News


OPINION: Lund Ranch decision shows Measure PP works

What we see in hills around Pleasanton will stay the same for generations to come

The decision on Tuesday by the Pleasanton City Council to approve a 43-home development on Lund Ranch II shows that Measure PP works.

It was the first major test of Measure PP, which was approved by voters in 2008 and has since restricted development of housing and commercial structures on steep slopes and within 100 vertical feet of a ridgeline.

Without PP, it's likely that homes would dominate the hills on the 195-acre site. Back in 2002, a developer sought approval for 113 homes. Economic conditions and a change in developers kept that plan from ever moving forward.

In the current proposal, developer Greenbriar Homes Communities first asked to build 50 homes, then downsized to 48 and Tuesday accepted the council's approval of 43. Greenbriar also agreed to split the traffic coming from the new development -- a contentious issue by neighborhoods on either side of Lund Ranch -- to 12 using Lund Ranch Road and the other 31 to use Sunset Creek Way and Sycamore Creek Way to reach Sunol Boulevard.

Besides accepting the conditions of Measure PP to refrain from building on lots on or near a ridgeline, Greenbriar also is donating 177 acres of its property to the city of Pleasanton as open space, an agreement in perpetuity that will allow the development of trails for public use.

The significance of Tuesday's vote extends well beyond Lund Ranch.

The action effectively ends any possibility of a major development in southeast Pleasanton.

Because of Measure PP, the once planned 51-home development in Oak Grove is now limited to 10 homes.

Foley Ranch near Ruby Hill is now limited to 10 homes on its Pleasanton side and no homes on its acreage outside the Urban Growth Boundary.

Al Spotorno's plan for homes on his hillside ranch is also now limited to no more than 10.

All this started years ago when voters stopped proposed housing and commercial projects on the Pleasanton Ridge, including one plan by Six Flags to build a Magic Mountain-type amusement park on the hills off Foothill Road.

That vision, along with Measure PP and the council's reaffirmation of its hillside construction ban, ensures that what we see in the hills around Pleasanton will stay the same for generations to come.

Pleasanton Weekly staff.

Comments

42 people like this
Posted by Vicki LaBarge
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 12, 2016 at 11:15 am

This is a well written opinion on Lund Ranch development. I hope the residents of Pleasanton realize this is a good, well planned development for Pleasanton. The only issue now is that the residents of Bridle Creek and Sycamore Heights do not want to compromise on traffic, they would like all the traffic to exit via Ventana Hills and Mission Park. There is a petition being circulated in Pleasanton right now by this group of residents, I urge all Pleasanton residents to understand the petition is not about saving our hills it is about traffic and a NIMBY attitude by Sycamore Creek and Bridle Creek homeowners. I will not sign the petition and I urge Pleasanton residents to not be fooled by the topic of the petition. If this goes to referendum, we the taxpayers will spend up to 350,000 and that money is better spent on our schools. Thank you.


21 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2016 at 11:23 am

The esteemed editor should look more closely at the "deal" the council gave Greenbriar by approving their project last week. First, they split the development into two parcels. Second, they gave them access for the 12 home section of the project on Lund Ranch Road, violating previous agreements with past councils. Then, they gave them access for a 31 home section of the project to use Sunset Creek Lane, which means extensive grading and earth movement on the hillside, and permits building retaining walls, culverts or bridges, lighting, sidewalks, etc. over a ridge with a grade steeper than 25 degrees. All blatant violations of Measure PP. And the Pleasanton Weekly happily supports this?? With the city staff and Council using a case by case system of how they can violate Measure PP conditions to get a project through, our ridges and hillsides are at risk, and are NOT not being protected by the caretakers we elected to do so. They failed at their opportunity. All of us need to sign the referendum petition to put this project back on the ballot so that the decision comes back to those of us that truly care about these beautiful hills.


31 people like this
Posted by Alexis B
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 12, 2016 at 11:55 am

Well written article. Measure PP is doing a great job and is being respected. We do not need any neighborhoods to use a referendum as a tool to keep traffic from a neighborhood and dump it into another. That referendum is so full of misinformation, and it's so sad that they are using it to mislead Pleasanton citizens. And it could cost Pleasanton tax payers up to $350,000! This development will be built either way and I can't support Sycamore Heights using an expensive and time-consuming petition just to funnel traffic into Mission Hills that is already over-congested.

I will NOT be signing that petition.


20 people like this
Posted by Rita
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jan 12, 2016 at 12:33 pm

I don't live near these hills and my neighborhood is not affected, but I want to save our ridges and hills from any further development.

Why would any intelligent council person state a decision only applies to one project? Go back to school. This decision sets a precident which will be used all over town.

Call Six Flags, this council can break the rules and feel good about it! Jeesh.


35 people like this
Posted by Alexis B
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 12, 2016 at 4:24 pm

Rita this can affect so many neighborhoods. Imagine this: You live in a neighborhood like Mission Hills (Average home value around 700-900K) with tons of cut-through traffic, very overburdened. Another neighborhood of 43 homes is being developed in the valley next to you. The additional traffic of this new development has been planned for 20+ years to go through the Sycamore Heights neighborhood (average home value around 2-2.5 Million) which has NO cut through traffic whatsoever. Despite attempts of a compromise from Mission Hills neighbors, Sycamore Heights does not want any of the 43 homes to be connected to Sycamore Heights and instead want to funnel it ALL through Mission Hills. As an attempt to accomplish this, they are spending lots of $ on a petition for referendum and selling it as protecting PP. The reality is that the development is going to happen whether you sign the petition or not. Furthermore, Measure PP is already protected, and doesn't need a $250,000 referendum to protect it further. If you sign the petition, you are effectively sending additional traffic down the over-burdened Mission Hills and keeping Sycamore Heights traffic free. We can't let a neighborhood use Measure PP to get people riled up so they sign a petition that will keep traffic out of their neighborhood.


9 people like this
Posted by Jack P
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jan 12, 2016 at 8:59 pm

Alexis and Vicki - you are trying to scare people including your own neighborhoods and you should stop the fear mongering. Cut through traffic is bad in my area and it is bad in your neighborhood too. Did you ever tell the council NO, stop this mess and limit the house count to a reasonable number like 15 homes?

I talked to a very knowledgeable man in front of New Leaf yesterday. He said they want the the voters to vote on the hillside development and I am in favor of a vote. I will be voting "no" but it is not to push traffic to your area (that is wrong), it is to send a message to my council & mayor that they approved a poor project with negative impacts and they either cut the number of units, find a new way in and out, or reject the whole thing under a NO BUILD option. This builder should not be shoving a project down your street or any other area.


27 people like this
Posted by factchecker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2016 at 9:32 pm

Jack, the fact is that this property has been in the general plan for 20 years with over 100 homes. (Now we're talking about only 43 homes.) A No build option is a law suit against the City. I don't know about you but its really irritating to me the fact that previous councils ignored state law, then got sued, fought it and lost! The result was a $3 million dollar cost to the city AND now we have all these apartments getting built. I don't know about you but I think there are plenty of things the city could have done with $3 million dollars like renovate the Lionswayside park downtown as just one example.

if you can identify another way to the property other than going through either of the 2 neighborhoods, you have an opportunity to be a real hero.

The fact is the developer didn't get what they wanted which was 50 homes all exiting onto Lund Ranch Road. Rather they got 43 homes, none of which are on slopes greater than 25% and all are well below the ridgelines AND are required to provide two entrances to the property

One neighborhood accepted that. Sadly,the other has the financial ability to fight it via the referendum instead of compromise. This is despite the fact they signed documents that were clear about the road being extended with additional homes being built. Plus 170 acres of the best land is getting converted to public open space.

Funny but Kay Ayala, who lead the charge on PP, publicly stated she thought the project is in compliance with PP. Why aren't people talking about that?

Isn't it time to accept compromise and move on? The amount of money and time being expended on this could be put to far better use in community such as for programs in schools!


10 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 12, 2016 at 9:52 pm

Well said "bill" and "Jack P" it all boils down to the fact that the city has completely ignored measure PP and if we let this one slide by the developers will be lining up at the front door of the planning dept, checkbook in hand, bulldozers ready to tear up every remaining hillside within our city limits! How did they get around PP anyway, what good does it do for us citizens to pass a proposition and then have the city planners change the rules, who do they work for us or the developers??


23 people like this
Posted by factchecker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2016 at 10:09 pm

map, please explain why Former City Councilwoman Kay Ayala, (who isn't running for any office) has publicly stated she thinks this project is in compliance with PP, how then the City Council has completely ignored PP? I remember Kay standing at farmer's market with an ironing board collecting signatures. She was the face of Measure PP. Let's not ignore the fact the signers or PP don't agree on the application of PP to this development.


14 people like this
Posted by Money Money Money
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Jan 12, 2016 at 10:12 pm

The builders all want to ignore Measure PP so that they can build out portions of Pleasanton Ridge not now part of EBRPD on the west side with roads and houses and build roads and houses on the ridges on the south east side all the way from the south east hills to Ruby Hill, annex Happy Valley and build roads and houses to Livermore's border and the Nuclear Power Plant at Vallecitos that is being shut down shortly off of Route 84. And the city wants also to put that mile long road and houses on the top of the Oak Grove property that the citizens already referended (twice).

The bottom line is that Lund Ranch II does not comply with Measure PP since it places an subdivision with housing units and structures on slopes 25% or more and within 100 feet of a ridgeline. The only exemption to Measure PP is a subdivision development with 10 housing units or less and the mayor and 2 city council members voted for 43 houses.


14 people like this
Posted by Money Money Money
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Jan 12, 2016 at 10:28 pm

GE/Hitachi has applied to the Federal Government to release a huge parcel of 610 acres in South East Pleasanton for 'unrestricted' use to allow GE/Hitachi to sell the 610 acre property. This was published as a request in the Federal Register on 7/20/2015. The GE property goes from an area next to Route 84 to the Pleasanton's city golf course called the Callippe Golf Course.

See the announcement and an excerpt: Web Link

"These units are in “SAFSTOR” mode awaiting the termination of the power reactor licenses. In accordance with 10 CFR 50.83, “Release of Part of a Power Reactor Facility or Site for Unrestricted Use,” the licensee requests release from the NRC licenses, for unrestricted use, of an approximately 610-acre parcel, in the northern section of the approximately 1,600 acre VNC site. The licensee is declaring the parcel as “non-impacted” per the definition in 10 CFR 50.2. Approval of the request will allow GE to sell the released portion to a non-GE controlled entity."

So of course the builders and the city are frothing with anticipation of the site being decommissioned and of having builders acquire the 610 acre parcel with more to come in order to expand Pleasanton all the way until Highway 84.


18 people like this
Posted by factchecker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2016 at 10:30 pm

The Pleasanton Ridge on the westside has been protected for 20 years. Ask former city councilmember Becky Dennis!!! Talk about fear mongering. . .we're talking about a 43 unit development on 190 acres with 170 acres of that becoming permanent open space. DEAL IN FACTS, please!!

Lund Ranch II does not have any houses on slopes greater than 25%--again ask yourself why is Kay Ayala calling this proposal PP compliant? Ask yourself why the Sycamore Heights neighborhood suddenly is ignoring the fact they signed documents acknowledging there was going to be this development? Classic NOT in MY BACKYARD!


14 people like this
Posted by Money Money Money
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Jan 12, 2016 at 11:26 pm

I suppose with a total of 1,600 acres in south east Pleasanton to be decommissioned soon, at 2 houses an acre, that is 3,200 houses that could be built extending roads from many of the existing neighborhoods along Independence, etc. With leapfrog development and then another leapfrog development, it could even be higher since there is some flat land that could hold 8 housing units per acre.

Also, it is not surprising there was no notice, announcement from the City of Pleasanton, or any notice in the papers about the July 22, 2015 meeting about release of the first 610 acres that was held in Dublin about the issue.

Of course, it is no wonder the city is again talking about annexing Happy Valley. They know all about the GE Nuclear Power plant land being freed up. Also even though there was an Urban Growth Boundary and Pleasanton Ridge initiative both authored by the city, they will circumvent those initiatives too just like they did with PP.


16 people like this
Posted by ConcernedCitizenry
a resident of Lund Ranch II
on Jan 14, 2016 at 8:02 am

ConcernedCitizenry is a registered user.

People should take the flurry of comments in support of the Lund Ranch development with a grain of salt. Read the fine print. In a recent ad in the Pleasanton Weekly (ostensibly from "Kay Ayala") that is similar in tone and content to pro-development comments above, the ad's fine print reads "PAID FOR BY GHC LUND RANCH LLC." GHC is Greenbriar. Greenbriar is the Lund Ranch developer. So keep that in mind when reading the above -- the group behind these pro-development comments is, surprise, funded by the developer.


29 people like this
Posted by Another fact checker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2016 at 12:04 pm

To ConcernedCitizenry:

First off, you can't possibly live in Lunch Ranch II because the development hasn't been built yet.

Re: "In a recent ad in the Pleasanton Weekly (ostensibly from "Kay Ayala") that is similar in tone and content to pro-development comments above, the ad's fine print reads "PAID FOR BY GHC LUND RANCH LLC." GHC is Greenbriar."

You need to provide proof of where that ad you're referring to came from, if it indeed came from/was paid by GHC Lunch Ranch LLC, rather than suggesting it came from Kay Ayala, and show exactly where that ad is published.

You also need to provide proof that Greenbriar (aka "the developer") is providing any funding to anyone, rather than simply suggesting it.

So, to all reading this ongoing string, keep THAT in mind when reading the above comments and anything else from 'ConcernedCitizenry' -- who's the person or 'group' behind 'ConcernedCitizenry' comments that are labeling some other people's comments as 'pro-development', and who might be funding 'ConcernedCitizenry.'


44 people like this
Posted by Vicki LaBarge
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 12:16 pm

I take great offense to ConcernedCitizenry, I suggest you do some fact checking before you make statements like we are all connected to the developer. That in itself is an outright lie. I have also reported your comment to the moderator. There is no funding coming to support myself or my concerned neighbors! If Kay had an ad funded by Greenbriar that seems reasonable. We are supportive of the Councils decision to split the traffic out of the development. Please be aware of the FACTS. No hillsides are being built on, No 10 foot retaining walls, No 6 foot retaining walls. This is clearly a NIMBY issue with Bridle Creek and Sycamore Creek neighborhood not wanting to compromise or take any traffic through their neighborhood. I urge the residents of Pleasanton to learn the facts before you sign any petition.


20 people like this
Posted by Alexis B
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 1:23 pm

There are a lot of people who think that Pleasanton has too much development - myself included. But this petition will NOT STOP Lund Ranch II. I know that's what you're being told, but it is not true. This petition, cloaked in the disguise of "protecting Measure PP", has one sole purpose: to divert traffic from Sycamore Heights and into Mission Park/Ventana Hills.

It would actually be cheaper for the developer to funnel all the traffic into Mission Park/Ventana Hills. (Because they wouldn't have to build a road to Sycamore Heights) But the Planning Commission and the City Council knew that it was a mistake to keep dumping traffic into Mission Park because it was so over-burdened, and the general plan for 20+ years has been set. Sycamore Heights, in comparison, HAS NO CUT-THROUGH TRAFFIC. Furthermore, because of Measure PP, 100 homes were eliminated from the plan.

Here are the facts:

-None of these remaining 43 homes are built on hillsides or ridges.
-Measure PP has been a top concern of all parties involved and has/is/will be respected
-We don't need a $247,000 referendum to protect Measure PP - it is already protected
-We can't allow the "well-funded" Sycamore Heights neighborhood to be the town bully

I will not be signing that petition.


16 people like this
Posted by Alexis B
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 1:30 pm

PS: Sycamore Creek HOA owns land adjacent to Lund Ranch II that easily provides another road alternative with a slope less than 25%. They declined to use it to solve this matter. THAT is how much they truly care about Measure PP.


17 people like this
Posted by Money Money Money
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Jan 14, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Is it really any surprise that these elected officials plaster themselves on literature from the developers and become their mouthpiece? I mean Kay Ayala is doing exactly what Erlene Demarcus and Tom Pico and Jennifer Hosterman did in the support of all of James Tong's projects, but the big difference is that Ayala apparently claims she authored the entire initiative or part of the initiative, but when it was circulated she didn't claim authorship and said she didn't write any of it and it was written by a "committee" that did not include her.

Ayala was on the city council for 8 years and if she really wanted to pass a ridgeline ordinance and cared at all about any hillsides or ridgelines, don't you think she would have done something about it during those 8 years she was in office? She didn't lift a finger.

Kay Ayala she has been out of office over a decade and appears will do anything to keep themselves in the spotlight. ConcernedCitizenry is absolutely correct and Kay Ayala's ad is paid for by the developer that is based in Fremont. It was also formed 3 months after Ayala in the city council meeting in June 2003 where Ayala pushed to get 150 houses on the Lund Ranch II property.

Entity Name: GHC LUND RANCH, LLC
Entity Number: 200329410194
Date Filed: 10/17/2003
Status: ACTIVE
Jurisdiction: DELAWARE
Entity Address: 43160 OSGOOD RD
Entity City, State, Zip FREMONT CA 94539
Agent for Service of Process: PARACORP INCORPORATED (C1082536)
Agent Address: *
Agent City, State, Zip: *

* Indicates the information is not contained in the California Secretary of State

At least Tom Pico was never in a newspaper ad promoting Oak Grove. You have to hand it to him that he obviously has more class than that.


30 people like this
Posted by Anotehr fact checker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2016 at 3:38 pm

Two things:

Apologies for misspelling "Lund" in my post.

Secondly, to Money Money Money, a resident of Golden Eagle, how ironic with respect to your comments.

From the website for Golden Eagle, Web Link

"Golden Eagle Estates, a gated luxury community nestled in the hills of the Pleasanton Ridge."

Seems to me that if you really cared at all about protecting any hillsides or ridgelines, don't you think you would live somewhere else?


11 people like this
Posted by ConcernedCitizenry
a resident of Lund Ranch II
on Jan 14, 2016 at 5:09 pm

ConcernedCitizenry is a registered user.

Pretty simple to verify:

Go to the latest issue (online at Web Link).

Turn to page 15: a full page, professionally produced advertisement urging support for the Lund Ranch development, ostensibly signed by "Kay Ayala."

Read fine print in bottom corner.

"PAID FOR BY GHC LUND RANCH LLC."

The ad even concludes by directing people to the developer's website for more information. So, like I said, take what you read with a grain of salt.


36 people like this
Posted by Vicki LaBarge
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 6:18 pm

Concernedcitizenry - your first statement is still full of mis truths - aka lies. No one is funding me, no one is funding any of the supports of the Council's decision that have posted comments here. An apology and a retraction would be in order.


11 people like this
Posted by ConcernedCitizenry
a resident of Lund Ranch II
on Jan 14, 2016 at 6:45 pm

ConcernedCitizenry is a registered user.

So you're not one of three organizers of Protect Pleasanton Neighborhoods, along with Kay Ayala? Or is your point only that it is just *other* people in your organization who have accepted money from Greenbriar, not you personally?


28 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2016 at 6:49 pm

To "ConcernedCitizenry",

Read what Vicki LaBarge said.


11 people like this
Posted by Sara
a resident of Danbury Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 7:55 pm

It would not surprise me if the pro development comments come from people who are out of towners. The repetitive postings of those that claim to be fact checkers or some variation of fact checker seem to not know Pleasanton very we'll since they don't appear to know that the side of Golden Eagle east of Foothill Road is on land as flat as a piece of plywood. Has the developer again hired Shawn Wilson and Royce Kelly and Angela Ramirez like James Tong did for Oak Grove as well as the PAC for the Greenbrier funded countermeasure QQ put on the ballot by builders to defeat PP in the first place?

Kay Ayala looks like she is being funded by an LLC with Greenbrier as a parent company. it would seem very odd that this GHC LLC invented by Greenbrier seems to be put in place to hide the source perhaps. After all Wildlife Management LLC an alias for Charter Properties does not at all sound like a development company. I am glad the Feds and State have put a stop to these felons.


23 people like this
Posted by justwondering
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2016 at 8:20 pm

So if we're going to talk about out of towners, let's talk about the paid signature gatherers, none of whom live in Pleasanton. They have NO idea where Lund Ranch is nor what it is about. Worse, who are the people actually writing the checks to pay them $3 for each signature they collect? Shouldn't the citizenery know who is funding them????

I am disgusted with the tactics the signature gatherers are using--it reminds me of the goons Ponderosa used 20 years ago.

All I can think of is how much money is being spent and how it could benefit the schools or someother worthwhile cause instead of arguing over 31 houses going through a neighborhood that signed papers acknowledging this was going to happen.


30 people like this
Posted by Another fact checker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2016 at 8:33 pm

To ConcernedCitizenry:

I clicked on your link. Funny, couldn't find the January 15th issue posted anywhere on that website, and I don't believe the Weekly posts/publishes their paper online the day before it's issued (today being the 14th, and this week's issue being published on the 15th).

Thus, you're still not providing any clear proof to your claim that I can find, at least not easily, if it even exists.

To Sara:

You join ConcernedCitizenry in making unsubstantiated accusations, and labeling others in this string as 'pro-development.' Prove it, otherwise, you are slandering people.

Also, you might want to try to find out who, exactly, 'ConcernedCitizenry' is, and may I again point out that no one is a resident of Lund Ranch II because it hasn't been built yet. That, Sara, is a fact.


55 people like this
Posted by Vicki LaBarge
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 8:41 pm

Sara I am a 30 plus year resident of Pleasanton, raised my children here, I happen to love this town. Please take the time to understand the FACTS about this development. It has been part of the general plan since the 90s. The development started out as 150 homes and due to Meaure PP doing what it is supposed to do is now 43 homes with ZERO on slopes or hills. You might ask why am I supporting this, the reason is that all a referendum will do is stop the current project and allow the developer to once again come back with another plan. The development is going to happen now or year from now or two years from now. The whole dispute now is that the people that live in huge homes in Sycamore Heights don't want the traffic in their neighborhood. They want it all to come through Mission Hills. I have attended almost all the planning commission hearings in this and the City Council meetings. The City tried to work out a compromise with some traffic going through Mission Hills and some through Sycamore Creek - well ther are some really selfish people living in that neighborhood. There is a lot of information in the City records if you are inclined to learn more.


27 people like this
Posted by Double Standard
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 14, 2016 at 9:07 pm

So, you want to follow the money and are upset that the developer disclosed that they paid for an ad to protect their project BUT not upset that we have zero idea and no disclosure on who paid for the Sign The Referendum ad? Interesting. Looks like the Weekly dropped the ball. The pro-referendum group is already violating the law. CA law requires disclosure and transparency.


17 people like this
Posted by Sara
a resident of Danbury Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 11:24 pm

Kay Ayala voted to approve over 300 houses near my house on the Busch Property pumpkin patch so I collected signatures during the entire month of December due to that city council member. She also blocked the approval of the fee agreement with Signature Properties so thanks in part to her the kids attend overcrowded schools. She also voted for multiple projects sending traffic down Valley and up First Street such as the water theme park at Shadow Cliffs. I am a friend of Carole Varela and know the damage Kay Ayala has continued to stir up in the community such as turning the Mohr and Kamp neighborhood against the Valley neighborhood and vice versa and would hope this would end. I will be signing the referendum regardless of whether the Do Not Sign sends out the goon squad like what happened with Busch. This project does not conform with Measure PP.


24 people like this
Posted by Bill Brasky
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 15, 2016 at 9:45 am

Bill Brasky is a registered user.

Community, character and environment be damned. This is about several wealthy individuals who are use to getting what they want. The HOA in that neighborhood could save the slope if it is important to them...


146 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 15, 2016 at 10:56 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Can you spare us being accosted as we run our errands? Those who don't want new development can buy the properties, at fair market price, and open them as parks or whatever you intend and can get approved. Charge an entrance fee so you can recoup the cost in a 100 years. Otherwise, you are stealing. It is ridiculous for those who got their ideal spot to block the next wave because it's too close, blocks their view, causes traffic near their homes, name that reason. Even more ridiculous is asking the rest of us to foot the bill for a referendum, particularly while knowing the development was already planned.


6 people like this
Posted by Jeremy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2016 at 11:22 pm

If our city council voted what the citizens wanted, this project would be a zero or up to a 10 unit project. THIS is the problem, they were supposed to represent the people of Pleasanton - not Greenbriar's biggest dreams. I guess they forgot who they are supposed to represent.

MsVic, it does not matter if people live in million dollar houses or not, clearly you misunderstood Measure PP which was put into law from votes all of town, not just 2 communities. It is the hillsides that are protected, not the pocket books of your neighbors.

Go home and fight with your husband and give the rest of us a break.



17 people like this
Posted by Get educated
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2016 at 1:49 pm

To Jeremy:

It would be nice and convenient if the resolution to this issue was so simple, but it's not.

Our elected leadership worked with both neighborhoods to help reach an acceptable solution. It's called compromise.

NONE of the proposed 43 homes would be permitted to be built on hillsides ore ridges--zero, zip, zilch.

Additionally, if the project were reduced to 10 homes, under Measure PP, all of those homes could indeed be built on hillsides or ridges--is that what you want?

Also, if the project was reduced to only 10 homes, the developer could sue the City of Pleasanton for what's known as a "takings." What that means is the developer could sue for the value of the number of homes being reduced as an unfair 'taking' of their property rights. A lawsuit would not only cost the City quite a bit of money to defend against, losing that lawsuit would make the City liable for millions of City taxpayer dollars.

If the project was completely rejected, guess what? It's not over. The builder can then come back with yet another proposal, dragging this matter out for who knows how many more years to come, at additional time and expense for the City.

The Mayor and City Council knew all of this before reaching a compromise to try to best resolve the matter for all. Check with the City Attorney re: a "takings" lawsuit. Get the facts.

Unfortunately, two neighborhoods, Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek, have refused to accept any compromise. They have never offered one of their own, either--ever. They could have allowed access to some of the homes via land owned by the Sycamore Heights HOA, something suggested by City Councilmember Karla Brown--they refused to consider/rejected that as well.

Take the time to educate yourself on the long history and all of the facts regarding the Lund Ranch II project before drawing conclusions or assigning blame.

The Mayor and City Council tried everything they could within reason to strike a fair resolution for the four neighborhoods involved, and provided a fair compromise.

At the very least, please check/review the January 5th, 2016 City Council meeting minutes. Also check the many previous City Council and Planning Commission meeting minutes regarding Lund Ranch II (aka PUD-25).


17 people like this
Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2016 at 1:50 pm

Well Jeremy, then I guess the City would have a lawsuit on their hands. This property has been slated for development since the late 80s. It is in the General Plan for up to 143 homes. I am pretty sure that 43 homes is not Greenbriar's biggest dream. So if the Council voted to put zero or ten homes that is called a taking. If you want the property, buy it. Since there are no homes on hills in this project, I think I will take the 90% permanent open space for free. Thank you City Council for preserving most of this land as publically accessible open space.


31 people like this
Posted by Jay
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 18, 2016 at 4:29 pm

Jeremy, Honestly I get scared when I read post like your. There's a lot of history that goes with this property. Like you, I wish that it could all be open space with no homes. After going to 2 1/2 years of meetings on this development, 43 homes down in the lower valley area with 177 acres of permanent open space with hiking trails shows at Measure PP worked. The residents in Mission Park have tried to work with the other neighborhoods (Bridle Creek & Sycamore Heights), but they are determined to not share any traffic exiting their way, at our expense. They have been aware since the day they purchased their homes that there would be a connection to the Lund Ranch II property. In fact, all of the 143 original homes were to exit through Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek. It was disclosed to them in their CC&R's and by the large sign at the end of their streets stating so. I hope this post and some of the others help you to understand more details on this Referendum. I believe the $247,000 (or more) that it will cost us Pleasanton taxpayers to put this Referendum on the ballot, could better be used somewhere else.


11 people like this
Posted by Alex
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 30, 2016 at 9:43 am

The referendum effort leverages on measure PP to get away from Sycamore's signed agreement to allow future traffic to Lund Ranch II. It conveniently hides the fact that city council holds the interpretation right on PP and they voted 3:1 this month to not include access road as a structure claimed by Sycamore residents. So if city violates a law go ahead and sue them -- why ask people to change the law to what Sycamore likes to see? The answer is no violation here and they just toss out the referendum attempting to change the game rule so they can walk away from their signed agreement to allow the cut through traffic.


11 people like this
Posted by totally annoyed
a resident of Danbury Park
on Jan 30, 2016 at 3:40 pm

The money used for the election if the referendum gets on the ballot, is enough to construct the long awaited dog park on Bernal as an example. What a total waste so that a small neighborhood can try to mislead people into stopping access to Lund Ranch II through their neighborhood!! something that is a part of their CC & R's and thereby disclosed to them when they bought their homes!!!!


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Posted by Resident of Ventana Hills
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2016 at 5:59 pm

This whole referendum petition effort is a massive 'perception deception' by a select few seeking to protect and preserve their own self-interests based on NIMBYism.

First, a first-hand examination of the Lund Ranch II project site, per this PW Town Square post on 1/26/16 by 'Don't Understand the Fuss,' a resident of West of Foothill:

"With the clear weather today I decided to drive over to these neighborhoods and explore for myself what is being referendumed. Started by parking at Mission Hills Park and walking the length of Independence Drive past the fire road up to Sycamore Heights. Noted that both Mission Hills and Ventana Hills are clearly on flat land in the valley.

First street encountered in SH (Sycamore Heights) was Sunset Creek Lane. Seems to be perched on a ridge with about 1/2 a dozen homes. At the end of the street is a sign saying Pleasanton would extend the road further. Hill past the road rose slightly for about 50-60 yards then dropped off into a valley. I assume this is where the new homes are going. Met another walker doing the same examination of the issue. We agreed the SH people had it made - sitting on top of a ridge on a road on top of a ridge with great views.

Then walked over to Sycamore Creek Way. Whoa this was quite a climb. This street is on a higher ridge with about a dozen homes on that ridge. You know its the top of the ridge because there's a water tower and cities generally locate water towers on high points. Met two other walkers, also on a mission to examine what all the fuss is about. They agreed - SH residents have it lucky being on top of the ridges.

So SH residents are making a fuss about extending a road over a slight hill down into a valley. At the same time there are Pleasanton residents willing to take the time to examine the properties affected and make informed, intelligent, on-site visual decisions.

It's not supposed to rain the next few days. I suggest anyone interested in whether to sign the referendum or not first "walk the property" to see what all the fuss is all about.

Shakespeare may have had it right - it's seems to be much ado about nothing and the referendum supporters protest too much."

Here are some more facts to consider:

1. The two last full-page ads in the 1/22/16 and 1/29/16 editions of the Pleasanton Weekly are complete and total misrepresentations of the Lund Ranch II project, designed to instigate fear in order to compel voters to sign the group, "SavePleasantonHillsides'" referendum petition. The Mayor and City Council, on 1/5/16, approved a project of 43 homes, of which, ALL of them will be built on FLAT land, in a VALLEY, with NO homes to be built on ANY hillside or ridgeline whatsoever.

2. Residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek, along with Allen Roberts of Gray Eagle, a gated community at the top of Crellin Road, and Councilmember Karla Brown, a resident of Kottinger Ranch, a subdivision of some of the most expensive homes in Pleasanton, of which many could never have been built under Measure PP because they sit on hillsides and ridgelines (involving thousands of truckloads of dirt removal to create the pads for those homes on those hillsides and ridgelines), object to a road being extended from Sycamore Creek Way to access 31 of the 43 homes to be built. They are using the argument that a road is a structure, and that that is part of Measure PP, to thereby leverage Measure PP to force the rescinding of the project's approval.

3. The SavePleasantonHillsides group claims to be a 'grassroots' effort to protect Pleasanton's hillsides and ridgelines/safeguard Measure PP. The definition of 'grassroots,' as found on Wikipedia:

"A grassroots movement (often referenced in the context of a political movement) as defined by Webster's Third International Dictionary, is one which uses the people in a given district as the basis for a political or economic movement. Grassroots movements and organizations utilize collective action from the local level to effect change at the local, regional, national, or international level."

SavePleasantonHillsides is using PAID signature gatherers who are NOT residents of Pleasanton (i.e., are NOT local), at a cost of approximately $30,000 to $50,000, bankrolled by an unknown number of wealthy individuals in order to acquire enough signatures to put their referendum on the ballot.

4. Residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek are on record several times requesting that ALL traffic to the Lund Ranch II project be accessed through Lund Ranch Road, which currently is a dead end road located in Ventana Hills.

5. Residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek signed documents when purchasing their homes that clearly stated Sycamore Creek Way would be extended into the future Lund Ranch II housing development.

6. The Mayor and City Council approved a compromise re: traffic access into/out of Lund Ranch II, whereby 12 of the 43 homes will be accessed via Lund Ranch Road (in addition to the 17 homes on Middleton Place that already access Ventana Hills and Mission Hills neighborhoods, which originally they were not supposed to, adding to a total of 29), and the remaining 31 (i.e., the remaining homes in the approved Lund Ranch II project) will be accessed via Sycamore Creek Way (via Sunset Creek Lane). Part of that approval requires the building of a very short road, with a short jog down a hill (the City can confirm the exact length of this road) that will not be visible to the public.

7. Greenbriar Homes, the developer, agreed to building just 43 homes. The original plans for Lund Ranch II, part of the City's General Plan for over three decades, calls for approximately four times as many homes. Greenbriar is giving the City 174 acres (according to them; other reports state 177) of the property as permanent open space, which amounts to the remaining amount of the property (89.5%, again, according to Greenbriar) which they can NOT build on, due to Measure PP (i.e., hillsides and ridgelines). The total project site is 195 acres.

8. Greenbriar develops and pays for its own ads and other of its own efforts regarding opposing the Lund Ranch II project, which they have the right to do as they so choose. "Protect Pleasanton Neighborhoods" was created by and consists of residents of Ventana Hills and Mission Hills, and we contributed our OWN money to purchase two half-page ads in the 1/15/16 and 1/22/16 editions of the Pleasanton Weekly. We are not funded by Greenbriar. We don't have financial resources that the wealthy residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek have to run full-page ads and pay for signature gatherers and robocalls. Greenbriar pursues their own efforts for their own intents and purposes, which, quite frankly, is to be able to move forward with building the approved project of 43 homes.

9. The Mayor's and City Council's decision was a compromise decision to strike a balance between honoring previous, long-standing obligations previous City administrations had made to the residents of Ventana Hills and Mission Hills, in addition to following through on similarly long-standing plans to provide road access to Lund Ranch II via Sycamore Creek Way (extending it by building Sunset Creek Lane). The Mayor and City Council, in reaching their decision, also took into account PUD-87, which is the major apartment (approx. 350 apartments) and retail complex being built on the southeast corner of Bernal and Stanley. Much of the traffic resulting from that project will be traveling on Bernal, with a strong likelihood of much of it adding to the existing cut-through traffic that flows through Ventana Hills and Mission Hills via Independence to Junipero to Sunol Blvd.

Greenbriar did not get everything they wanted in the approved project, nor did Ventana Hills and Missions Hills residents, nor Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek residents. Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek residents are pursuing the referendum because they refuse to accept the compromise decision, reached after decades of review, public meetings and debate.

9. Re: SavePleasantonHillsides claim that the Mayor and City Councilmembers previously voted/determined/finalized that "roads are structures," that is NOT true, as what's known as a 'second reading', or vote on that matter NEVER has taken place. Thus, it has never officially been determined, regardless of what others may claim.

10. The SavePleasantonHillsides group claims that the Mayor and City Council's approval of the Lund Ranch II project sets a precedent for future projects. That is also NOT true. According to former City Attorney (now retired), Jonathan Lowell, he clearly stated during City Council meetings held in late 2015 that that was NOT the case, and that the Mayor and City Council could make determinations on whether projects adhere to Measure PP on a case by case basis.

11. The developer, Greenbriar, can reject any future decision to further reduce the number of homes in the Lund Ranch II project, and could choose to file a 'takings' lawsuit against the City, rather than resubmit a new project proposal. That could expose the City to tens of millions of dollars in liability. The former City Attorney stated anything below 30 homes, in his opinion, would put the City at risk of losing in court. Regardless of whether or not Greenbriar accepts a 30 home project, which would require the cancellation of the current project, and Greenbriar submitting an entirely new project proposal, it does NOT eliminate the fact that the residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek are on record for NOT wanting to accept ANY traffic for Lund Ranch II through their neighborhoods (insisting that all traffic go through Ventana Hills and Mission Hills via Lund Ranch Road), and are now using the argument that it violates Measure PP to succeed in doing so because they refuse to accept the Mayor's and City Council's majority compromise decision. Greenbriar, if the referendum qualifies and is approved, will need to decide which makes more sense (i.e., what would be more profitable to them in the long run)--building a 30 home project, or a 10 home project, which under Measure PP, allows them to build all 10 homes atop of hillsides and ridgelines within the project site, but with no guarantee that any such reduced project will be approved, or, instead filing a 'takings' lawsuit against the City to recoup lost potential profits from the rejection of the previously approved project, PUD-25. A takings lawsuit could expose City taxpayers to tens of millions of dollars in liability.

12. The referendum petition, if successful, will result in costing taxpayers at least $247,000 to put it on the local ballot in June, based on the cost per person Alameda County charges for doing so, times the minimum number of valid signatures required to qualify the referendum to be put on the ballot.

As the Pleasanton Weekly first editorialized on 1/12/16, the Lund Ranch decision DOES show that Measure PP works.


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