Town council supports new housing development

Plan calls for 20 single-family homes on property off Midland Way in southwest Danville

The Danville Town Council has given its support to a new residential development planned for the southwest part of town.

The proposal by Pleasanton-based Ponderosa Homes would bring 20 new residential lots to a small portion of a nearly 110-acre parcel at the end of Midland Way, off San Ramon Valley Boulevard.

As part of its endorsement of the project, the council voted unanimously last Tuesday to certify the final environmental impact report, approve the major subdivision request and allow the developer to remove 14 town-protected trees during construction.

"The applicant, Ponderosa Homes, was effective meeting with neighbors and identifying neighborhood concerns. This is what we expect -- and appreciate -- property owners and builders to do when introducing homes in an existing neighborhood," Danville Mayor Robert Storer said.

The project proposal calls for 20 single-family homes, each ranging roughly between 3,150 and 3,700 square feet, on a low-lying 10-acre portion of the parcel. At least two of the new residential lots would include a smaller, second dwelling unit.

The remaining approximately 99 acres would be designated as permanent open space, under the proposal supported by the council.

About 96% of the open space would be offered to the East Bay Regional Park District to become part of the adjacent Las Trampas Regional Wilderness Area, according to town staff. A public trail would be added to provide access to the wilderness area from the residential community.

The EIR and mitigation measures approved by council members addressed potential project impacts in a range of areas, including air quality, aesthetics, cultural resources, geology and soils, and biological resources.

The lone citizen speaker at the council meeting Tuesday raised questions about hydrological impacts of the project, according to town officials.

"I believe when people are satisfied with the process and believe their concerns have been heard and mitigated, they have a tendency to support the project by not attending town council meetings," Storer said.

Ponderosa received permission to remove 14 town-protected trees during construction. The company anticipates needing to level other 10 trees that do not have special protections.

Hundreds of other trees at the site will be preserved, including a 54-inch Valley oak near the entrance to the property, Storer said.

The developers must plant new trees of appropriate size and number to equal the total diameter of all removed town-protected trees. All other trees need to be replaced at a 1-to-1 ratio.

Council members also indicated support for Ponderosa's request to rezone the project site from general agricultural to the planned unit development district. The parcel has a land-use designation of rural residential.

The council held the first reading of an ordinance approving the rezone. The final reading of the proposed ordinance is set for April 15.


Posted by diablodave, a resident of Diablo
on Apr 7, 2014 at 8:35 am

diablodave is a registered user.

Yet another opportunity for the town council to flout their legal obligation to submit land use designation changes to public vote as required by law? Or, I guess the law only applies if enough people protest? No, wait! Enough people did protest the Summerhill development on the East side of Danville and they ignored that too. Now, we have to sue them to do what they are required by law to do??

The people of Danville need to wake up and smell the development before your town becomes a city that you don't want. Remember, no decision is a decision - and your town council is making it for you. If you like more development, remain apathetic...

Posted by Louise, a resident of Danville
on Apr 7, 2014 at 9:23 am

I'm disgusted with the town council and planners. They don't care, they don't listen and they want it there way only. Typical politicians that have sold out to developers. They see money and their greed takes over. Danville will never be the same and traffic will continue to get worse.
If I were Dante I would put them in the worst part of hell. Maybe that's where they will all end up anyway.

Posted by Andy, a resident of Danville
on Apr 7, 2014 at 10:04 am

Of 110 acres, only 10acres will be developed and rest designated as permanent open space. Why is this so wrong?

Posted by Julia, a resident of Alamo
on Apr 7, 2014 at 10:06 am

Oh My God...stop your darn complaining...I told you this would happen weeks ago. The mayor lied to you when he made all those stupid promises.

Diablodave and Louise you are right to complain. But you know nothing will come of it. The other 99% of the Danville folks have their head in the sand.

The Mayor is proving himself to be a total dishonest so called leader. But it is easy to lead the small thinking people in Danville...

Thanks for listening, The real Julia Pardini from safe and sane Alamo.

Okay...Julia imposter, now lets hear from you. I am sure you may have some interesting comments...but I doubt it...Get some guts and log in with your name.

Posted by Andy Again, a resident of Danville
on Apr 7, 2014 at 10:10 am

Of 110 acres, only 10acres will be developed and rest designated as permanent open space. Why is this so wrong?

Posted by Julia, a resident of Alamo
on Apr 7, 2014 at 10:10 am

Andy...get a brain. A developer has 110 acres and plans to develop 10.

WOW, what a great business person and a nice guy...

Again, Thanks for listening, Julia Pardini from Alamo

Posted by Andy Again, a resident of Danville
on Apr 7, 2014 at 10:15 am

Rest designated as permanent open space, it cant be touched for development.
Why is this so wrong.

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Blackhawk
on Apr 7, 2014 at 10:25 am

@Andy - good point. Seems when you argue with valid data the fools (Julia, Louise and Diablodave) go quiet.

Posted by disgusted local resident, a resident of Danville
on Apr 7, 2014 at 10:41 am

Question for "Andy", who is more than likely Danville's paid public "information" (i.e. propaganda) minister: exactly how was "the rest" dedicated as "permanent open space"? With the tricks Danville's government regularly pulls, NOTHING, is PERMANENT anything when a developer wants to develop it.

According to the Town, "only" one person registering a complaint SPOKE at the hearing. WHY WAS THIS PERSON IGNORED? Because whether the number was 1 or 10,000 the Town Council would IGNORE their complaints.

Then Storer has the gall to make the following comment:

"I believe when people are satisfied with the process and believe their concerns have been heard and mitigated, they have a tendency to support the project by not attending town council meetings," Storer said.

Here is why they don't attend, Storer. It is NOT because they are satisfied with projects like this. It is BECAUSE THEY KNOW EVERY DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL IN DANVILLE IS A DONE DEAL BEFORE THE PUBLIC EVER HEARS ABOUT! All they need to do is look at the mess down SRV Blvd. from this newly-approved Ponderosa Homes project to see the KB GULAG, and realize you and your ilk on the Council don't give a hoot what the public thinks.

The people know who you are, Storer. You are a construction contractor and builder of high-density homes. You were never elected by the people. It is shameful that you are the mayor of this town. Danville never should have incorporated. Alamo is a lot better off without the expense and self-serving actions of a local government. You are so right, Julia Pardini.

Posted by diablodave, a resident of Diablo
on Apr 7, 2014 at 10:49 am

diablodave is a registered user.

I see I got all the crazies riled up...some of you should sedate yourselves.

My point was NOT whether this was a good development decision or not. 10 acres out of 100 and the rest deeded to open space is not the issue (in fact it sounds kinda cool). I don't live in that part of the valley and don't know enough to express an opinion on that.

My ONLY point is that once again the town council has re-designated land use without following the law (which by the way was an initiative passed by the residents of Danville, not some far off County or State mandate...) and if you let them continue to do so without being challenged you will get what you get and you lose the right to complain later.

Posted by CA Rich, a resident of Danville
on Apr 7, 2014 at 2:19 pm

To which Danville ordinance is diablo save referring?

Posted by Team Andy, a resident of Danville
on Apr 7, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Thanks for the logic, it's much appreciated on this forum.

Posted by Louise, a resident of Danville
on Apr 8, 2014 at 8:50 am

Oh the developer and the town planners are so kind. The reason the rest is open space is that it is all slope primarily and probably slide prone anyway. They would have designated more for housing if they could have! Get a grip. The builders and town are doing what they know best, creating more revenue and to hell with traffic, quality of life or what the residents of Danville want. I feel sorry for those that live near Midland and then you can add more traffic on Ocho Rios and San Ramon Valley Blvd too. Just wait and see what it will be like. At commute times the streets are already crowded. What Kool-Aid are you drinking?

Posted by Linguisa Louisa, a resident of Danville
on Apr 8, 2014 at 8:52 am

Louise, try venting about your traffic with the rest of the Bay Area. You might have a more reactive audience.

Posted by local, a resident of Danville
on Apr 8, 2014 at 10:00 am

I don't believe the Town's statement that only ten acres will be developed. They are not counting roads, holding ponds for floodwaters, and other infrastructure. And Louise is right. The 100 acres involved is mostly just slides, steep slopes, springs, and the like, and not susceptible to being built upon. This is no great deal for anyone but the developer and the land investor, and of course the Town's bureaucracy. Let's not forget the bureaucrats need developer fees and subsequent property taxes to pay the inflated salaries of the Town Manager (over $300,000 per year for "managing" a town of 43,000!), City Attorney, and others.

Posted by Makes Sense, a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 8, 2014 at 10:42 am

could've would've should've .. bottom line is large portion is permanent open space, 20-25 homes will not have a huge impact to traffic, it is smart, limited development and lastly yes, it will bring retail/tax dollars to the city.

Good move overall!

Posted by local, a resident of Danville
on Apr 8, 2014 at 11:27 am

Has the Danville Town Council ever not approved a development?

@Makes Sense (should be "Makes Cents---for the developer"): You live in San Ramon. San Ramon is chock full of developments like this. You obviously like them. I live in Danville. I don't want more of the same for Danville.

FYI:20-25 new homes means about 150-250 more car trips per day. That is indeed a lot of traffic.

Posted by Louise, a resident of Danville
on Apr 8, 2014 at 2:00 pm

I guess that traffic is in the mind of the beholder. And some of us are pro developers and pro inflated union salaries/pensions too cause they somehow benefit or are recipients of some inflated government sponsored pension plan. P. S. The GG Bridge toll just went up to $7.00 a trip. Guess what it's really for? You got that right - government sponsored inflated pensions. Just wait until you have a special property tax assessment like the city of San Ramon is proposing - it is for the overly generous pension plans and benefit packages that are underfunded. Since when do property owners have to subsidize these union/city/town pensions. It is an illegal taking and tax.

Posted by Basics, a resident of Danville
on Apr 8, 2014 at 2:19 pm

@Louise, civics 101 - special assessments are passed by voters, if enough vote NO it will not pass, assessments are timebound (not forever). Your post is completely off topic!

Find me a city/county in the country where such things don't happen, name one rather than the constant whining!

Posted by Derek, a resident of Danville
on Apr 8, 2014 at 4:35 pm

@ Andy & "Makes Sense"-

I don't always agree with Louise but she makes a valid point about the bedrock-lacking slope. Open space, not because that's the way they want it, but because even the rubes who run our town know that higher elevation building may set off irreversible erosion.
There is a very high likelihood that the hideous KB development would have gone further up the hill than it did if the ground were more stable, and I didn't pull that bit of conjecture out of my derrier. That was directly from Mike at the City of Danville permit counter about six months before Elworthy broke ground, and one echoed by one of the five town council members who I know personally.

More to the point though, these extra homes - few in number though they may be - add to the already brim-full school populations at Charlotte Wood, Greenbrook, Montair, SRV High, and Baldwin. Our planning commission, Mayor, and the five supremes, never seem to consider this issue at all. That developers get away with only miniscule contributions to new school construction is a crime. It does not matter if it goes on in every town in every state, because so does bribery and graft.

K.B. Homes "Unworthy" project put an elephant size strain on at least four existing schools, if not five. Few that comment here think this monstrous scarring of the last open hillside on the west slope was wise, and any more new homes add to the overburden. When a developer sees existing homes getting twelve cash-in-hand offers over asking price, it sets off a Pavlovian reaction. Open space is an anathema to any large scale builder, and it has always been so.

The day will come soon when we will need a new fence on a side of our property that has an incline toward the street. Due to this slope the standard allowable 72" fence offers little privacy, so I intend to build the new one at 7-1/2 feet height. And this allegedly requires a permit.
So for any Danville City inspectors who might be reading this, I have a question: Do you really think that after you allowed KB Homes to erect that tall, grotesque, view blocking soundwall around the Elworthy, that my wife or I am going to give you one plugged nickle for a variance permit?

Posted by Derek, a resident of Danville
on Apr 8, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Oh, and by the way Danville Express, the headline "Town council supports new housing development" is like having a story that begins with "Derek arises from bed; finds sky is still blue"

Posted by Louise, a resident of Danville
on Apr 9, 2014 at 8:54 am

I wish that were true that the voters would vote no on an assessment. I know it has to go to a vote. But even those who don't pay property taxes get to vote - though at one time in our history they did not especially on property tax issues. Now, oh enlightened one, Basics, I'm sure you think they would vote no. I doubt it since the voters tend to pass most assessments in this area. Just look at your tax bill.

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