News

Weber development gets go-ahead

Council approves plan to build 22 homes behind Oak Hill Park

The years-long battle over the final disposition of the 15-acre Weber property has come to an end, with members of the Danville Town Council giving the proposed development a green light.

Council members discussed the issue at their April 21 meeting. The proposal, from Davidon Homes, would create 22 single family homes on the parcel located between Blemer Road and Matadera Way. Part of the plan would also create a 3.7-acre "life estate parcel," which would belong to property owner Lucille Weber. After her death, the land would revert to the Town of Danville.

The life estate is in accordance with a compromise agreement made when the Salvation Army sold the parcel to Davidon.

The development plan has been going on for five years, having been challenged in court for environmental reasons. In the first challenge, the project was derailed after it was claimed that the land was a red-legged frog habitat. However, a study was done and no frogs were found.

Another suit was filed by Citizens for Civic Responsibility. At issue is the removal of 97 trees, 26 of them protected species. Two of the trees are heritage oaks. The suit was initially dismissed, but it is currently under appeal. Oral arguments have not been scheduled for the appeal.

At the Tuesday meeting, council members were updated by staff on the development and the current status of the lawsuit filed by the environmental group. Staff recommended approval.

Davidon executive Jeff Thayer laid out the plan for the council, pointing to the efforts of the developer to make the project conform with the general plan as closely as possible. He added that they are trying to work with the neighborhood, keeping the density low even though the town's plan would let them build twice as many units in that space.

"We're doing what we can to work with the town," Thayer said. "We want this to be something that will be a part of Danville."

Area residents were not as excited by the plan. During the public hearing, Paul DeChant explained what the loss of trees and the development of the property would mean for them.

"Last night while we were eating dinner outside we saw a red-tailed hawk circling the tree. We saw coyotes loping around. It just epitomized Danville for me," he stated.

DeChant added, "I'm not a NIMBY person. My concern is if grading starts before all the legal issues are resolved, the tree and the hill are already gone. I'd like to ask your consideration not to grade away our natural assets before these legal issues are done."

Citizens for Civic Responsibility spokeswoman Kristin Trisko also asked that the trees be spared. She also requested that the construction be limited to between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. in order to give Lucille Weber some quiet in the evening hours.

Trisko pointed to the town's tree mitigation ordinance, which will require the builder to replace trees based on the tree's diameter.

"You're cutting down a 50-inch tree, you're cutting down No. 8, which is a 30-inch tree. In my lifetime, in my children's lifetime, none of those trees (planted as part of the mitigation) will be 50 inches," she said.

After the public hearing, council members questioned the mitigation process and where the newly planted trees would be placed. Thayer said that because of the thickness of the trees being removed, they would have to put in a high number of trees. That number was more than could reasonably be placed on the parcel so he is working on a plan with Save Mount Diablo to put trees on a new parcel the group purchased in Irish Canyon.

Mayor Newell Arnerich applauded the initiative but suggested that replacement trees should be in Danville. He said he would like to see the trees planted at one of the school sites near the property.

Council members asked Town Attorney Rob Ewing if the work should be held up until the lawsuit is resolved, but Ewing said he did not think that was necessary.

Ewing said that some grading could occur while the appeal is being heard but the town does not have the legal ability to stop that. "If the court of appeal would overturn, obviously the project would stop."

Arnerich said both the applicant and the town have done their homework and the council should let the project continue, with the construction hours stipulated by Kristin Trisko.

"I don't know of any other project that has gone through this much. But that's the price of developing in Danville," he said.

With little further discussion, council members gave their unanimous approval to the proposed development.

Comments

Posted by Sylvia, a resident of Danville
on Apr 29, 2009 at 1:34 pm

The four comments that had been posted on this story as of 11:30 a.m. today (4/29/09) have now been removed (1:34 pm, same day). I will re-post mine and hope others do the same:

Americh has his eye on a much larger prize... cultivating deep-pocket contributors right now is an excellent part of his exit strategy.


Posted by Debbie, a resident of Danville
on Apr 29, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Sylvia: I would love to know the content of the removed comments. Could you please fill me in? As someone who has followed the Weber project closely, I am aware of what the Danville Town Council and Planning Commission are capable of. Many thanks.


Posted by resident, a resident of Danville
on Apr 29, 2009 at 2:05 pm

The comments are still there, just scroll down and you'll see it :)


Posted by Debbie, a resident of Danville
on Apr 29, 2009 at 2:06 pm

What were the other 3 comments?


Posted by resident, a resident of Danville
on Apr 29, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Scroll down the posts under Town Square Forum and you will find the original comments!


Posted by Debbie, a resident of Danville
on Apr 29, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Thank You!


Posted by Pat, a resident of Danville
on Apr 29, 2009 at 2:57 pm

I don't understand how any grading can occur nor how any trees can be removed. A life estate is just what it says. Lucille Weber has a life estate until it is terminated at her death.

The "red-legged frog" was the reason used when the Planning Commission canceled the first meeting when over 100 people showed up to protest.


Posted by A resident, a resident of Danville
on Apr 29, 2009 at 3:01 pm

When the traffic from the school starts to emped our neighborhood I will request speed bumps be placed on all streets not having them. In this neighborhood its not pedeal to the metal. Its slow down.


Posted by Kristen, a resident of Danville
on Apr 29, 2009 at 6:00 pm

I saw the original comments but I don't see them now. They were not favorable towards this development. Just more cars, people and not enough resources for them.


Posted by Dolores Fox Ciardelli, editor, a resident of Danville
on Apr 30, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Unfortunately there are two threads on the Weber property development being approved because the story was "lost" Wednesday afternoon when I was making a correction and had to be put on the Web site again. Sorry - our IT department attributes it to an Internet "blip."


Posted by Community courtesy, a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Dear Dolores,

Cut and Paste and the issue is solved:

Comments

Posted by Lifelong Danville Resident, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Just what Danville needs !! More development.
Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Community courtesy, a resident of another community, on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Dear Dolores,

A neighbor asked today in regional e-exchanges, "Is there any reason not to call it Damnville? If we are to survive this government, we shall need more than the Devil's advocate..we will need several damn good attorneys!"

Interesting point for readers' discussion,

Hal, as a community courtesy
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Posted by resident, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2009 at 8:24 am

Here we go again..........More homes -- more people -- LESS water!!!

Of course, more money for Danville.
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Posted by Sylvia, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2009 at 10:15 am

Americh has his eye on a larger prize... cultivating deep-pocket contributors now is an excellent part of his exit strategy.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by bob, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2009 at 12:35 pm

I thought Lucille Webber sold it to the Boy Scouts originally ????

She asked that her horse be allowed to graze on the land until it Died or something.

Where did the Salvation Army come from?
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Posted by local neighbor, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Lucille Weber wanted her land to be "open space" When the Salvation Army found out that they were listed as the beneficiary of her estate, they took her to court. They ended up with Lucille's property which they promptly sold to Davidon Homes even though the Compromise Agreement said "upon the death of Lucille" the smaller parcel could be sold.

Lucille gets a stipend from Salvation Army. However, since she is paying the property taxes how is this all going to work out?
Report Objectionable Content


Posted by Denise, a resident of Danville
on Sep 4, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Again, Lucille might not have wanted the land developed. Unfortunately she donated it to the Salvation Army not to City parks. The Salvation Army only needs land for treatment centers, for the addicted, afflicted and the poor. They therefore sold it to a developer, as it was already within the general Danville plan. Lucille receives money for 24/7 care in her home from the trust set aside for her. Everyone hates to see beautiful spaces like this disappear and since this area is wealthy, many feel entitled to the views they and myself have been honored to have. Each one of those citizens involved in the Town of Danville lawsuit, draining our town's coffers for their view, were in fact, informed of the property behind them being built upon. They knew when they bought their homes the Webber Estate would become more homes.


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