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Why not a referendum?

Original post made on Jan 29, 2016

The city is abuzz with backers of a proposed referendum to overturn the City Council's Jan. 5 decision to allow development on Lund Ranch in southeast Pleasanton with an equally large number of residents opposing a costly referendum. Both groups, whose coalitions have active websites, are stating their positions in brochures, posters and one-on-one discussions around town and in advertisements in current issues of the Pleasanton Weekly.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 29, 2016, 12:00 AM

Comments (29)

Posted by George M - Sign the petition
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 29, 2016 at 9:34 am

Thank you Pleasanton Weekly. I was on the fence about this, but after reading your article it is clear, why not? I am going to sign the petition.

I was at Safeway a couple days ago and a young gal there said they need 5000 signatures just to get to the ballot. She said she took the day off work to help raise signatures because this is important to Pleasanton.

I agree - let the citizens vote. No one should try to block our right to vote, it is simply not right. As a black man, my ancestors worked hard to get a chance to vote so I am honored to weight in.

And as you note, Pleasanton has a long history of getting it right, and with full knowledge of the facts, I know we will do that again on Lund Ranch II. And regarding the cost of the election, that is just the cost finding out how the people feel about the housing project in the hills. I have no problem with it. I think there are other items on the ballot so that cost might go down too.

Thank you PW, you nailed it.

Posted by Resident of Ventana Hills
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2016 at 10:13 am

@George M:

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 even 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. So, historically speaking, I guess 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;
-Country Fair;
-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 dispute? A real eye-opener. Please take the time to do so, instead of relying on what petition gatherers are telling you.

Also, have you considered 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. It's way more than the $247,000 to put this referendum on the ballot.

Additionally, 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, George, 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, including yours, Country Fair.

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, George.

Posted by AgainstReferendum
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jan 29, 2016 at 10:29 am

@Pleasanton Weekly
No one is "trying to block our right to vote". If registered we all get to vote in city elections, county elections, state elections, federal elections, and, sometimes, special elections.
We elect private citizens to be our city council and expect they will govern Pleasanton in a way that is benefical for the most common good. Sometimes some of us may disagree with a city council decision. Because we are an open society there is a democratic procedure to allow for dissent, regardless of the cause or issue - the Referendum. However, the procedure does require at least 10% of the voters to agree that a city council decision should be put to the voters. Rather than "having a right to vote on it (meaning the council decision)" we do have the right to petition to repeal. Likewise we also have the right to oppose a petition, for whatever reason, and speak out against approving a Referendum. That's what I was taught in school.

Posted by Resident of Ventana Hills
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2016 at 11:56 am


If you (and to all others) want to seriously consider still more reasons why NOT a referendum, and in particular, to former City Councilmember Matt Sullivan, who decided to jump into the debate at the 11th hour (i.e., someone who hasn't been directly involved in the Lund Ranch II project until now), read a previous post by

@ waste of money
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2016 at 11:26 am

"The Sycamore Heights/Bridle Creek neighborhoods paid signature gatherers 30-50 THOUSAND DOLLARS because they don't want any traffic going through their neighborhood? And then they are going to cost the rest of Pleasanton $250,000 for a special election if they are successful? That has to be the epitome of selfish, entitled and spoiled. There are people starving, homeless, kids going to school hungry and ill-prepared, refugees fleeing war, famine and pestilence and this is what they spend their money on? Seriously. There needs to be a serious reality check. The traffic from ~30 houses??? seriously."

Posted by Constitution Lover
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jan 29, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Very well written and balanced article. I'm impressed that the Pleasanton Weekly has carefully considered all of the facts of this seemingly controversial issue and is now supporting the referendum effort thereby allowing the common sense of the voters prevail in this matter.

I have been talking to my daughter about the volunteer signature gatherers we have been seeing around town and eventually meeting up and how what they are doing relates to sacred constitutional rights; she actually saw me sign the petition! The timing of this aligns very well with what she is learning at school and I look forward to reading the arguments of both sides together with my daughter if this goes to the ballet.

Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2016 at 1:42 pm


The signature gatherers are paid, not volunteers. It is sad that one wealthy neighborhood wants to dictate where traffic goes in surrounding neighborhoods.

Sounds undemocratic to me.

Posted by Resident of Ventana Hills
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2016 at 1:50 pm

@Constitution Lover,

Gee, that's great. Can't wait for the residents of Mohr Park and other neighborhoods to have the chance to determine traffic flows into and out of Ventana Hills and Mission Hills.

Maybe we can have the same chance to determine traffic flows into and out of Mohr Park someday too.

Perhaps the Pleasanton Weekly is now supporting the referendum effort after getting another full-page ad from the "Save Pleasanton Hillsides" group, who has way more money to spend on things like paid petition gatherers and ads then the residents of Ventana Hills and Mission Hills do. Maybe the Weekly thought they should 'balance' their editorial stance, instead of sticking to their guns with their original editorial on Lund Ranch II.

And for the record, Greenbriar purchases/buys their own ads in the Weekly for their own intents and purposes.

Also, speaking of school, paid petition signature gatherers were apparently observed earlier this week tapping on car windows of parents in the parking lot waiting to pick their kids up from PMS, soliciting them to sign the referendum petition. Unfortunately, the paid petition signature gatherers didn't learn that you can't be soliciting people on school grounds without PUSD's permission, which they didn't have.

All that said, can't wait for you and others to weigh in on an issue that we affected residents have been involved with for YEARS--YEARS of going to Planning Commission and City Council meetings that resulted in a fair compromise decision made by the Mayor and City Council on 1/5/16, but one which two other affected neighborhoods, Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek, refuse to accept.

Guess what? If all the traffic from Lund Ranch II was forced to go through our neighborhoods, think Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek would be pursuing a referendum? This whole referendum effort wouldn't have seen the light of day.

But that's OK, I'm sure you and others will be able to figure it all out in a few minutes of reviewing soundbites and op eds from people with ulterior motives, and then decide to overturn a fair compromise decision that goes back to appreciating and reviewing historical data, oh, about 25 years or so ago, and in effect make permanent traffic flow decisions for our neighborhoods because, hey, it doesn't affect your neighborhood whatsoever. Gee, thanks a lot. Try reviewing PUD-87 while you're at it--that's the big 350 apartments and retail complex going up at Bernal and Stanley--and guess where some of that cut-through traffic to get to I-680 is going to be headed? Right through OUR neighborhoods--not YOURS (Mohr Park), nor Sycamore Heights or Bridle Creek.

This is what we have local elected officials for, who have spent the time and effort to pore over and review the facts and make a very well-informed, good decision that unfortunately, a privileged, wealthy few can't accept.

Posted by AgainstReferendum
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jan 29, 2016 at 2:16 pm

@Pleasanton Weekly

You stated "Sixty percent of Pleasanton voters approved Measure PP, another controversial measure. Give them a chance to decide if roads, along with homes, should be allowed on hillsides or not to end the debate once and for all.".

Has anyone from the PW staff driven up Sunset Creek Lane? The road to Lund II is there, on top of a hill already waiting to be extended downward to the valley (but not on top of the ridge to the right). There are already lots of Sycamore Heights homes on those hillsides/hilltops.

Maybe a field trip is necessary?

Earlier this week you published a picture of the gated entrance to

Posted by resident
a resident of Sycamore Heights
on Jan 29, 2016 at 2:18 pm

Since I coordinate the "volunteer signature gatherers", I can tell you that we have twice as many volunteer signature gatherers as there are paid gatherers. Not just people from Sycamore Heights but Kottinger Ranch, Fairlands, Mohr, Grey Eagle and other parts of Pleasanton. If you feel that this effort is merely self-serving, why not ask those outside of the neighborhood why they support it, especially Council Member Karla Brown.

Posted by Resident of Ventana Hills
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2016 at 3:14 pm


So who coordinates the paid signature gatherers that are being funded by Allen Roberts, et al? The ones that tap on parents' car windows in the parking lot at PMS without PUSD's permission? The ones that are full of misinformation in order to get people to sign on the dotted line?

Re: "...[signature gatherers consist of] people from Sycamore Heights... Kottinger Ranch,...Grey Eagle."

You mean the two neighborhoods that are built on hillsides and ridges? You mean Grey Eagle, the gated/private community high atop Crellin Road? You mean Kottinger Ranch, with homes high above on hillsides and ridges with great views of the Tri-Valley down below?

You mean the folks that know, "hey, we got ours [homes on the top of hillsides and ridges], but we must protect Measure PP by disallowing a small housing project in a VALLEY.

You mean residents of Sycamore Heights, some of whose homes sit atop a hillside/ridge where Sunset Creek Lane is, before it's intended design to go DOWNHILL into a VALLEY to the Lund Ranch II site?

People outside of your neighborhood are supporting your referendum because they don't know all the facts, that's why--easier to fall victim to the fear and misrepresentations you continue to put forth.

And by the way, Councilmember Karla Brown lives in Kottinger Ranch, high above the valley down below, as that neighborhood climbs up Hearst.

Utter hypocrisy, in addition to folks drawing conclusions based on ignorance of the facts.

Posted by rrt
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 29, 2016 at 3:26 pm

The reason that Kottinger Ranch (where Karla Brown lives) and Grey Eagle people are supporting this is they want support from the Sycamore Heights neighborhood for when the Oak Grove development comes back. They also want a precedent saying that a road is a structure so they can claim the same. Although the council has previously said that since they did not feel that measure PP was clear on whether a road is a structure, they would analyze each development on its own when it comes to determining the impacts of a road.

To counter a previous posting, if the developer submitted a 10 home development, they could not necessarily put all the homes on the top of the hills and we have to accept it. The council looks at each proposal and can accept, reject, or modify a proposal that they do not feel is good for the city. Even without measure PP, they can reject any development for any reason specified in the general plan, and there are lots of reasons. You only have to look at people asking for modifications to their existing homes and having those rejected, even though it meets the zoning. The chamber of commerce has been making the false statement above since the measure PP election, even after the city attorney told them they were wrong.

I am sure the Kottinger Ranch people are concerned that if this project goes through and the determination is made that a road is not a structure that the Oak Grove development will come back with 50 or so homes where the homes are on relatively flat pieces of land but the roads look like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, going up and down. With or without measure PP, but even more with measure PP, the council can reject it, and should. One has to look at the roads in the Lund Ranch II plan and see that the houses are in a bowl, and not the top of a ridge that is visible from offsite and the road which may or may not be built on over 25% slope is actually going down into the bowl and not up the hill so it will not be visible from offsite. Quiet the opposite from Oak Grove.

Posted by Diana
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2016 at 3:34 pm

Now we got a robo call encouraging us to sign the Lund ranch referendum. I'm amazed at how much money these people are throwing at it. Our neighborhood just wants a stop sign or speed bumps to keep the kids safe, wish we had this kind of money to gather in support of that. This is getting ridiculous and making me really hate the petition gatherers. I'm actually starting to feel harassed. I was approached at Safeway, at two separate schools, and now on the phone. Leave me alone, I'm not signing and I'm glad I never did.

Posted by Resident of Ventana Hills
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2016 at 3:42 pm


Good comments, and good information you've shared, thank you.

However, I would say you're forgetting one thing. Greenbriar can pursue a 'takings' lawsuit if the project is reduced below 30 homes, per the former City Attorney, Jonathan Lowell.

I would have to believe that is especially the case considering the 43-home project has already been approved, and if it were to be rejected/rescinded if the referendum passes.

Also, @ resident,

Why don't you ask Allen Roberts and Karla Brown why they live in housing developments built on hillsides and ridges, if they care so much about protecting them?

Back to @rtt, your last paragraph is precisely some of the FACTUAL data that the Mayor and City Council took under consideration in making their decision on 1/5/16.

Anyone who doesn't believe you should check out the lay of the Lund Ranch II project land themselves.

Additionally, your comments, in addition to former City Attorney Lowell's, reinforce that the decision on 1/5/16 does NOT set a precedent, and the Mayor and City Council can determine future projects on a case by case basis, and indeed, indicated that they would.

This is a NIMBY battle created by two neighborhoods that don't want to accept a compromise decision that extends a dead end road downhill into a project to access 31 of 43 homes.

Posted by Joey
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2016 at 4:57 pm

...access to 12 of those homes would be on Lund Ranch Road through the Ventana Hills and Mission Park communities, using Independence Drive and Junipero Street to reach Sunol Boulevard. Owners of the other 31 homes would travel on Sunset Creek Way and Sycamore Creek Way through the Sycamore Creek and Bridle Creek neighborhoods...

For the record, it is 29/31 homes split, You are forgetting about the Bonde development that contains 17 homes that also routes through Lund Ranch. Don't be over-simplifying the facts to make your case seem more dramatic. The City Planners got it right, the City council got it right, They heard input from the community at many, many public forum meetings. they weighed the input. Collectively should just move on with it.

Posted by check your facts
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jan 29, 2016 at 7:44 pm

PW, please understand exactly what this referendum is about--(and BTW has anyone on your staff actually been to the property). It is about the project approved with 43 homes having 31 homes use a road that would connect to Sunset Creek and 12 homes using Lund Ranch Road. Yes a small section of the road to Sunset Creek does cross a slope greater than 25%.

But this does NOT modify PP to include roads are structures. It does NOT create an ordinance to define roads as structures. It does NOT stop development of this property--only would postpone it. All the referendum would do is stop this particular project from proceeding.

You are NOT definitively referending whether a road is a structure. So is this worth having an election costing the city well over $250,000 without having a definitive decision regarding is a road a structure in an attempt to not have traffic go through the Sycamore Heights? I think NOT!!

If you really care about the hills you won't sign the referendum so that 170 acres become permanent open space and look to put something on the ballot that definitively clarifies whether a road is a structure.

Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2016 at 8:00 pm

Sorry PW, you have this wrong. This referendum if qualified would be an up or down vote on Lund Ranch, a project with 43 homes in the valley that preserves 90% of the land as permanent open space. As stated in every Planning Commission and City Council meeting on the project, decisions are determined on a case by case basis and would not set precedent for another project. A referendum would not make a conclusion about roads as structures at all. That would require a city ordinance, that the backers of the referendum didn't want either, threatening lawsuits! This project gained approval after YEARS of public hearings. Can this just be over already?

Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2016 at 8:07 pm

Oh yeah, and please do ask Council Member Karla Brown why she lives in a house that sits at a higher elevation than any house proposed in Lund Ranch. And to drive to that house, she uses a road that would not be allowed under Measure PP. And the Kottinger Ranch trails are private, no public allowed. Hypocrite much?

Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 29, 2016 at 8:12 pm

Why not a referendum? Because every single person qualified to vote on said referendum has one thing in common… They already have a house in Pleasanton!

Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2016 at 9:25 pm

"Maybe we can have the same chance to determine traffic flows into and out of Mohr Park someday too."

You already had that chance several times. If you weren't paying attention that is not anyone's fault but your own.

There were many many many articles about the Stoneridge "thoroughfare" starting in the late 1990s and finally ending a few years ago. So if you say you didn't have the chance to determine traffic flow in the Mohr Park area it is only because you are ignorant of what is happening and only pay attention when something happens in your neighborhood.

So why should anyone in Mohr Park care about traffic in your neighborhood when you obviously don't care about anything outside of your neighborhood.

Posted by Resident of Ventana Hills
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2016 at 9:54 pm

@Me Too,

I personally objected to the Stoneridge Drive extension/did not support it. I know what it's created--cut-through traffic through your neighborhood, and many people knew that would be the case.

Unfortunately, I wasn't wealthy enough then or now to support a referendum petition drive to try to stop it, using paid signature gatherers, full-page ads in the Pleasanton Weekly, and paying for robocalls; and I'm pretty sure neither were/are you.

That is the point I was trying to make with the comments you're referencing. Is it right for a select few Pleasanton residents who are wealthy enough to try to get what they want, get it?

Think Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek residents cared about Mohr Park and how Stonedridge Drive affected you and your neighbors? Yet, they want you to care about them.

Posted by Adam
a resident of another community
on Jan 29, 2016 at 11:57 pm

@Diana - You might want to listen to that message again. That Robo Call was paid for by GHC (Greenbriar) asking you not to sign. I guess that strategy backfired.

Regarding Karla Brown and Allen Roberts "living on hillsides" those homes were built before Measure PP was passed. Lund Ranch II is the first test of Measure PP since all previous developments prior to this one were grandfathered in.

This referendum does not have to cost the city anything. The City Council can choose to send the development back to the builder to be revised after they have received the required number of signatures. No one is saying that the builder can't build homes in the valley.

I guess I just don't see the utility in bad-mouthing the opposition. Both sides have a right to share their perspective in a civil and respectful manner.

Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2016 at 9:50 am

But Adam, the signature gatherers keep saying you don't need to decide now, all your signing does is let the people vote. Now, you say the people don't need to vote? Hmmm...

But the developer IS building homes in the valley!

Yeah Adam, timing is everything but I guess I am wondering if they are saving the hillsides for themselves.

Posted by Trina
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 30, 2016 at 2:49 pm

@ Adam

"Lund Ranch II is the first test of Measure PP". I have very good news for you, it passed the test! However those who support a referendum would have you believe otherwise.

And, by the way, telling the TRUTH is not " bad-mouthing the opposition".

Supporters of the referendum don't want the folks of Pleasanton to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed.

Labeling that as "bad mouthing" is just a tactic to suppress those telling the truth.

Posted by Patty
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jan 30, 2016 at 3:08 pm

If the SavePleasantonHillsides group can collect the required number of signatures, then the Referendum qualifies to be put on the ballot. At that point, the City Council can decide if they want the Referendum to be voted on by the residents or they can rescind the current ordinance and have the builder modify the proposal. If the council members are paying attention to their constituents, they will see that 6000 signatures suggests that Pleasanton residents don't want the development the way it currently is planned. The council will then ask Greenbriar to come back with a PP compliant proposal that also isn't considered a takings. If they choose that option, it will have no cost to the city. I think all 8 previous referendums have passed so I don't think the city council members should take it the vote unless they are willing to live with the outcome.

Posted by check your facts
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jan 30, 2016 at 3:26 pm

The signature gatherers who have approached me have used the line all you're doing is signing to put it on the ballot so the people can have a voice. So why would the council rescind their vote when both ads in the newspaper and the gatherers say you're just signing to be able to vote on it?

Posted by Trina
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 30, 2016 at 4:37 pm

@ Patty

"6000 signatures suggests that Pleasanton residents don't want the development the way it currently is planned"

It suggests no such thing- especially when the INNOCENT people who signed the petition are lied to. Those signatures only represent the lies that were bought.

If you would asked them " do you want the traffic from the development to go through Bridle Creek/ Sycamore Heights" ? - which by the way is what you are really opposed to and what this referendum is all about- how many signatures do you think you would have?

The people of Pleasanton are being used to serve your own "not in my back yard" needs.

Also , the city council was "paying attention" and heard it's constituents loud and clear regarding wanting more open space/park etc

Which is why the compromise was really the best solution for everyone, including ALL the people of Pleasanton. But sadly your side wanted no compromise and NO TRAFFIC.

Ventana and Mission agreed to share the traffic with you. Besides Greenbrier accepting the conditions of Measure PP to refrain from building on lots on or near a ridge line, they also donated 177 acres of its property to the city of Pleasanton as open space, an agreement that will allow the development of trails for public use.

But then again- maybe you don't even want people using that open space and your end game really is the taking- like an earlier poster said- you would rather Pleasanton to pick up the tab either way

Posted by Resident of Ventana Hills
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2016 at 5:47 pm

Why not a referendum?

Here's why not:

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.

That's why not a referendum.

Posted by check your facts
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jan 30, 2016 at 8:36 pm

I find it curious that PW chose to only show a picture of Lund Ranch Rd that comes up to the end of the Lund Ranch property. Why didn't PW also show a picture of the end of Sunset Creek Way with the sign that says Road to be extended? Doesn't seem like objective reporting. . .

Posted by kmary1
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 1, 2016 at 10:20 am

kmary1 is a registered user.

When did we decide that we are not a representative democracy? We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to elect a city council and mayor to discuss topics and to vote on them.

Now, we the people, could be spending another $200,000 to $300,000 to vote on one issue, - is a road is structure ? What a waste of money. Let the Mayor and Council do their job. If you don't agree with them, vote them out at the next election.

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