News

Group fighting Magee Ranch development announces fundraising effort

'Save Our Creek' hopes to hire attorneys and experts

A local group opposed to the proposed SummerHill Homes development on what remains of the original Magee ranch has created a financial fund as part of its effort to stop the project.

Save Our Creek members approved a fundraising initiative at its meeting last week, which was attended by more than 90 people. The money raised will be used to hire San Francisco based environmental law firm Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger and to hire experts to fight the development.

In addition, Save Our Creek has established a steering committee to make decisions relating to its effort to challenge the SummerHill Homes development.

"Now is the time for Danville and Diablo residents to take action," said Maryann Cella, a Save Our Creek spokesperson. "We encourage any and all Danville and Diablo residents who are opposed to this development to dig into their pockets to help us fight a development that will negatively impact the quality of our everyday lives, as well as the beauty that surrounds us."

Save Our Creek member Todd Gary said a donation that would amount to a nice dinner would provide the group with enough money to mount a significant challenge to SummerHill's proposal.

According to Gabriel Ross, a partner with Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, the first major action for Save Our Creek will be to respond to the upcoming Draft Environmental Impact Report from the Town of Danville, which is expected in September.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michelle Erickson
a resident of Danville
on Aug 1, 2011 at 4:05 pm

If you want to learn more about Save Our Creek and/or how to donate, please go to www.save-our-creek.com
There is also a petition against this project, which can be found at Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Aug 1, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Thanks for the link Michelle. We'll be adding our John Henry's tonight. Stupid question: If a husband and wife both sign, it does count for two signatures even though the address is the same, right?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Maryann Cella
a resident of Diablo
on Aug 1, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Thanks, Derek! Your question is not "stupid". Yes, a husband and wife signing the petition do count as two people opposed to the development, just as in a government election family members living together in the same household get separate votes. We at Save Our Creek appreciate your support! Please tell your neighbors and other friends about our efforts!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tony Geisler
a resident of Diablo
on Aug 2, 2011 at 7:16 am

Please support our effort. If you live along the Blackhawk/Diablo Road corridor, you easily understand how a high density cluster home development will have a dramatically negative effect on the entire area. An already grim traffic situation, especially during the school and commute hours, will be made that much worse with perhaps up to an additional 1000 car trips per day.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Member
a resident of Blackhawk
on Aug 2, 2011 at 8:13 am

I live in that corridor and agree that traffic during school and commute hours needs to be addressed to make it a successful project. However, the arguments against the project could have been made about any of the developments in that area that we now live in. I wonder how the residents of WoodCreek felt about Magee Ranch being constructed next door to them.
I feel this opposition is a case of "I've got mine but I don't want anyone else to have theirs." All the inflammatory buzz words are being tossed out, such as "cluster home" (which I guess is supposed to be a bad thing, but I thought they were being proposed in order to maximize the open space...they are not tenements,for goodness sake) "Save Diablo Creek?, and loss of property values. The area is zoned residential; let the project go through the proper review process, give your input and do not take it to court to "protect your property values". After all, you live there, right?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by [removed]
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 2, 2011 at 8:37 am

Dear Editor,

By discovery through news service research it can be confirmed that Danville's government works from a position of authority and not service to its residents. Thus, avenues to mitigation of issues created by governments for residents are not readily available within Danville's public process. Contra Costa County and its 19 city governments employ public meeting tactics that are simply going through the motions of public due process after decisions have already been made. Once again, Danville neighbors like Alamo neighbors are provided, "fill out a card, wait to be called, do your three minutes and then shut up and go away."

It is very logical in the absence of interactive discussion, consideration and mitigation that Danville neighborhoods would pursue regulatory, legislative, class action and potentially criminal actions via counsel against an authoritarian government. With the illogical impact of this project far reaching in our region, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Diablo, Danville and Blackhawk neighborhoods should be considering supporting www.save-our-creek.com with their voices, petition signatures and contributions.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by David Barlow
a resident of John Baldwin Elementary School
on Aug 2, 2011 at 9:14 am

Wow how self serving....let's see how this works. I have my house now and ignore the fact that the land it is now on was once someone else's "unubstructed" view but now that I have my home I am going to do all I can to stop others from having what I have. So Ms. Cella would have nothing built by her---let the homes be built somewhere else she pleads---even though someone has as much right to build homes on land they own as the builder did to build the home she now occupies.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Susan L
a resident of Danville
on Aug 2, 2011 at 10:30 am

I 100% agree with David B. If neighborhoods had not developed over the years, who, if any of us, would be living in the home we live in now - none of us! Sounds like a few existing homeowners just don't want to wait a few extra seconds to get the kids to school. The attempt to stop this development is about as sure of a waste of time and money as I've ever seen.

Let's focus on welcoming our new neighbors!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michelle
a resident of Danville
on Aug 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I just want to clarify a couple of points.

1. The term "cluster" is one that SummerHill Homes has used from the very beginning to describe this property development. Save Our Creek has simply adopted the same terminology.

2. The area is currently zoned Rural Residential, which means 5 acre lots minimum. SummerHill has put in an application to have the property re-zoned to Single Family Residential, which is 1-3 units per acre, to accommodate the development that they are proposing.

Obviously everyone has personal opinions about this project and I am happy to see the discussion above.

I believe that some of the people who signed the Save Our Creek petition are primarily opposing the density of the housing project...in addition, of course, to the traffic impact. These folks would probably not object to a development that is in line with exisisting zoning.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Danville
on Aug 2, 2011 at 4:30 pm

The morning school traffic in the Blackhawk-to-Diablo Road corridor has been horrendous ever since my family and I moved here in 1993. Small changes have been enacted to alleviate the congestion but they have had very little impact. Naturally adding 80+ homes with children to the morning rush will not improve the situation, but there has to be other ways to relieve the congestion (such as different starting times for different grades or schools). Many residents talk about the development lowering property values, but there is no evidence to support that. If that premise were valid, the building of Blackhawk beginning back in 1980 would have trashed Danville's property values.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Concerned neighbor
a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Michelle's comments are right on track. The main project concern is the density of the proposed housing which is not within the existing zoning. Also the impact on traffic along an already conjested road.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Maryann Cella
a resident of Diablo
on Aug 2, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Obviously, none of those commenting negatively on our Save Our Creek efforts has needed to drive west on Diablo Road from the Hidden Oaks/Magee Ranch area during the morning commute/school hours (indeed, the local school start times have long been staggered because of the horrendous traffic). If the possible 127 dwelling units SummerHill is proposing would add only "seconds" to our driving times, we wouldn't care! I suggest you educate yourself on the nature of the project we oppose and its consequences by visiting our Save Our Creek website. Fact: recently, the Green Valley Road/Diablo Road intersection was found to be one of the most congested intersections in the entire County! Fact: 127 dwellings stand to add potentially 1000 daily car trips to an existing intolerable situation. Fact: Green Valley Creek, to which the possible 127 dwellings will drain, is already overcapacity, with periodic flooding and severe erosion already occuring (did you happen to read about Danville having to replace a pedestrian bridge over Green Valley Creek due to severe erosion, and having to do million-dollar repair work on the Diablo Road Bridge and adjacent sidewalk at West El Pintado because of severe erosion?).

Currently, the owner of what remains of the original Magee ranch has no right to build the project for which he seeks approval. He is asking Danville Town Council to grant him a rezoning of his property so that project may be built. Before that rezoning is granted, Danville must consider by law (the California Environmental Quality Act) the many environmental consequences (traffic, flooding, etc.) of that rezoning. I hope you will agree that at some point an area reaches a saturation point given the existing infrastructure such that large numbers of additional houses would create an intolerable level of negative environmental consequences. THE DIABLO ROAD CORRIDOR IS AT THAT POINT! Therefore, Danville Town Council should deny the rezoning application.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by rufous
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 3, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Its the "new farm" project we should all be taking aim at, that is the one that proposes to relocate the urban growth line. This project is consistent with current zoning, has utilities, is inside the growth line and is much more appropriate than new farm.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Aug 4, 2011 at 7:38 am

1 -- A thousand trips/day sounds like a lot -- is it? What's the total load now?

2 -- maybe the answer is to widen Diablo to four lanes?

3 -- or is it for Diablo to be annexed to become part of the Danville they hope to influence, the better for those residents' voices to be heard by the Town leaders?

4 -- shouldn't the group be called Save Our Commute?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bella
a resident of Danville
on Aug 4, 2011 at 9:51 am

The main issues that the Save Our Creek group are trying to address relate to responsible growth. Yes, Magee Ranch is going to be developed, but 4000+ square foot homes on less than 1/4 acre lots and a subdivision that does not allow for a school bus to turn around, is not acceptable.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by cardinal
a resident of Diablo
on Aug 4, 2011 at 10:36 am

I grew up here -- what's a school bus?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bella
a resident of Danville
on Aug 4, 2011 at 11:36 am

A school bus is a large yellow bus that takes children to/from school. Currently, school buses run along Diablo Road and take children to/from Los Cerros, Green Valley and a few other schools that have significant traffic congestion. The buses have made a tremendous impact on morning commutes and while funding is not guaranteed forever into the future, it only makes sense that new subdivisions should be planned to allow for buses to service those new neighborhoods. It is this type of common sense planning that Save Our Creek is attempting to insert into the SummerHill project.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Aug 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm

According to the fund-raising blurb, the purpose is to hire a SF law firm to fight the development process in general, and the environmental impact report in particular.

That sounds like a much more hard-edged -- and dilatory -- purpose than the one you state, Bella. I'm all for school buses, but I get off that bus when folks use the planning process to delay somebody else's project and drive up its costs -- just because they can.

BTW, aren't those some good construction jobs you're trying to send away?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bella
a resident of Danville
on Aug 4, 2011 at 3:02 pm

SummerHill homes completed a lovely development on Stone Valley not too many years ago. If the currently proposed development mirrored that one, I doubt Save Our Creek would have many supporters. The Save Our Creek position is not one of anti-development, anti-jobs, anti-new neighbors. It is a position of responsible growth, careful planning, more is not necessarily better, and plan for the future. 4000+ square foot McMansions on 1/4 acre lots, without school bus accessibility, in over crowded schools, with bad drainage issues, terrible traffic, and water pressure (aka fire danger) problems cannot be ignored in the name of progress and growth for growth's sake.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cathy
a resident of Blackhawk
on Aug 4, 2011 at 5:15 pm

To both David B. and Susan L.

Obviously you must not travel Diablo Road that often, if at all. Right now there are plenty of homes for sale in the area if someone wants to live in Danville to get what you have. The bigger issue is the traffic. It is not just a matter of additional seconds to those of us with students at Monte Vista, Los Cerros and the other impacted schools. They can only shift start times by so much and still not get the unions involved with teachers complaining about their day. Try using that road around 8:00 a.m. when school is in session to see what the rest of us are dealing with. If you don't use that road daily, even many times a day, you have no business giving Ms. Cella a hard time.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by clusterwhat?
a resident of Blackhawk
on Aug 5, 2011 at 7:09 am

This group should call itself SAD: Spinmeisters Against Development.

I don't believe "our creek" makes your honest top-ten list of concerns.


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