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Why We SHOULD Sign the Petitions

Original post made by Activemom, Pleasanton Middle School, on Nov 27, 2007

I am supporting the Referendum and the Initiative to save the hills around Pleasanton by signing BOTH! Why are the anti-petition groups working so hard to prevent something from getting on a ballot? Maybe they are afraid that Pleasanton citizens will vote to keep houses off the hills around our community and don't find a trail with 11 parking spaces worth sacrificing the beautiful hills around our city. They are scaring off voters by telling them that the developer will come back again with a worse plan--UNTRUE! The Initiative will make sure that NO developer can come to ANY hill ridge in Pleasanton and build a visible house (they will still be able to build up to 10 homes on their properties, just not so tall or on ridgelines.) The Planning Commission did not approve this development. A previous City Council approved a golf course on this property and the voters showed them a better alternative. The voters are being asked to show their wisdom over the Council's decision once again! Thet's why its called a "democracy."

Comments (15)

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Posted by Janice
a resident of Mission Park
on Nov 28, 2007 at 10:29 am

Pleasanton wins with Oak Grove! Why are so many long term slow growth advocates supporting the park? Because it makes sense. Read the list of supporters of Oak Grove. It is impressive for a slow growth community. The property is entitled and included in the general plan for 98 homes. Pleasanton wins! Only 51 homes and a huge park! Where else in Pleasanton is there such a park with no monetary impact on the City? Email the Mayor see why three out of four council members approve. This is a great deal!! This is not about regifting and getting a better present. Accept the gift! Let's go hiking!

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Posted by activemom
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Nov 28, 2007 at 10:46 pm

How do you win with MONSTER homes on hills? The Initiative will mean that this land will stay green and unscarred by development the same way the Pleasanton Ridge was protected by an Initiative many years ago. You will be able to drive down Santa Rita, and up Bernal from Stanley and over Foothill and south on 680 and see beautiful rolling hills in Southeast Pleasanton. If those 3-4 story, huge homes are allowed to be built, you WILL see them from those locations. Just drive by and look up. They called the Livermore Trails "deal" a park, and it wasn't. The Livermore voters voted down this same developer by 72%! Don't be fooled by developer-funded propaganda. We don't need to sell our hills to keep them. Try to understand the way the Initiative works and you will support it.

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 29, 2007 at 8:26 am


Overturning the Council's decision with the referendum will not mean that land will stay green and unscarred. Far from it, Pleasanton looses the park and the developer gets to build their originally desired 98 "MONSTER" homes. And the initiative won't save it either. It certainly won't be voted on in time and it isn't even clear that it would apply to Oak Grove, but only the surrounding hills outside the UGB.

By the way, those hills are not "our hills". They are owned by someone else. The only way for them to become "our hills" is by supporting the Oak Grove plan the Council voted for or buying the land direct from the owner... How much do you think that will cost the City?

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Posted by Carol
a resident of Stoneridge
on Nov 29, 2007 at 12:30 pm

When people say we get a "park", I think of something like the Bernal park - sports fields, trails, etc. This is going to be a bike trail with 11 parking spaces. This is hardly a "park". However, I like bike trails just as much as anyone, but that needs to be weighed with what we are sacrificing. We are going to lose the pristine look of our hills. That is what I don't what to see happen. If the west side has an ordinance, why can't the southern hills have it? Why should only one area be protected and not the other? The initiative will protect all of our hills, the referendum is referring only to Oak Grove. Signing both of these will put it on the ballot for the residents to vote on. It's the right thing to do.

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Posted by Curious
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Nov 29, 2007 at 1:49 pm


I believe its been posted before but it's worth posting again. The 11 parking spaces were a COMPROMISE with the neighbors. Planners, Commissioners wanted more but were happy to have the 11 spaces with support from the nearby neighbors.

During the Bernal property town hall meetings, a number of people spoke in favor of passive park space where one could go and sit and enjoy the view or just read a book and not have sports going on nearby. Having been fortunate enough to legitimally visit the space where the trails will start on Oak Grove and walk a bit on them, I really see this space fulfilling this request. And quite frankly, I found the space fabulous. This is a park--just not the type we're used to thinking of with children's play equipment and sports fields.

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Posted by Activemom
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Nov 29, 2007 at 8:50 pm

They can't come back and build 98 homes since the Environmental Impact Report that I read says that ONLY 51 homes can be allowed to be built on the Lin's land. Any more is not deemed to be environmentally acceptable, according to the Council meetings. The land they are giving away has been determined to be undevelopable. I've been up in these hills too and they are so steep, I find it difficult to imagine anyone I know from Pleasanton hiking them. Why did the head of the East Bay Regional Park's write a letter in the EIR saying that this is a poor decision for Pleasanton to take on this land and consider it a park??? I also watched City Council meetings where surrounding neighborhood reps said the majority of their neighborhood groups did NOT support this plan, but the 3 guys representing them acted out of line in negotiating behind closed doors with the City, developer, and parks people! I am recommending everyone sign the petition, so that ALL the Pleasanton neighborhoods get a chance to learn the facts.

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 29, 2007 at 10:19 pm

There's just something that tells me you are twisting the information or don't understand it fully. Which EIR did you read, the draft or the final one? As far as I know, EIRs do not control how land gets used. So I don't know how you can say the EIR allows for only 51 homes to get built. EIRs only assess the impact of a PUD and the original PUD application was for 98 homes.

How come the final EIR calls this plan approved by the City Council as the "environmentally superior alternative" right in Chapter 1, Section A?

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Posted by uplate
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 29, 2007 at 11:44 pm

My understanding is that the Oak Grove project including 51 homes and a very large park was part of a multiyear collaborative process with the city government, neighbors, general public (at City Council meetings and General Plan workshops), and representatives for the landowner. I also recall the City Council putting forth the vision to work with all of the land owners on in the South Eastern Hills of Pleasanton who have the potential to develop with the end goal of minimizing the impact of houses and maximize the open space. I am afraid if we keep putting it off, which is all a referendum will do, we will never really protect the great majority of the South Eastern Hills. Furthermore, I am not seeing the slow growth leaders in Pleasanton lining up behind this as they usually do. Something tells me this is not a simple issue of mansions or no mansions.

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 30, 2007 at 7:36 am

What gets me then is that slow-growth advocates are accused of being fast-growth and abandoning their slow-growth stance because they are not supporting a basically no-growth position. I guess it is just the same old political game of discrediting the person in order to discredit the argument. Ie, the US must have been a bad idea because George Washington and other Founders owned slaves.

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Posted by Angela
a resident of Heritage Valley
on Dec 1, 2007 at 12:45 am


Let me clarify some of your facts on the East Bay Regional Park District. First of all, the "head" of EBRPD did not sign a letter, it was a staff member. Second, the letter pertained to the Draft EIR which proposed 98 lots, not the 51 lots approved by the city council in the Oak Grove project. Their concerns about the 98 lot proposal were handled in the compromise 51 lot plan, including a long term plan for funding and maintenance.

The 1996 General Plan has 98 units zoned for this property so if the referendum were to be successful, the developer can certainly start all over if they wish and propose up to 98 units.

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Posted by jon
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Dec 1, 2007 at 3:56 pm


While you are technically correct, it is a pretty safe bet that 98 homes would never get the necessary support to go forward. Heck, just look at how easily an opposition faction can challenge 51 homes and a dedication of some pretty valuable (recreationally and ecologically speaking) land.

I am optomistic that we will ultimately get the message across that a referendum is not in the best interest of the community. I am very proud of our City Council for having a long term vision for our community. This is a rare quality in most elected officials from my own observation.

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Posted by Carol
a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on Dec 4, 2007 at 9:23 pm

Curious - don't get me wrong, "passive park space" isn't a bad idea. However, what I object to is the trade-off. First off, enjoying this passive space would mean looking at 8000-12,000 homes. Not exactly the pristine look I think you're imagining. Second, the park space we are getting is in return for chopping the tops off of hills and putting these mansions on them. I don't care what we get in return, I will never be in agreement with anyone doing this to our hills. I guess I'm just too much of a tree hugger to think that this is acceptable in any case! I just see what has happened in the hills in Castro Valley and Dublin and when I look at those, all I can say is "yuck!". Do any of you really want that for our city? What on earth are people thinking? Once it's built out and looks ugly, no one can reverse it. And, I'm not saying people shouldn't have the right to build. I just don't want to see anything built on the ridgelines of hills. And fyi - I don't live in the Kottinger area and my friends and I are avid bike riders. As to this "plan" being negotiated with Kottinger neighbors, it was only a few neighbors. Certainly not the majority. The majority of Kottinger did not agree to this.

To sum up, I don't want anyone cutting off the tops of hills in order to put enormous mansions (or actually any house, but the bigger they are, the more visible they will be) on them. Like I've said before, the Pleasanton (western) Ridge has an ordinance to protect their ridgelines. Becky - you were part of that group that did that and I think that was a wonderful thing. What is the reason you have a different opinion in this case? I think it's only fair to protect all of our ridgelines, not just one side of the town. But, signing the initiatives will only put this to a vote. Since it's such a contentious issue, why not let the voters decide?

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Posted by karen
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Dec 9, 2007 at 7:27 am

I have a hard time believing the "keep the park" folks when they keep showing undeveloped land in the hiking photos. That is very misleading.

Maybe someone can you tell me why they aren't showing the the real look of the development with roads, street lights, cars, swimming pools, tennis courts, large homes, etc.? I mean if they want us to believe them, shouldn't they be more forethcoming? What about"?

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 9, 2007 at 8:40 am

Wow Karen,

You wrote: "Maybe someone can you tell me why they aren't showing the the real look of the development with roads, street lights, cars, swimming pools, tennis courts, large homes, etc.? "

I attempted to show such a thing you ask for with the Google Earth software and an overlay image of Oak Grove at Buildout on another thread but then you called me a phoney and accused me of lying and working for the developer.

Such actions and statements you make don't reflect well upon the other folks in opposition to the Oak Grove development.

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Posted by Angela
a resident of Heritage Valley
on Dec 9, 2007 at 8:57 pm

Karen, Did you miss the part about almost 500 acres of open space, i.e. undeveloped land?

Why is it so hard to believe that the Keep Our Park Committee is a grassroots, citizens group who in this case just happens to agree with the developer? I know, it is amazing, but the committee is proof that it can happen.

Partial list of Keep Our Park Committee (people not paid or "bought off" by the developer):

Marj Leider, Livermore City Council
Becky Dennis, former City Council member
Sharrell Michelotti, former City Council member
Bob & Orley Philcox, former Mayor
Kathy Narum, Planning Commissioner
Arne Olson, Planning Commissioner
Jennifer Pearce, Planning Commissioner
Larry Lindsey, former Planning Commissioner
Trish Maas, former Planning Commissioner
Jim Dibiase, Parks and Recreation Commissioner
Ted Kinzer, Parks and Recreation Commissioner
Kurt Kummer, Parks and Recreation Commissioner
Howard Neely, former Parks & Rec Commissioner
Jerry Pentin, Parks and Recreation Commissioner
Herb Ritter, Parks and Recreation Commissioner
Joe Jones, Housing Commissioner, Trails Ad Hoc
David Stark, Housing Commissioner
Pat & Marcia Kernan, PUSD School Board Trustee
Jim Ott, PUSD School Board Trustee
Dolores Bengston, former Parks & Rec Dept director
Jocelyn Combs, former EBRPD director
Christine Steiner, Alameda Co Housing Commr
Jeff Durban, Trails Ad Hoc Committee
Ralph Rajs, Trails Ad Hoc Committee (pending)
Joe Streng, Trails Ad Hoc Committee (pending)
Deb Wahl, Trails Ad Hoc Committee
Tony Rivera, Civic Arts Commissioner
Dick Quigley, Zone 7 Director
Jan Batcheller, Pleasanton resident
Ward Belding, Pleasanton resident
Jack & Flo Bras, Pleasanton residents
Mary Jane & Tom Casper, Vintage Hills residents
Rich Cimino, Audubon Society
Catherine Consolino, Park advocate
Dan Faustina, Pleasanton resident
Tom & Sue Fox, Kottinger Ranch residents
Troy Grooms, Pleasanton resident
Kathleen & Bronco Hinek, Kottinger Ranch
Skip Hinsley, local business owner
Ron Hyde, retired Superior Court Judge
Pete MacDonald, Pleasanton resident
Otis Nostrand, Pleasanton resident & business
Kristen Ondeck, Vintage Hills resident
Carl Palowitch, Economic Vitality Committee
Janice Phalen, Pleasanton resident
Eric Schumacher, Vintage Hills resident
John Sensiba, Pleasanton resident
Bonnie Shamblin, Pleasanton resident
John Shurtleff, Pleasanton resident
Keith & Lisa Symons, Kottinger Ranch residents
Robert Tucknott, Pleasanton resident
James Van Dyke, Vintage Hills resident

This is the reason that I support Keep Our Park. It is not because of the developer, but for this project and these citizens, our neighbors and community leaders, who are passionate about Pleasanton.

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

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