and logical about it and not carried away by superstition or fear.

There are some legitimate concerns about the cemetery's size, funeral processions, and buildings. I am all for keeping these under control. You and your husband and your neighbors have legitimate reasons for opposing the cemetery, but some of the others I've seen do not make any sense to me.

Roz


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Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 7:06 pm

No, I was talking about the recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle. And the reports on two local TV stations. And the KQED radio report. And the many articles in the Contra Costa Times and this very website.

If this is a done deal, why are all of these media outlets still covering this story? Why are they sending out TV crews to the proposed cemetery site? Why don't they know it's a "done deal"?



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Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Your choice of "kvetch" say's it all about HIKER Roz (sigh) -And while HCN is correct about the formality of a public hearing? I still say -

This project WILL go forth. Yet I also believe? Mr. Corrie is "taking into consideration" ALL that has been said according to the "pipeline(s)" of information to date.

I believe all is going to work out well in the long run, better than some expect really.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by LT Resident, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 10, 2014 at 6:17 am

What makes you think that Phil O'Loane will run for Supervisor against Candace? A big cut in pay and way more aggravation. I don't see it happening.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Bob P, a resident of another community,
on Sep 10, 2014 at 6:23 am

It's important to remember that there hasn't even been a public hearing in Martinez on this project. There is a long way to go on this one.

In looking at the documentation on the web, I see a variance being applied for and the need for a land use permit. I don't see any reference to a "special use permit", like was mentioned in some of the comments here.

There will need to be a COUNTY Planning Commission hearing on this, and a public hearing as well. Remember, this is not being planned in San Ramon, so there will probably NOT be 10 public hearings, 15 study sessions, 12 special meetings and an appeal and 3 City Council meetings on the matter. I suspect you will get maybe 2 COUNTY Planning Commission Meetings on this.


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Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 10, 2014 at 8:26 am

I'm far more concerned about the impact of Faria Preserve and the semi-final city approval just rendered for 740 housing units in a highly sensitive area, at this point in time, than Creekside...by far. I think it's pretty clear once again, county "clout" and developer rights trump our city in most given aspects when it comes to San Ramon. This framework has really been "set in stone" unfortunately, for years now (sigh)


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Posted by Peter Kluget, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 10, 2014 at 4:53 pm

The only studies of the effect of cemeteries on property values that I am aware of were published by N.R. Netusil based on analyses focused on the Portland area, and found a 3.5% decrease in expected property values for homes within 1/2 mile of cemeteries. I am not aware of any data regarding effects on the value of homes further away than that. It is a far cry from a jail or sewage plant. (Not to mention that the reason for nearby sewage plants depressing property values are rational, while the opposition to cemeteries is entirely based on superstition.)


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 10, 2014 at 6:38 pm

4,000 homes

$1,000,000 each

3.5%

$140,000,000 loss of value.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Bob P, a resident of another community,
on Sep 10, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Ok Hiker, I give up. What is your calculation referring to? (I think I will probably regret asking)


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 10, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Bob,

Read the message above mine. I didn't post the statistic, I just ran the numbers.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Bob P, a resident of another community,
on Sep 10, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Hiker, I see that. Being a natural skeptic I take nothing at face value. The calculation is a starting point, perhaps. The challenge of using the 'home value decrease' argument is that these studies are very location specific, and very difficult to compare to other areas. In almost every development project that I have been involved with, somebody said that if the development was approved, their property values would be impacted negatively. No definitive study or data was ever produced.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 10, 2014 at 8:24 pm

3.5% is a very conservative estimate when you take into consideration the demographics and the strong emotions involved.

Put it at 1% and you still have $40,000,000.

On a $1,000,000 house 1% is $10K. You don't think "Cemetery next left!" signs at every freeway offramp leading to San Ramon won't affect house values 1%?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Peter Kluget, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 10, 2014 at 9:45 pm

I'm sorry - maybe I was misinformed - how many homes are within 1/2 mile of the proposed cemetery? I thought this was planned for the Tassajara Valley. Given that there are cemeteries in Danville, Lafayette, Piedmont, Los Altos and Palo Alto - among the cities with the highest property values in Northern California - I'm hard pressed to think that having one in the general vicinity will crater property values in San Ramon.

Hiker, a cemetery somewhere in the general vicinity of a home I was thinking of buying would have absolutely no impact on my assessment of it's value. I understand that there are people who believe in ghosts and the like, but in 21st century America I find it depressing to think that there are enough people who think like you to actually affect property values in an entire region because there are dead people (bugga bugga!) buried there.

I seriously doubt that non-1st generation Americans of any ethnic background give a rat's patootie about ancestral superstitions. The Chinese Americans I know (2nd and 3rd generation) couldn't care less about nonsense like this.


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Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 10, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Peter,

You don't seem to understand basic math or economics.

We are not talking about "cratering" property values. We are talking about affecting them on the margin. But if you are talking about a lot of houses, as we are, you are talking about A LOT of money.

You gave us the 3.5% statistic. That's not from me.

There are a lot of problems with this massive, for-profit cemetery that have nothing to do with the "ancestral superstitions" you so gleefully ridicule.

If you think it will have no impact on property values, you are deluded. There's no way to tell how much. Even after it is built, there is no way to compare property values with how they would have been otherwise. The impact may also change over time.

Once again, they tried to build a cemetery right in the middle of San Ramon in 1999. Why was there a citizen uprising that killed the cemetery almost immediately? If everyone wants to live next to a cemetery, why was it quashed so forcefully?




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Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 10, 2014 at 11:10 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Hiker,

You would only have "a lot of houses" if everyone tried to sell at once. That of course would cause property values in those neighborhoods to drop because of seller panic. Buyers would certainly take advantage of such a situation to get the best deal they could. After all the new owners and speculators have bought up all the easy deals, the property values would go back up.

Where is this -3.5% statistic? Is it in California? No according to PK it was in "the Portland area," which I suppose means Portland, Ore. or maybe Portland, ME. Either one is a completely different real estate market and you don't know the facts of this study or the neighborhoods involved, so stop making up scenarios with no basis in reality.


Roz


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Posted by LT Resident , a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 11, 2014 at 6:17 am

Roz,
Why do you think Phil is going to run for Supervisor? He would take a big cut in pay.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 11, 2014 at 6:54 am

Roz,

The point is that a huge cemetery is going to permanently lower demand for property in Dougherty Valley (and probably all of San Ramon). Even if that lower demand only results in a 1% or 2% drop in value, across all of the houses, that is a tremendous amount of money.

Your scenario of panic-selling is not my point at all.

The point about Portland is that they used it as a test case in the study. But the demographics of the East Bay suggest that a cemetery would have a MORE major impact on value than Portland.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Citizen, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 11, 2014 at 8:56 am

Roz and Company

Do you have any studies or research like that one to show property values will not be impacted in the vicinity of a cemetery ???????

Please post it


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 11, 2014 at 9:29 am

Five cities studied the Creekside proposal long before this...
The site was suggested TO Sid Corrie as a viable one, long ago and far away. This is information from a councilmember who knows the full history.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 11, 2014 at 9:33 am

BTW, those who honestly believe their property values will diminish? Think again and this time? Be MORE realistic in authenticating your evidence because from what I see TO date? THIS TOWN is MOST marketable in those desiring to buy here and live here. No cemetery is going to stop the desire to live in a safe community with relatively easy freeway access and very good schools and solid services.

San Ramon is NOT lacking for home buyers whatsoever and hasn't been for sometime with the exception of a year or so during the recessionary period of 2008-2010 or so.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 11, 2014 at 10:02 am

"The site was suggested TO Sid Corrie as a viable one, long ago and far away. This is information from a councilmember who knows the full history."

Yes, that's the fairy tale. The great developer out of the goodness of his heart met the call of his community by offering to develop a cemetery on his precious land. Because there was a dire, desperate need for cemetery space. Even though, 10 years later, there are plenty of plots in the Tri-Valley and surround areas.

Or is it that the mean, evil politicians tricked this poor, naive developer into doing the planning of a cemetery? And now they are trying to double-cross him by denying him the absolute right to do whatever he wants on his property?

The County needs to make wise land-use decisions. Putting a cemetery on that land is not wise. It's completely insane for a host of reasons. Even if someone 10 years ago thought it was a good idea, that doesn't mean it's a good idea today.

The County needs to look forward, not backward. The question is will this cemetery be a good idea 20 or 30 years from now. The answer is obviously no. If the trend towards cremation reverses (extremely unlikely) and the existing cemeteries cannot expand to meet demand, then maybe a new site would need to be found for a new cemetery. But there's no reason to expect a future like that. The fact is, today, no new cemetery is needed, and leaving the Tassajara Valley alone IS needed.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 11, 2014 at 10:28 am

Cholo,

This comment has been removed because it is discriminatory.

Roz


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Posted by Peter Kluget, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 11, 2014 at 10:46 am

Just to clarify, since the data point seems to have been ignored - the Netusil study (Oregon) only found expected value changes ***within 1/2 mile*** of the cemetery. Hiker is positing that enough people are superstitious and hysterical enough that having a cemetery in the general area will lower property values all across town. I'm not aware of any factual basis for such a claim, although my understanding of people who are fundamentally irrational is admittedly limited.

(The Netusil study also found that having trails nearby lowered property values as well, something which might come as a bit of a surprise to neighbors of the Iron Horse trail. Some tweaking of the study protocols might be indicated.)


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 11, 2014 at 10:57 am

Your response is akin to "fire and brimstone" if not cynical and this is unfortunate in light of all that has transpired in getting this project close to fruition. You seem to think "the powers that be" (call them all "politicians" if you like, they aren't...) have deliberated for some years on this project. Apparently? There were SEVERAL pieces of land Mr. Corrie was thinking of developing for this purpose. It was ENCOURAGED by others (and I won't mention names) to consider this particular parcel of land. Mr. Corrie is not naïve, but you certainly are HIKER. I would counter your anti-cemetery remarks with the comments that it is as viable parcel of land as any, if not MORE so for a cemetery. Also? Your "host" of "reasons" fall short (as in? VERY) The valley, as the county supervisors are aware, really needs another burial place considering the population growth experienced, particularly in the last decade. I'm sorry you think this is not the right place, I and many others DO. The cities have done their homework; the counties as well. Clearly, both are looking a tad bit more forward, than you. I would like parts of Tassajara to remain open and free as many would, but that is probably unrealistic IF privately owned and the desire to develop is there. In the meantime? This cemetery should go forth, height and water usage, ingress and egress considered factors to mitigate.

I am HIKER, a REAL hiker and former backpacker of long standing who now spends as much time as possible traveling the US. The cemeteries I've seen in many communities across this country? Are not a blight. Are not a hindrance, but peaceful, quiet and tranquil places of rest for those who have gone before us.

I have no doubt all will be well in this venture, even with further opposition. More people are supportive than you see here on this blog all over San Ramon. I will remain ONE OF THEM.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 11, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Ms. Bunny,

I have no idea what politicians said what to whom 10 years ago. That doesn't matter. It didn't matter then and it doesn't matter now.

The County must make wise land use decisions. Putting a cemetery on that land will have repercussions for the next 100 years. It is not wise land use. It is destructive and unnecessary.

San Ramon residents who support the cemetery have no idea of its size and scope. They assume that the county is building a tiny little public cemetery out there to serve their community. Anyone who looks at the plans and understands what a monstrosity they are planning would oppose this cemetery. It's that simple.

Fortunately for us, the cemetery proposal is absurd on its face. That's why you have to go back 10 years to talk about this and that nonsense, to make this about "property rights," or to attack people for their heritage. This is all weak sauce.

The fact is, that's a horrible location for a cemetery. It's not needed. And the beauty of the Tassajara Valley is something worth preserving.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Bill, a resident of Pleasanton Heights,
on Sep 11, 2014 at 10:02 pm

I used to live right next door to the cemetery in Pleasanton. I liked it. The home values next door don't seem to show any sign of diminished value. I think a lot of people just aren't happy unless they have something to complain about.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 11, 2014 at 11:24 pm

Bill,

Are you talking about Pleasanton Memorial Gardens? The 5-acre cemetery on Sunol Boulevard?

The proposed Creekside Memorial Park is on a 220 acre lot. 24-30 acres of gravesites, plus parking lots, buildings, roads, etc. etc. etc. Right in the middle of untouched agricultural land.

You are comparing apples and oranges.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Mitch, a resident of another community,
on Sep 12, 2014 at 12:32 am

Guessing a lot of people complaining about the cemetery have never even visited one. May I suggest Mountain View Cemetery at the end of Piedmont in Oakland? A truly majestic place, equally great for the living and dead. The Tri Valley should have such a place.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 12, 2014 at 6:51 am

Mitch,

If they want to build a nice cemetery somewhere, they should find a location near a freeway, not a location 20 minutes drive from the closest freeway offramp that will require funeral processions to go by elementary and middle schools. They should find a location with plenty of water access. They should find a location that is already flat, not one that would require tons of grading work. They should find a location that isn't a scenic unspoilt area of open space, so they won't be despoiling natural beauty.

Land use shouldn't be determined based on who has the most political clout. It should be wise, it should be well-thought through. The Tassajara Valley is a very very poor location for a cemetery.

If the Tri-Valley needs another new cemetery (which it doesn't, there are plenty of plots) then an appropriate location should be found.

Creating a for-profit monstrosity in the worst possible location makes no sense. It didn't make sense 10 years ago and it makes less sense now, since cremation rates have risen DRAMATICALLY in the last 10 years.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Conservator, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 12, 2014 at 9:04 am

Hiker,

You continue to site 'funeral processions that go by elementary and middle schools' (i.e. Tassajara Hills, DVMS, Creekside, etc.) as a regular congestive roadway element as the result of a cemetery placed south of these institutions along Camino Tassajara.

While this is a board of opinions with no rational aversion to thinking it must be balanced with facts. Short of the few (thank God) public processions that precede the internment of a police officer, firefighter or other rarified dignitary, can you actually cite the last time you witnessed a long train of civilian vehicles following a hearse where the traffic lights were adverted to allow the it's passage?

I'm not sure how old you are but you have to go back to the 70s and perhaps mid 80s to have seen these processions with any frequency - typically they were on weekends. If you don't believe me, ask a local funeral director for their perspective on organizing a significant procession.

Now, if you were to have stated that you thought that the intermittent visitors to the funeral would have to unfortunately deal with the long processions of parents & players that congregate every weekend and many week nights for sports activities along Camino Tassajara between DVMS and the Mustang soccer complex, you would have an affirmed supporter in this reader. Also, recall that we allow ourselves to suspend all traffic on the same roadway once every year to allow the two-wheelers to use it for a little competitive touring.

I believe that you've been asked a number of times by other contributors to this post if you've actually visited an existing cemetery with any frequency. I think, at least in my opinion and apparently from others, that your contributions would be viewed with greater clarity if you addressed this perspective.


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Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 12, 2014 at 9:25 am

Conservator,

The Draft EIR specifically talks about the funeral processions. Go read it.

The only way this huge cemetery could possibly function would be to serve a very large area. To fill up 100,000-150,000 plots you'd need people coming from all over the Bay Area. However, the vast majority of people have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA where Tassajara Valley is. They've never even heard of it.

Also, this cemetery is very very far away from a freeway offramp.

So you have a situation where people are going to be driving from a funeral service somewhere to the gravesite. All of these people will be driving to somewhere they have never been before that is extremely difficult to find.

What are they going to do? They're going to form ad hoc funeral processions.

You need to look at the proposed location on Google maps. Then do some searches on how to get there from various locations. It is a completely mess. There is a reason why they put large cemeteries next to freeways.

Put the water issue, environmental issue, and open space issues to the side. This is just a terrible, terrible location for a mega-cemetery.


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Posted by Conservator, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 12, 2014 at 11:22 am

Hiker,

You're intentionally avoiding the questions offered and responding with what appear to be repetitive PR factoids which now tends to make me think that you're a paid solicitor as opposed to a local resident. That's ok (at least by me) as I believe that at least 1/2 of the contributors to these posts are of a similar nature. They tend to keep the keep the old timers and the like fairly enthusiastic to continue coming back whether they should or not. I hope my assumptions are wrong on this.

So, I'm curious. How many ad hoc funeral processions have you actually participated in? I've sadly attended many more funerals then I care to count or frankly want to remember. I greatly suspect that you're of an age group that has had no reason to visit a cemetery aside from paying respects to a passed grandparent if at all. I get that, we've all been at that stage of life, as well. Secondly, if I followed your Google search logic regarding ingress and egress to the proposed site, how would I not then find the exact same fault with the existing placement of the Mustang soccer complex? Ever been around DVMS and/or Ballfields drive when they have a 'mega tourney' running? Would that not fall within the same logic stream?

It seems to me that your arguments are strongest regarding water, open space, cultural, bad politics, scale of the project, etc. However, when you grab at any counter-argument that is conceivable to the human mind, for what it's worth, you lose some of the audience that might be fairly open to better appreciating the breadth of your thoughts. To be fair, I can attest to an 'n' of 1...


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Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 12, 2014 at 11:46 am

The funerals I have been to have been at cemeteries located right off of freeway offramps. And they are in locations everyone knows. So everyone just drives there independently.

No one will know where this cemetery is because it is in the middle of nowhere in agricultural land. The road there winds horribly.

The proposed cemetery site is over 3 miles from the Mustang Sports Complex. The Mustang Sports Complex is right near schools and parks. It is a normal use for that area. Everyone who goes to that complex knows where it is. They drive there independently. They don't need to follow each other to find it.

If the cemetery is going to have 100,000 grave sites, and is supposed to last for 100 years, that is 1,000 burials per years. That is 3 per day. That's the math.

There are three possible routes to the cemetery. At least two of the routes go directly by elementary schools.

You act like this cemetery location is a normal road with traffic lights, normal traffic, etc. It's a not. Even if they widen it, it's crazy place to put a cemetery in such a remote location. But of course it's a remote location that is also right next to 4,000 houses. Worst of both worlds.

One of the project objectives, from the PROPONENTS, is that it would be good for funeral processions, this is from the draft EIR:

"To identify a site that is adjacent, on all sides, to an area with a limited number of nearby homes thereby affecting as few people as possible by the daily activities of an operating cemetery facility, and which offers traffic routes for funeral processions that do not go through existing residential subdivisions."

And as I have explained it doesn't meet that criteria at all.

As far as the accusation that I'm being paid to post here, you couldn't pay me enough for this aggravation and dealing with this nonsense. There is a huge group of us fighting this cemetery and it is because we care about our community and we care about what is right.


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Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 12, 2014 at 11:55 am

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Hiker,

You are the last man/woman still arguing over the location of the cemetery. You are going around in circles now and making everyone else dizzy. Go home, take a nap, whatever will happen will happen. You are not going to change anything or anyone's mind by continuing to repeat the same arguments over and over again. Goodbye.

Roz


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Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 12, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Roz,

OK. I thought were were going to use this comment thread to go through the Draft EIR and Final EIR page-by-page. Guess not!


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Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 12, 2014 at 2:18 pm

I'm not getting dizzy, I'm feeling fizzy...even I can get to the cemetery with me eyes closed!


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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