Danville Express

Newsfront - November 9, 2007

Plans for orchard include four-story hotel

Developer gets feedback from Town Council and residents

by Jordan M. Doronila

The Danville Town Council approved a motion at its meeting Tuesday that allows developer Sid Corrie to conduct a study to assess if his plans for developing seven acres on Camino Ramon fits in with the locale.

"This is just the start of the process," said Kevin Gailey, town chief building planner. "It's a glorified pre-notification that something is coming down the road. No application has been submitted."

Sid Corrie is considering developing residential and commercial property on seven acres of Danville's 16-acre walnut orchard, which is owned by Armand Borel, 78. Corrie purchased the option to buy the seven acres on the northern side of the orchard on Camino Ramon, across from Costco, for an undisclosed amount in June 2004. The option runs through June 2009.

Corrie's plans include a four-story, 140-room upscale hotel, a self-storage facility and a mix of general retail, restaurant and office spaces. He also wants to build single-family homes.

The storage facility would be used as a buffer between the commercial outlets and the residents, said Todd Muenter, a member of Corrie's development team.

"It's something that can work," Muenter said. "I'm a big believer in the property."

Town staff said Borel's property is designed for commercial use under the Danville General Plan. His land is next to I-680 and across the street from retail outlets.

Nonetheless, residents at the meeting were dismayed about having more development by their homes. More than 30 attended the public hearing.

They said commercial development would bring traffic, and they noted the storage facility would be like a warehouse, which would detract from the surrounding beauty.

"The storage facility is industrial," said Edward Ding.

Ding said the General Plan is supposed to ensure the town maintains its small town atmosphere and protect its natural resources. He also said he wants to see the orchard preserved.

"It's the last orchard in Danville," he said. "It's kind of a legacy."

Resident Michael Hensley said he didn't want more retail.

"The orchard brought me here," Hensley said, adding that he would have a close view of the hotel if it is built.

Town Council also encouraged Corrie's team to come up with alternative plans. Councilman Newell Arnerich said the hotel benefited Bishop Ranch more than Danville. He suggested that a market analysis be included in Corrie's study.

Arnerich also raised additional issues.

"I think traffic is going to be a challenge," he said.

And he wasn't thrilled with having a storage facility. He said Danville had one in the past and it didn't work.

"The residential and storage facility was not a happy marriage in Danville," Arnerich said.

He noted he thinks highly of Corrie's work, especially his development and design of Alamo Springs near El Pintado. He said that neighborhood has the look and feel of Danville.

Corrie also has the right of first refusal on the remainder of Borel's property. His team will continue to work on plans, considering feedback from the Town Council and residents.

"It'll be a good project," Corrie said as he left the meeting.


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