Danville Express

Newsfront - April 20, 2007

Council says yes to Weber plan

22 homes will be built on 15-acre estate

by Jordan M. Doronila

Ready the bulldozers and prepare the scrapers.

The Danville Town Council unanimously approved an application that allows a developer to build 22 single-family residential homes on a 15-acre estate on Blemer Road and Matadera Way, at its meeting Tuesday.

After submitting the proposal three years ago, Davidon Homes finally received the council's OK - amid a flurry of opposition from neighbors - to develop the Weber property, a 15-acre parcel, into a residential area.

More than 50 people attended the sometimes contentious meeting, which ended 30 minutes after midnight. Davidon currently owns the property, which is near Los Cerros Middle School and Monte Vista High.

"I don't see any of these houses as detracting from the neighbors," said Councilwoman Candace Andersen.

The council also approved Davidon's proposal to donate 3.7 acres of the parcel to the town and to remove 26 town-protected trees. It added that the Planning Division has to monitor the tree removals, and the developer has to end construction activities by 5 p.m.

Dozens of residents who live near the estate voiced their opposition against the project because they claimed it would bring flooding and significantly impact their privacy.

In addition, some said their property values would be affected, traffic would increase, the surrounding environment would be affected, and their open space would be taken away.

"We just want it done right," said Weber estate neighbor James Simpson, noting that he is not against development. "We are citizens and we do pay our taxes. We don't have to agree. I encourage (the people involved in the project) to talk to us."

Neighbor David Trisko expressed the opinion that some town staff members were "arrogant" and did not take into account the studies they had had done.

However, council members, town staff and Davidon executive Jeff Thayer said they have addressed concerns raised by neighbors and used the information in the application process.

Staff and Thayer said they have done extensive environmental and traffic studies. The environment reports found there would be no significant impact as a result of the development, staff said. Thayer, a Danville resident who lives by the estate, said Davidon would build a road to connect Blemer Road and Matadera Way to help alleviate traffic.

Additionally, the town can use Davidon's donation of 3.7 acres of land for its own use, such as creating access to Oak Hill Park.

Lucille Weber previously owned the 15-acre parcel. Her estate donated it to the Salvation Army, which subsequently sold the property to Davidon Homes.

The Planning Commission unanimously gave its OK to Davidon's proposal in February after thorough studies found the project would not endanger the red legged frog. Commissioners have said the project is well designed and follows the Danville 2010 General Plan.

"We used the general plan literally as a guide to develop the property," Thayer said.

Councilman Mike Doyle said he finds it disturbing that people who already live in Danville are against others moving into the area.

"I do not like it when people imply or hint that the Town Council or town staff has a hidden agenda," Doyle also added.


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