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Response to PW 1/29/16 Editorial "Why not a referendum?" I'll tell you why

Original post made by Resident of Ventana Hills, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Jan 29, 2016

Dear Pleasanton Weekly editorial board (and all of Pleasanton):

If you believe for a minute that a referendum will "end the debate once and for all" on the Lund Ranch II project, you are sadly and woefully misinformed, and incredibly naive.

Yet another example of misguided conclusions based on ignorance.

This is a neighborhood traffic disbursement issue--this is NOT about Measure PP. All a referendum is going to do is allow two of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Pleasanton (and Allen Roberts and City Councilmember Karla Brown) to get their way.

Here are the FACTS:

First off, the builder, Greenbriar, would love nothing better than to route ALL of the traffic to Lund Ranch II through Lund Ranch Road, as would residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek. Read/review the City Council meeting minutes from late 2015.

When neither Greenbriar nor the residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek got that from the Mayor and City Council, Greenbriar ACCEPTED the COMPROMISE decision to split the traffic; residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek did NOT, and one of their neighborhood representatives even commented to the Mayor and City Council before they voted on and approved the compromise decision that, "We are well-funded" and then proceeded to advise that they would be pursuing a referendum to get what they wanted.

They definitely are "well-funded," as they're paying tens of thousands of dollars to out-of-town paid signature gatherers to get their referendum on the ballot; a referendum that's also supported by two people who don't live in Sycamore Heights or Bridle Creek, Allen Roberts of Gray Eagle (a private, gated community at the top of Crellin Road), and City Councilmember Karla Brown, of Kottinger Ranch, a large housing development up the hill on Hearst, with many homes built on hillsides and ridges.

Ironic considering all their rhetoric about "honoring Measure PP." If they both care so much about protecting hillsides and ridges, why do they live in housing developments that are built on them?

Unbelievable hypocrisy.

Additionally, a lot of people have commented about rejecting the 43 home development, telling Greenbriar to go away. Historically speaking, a lot of other far larger housing and commercial developments in Pleasanton should also have been rejected over the years/previous decades--both residential and commercial, like:

-The Jensen tract (across the street from Amador Valley High School), built in the 1950s and 1960s;
-Kottinger Ranch;
-Sycamore Heights;
-Bridle Creek;
-Del Prado;
-Laguna Oaks;
-All of the building up and down Hopyard Road, so named because it used to be nothing but hopyard farms all the way up to where I-580 is;
-Stoneridge Mall;
-Hacienda Business Park;
-and the list goes on and on and on.

There is a LONG, EXTENSIVE history and FACTS re: Lund Ranch II. This whole referendum effort is nothing more than a last-ditch attempt by residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek to keep traffic from 31 homes of the project in a VALLEY from being accessed via Sunset Creek Lane.

Have you even visited the project site, like some other residents of Pleasanton have done, thankfully, to see for themselves the area under dispure? A real eye-opener.

Also, you fail to mention the possibility of a "takings" lawsuit against the City, and what kind of liability it could expose all of us taxpayers to--potentially in the tens of millions of dollars--if the City rejects the project if the referendum against it succeeds, or is forced to drastically reduce it.

Additionally, you fail mention that if the project were to be reduced to 10 homes, Greenbriar, if they even accepted that, under Measure PP, could build every single one of those homes atop a hillside or ridge on the property.

That's honoring Measure PP? That's protecting our precious hillsides and ridges? Please. More irony and hypocrisy.

Re: the "road is a structure" argument by referendum backers, try these scenarios (see common sense):

1. Call the Pleasanton Fire Department. Ask them, "So, when there's a fire on a road, do you refer to that as a 'structure fire'?"

2. Approach an unfortunate homeless person in the Bay Area. Ask them, "Is a road a structure"?

A road is a structure? Utter and total nonsense.

If, in essence, all other neighborhoods in Pleasanton get to decide where traffic gets routed for OUR neighborhoods (Ventana Hills and Mission Hills, and Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek, for that matter), after YEARS of debate, MANY Planning Commission and City Council meetings which ultimately resulted in officials making an informed, thoughtful decision to end the matter on 1/5/16, which you yourselves at the Pleasanton Weekly supported, then I believe we, too, should be able to decide where traffic gets routed through other Pleasanton neighborhoods.

Let's referend everything WE don't like, too.

Hey, maybe some of us would really like to have an interchange off of I-680 at Las Positas after all (something previous City administrations voted against to protect neighborhoods in that area of town). Would be very convenient, wouldn't it--additional access to/from Pleasanton.

Let us vote on/referend that, because that traffic would not be in our backyard. Impacts traffic/adversely affects those neighborhoods? Ah, who cares, based on your editorial.

The CEO/owner of Black Tie Limousine has made frequent appearances at City Council meetings to complain/contest the possibility of Costco building a new store on Johnson Drive, saying the traffic it will bring will be detrimental to his business and to Pleasanton. Never heard him ONCE say anything regarding traffic involving Lund Ranch II, or traffic involving PUD-87, the major 350 apartment and retail complex being built at Bernal and Stanley. Why? They're not in his backyard.

The referendum effort is nothing but NIMBYism by people who've got the financial wherewithal to pursue it.

In conclusion, this referendum, if approved, does NOT "end the debate once and for all."

It REOPENS the debate, REOPENS the project, and thereby drags this issue out for a least another year, at a minimum (the waiting period Greenbriar needs to adhere to before it can resubmit a new project proposal), if not several more years, to the delight of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek, and Allen Roberts and Karla Brown--sitting high atop the Tri-Valley enjoying the view.

Those precious hillsides and ridges that wouldn't be built on under the current compromise that was reached?

You can throw that out the window. All bets are off/no guarantee Greenbriar won't build on those hillsides or ridges, nor that they won't sue the City for millions. No 170+ acreage of hillsides and ridges given to all of Pleasanton where no homes will be built guarantee.

Compromise decision cancelled due to NIMBYism. Along with common sense and fairness.

THAT's why NOT a referendum.


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