DanvilleSanRamon.com

Perspective - November 2, 2007

Farewell, walnuts; hello, hotel

The last orchard in Danville seems destined for development. Owner Armand Borel has sold options running through June 2009 to developer Sid Corrie on seven of his 16 acres wedged between Camino Ramon and I-680 on the southern edge of Danville, across from Costco.

Corrie is scheduled to appear before the Danville Town Council on Tuesday, Nov. 6, to outline his plans for the acreage, but he has said he hopes to include both residential and commercial use. Neighbors have received notices of the meeting outlining plans for a three-story self-storage facility and a four-story hotel as well as retail. Some have lamented the traffic these businesses would bring as everyone travels on two-lane Camino Ramon and the already-congested Crow Canyon Place.

In 1985 when Fostoria Way was being developed, residents hoped to preserve some of the extensive Borel orchards but only 17 acres were left intact. Until now Armand Borel, 78, has held onto his piece of pastoral paradise, where he lives surrounded by his walnut orchards. But apparently Borel, too, is ready to concede that the San Ramon Valley is no longer a rural area, and that locations near freeways are convenient places to do business. In a few years we will no longer be able to enjoy glimpsing this last orchard in Danville through the fence as we bustle about on our errands.

Not everyone sees commercial development as inevitable. Residents have commented on our Web site that this land would be better used as a city park or a historic site honoring the Borel family's farm. But the fact is it would have to be purchased and developed privately, and what person or group will step forward to do this?

Danville Town Manager Joe Calabrigo poetically referred to the Borel property last spring as "a little island time forgot." Time has suddenly remembered the last remaining orchard in Danville.

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