Danville Express

Perspective - August 10, 2007

Taking in the view

Danville passes an ordinance to prevent homes being built on a ridgeline. The Planning Commission cites the ordinance when someone applies to build on a ridgeline and the Town Council backs it up. A county judge says the town didn't have enough evidence to deny plans for the 7,000-square-foot home and orders the Council to take another look at the application.

County voters pass Measure J in 2004 and Measure L in 2006 to stop towns and cities from expanding into farmlands and open space. Along comes the New Farm project, touted as "rural residential" rather than "urban development," to be located in Tassajara Valley. The county Board of Supervisors votes 4-1 to allow the $1 million study of the project.

What is wrong with these pictures? In both cases, the law sought to limit housing to certain spaces, to protect our natural ridgelines and our open spaces. In both cases, developers came up with ways to circumvent those intentions to get housing where they want it.

The ridgelines ordinance was not intended to stop wealthy people from fulfilling their dreams of building homes on hilltops with views. It was meant to preserve everyone else's views as they look up at the ridgelines. The urban limit line is not a matter of residents wanting to close the doors after they are already contentedly living in Contra Costa County. Rather it is to encourage fill-in development and smart growth, building near existing transportation and infrastructure rather than developing in the hinterlands and then requiring new roads and services.

Just what do we have to do to preserve our views and contain development in existing urban areas? It's apparently not enough to make laws. We must remain on the alert for judges who do not consider hillside ordinances binding and supervisors who OK studies that might find loopholes rather than worrying about voters' intentions.


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields