News

Planners OK Weber property development

22-unit project includes removing 97 trees

The latest chapter in the effort by Davidon Homes to develop the 15-acre Weber property has the proposed development getting a green light from the Town Planning Commission.

At their March 31 meeting, commissioners examined the proposal from Davidon Homes, which calls for the construction of 22 single family homes and the removal of 97 trees, 26 of them protected species.

Commissioners were being asked to approve a negative declaration of environmental significance, as well as the preliminary and final development plans, a rezoning request and the tree removal request.

Over the past five years, the plan has been before both the Planning Commission and the Town Council but issues raised by opponents caused the project to be sidelined while lawsuits were resolved and environmental studies done.

At the Tuesday meeting, Davidon executive Jeff Thayer said the company had followed the town's general plan to the letter and the proposed project answers most if not all of the objections raised by neighbors of the parcel on Blemer Road and Matadera Way.

Thayer pointed to the density allowed in the general plan compared with the density of the subdivision they are proposing.

"Under this plan we would be allowed 45 units, but we are staying with 22," he said.

During the public hearing, a number of people who've stood against the project since its inception were again there to make their voices heard. Resident Pat Isom called into question the ownership of the property.

"In the compromise agreement, Lucille's (parcel owner Lucille Weber) portion of the property was not to be sold until she died. The Salvation Army sold the property in direct contravention of the judge. That puts a cloud on the property," she explained.

The Weber estate donated the parcel to the Salvation Army years ago in exchange for an annuity to Lucille Weber. When the Salvation Army moved to sell the parcel to Davidon, a compromise agreement was reached that would give Lucille Weber a 3.7-acre section of the property as a "life estate." When Weber passes away, the land will fall to the Town of Danville.

The planned removal of the trees on the property also brought out a number of opponents. Kristin Trisko addressed the commission on behalf of Citizens for Civic Accountability, a group that has sued over the tree removal.

Trisko said the new tree study done has resulted in better decision making; however, she feels the removal of two heritage oaks is a mistake.

"This plan cuts down two heritage oaks, the symbol of Danville, which you are all sitting below," she told the commission.

Trisko said she feels an Environmental Impact Report should be done on the development. The Citizens for Civic Responsibility have sued asking for that report to be done. Currently it is awaiting oral argument in the court of appeals.

Nearby resident Paul De Chant said he is concerned about how the development will affect his property.

"I'm right at level with it. For us, the issues we brought last time were property value, privacy and view. Davidon and the town have worked with us but I feel that it has fallen down," he said.

Property owner Robert Kemp spoke in favor of the development, saying that he feels it's the right use for the parcel. Kemp owns two pieces of land adjacent to the proposed Davidon development.

"We've got three schools within walking distance, plenty of open space in Oak Hill Park. This property should be for people, for families. It's kind of hard for me to hear that they don't want someone to have a new house when they're in a house," he stated.

All of those who spoke against the plan noted the irony of the commission considering the removal of 97 trees for a development when they had just spent an hour denying a petition from homeowners to remove just one tree from their property.

After the public hearing was closed, commissioners discussed the plan and the points raised in opposition.

"This is a neighborhood that has been discussed for some time," said Commissioner Robert Storer. "Many of us become accustomed to a property next to us that is open space. We can forget that that property is owned by someone. We have to, as a commission, look at the neighborhood's concerns."

Storer said he feels the commission has listened to the neighbors' concerns and worked with the applicant to mitigate as much as they can.

"Curiously, I wonder what Ms. Weber felt when the houses on San Gregorio Court were going up," he added.

Chairman Bob Nichols agreed they have been working hard with the applicant to see that the project answers neighborhood objections and also that it conforms to the town's general plan.

"The project meets the intent of the general plan. That's what we're governed by. Not only will this property be complementary to the neighborhood, it will be a nice addition to the neighborhood," he said.

Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of the Davidon request.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by jan
a resident of Danville
on Apr 6, 2009 at 8:32 am

Water shortage - build more homes-bring in more people.............
Air polution - cut down more trees-air purifyer..............
Traffic - build more homes-bring in more people..............
Need more - talk to the Danville Planning Commission


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of Danville
on Apr 6, 2009 at 10:31 am

I think it is typically hypocritical of government to deny property owners the legitimate right to cut down a redwood that has brought eternal winter to their properties and at the same time approve cutting down 2 heritage oaks and a bunch of other protected trees for the sake of making money!

I thought Danville was different...guess not.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Madeleine
a resident of Danville
on Apr 6, 2009 at 1:50 pm

We don't need more houses to sit empty for lack of buyers....97 trees are important to the environment....What about the animals that live in that little band of forest??? Whats happening to our charming little town??? We don't need more people, more cars, more polution......


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Madeleine
a resident of Danville
on Apr 6, 2009 at 2:46 pm

We don't need more houses to sit empty and not sell....Cutting down 97 trees is bad for the enviroment.....What about the animals that live there??? Whats happening to our little town charm????


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lynn
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on Apr 6, 2009 at 3:15 pm

NO, NO, NO.

Fewer homes, more trees. Moved to Danville for the "country" feeling. Less pavement, more quiet time.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Halamo
a resident of another community
on Apr 7, 2009 at 7:27 am

Oh goody, goody!!

The Danville neighborhoods participating in the Alamo region community of neighborhoods are celebrating their fun opportunity to engage counsel in challenging Danville with all the fun regulations and laws at their disposal. Let's all get ready to welcome Fish & Game, CAL/OSHA, The Sierra Club, and many other fun groups that can keep Danville politics twisted in knots.

We have excitement, folks, and a new opportunity for outrage, angst, and outrageous political comedy.

So FUN!! (Oh, what the HAL?)

Halamo, The annexed Town(e) Fool of Danville
@ODDs, a Saloon for Fools
HIGH atop the Hotel Snaysmuth
Uptown in lovely downtown Danville


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda
a resident of Alamo
on Apr 8, 2009 at 11:08 am

I cannot believe the irony of Danville. A resident who wants to remove 3 trees that block out her sun,is refused and a development is allowed to remove not only 97 trees but 26 protected trees? What about the ordinance that blocked the 3-tree removal. Something is fishy here...or at least it appears to be. Go back to your drawing boards and let that Danville family have some sun in their yard. Many cities and towns around the world have laws against blocking out someone's right to sunshine.
I am so glad we did not incorporate and have to be at the mercy of your city council.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Community courtesy
a resident of another community
on Apr 9, 2009 at 7:52 am

Is Danville the representative government you were expecting?

REFERENCE: Representative government, in current application, is an independent ruling body charged with the responsibility of acting in the people's interest, but not as their immediate and direct representatives. Such representatives act in accordance with their political positions and not necessarily always according with the majority's advisory. Such representative government is often contrasted with a direct or "people's" democracy, where representatives are limited in power as immediate representatives of the will and advisory of the people. Representative government today is mostly absent the will of the people and act independently with authority to exercise swift and resolute initiative in the face of changing circumstances. ** from "The will of the people" September 2004, Associated Press**

(end)

Was that what you voted for??

Hal, as a community courtesy


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sandy
a resident of Danville
on Apr 10, 2009 at 11:07 am

The corrupt town government once again shows the lack of fore sight. During the 20 years that I have lived here they have systematically destroyed authentic & historic buildings. Just walk down Hartz avenue and observe what they have done. The Peace Park is gone and in it's place an ugly shingled building which is just across the street from an historic house that, oops, the remodel job only presevered the front/entrance wall, which is just down the street from the beautiful old home on the corner of church street which is now a 15 office building which is just down the street from....I could go on and on - and I haven't even left Hartz Ave. The architecture of the town is a jumbled mess. DON'T MESS WITH THE TREES.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Community courtesy
a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2009 at 7:16 am

Dear Dolores,

Might I suggest that Danville government is not corrupt but simply too inclusive. Town council members appoint supporters to various commissions to be gatekeepers against any opposing positions no matter what majority backs such positions. In Silicon Valley, that is "drinking your own bath water" and simply avoidance of clear recognition of community will and interests.

"Clearly, representative government is absent and no majority is represented by Contra Costa governments. Danville's government just tends to make that reality obvious." Jane, a Danville neighborhood representative to Alamo region community of neighborhoods offered this observation for Forum consideration.

Hal, as a community courtesy


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Caroline
a resident of Danville
on Apr 19, 2009 at 6:47 pm

I see the logic...
An individual homeowner cannot cut down 3 redwoods because they are heritage trees, even though redwoods are not native to the Danville microclimate. But, it is perfectly kosher for Davidon to cut down 26 heritage trees for a new development...
...doesn't that make perfect sense?


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