News

Planning commission recommends Weber approval

The planning commission held a public hearing on Tuesday to review the Weber residential development project, including the final environmental impact report (EIR) and proposed development plan.

In a unanimous vote, the commission approved the 15-acre development's preliminary and final development plans, major subdivision request and tree removal request. Davidon Homes would built 22 single-family homes near Blemer Road and construct a new street connecting Blemer and Matadera Way, with the ultimate goal of easing congestion between Los Cerros Middle and Green Valley Elementary schools.

"A connection to a public road has always been in the town plans. We hope to see improved levels of service," said Principal Planner David Crompton.

The new vehicular connection, to be named Weber Lane, was the subject of much discussion at Tuesday's meeting with both commission members and residents advocating for an additional sidewalk on the east side of the street. Currently, the sidewalk on Weber Road runs along the west side of the property and connects to paths on Blemer Road and Matadera Way.

"The idea is that there are multiple alternatives that weren't there before," said Davidon Homes Vice President Jeff Thayer.

While the new street includes two turnarounds or roundabouts to improve traffic flow, Thayer said it would be possible to add a five-foot sidewalk in front of five houses on Weber Lane. The inclusion of additional sidewalk was added to the commission's motion to approve.

"In 40 years on the planning commission, I've never seen so much effort from a developer to mitigate every single thing," said Commission member Lynn Overcashier. "I feel very strongly that Davidon Homes has gone above and beyond and I think it will benefit the community for many years to come."

Others were not so gung-ho about the development. Diablo resident Maryann Cella expressed concern about erosion along Green Valley Creek and called for a pipe along Diablo Road to push water from the development further up the creek.

"All the people who have homes along Green Valley Creek don't have taxpayer dollars at their disposal," she said. "There's no discussion that the creek is over capacity….I'm kind of amazed that this isn't in the EIR."

In its response to comments document, consultants outlined ways to mitigate the development's hydrology impacts by delivering peak water flows into the creek prior to the larger flow from mainstream watersheds.

The document, which is comprised of responses to 26 letters, also addressed mitigations to cumulative traffic effects and aesthetic issues.

But getting to this point was no easy task. After approving project applications and accepting a mitigated negative declaration (MND) in April 2007, a group called Citizens for Civic Accountability filed a lawsuit alleging that Danville failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act. Superior Court found that the MND accounted for all environmental impacts except tree removal, forcing the town to retract approval of the MND report.

After approving a new MND in 2009, Citizens for Civic Accountability (CCA) filed an appeal. The California Court of Appeal subsequently concluded that there was substantial evidence that the project might result in significant adverse impacts on wetlands riparian habitat.

"This EIR is the result of our efforts and though I believe it was hastily done...at least it was done," said CCA member Kristin Trisco.

The final EIR and development application will now go to the town council, which will take final action on the project during a public hearing in early July.

Comments

Posted by Shannon, a resident of Alamo
on Jun 15, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I don't know that the Town can trust Davidon to follow through with its efforts to mitigate impact on the neighborhood, like adding the sidewalks it promised. Where is the crosswalk across Stone Valley Road that Davidon promised to build when it was approved to build Alamo Crest? Their houses are for sale, yet no crosswalk was ever provided. The residents dart across traffic to get to the park or high school. Where is the pedestrian access point to the open space it "reserved?" There isn't one.


Posted by [removed], a resident of Alamo
on Jun 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Dear Editor,

Clearly, Alamo neighborhoods feel this project is dangerously close to Alamo and will impact Green Valley/Stone Valley corridor. It might be well for Danville planners and Davidon to recognize that Alamo neighborhoods are only waiting for final approval to determine regulatory, legislative and legal actions.

Further, Diablo will likely see traffic impact on Diablo Road. Thus, corridor neighbors in that region will seek actions beyond those controlled in Danville.


Posted by Derek, a resident of Danville
on Jun 15, 2011 at 5:07 pm

In other surprising news, the sun also came up today and the sky appeared to be blue-ish yet again.
When exactly has our dear planning commission NOT approved a development? If you can find an instance Jessica, I think that would make for interesting reading.
What fines will be in place if Davidian fails to keep to their word? Any at all? No, I didn't think so.


Posted by Mark, a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 16, 2011 at 8:39 am

Looks like it would have made a good park instead. *from the photo.


Posted by jan, a resident of Alamo
on Jun 16, 2011 at 9:14 am

Let's cut down more trees, build more homes so we can "improve" the quality of the air we breath..........What's wrong with this picture?


Posted by concerned citizen, a resident of Diablo
on Jun 16, 2011 at 11:40 am

Those that oppose Summerhill Homes' Magee East and West projects should take note. Unless experts and a lawyer are hired to wage a legally credible fight, Danville will approve those projects in their present form. The EIR currently being prepared is mere windowdressing to avoid an easy legal challenge. By allowing the projects to get to the point of preparing an EIR, Danville officials have already shown that they approve them.


Posted by John Tanner, a resident of Danville
on Jun 17, 2011 at 11:54 am

This is an infill project that the surrounding owners of the houses don't want because they have become accustomed to land that does not have houses and the people that go with them adjacent to their fence lines or in the way of their viewsheds. If they want to preserve this land, perhaps each of the affected neighbors can contribute a few hundred thousand dollars each and buy it back from Davidon.

If they were smart they would negotiate to reduce heights of the as well as limit the heights of trees that homeonwners will plant. Existing native trees do not typically obscure views of Mt. Diablo, but when neighbors go in and plant redwoods or other tall trees, say good bye to your views. But there is no current recourse for tree view obstruction.

The traffic argument will fall on deaf ears, and is incredulous at best due to number of surrounding homes in comparison and farther out developments.

It is an infill within existing city limits and within city infrastructure. There are far more ecologically damaging projects that get proposed than this one.

I do support neighbors input into the process to make sure their needs are considered. Hopefully the two sides can negotiate a good deal for both sides.


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