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New Farm is old news

Original post made on Apr 16, 2013

As local environmental organizations celebrate a recent victory over the withdrawal of the New Farm project, concern is growing over a new development on the same site. Tassajara Parks includes 158 residential units on the same site and requests an urban limit line extension.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 12:44 PM

Comments (21)

Posted by Derek, a resident of Danville
on Apr 16, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Olive trees ain't native Mr. Kawar. Maybe where you come from, but not here. And they spread like blackberries.
San Ramon and Danville council members & planners need to be replaced, period. You scumbags are not here to represent wealthy developers. If that's what you want to do, go get a job as a lobbyist. You'll be in good company.


Posted by Mary Smith, a resident of Tassajara Hills Elementary School
on Apr 17, 2013 at 9:13 am

One positive thing about this proposal is that it provides 5 acres of new land to Tassajara Hills School. This should greatly help them with their traffic and parking issues.


Posted by Huh?, a resident of Danville
on Apr 17, 2013 at 9:13 am

Derek, I'm not clear on why you're teeing off on Danville and San Ramon officials over this. This is a County proposal. It's not even in the cities' jurisdiction. Danville council and planners fought the last development out on Tassajara (Wendt Ranch) tooth and nail, but the County approved it anyway. My guess is they'll respond to this proposal the same way.

It's fine to vent your spleen but you should at least try to get your target right.


Posted by Alisha, a resident of Diablo
on Apr 17, 2013 at 10:23 am

Who is this "Kawar" guy and where did he get his $???


Posted by For the People, a resident of Danville
on Apr 17, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Danville Town Council members "declined" to get involved against New Farm. They deserve no credit for the proposal being withdrawn. They should now oppose the New New Farm described above which also seeks to break the ULL. Most assuredly, the Council will continue to back off. Action Plan: Vote out the next Danville Council members that come up for election in 2014.


Posted by FanDanville, a resident of Danville
on Apr 18, 2013 at 8:40 am

Let's see: This Developer can change the voter-designated rules and win this fight by paying off:
5 acres to Tassahara Hills School to silence the PTA and parents and grandparents;
and 700 acres to East Bay Regional Park District (and their combined power forces of "environmental" organizations: Save Mount Diablo, Sierra Club, etc) to make them switch sides in this fight.

Danville Town Council SHOULD (as our representatives) be fighting against this "rule change"......but they too will probably "gain" from the additional housing. Won't these houses eventually come under Danville control (and supplying of police, fire, school, water, sewer services)?


Posted by FanDanville, a resident of Danville
on Apr 18, 2013 at 8:42 am

Question: What is the allowed housing density under the current Urban Line Limit?


Posted by Seth Adams, Save Mount Diablo, a resident of Danville
on Apr 18, 2013 at 11:08 am

Save Mount Diablo, Greenbelt Alliance, and Sierra Club proposed Contra Costa County's first Urban Limit Line in 1990. Unfortunately a weaker competing measure won instead. We helped make it stronger over the years.

From 1990 to 2000 the Tassajara Valley was entirely inside the Urban Limit Line (ULL). If Save Mount Diablo, Greenbelt Alliance, Sierra Club--and the town of Danville--hadn't opposed the Tassajara Valley Property Owners Association project for ten years through the year 2000, that 6000-unit, 5000 acre development would have been approved long ago. Instead, with the leadership of County Supervisor Donna Gerber and Danville Councilwoman Millie Greenberg, the ULL was tightened and the Tassajara Valley placed outside of the line.

If Save Mount Diablo, Greenbelt Alliance, Sierra Club hadn't participated in the Measure J transportation sales tax election and negotiated that all cities and the county must have voter-approved urban limit lines, the County ULL only needed a 4/5 vote of the County Board of Supervisors to be changed.

If our organizations hadn't been defending against "New Farm" for the past 6 years, it would have sailed through. We were told over and over that it was a done deal.

If our organizations hadn't defeated ballot measures in Brentwood in June 2010, Measure F, and in San Ramon in November 2010, Measure W, the Urban Limit Line would have been broken. Most of "New Farm" would already be inside San Ramon's Urban Limit Line if Measure W had passed.

While we might not like it, 30-acre adjustments to the Urban Limit Line can be made, legally, in some circumstances.

So, we've been defending the Tassajara Valley for over 25 years, we helped create and have been defending Urban Limit Lines for 23 years, and we've been the only thing stopping "New Farm" from being approved.

That's hardly "being paid off."


Posted by C. R. Mudgeon, a resident of Danville
on Apr 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm

While various groups are declaring this a victory (which to some extent it is, as there will be a large piece of land preserved as open space, plus 5 acres thrown in for a school), the end result is that there will still be 158 homes built outside of the ULL. Apparently (and I never knew this until just recently), projects that are under 30 acres somehow are exempted from adhering to the ULL.

It seems VERY strange to me that there would be such a gaping loophole for developers to run through (or run their bulldozers through). Why wouldn't larger projects just get done 30 acres at a time, then?

We can all expect our county board members to rubber stamp this latest proposal, whether the ULL is being violated (or end-run), or not....

I am also trying to picture 158 homes on 30 acres. Just doing the math, it works out to less than a fifth of an acre per home. But that leaves nothing for roads, etc. The real lot size will be quite a bit less. So in the end these are postage-stamp lots, with homes wedged in, so that residents will be able to touch their neighbors' houses just by reaching out their own windows.

Good going developer, land owner, and county board! You pulled a neat trick!


Posted by wising up, a resident of Danville
on Apr 18, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Save Mt. Diablo has also been "bought off" by the SummerHill folks. In exchange for land dedicated to the East Bay Regional Parks, SMD is actively promoting the SummerHill development project's approval. SummerHill's 69+ homes will add to the existing horrendous traffic, flooding/erosion, danger to bicyclists, and destruction of endangered species habitat.

Please realize that SMD is not an "environmental" group. They are only concerned about adding land to the Park's domain, or apparently the EBRP's domain. Don't give them any more of your hard-earned money. They will come back to bite you if it helps them.


Posted by JT, a resident of Danville
on Apr 19, 2013 at 7:13 am

And "wising up" claims him/herself to be an environmentalist because it posts comments on Danville Express? Be proud of yourself. Just how much of your time do spend every year volunteering for an environmental cause. How much money have you donated? Raised? How much land have you protected? Do yourself a favor, take your hard earned money and spend it on yourself, the greatest waste I can think of.


Posted by Rich, a resident of Diablo
on Apr 19, 2013 at 7:24 am

We are all looking for an enlightened individual, maybe such like "wising up," to step up and buy the McGee Ranch land and donate the entire parcel for public use. Contact your local real estate broker, they would be happy to introduce you to the right people to make an offer they can't refuse.


Posted by concerned voter, a resident of Danville
on Apr 19, 2013 at 8:26 am

@Rich and JT: No one is asking that the entire ranch be donated to a public entity. As I understand it, the opponents of the SummerHill project just want it to be used in ways that are legal.Residential development on the Agricultural portion is not one of them, unless and until the land use on the parcel is changed to residential and that requires a Measure S public vote.


Posted by FanDanville, a resident of Danville
on Apr 19, 2013 at 9:22 am

Seth Adams of Save Mount Diablo foundation,

I'm very glad for a lot of what SMD has done for this area in the past.
Thank you and Congratulations on those successes!

The questions now is, are you going to continue to object to proposed clever changes in the housing density of the ULL law........or are you now going to SWITCH SIDES and SUPPORT a plan that donates 700 acres to you and your buddies interests?

If you are changing from "actively objecting" to "being neutral" or even "supportive", then I'd call it being "paid off."

So, tell us, what position is SMD, Parks, Sierra going to take on this New New Farm proposal?


Posted by A. N. Onymous, a resident of Danville
on Apr 22, 2013 at 7:11 am

Fan Danville, C.R.Mudgeon, Wising Up, JT, Rich, For the People.
What do they have in common? anonymous posters, like this one.
What is the value of an anonymous poster? Are they saying the way it is, or just too chicken to put their neck on the line. In some ways it is an adult version of bullying, name calling, rabble rousing... Just where do YOU stand. Who are YOU... is what counts.


Posted by C. R. Mudgeon, a resident of Danville
on Apr 22, 2013 at 10:14 am

It's not really related to this discussion, but since A. N. Onymous is questioning the value and/or integrity of anonymous posts, I would say that to some extent I agree with the idea that it would be better if anonymous posting was prohibited.

So if the Danville Express decides to adopt a policy of no anonymous posting, that would be fine with me. The upside is that it would probably result in some higher degree of civility in the comments. The downside is that it would also serve to stifle comments from some posters, especially if they felt that their views were unpopular.

Certainly there are times when the ability to be anonymous actually helps to bring out positions that might otherwise never be stated. But of course some people abuse the privilege in various ways, either via personal insults, or some other form of invective.

Probably a good form of self-restraint is for anonymous posters to try to only post things that they would be at least somewhat willing to assign their name to. But until ALL posters are required to use their real name, I don't feel obligated to do so.


Posted by A.N. Onymous, a resident of Danville
on Apr 23, 2013 at 9:24 am

The reason for the comment, was to bring to light the uncivility of calling Save Mount Diablo and Seth Adams, who posted with name, as paid off. There are few men or women who can sit in the room and go toe-to-toe with him, and take on monied interests, and succeed like he has. His clout comes from his personal appearance in front of various government officials, and taking on issues and development proposals that for most would be lost causes.


Posted by C. R. Mudgeon, a resident of Danville
on Apr 23, 2013 at 9:53 am

A. N. Onymous,

I agree that some posters have gone overboard in their comments regarding Save Mt. Diablo's motives, etc. (And FWIW, I don't believe I ever commented on Save Mt. Diablo, in my posts.)

As a small donor to SMD, I get their newsletter periodically, and recently received one that talked about the Magee Ranch property, and the most recent compromise/agreement regarding it (reached in late February). In reading it, it does seem to me that it ended up reasonably, and that it probably was as good a result as can be hoped for, short of the entire property being preserved as open space. So I think that SMD was correct in taking a position in support of this latest compromise/agreement, as being far better than prior proposals.

I'm sure that some will view this as an abandonment of principle, or whatever, given that a zoning change is still involved for a small portion of the property (as I understand it). But being absolutist doesn't always work....

The New Farm property situation is at least a little different, since it is outside of the ULL. Again, SMD may be entirely correct in their assessment that the latest tentative agreement is "as good as we're likely to get", in terms of preserving open space. My beef here lies with the apparent fact that the ULL is kind of a soft line, if parcels under 30 acres can be built on, without (apparently) violating the limit. I wasn't questioning the motives of SMD - although I DO have questions about the motives of various elected officials....


Posted by In the Know, a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Save Mt. Diablo is not the organization most of you think they are. They hide behind a nice sounding name (who doesn't like Mt. Diablo) but they are nothing more than back alley bullies. I wouldn't trust Ron Brown or Seth Adams to watch my cat.

If people knew what their real objectives are and what they are willing to do to achieve them (at any cost), the organization would be thrown out of the county. As a native of this community, I would sooner burn my own money before giving them one red cent.

They are serving their own agenda and believe me; it isn't even close to the song and dance they sell to the community.


Posted by MIke, a resident of Alamo
on Apr 23, 2013 at 5:24 pm

So, Mr. In the Know, what exactly IS Save Mt. Diablo's agenda that "isn't even close to the song & dance the sell to the community"?


Posted by Eric Guftensen, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Apr 24, 2013 at 11:51 pm

The Nazis created nature preserves, championed sustainable forestry, curbed air pollution, and designed the autobahn highway network as a way of bringing Germans closer to nature.

It has been elaborately pointed out how the device of environmentalism is especially favoured by tyrants as a means of controlling their subjects. The current 'green' movement, as we know, is no exception. It has been nurtured from its very conception as a systematic eugenics operation by the deep pockets of the Rockefeller- and Ford Foundations. Throughout the 20th century there have been multiple examples of tyrants implementing a very strict environmental policy to which their subjects had to conform, sometimes through the collection of taxes, sometimes at the barrel of a gun; usually a subtle mixture of the two. It is a well documented though seldom highlighted fact that the Nazis were very much into environmentalism- not for environmentalism's sake of course, but rather as a means of oppression and control. As it turns out, environmentalism fits the form of tyranny like a well tailored suit.


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