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Town manager responds to General Plan update concerns

Original post made on Jan 17, 2013

In an open letter to residents, Town Manager Joe Calabrigo discusses he draft 2030 General Plan and draft Sustainability Action Plan, which has come under heated debate by dozens of speakers and several hundred attendees at two Planning Commission public hearings.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 5:39 PM

Comments (34)

Posted by Don, a resident of Alamo
on Jan 17, 2013 at 7:06 am

This is very well written. Maybe it will answer some of the inaccurate lies being spread. This doesn't sound like it will turn Danville into Fremont. Section 8 housing is not being made MANDATORY. The idea is not to bus in "those" people that don't belong here. Has anyone ever looked at the 74 unit senior housing on Laurel Drive? What a great example of affordable housing. It transformed the neighborhood and filled a need. Yes, it is low income. Maybe some of your parents live there and enjoy being able to walk to town. Being a property owner on the same street, I appreciate that development, and trust and expect that the Town planners will continue approving quality projects like this.
So, as far as nine acres transforming Danville into a crime ridden slum, that is not going to happen. If you like the Town now, why do you think the current planning regime will change it into "Fremont"? The same planners have worked for the town since its inception in many cases. They have done okay to this point, and I expect that to remain the same.


Posted by Rick Pshaw, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2013 at 8:29 am

One little step, then another little step, all with frightening patience...


Posted by Concerned in Danville, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2013 at 9:49 am

Don is wrong. This fight is not about affordable housing and the perceived prejudices that may be behind that. This fight is about preserving open space and responsible development. It's about following the law - Measure S - and the will of the people - the 70+% of the voters that voted for Measure S. Our Town Council has systematically used the 2030 General Plan to gut the use of Measure S. And there are a lot of people in our town that don't want to see that happen. They just want their right to vote on development upheld. So it's great that Mr. Calabrigo writes this letter but it also sidesteps the issue. And his points don't add up. If ABAG only requires designating land for development, why does the Town so eagerly want to gut Measure S so that agricultural land can be developed? Why stand in the way of a Measure S vote on projects like Elworthy Ranch, SummerHill? Please stop telling us about what a great job the town has done while trying to vilify opposing views and listen to what we want - a Measure S vote!


Posted by Heather Gass, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2013 at 9:56 am

Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) are developing a land use plan called "Plan Bay Area." This plan will govern zoning and transportation funding in all 9 counties and 101 cities and towns in the Bay Area for the next 30 years, and it will change our way of life forever. It will require almost all new housing built in the Bay Area to be "suburban projects"--multi-use, multi-story developments, each one of which must contain a high percentage of low-income subsidized housing units, and the Plan has a number of other similarly troubling provisions.

Plan Bay Area is being developed by these two unelected and unaccountable regional government entities with almost no awareness on the part of the general public—and they have ignored the substantial opposition of the citizens who are aware of it.

ABAG and MTC's stated intent is to pass this plan by June of 2013.
It's time that we as Danville residents say "enough!" Danville residents want the City Council to withdraw from ABAG, remove the PDA (Priority Development Area) designation from the town and remove any Plan Bay Area language from our 2030 General Plan, EIR and SAP.

Reasons:

1. Plan Bay Area's untested and radical provisions are based on forecasts for new jobs and household formation in the Bay Area over the next 30 years that doubles the rate of growth in each from the most recent decade. ABAG and MTC have rejected calls from multiple cities for an independent review of their forecasts for Bay Area growth, and ignored the overwhelming evidence that severely restrictive zoning policies like the ones they propose have a substantial negative effect on business and household formation.

2. Plan Bay Area takes gas tax funds that were previously committed to maintaining existing roads and bridges and shifts them to increased mass transit subsidies and high density sustainable housing (Web Link not only the intent of the legislature, but the public trust. Doing so will lead to the deterioration of our roads, increased commute times, lower mileage and higher repairs—and there is no evidence that increasing mass transit subsidies and infrastructure will increase ridership, especially given that so much of mass transit in the Bay Area is dramatically under-utilized.

3. Virtually all new housing developed in each city, or redevelopments of existing properties for residential use, must be multi-story, multi-unit stack and pack, with a minimum of 20 units per acre--with incentives given for higher densities. Development will be focused in PDAs or "transit villages", within a mile of a major transit station, with retail or office space on the ground floor and stack and pack housing units above. Danville's downtown is currently designated as a PDA, which will ultimately transform our town to an urban high density village. Danville is NOT a transit hub. Danville is not a transit corridor. We are 7 miles to the nearest transit station. Danville is the wrong place to put high density housing!

4. This plan requires a substantial proportion of all new housing units be heavily subsidized, available to very low, low and moderate income people who will be encouraged to move into the town. Who will make up the difference between the market price and the rent charged? You will—directly or indirectly.

5. Land owners who have developable land or who wish to redevelop their land outside of the "transit villages" will be severely restricted. And, the planners have made no provisions for the costs of the inevitable lawsuits over this broad regulatory taking of the economic value of the land owned by all those people, nor have they considered their fundamental property rights.

6. ABAG and MTC claim that California's greenhouse gas legislation (AB 32 and SB 375) requires them to produce this plan. They are correct that SB 375 requires producing a plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but it doesn't require them to produce a plan filled with coercive, untested, and unnecessary policy elements.

a. An argument can be made that requiring all new development for housing to be high density will lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, not a reduction (See Dimensions of Sustainability study by American Coalition for Sustainable Communities: Web Link there is no provision in Plan Bay Area for new roads, and the planned developments will have almost no parking for people who work, shop, or live in these developments.
b. ABAG and MTC have admitted that requiring almost all new development in stack and pack mixed use units is completely impractical due to a lack of market demand, and the fact that existing city zoning does not support this land use pattern. But nothing has changed now, other than that the evidence of lack of market demand is even more striking due to the number of existing stack and pack developments that sit partially or wholly empty throughout the Bay Area.
c. One of the major reasons given for pushing this plan was to reduce GHGs to 1990 levels by 2020. The US Energy Information Agency (EIA) stated in April of 2012 that the US had returned to at or about the greenhouse gas emission levels of 1990—the precise target that SB 375 mandates for Plan Bay Area. Thus, we have met the goal of the statute, and all of Plan Bay Area's untested, coercive, policy proposals are completely unnecessary and unwarranted.

7. No funding or consideration has been given to the impact on Danville schools, fire and safety that will be needed by adding all of these new subsidized families. Will the city council be seeking to add a ballot initiative to increase parcel taxes to fund this? How is the council planning on covering these new costs without increasing taxes?

8. ABAG and MTC have claimed and continue to claim that high density low income housing is required to help the environment, but each of these developments will receive CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) waivers in many cases fully exempting them from environmental review (See CEQA exemption details page 3 and 38 of SB375; Web Link). This demonstrates conclusively that helping the environment is simply being used as a pretext to control every aspect of our lives. The One Bay Area Plan is NOT about the environment. It is about control and money.

9. ABAG and MTC claim that the Plan is voluntary, and in fact SB 375 expressly states that the Plan is voluntary to the counties and cities and towns in the Bay Area (see page 2 of the SB375 bill; Web Link). But MTC and ABAG will be allocating $277B (Current cost as of April 2012: Web Link) in our gas taxes to only those cities and towns who comply with Plan Bay Area. We reject this, ask our city council to withdraw from ABAG, and ask MTC to simply pass on to Danville our share of our gas tax revenues. There are no better stewards of the community and environment of Danville than its citizens.


This plan is not right for Danville. Regional unelected bodies should not be given the money and power to make decisions about how and where we the citizens of Danville live over the next 30 years and beyond. Planning and land use policies should be done locally and transparently. Not behind closed doors without public input. It is time we said, "no" to ABAG's overreach. We must demand local control and reject One Bay Area, and withdraw from ABAG.


Posted by Bob Whittle, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2013 at 10:04 am

Don does not live in Danville and this is not happening in Alamo so please don't speak for what Danville residents want or need. You town is not being transformed into stack and pack without your approval, but our is. This is not about low income housing. This is about local control. We don't want unelected, unaccountable regional boards to tell us how we should grow in our community. When stack and pack gets forced into Alamo you'll feel differently.

The premise of ABAG is that we are going to reduce GHG (Green House Gases) by creating compact urban development next to transit. The problem with this is that Danville is NOT a transit hub or transit corridor so adding more housing will wreck the small town and increase vehicle miles traveled, GHGs and traffic.

Our city is more concerned about appeasing these unelected bureaucrats than representing the people of the town.


Posted by PSMacintosh, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2013 at 10:14 am

Town Council and Joe,

If you could only understand the true meaning of the words you speak--what you are admitting is that you are just the pawns of State government. According to you, whatever the State says, you have to do.
If this is true, it would be more honest to be rid of all of you and to require the State to do its own dirty work and desires. The State should staff the workers and pay for its own mandates out of its own budget.
You all feel REQUIRED to do whatever the State (or any agency or committee thereof) tells you to do. You do not have any real control. (You talk about "local control", but there is no local control when push comes to shove.) You have put yourself at the beckon call of the State and other bodies.
That is where you, and apparently all the other CITIES, have gone wrong. We, the voters, didn't really vote you in to do the State's biddings; we voted you in to do our biddings.
Until you get this priority straight in your minds, you will continue to take actions that are against the wishes and desires of the citizens. Sometimes the actions will, just coincidentally, be what we the people would have wished. Sometimes you will be taking our money, our taxes, and our city workers and using to do things against our wishes.
IT WOULD BE BETTER IF YOU WOULD FIGHT THE STATE AND BREAK FREE OF THEIR CONTROL OVER YOU. Until you do so, you are fake entity and just the hand and arm of State government.
You will never fight for OUR interests. You will always impliment the dictates of State politicians. You might as well not exist!
State mandates, sustainability guidelines, measurement reports, and One Bay Area wish lists are all methods of bypassing the control of the voters and letting State and other politicians control everything about the destiny of our and our children's future.
How did we ever go so wrong and off-track!?!

(And if it's not the State, it's the County that you let control you.)


Posted by psMacintosh, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2013 at 10:22 am

"Danville residents want the City Council to withdraw from ABAG, remove the PDA (Priority Development Area) designation from the town and remove any Plan Bay Area language from our 2030 General Plan, EIR and SAP."

I support this statement.
Beyond "asking" the Council to do these things, is there a Petition I can sign or a Ballot Measure that I can vote on to accomplish this?

(I haven't been free to attend these "public meetings". The Council is going to make its decision without coming back to the people for a vote on its Plan, right?)


Posted by Huh?, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2013 at 10:27 am

The paranoid fantasies and delusions of right wing propaganda victims on display as usual. Can "Agenda 21" be far behind?

No amount of facts and calm, verifiable explanations will ever satisfy those not constricted by "reality based" reasoning. And they'll keep posting their hysterical screeds here.


Posted by Robbie, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2013 at 10:54 am

I won't comment on Huh?, except to say that this is pure name calling that should be avoided.

Regarding the open letter by the town manager, if the town is committed to "upholding Danville's small town character", and in the same letter implies that the state and ABAG mandates have to be abided lest we lose some funding, then this town has a serious decision to make as those two objectives are diametrically opposed. It is that simple, though it may be difficult for some to come to grips with.

I am a 20-year resident who knows exactly what is special about Danville - and that will be lost if we toe the line as dictated by ABAG and SB375. And, yes, that is the "small town" atmosphere of Danville. Nothing in the 2030 General Plan should be allowed to destroy this.


Posted by Andy, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2013 at 11:23 am

Everyone agrees with planning for the future. The problem with this letter above is that all these changes have come from unelected/unaccountable people ie: ABAG. ABAG is clearly a 'skeleton' organisation, positioned outside of government but is in a position to dictate and frame the redevelopment of Danville. All that is needed for this shadow government to take over is for the residents of Danville to do nothing. If we let them force the PDA (Priority Development Area) on us this year then what will it be in 5 years? Danville is miles from a transit HUB and shouldn't even be considered for a Transit Priority Project!
Why is Danville allowing an unelected organisation to do the work of the elected officials? Are the elected officials not capable of doing the work themselves? Do they not want the responsibility? Any changes to this town should happen organically with local ideas and local support, not by implementing some regional ABAG agenda.
I was at one of the meetings and listened to the official town representative as he delivered a lovely presentation and assured us that Measure S would be upheld. The next speaker was an attorney from Save Open Space Danville and highlighted all the areas that were simply lies! One lie after another from the officials promoting this plan. Then it turns out they are receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars to present their reports. It stinks to high heaven and the people of Danville should unite to oppose this usurpation of their rights!!! Get out of ABAG! Get out of ICLEI (which is an international organisation pretending to be local- how stupid is that)!? Reject the RHNA allocations because SB375 states that our local plan does not have to be consistent with the regional plan. Follow the example of Corte Madera and free Danville from the shackles of this regional unelected body!


Posted by ALo, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2013 at 11:27 am

Huh, this is a cross community issue. It's an American issue and your attempt to marginalise any opposition is transparent. I bet you don't even live here.


Posted by Stephan Johnson, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm

The City Manager's letter and Don's comment are about as disingenuous as it gets in its response to people. Most of us are not Tea Party members and last I heard, responding to an argument by attempting to associate those who make the challenge are members of some group or other is a fallacy--at least that's how I teach it.

Let's go through his arguments/responses to some of our concerns about the zoning changes in the 2030 plan.

1. The Town argues that not designating a PDA will threaten the loss of transportation funds. Well maybe so, but it's not known what percentage of those funds would have been doled out to the Town in any event. So we're arguing with a phantom. But more importantly, it's a guaranteed fact (based on ALL past experience) that any monies allocated on the basis of a PDA will come with strings attached. So in exchange for some unknown quantity of money, some of which we will surely get no matter what, we are surrendering yet more local control. Again, why, when faced with a decision such as this, is this NOT the time to say 'non' and stop this steady erosion of local control.

2. The biggest canard in the Town's argument is the idea that the plan will not 'require' any new housing of any kind and that housing development will be 'market driven'. This thought is expressed in the Town's contention that there's no need to worry about Section 8 housing downtown or anywhere else for that matter.

But,

a) Housing in this country is about as far from purely market driven as any industry. There are massive subsidies, sweeteners, tax breaks and all manner of levers by which local, state and even national governmental bodies can influence what gets built, when and where. Specifically, once a lot is rezoned to residential, especially within the confines of a RHNA allotment, then you can guarantee there will be massive incentives for it to be developed for exactly that purpose. Big developers like Shappell are well aware of this and are effectively navigating this new world of government involved construction.

b) Secondly, once a lot is rezoned and developed, the very market forces the Town is disingenuously relying on to assuage our completely rational fears of social decay with the influx of low income housing will change. There will be more housing and hence, the market pricing of housing will make low income housing (including Section 8) more likely to 'pencil out'. You can't rest your argument on 'market' forces when the very policies you're proposing are going to change those market forces to make the market less able to keep that kind of housing out.

c) As an example, look at Windermere. If Section 8 can pencil out in San Ramon, what's to keep it from starting to 'pencil' out in downtown Danville?

d) To the argument that it's just 9 acres: That's just our allotment for *now*. In the next cycle there will be another allotment, and in the one after, another... Like rust, the Social Equity (could someone please define that for me?) crowd will NOT rest. The goal of leveling all disparate results has been the goal of this mindset for a long time--they're not going to stop with 536 units of very low income housing in Danville.

e) To Ron's argument that we won't be turned into Fremont et al: Well, how did *Fremont* turn into Fremont? Danville is a magical place because of the people who live here, not *pace* the Mt. Diablo Alliance, because of it's unspoiled ridge lines. Go to Martinez and marvel at the beautiful ridge lines. There's no one in Danville who trade to move there.

Danville is Danville because of the people here. And all the people here, including those paying a large chunk of their income on housing, did so without a gun to their heads with a full ability to move someplace else with higher density housing and lower housing costs. The reason we chose to move here is to avoid the social ills that have *always* come with higher density housing. If you change the densities, you change the town. If you change the town you make it less desirable to those here. For whom are the Town officials supposed to be working? The current residents of the Town now? The ones who pay their salaries? Or some future residents who, by definition will pay less and give less to this community we love?

3. Along those lines, if you look at the sites and the proposed densities downtown, the idea that this plan is in keeping with Danville retaining its 'small town' feel is ridiculous. We're talking about a potential of up to 1K new residents to the downtown. How could this remain a small town with that kind of population density. Jerry Brown only wanted to put 10K into downtown Oakland, already a place with massive density, and that was a huge amount of construction and increase.

4. The idea that Danville has less than its fair share of the RHNA allotment on the 2030 plan is laughable as well. The Town is fond of showing graphs comparing Danville to San Ramon, Dublin and Walnut Creek. I'm sorry, but those cities are not Danville's comparison class. Those cities have huge employers and different environments. The comparison class to Danville is Alamo! How much high density housing is proposed for downtown Alamo? How about Atherton? How about Belvedere? These cities are our comparison class.

5. I have discussed this plan with many citizens around the West Side where my family and I live. I have yet to find ONE person who thinks this is a good idea. Do the citizens have a voice in their community? Our local officials will soon find out that they've awakened a motivated citizenry and we won't be placated by a website and FAQs. You can't convince us that low income housing will have no negative effects when we've all had plenty of experience (much of it personal) that it does.


Posted by msvenezia, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2013 at 12:49 pm

This is a blatant attempt to circumvent Measure S. If the Town ignores their citizens, there will be legal repercussions and they will pay at the ballot box....very soon.


Posted by Arlene, a resident of Diablo
on Jan 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm

It sounds like Calabrigo is confirming that the voters will have the right to vote on changing Magee's land agricultural zoning. (See statement below) However, Danville voters have not had that option. WHY NOT?? WE NEED CLARIFICATION. Calabrigo states:

"The Town remains committed to upholding Measure S, approved by the voters in 2000. This measure requires voter approval to change the General Plan designation for Open Space, Agricultural, or Parks and Recreation lands. The Draft 2030 General Plan makes no changes to Measure S, but does describe how the measure has been implemented since the time of its passage in 2000."

Joseph Calabrigo
Town Manager


Posted by Maryann Cella, a resident of Los Cerros Middle School
on Jan 17, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Mr. Calabrigo continues to use taxpayer money in a relentless effort to convince the public that the draft 2030 General Plan is not attempting to circumvent Measure S's requirement for a public vote before land designated in the 2010 General Plan for any Open Space use---including Agricultural, General Open Space, and Parks and Recreation uses---can be changed to any other use, such as residential.
Readers, please look on p. 52 of the 2010 General Plan. P-1, Planned Unit Development residential zoning, is NOT listed as a "consistent", i.e. allowable, zoning on Agricultural land. Next, look at p. 43 of the 2010 General Plan. P-1 IS allowed on Rural RESIDENTIAL land. Now look at p. 3-44 of the draft 2030 General Plan. P-1 is ADDED as a consistent zoning. Why? Because the Town is trying to convert all the Agricultural land in Danville to Rural Residential land through the "back door", so it won't have to change the land use designation from Agricultural to Rural Residential, thereby triggering a public vote requirement. The Town's actions in attempting to circumvent a Measure S vote clearly violate the spirit and intent of Measure S.
Why is the Town purposely trying to deprive the public of its RIGHT TO VOTE! Please explain that on the Town's website.

Mr. Calabrigo also continues to claim that when a Williamson Act contract expires, the underlying A-4 zoning automatically reverts to A-2 to quadruple the number of allowable homes. A careful reading of p. 52 of the 2010 Danville General Plan shows that Mr. Calabrigo is wrong. When a Williamson Act contract is in effect, p. 52 states that "a density range is not applicable. In the event that Williamson Act contracts are not renewed, continued agricultural use is encouraged and the underlying zoning density (one unit per 20 acres [A-4] or one unit per five acres [A-2]) would apply upon contract expiration." Mr. Calabrigo boldly claims that the "pre-contract" zoning applies upon expiration of a Williamson Act contract, contrary to the explicit language of p. 52 which says that the "underlying zoning density" applies. The underlying zoning density is obviously the zoning density legally applicable to the land when it was put into a Williamson Act contract, NOT AN HISTORIC ZONING. For example, Magee Ranch came under a Williamson Act contract in 1970. The County rezoned the Ranch to A-4 at that time. Nothing in the Williamson Act contract mentioned density. Having been rezoned by the County, the land must again be rezoned by Danville's Town Council by a vote. Such a rezoning can not legally be done via the General Plan!
Mr. Calabrigo, as long as you are creating a special website for the draft 2030 General Plan, please include ALL THE WRITTEN COMMENTS AND TRANSCRIPTS OF ALL THE ORAL TESTIMONY that you have received. By all means, please include the letter from Save Our Creek's attorney refuting your claims about Measure S and zoning on Agricultural land. How about adding the video the Town made of the hearings? Your supposed "information" website is nothing short of propaganda. Let the public read ALL the information, not just yours. And while you are at it, I suggest you include a copy of Measure S itself, including ALL the accompanying ballot measure information. I am sure the readers of your website would find that information most helpful. Also, please include the text of Measure S IN the 2030 General Plan, rather than the Town's filtered "interpretation" of it. Measure S is an amendment to the 2010 General Plan and legally must be carried into the 2030 Plan until 2020, when Measure S expires.


Posted by Amy Stiles, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2013 at 4:41 pm

A couple of things i learned at the last meeting.
1. I learned that the Consultants (DCE Planning - Barry Miller) developing the plans for our town are being paid almost $400,000. I heard a woman mention that the founder of DCE Planning also wrote the One Bay Area Plan. Looks like Barry Miller and his company are padding their wallets with Danville tax payers money.

2. Why are we implementing a 20 year plan? We have never implemented such a long term plan before. The longest plan has been 10 years. One of the planners said something about the fact that the city would go through 2 more housing allocation cycles by 2030. We should ask the council to shorten the plan horizon to no more than 10 years so we can adjust our course if things are not being handled properly. 20 years is just too long.




Posted by Louise, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2013 at 5:02 pm

We must all remember that the town manager, city council and town planners all get fed the same bs from the state and county regulatory agencies. They forget who they are working for but they too are indviduals with their own politcal agendas that do not necessarily align with the citizens of the town they work in. It definitely sounds like a well funded and thought out plan to change Danville to suit the needs of outside and inside political forces. Many of us who live here have figured it out and must fight them all the way to retain the way of life that we pay for or we will end up with the congestion and high density that has ruined many other towns in the Bay Area.


Posted by Danville resident, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Mr. Calibrigo claims that the sites only need to be identified and that this is "market driven." If a site is identified and the developer can get a "density bonus" and is no longer required to conform to local zoning, what is the net result? .....a four story apartment housing unit. This was confirmed at the last Planning Commission meeting. Does one believe that a profit cannot be made on a four story apartment housing unit in Danville? Land is the big cost in Danville. High density mitigates the high cost of land.

What a red herring....."the sites only need to be identified." Mr. Calibrigo must think we are all fools.


Posted by Living in the area impacted, a resident of Monte Vista High School
on Jan 17, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Where ARE you coming from Don? This is not about affordable housing or crime. I have followed this issue for months and have never heard these terms before. Wake up! This is about open space, traffic, quality of life and a town govt that follows the law and represents it people. I have lived in the are adjacent to where the proposed Summerhill homes project is for 20 years. I raised my family here. YOU LIVE IN ALAMO. Open space is foremost in making this such an enjoyable place to live. Traffic is already a nightmare on Blackhawk Road during school start and stop times and Diablo Road is DANGEROUS with current traffic. More homes will deplete open space that once gone NEVER comes back. More homes increase traffic at peak times by 2-3 times the number of cars as there are homes But I am astounded that our local representatives don't give a damn about what the people impacted by this project think. If you have no control and everything is imposed on you then why do we need you? To turn Danville into another San Ramon? No thank you.

We must all fight this nonsense and take back local control. Don, you are not local.


Posted by Andrew Keery, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2013 at 9:03 pm

I have been to two town planning meetings and a citizens town hall meeting. Each was attended by between 200 and 400 people. I have spoken to countless other Danville residents who have not attended meetings, but who will in the future. The vast majority oppose the towns' proposed 2030 plan. Yet, the appointed planning commission and the elected officials continue to act against the electorates' apparent wishes and 'sell' this plan to the very taxpayers and voters of Danville that they are supposed to represent. How can a plan that states that it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing population and density in a town with no mass transit, be taken than anything other than political posturing and social engineering? Also, designating downtown Danville as a PDA leaves the town at the mercy of any 'guidelines' or 'rules' that ABAG dreams up for PDA's around the whole Bay Area. Perhaps they will ban cars in PDA's?others have mentioned the impact to quality of life, schools, traffic and the subsequent effect on property prices. That doesn't concern the social engineers though, because they don't pay for any of it.

IMO, The town representatives need to work for the people of Danville. They need to pull out of ABAG, remove all plan Bay Area language from the Danville plan and start negotiating the only mandatory part of this, the RHNA numbers. They should also honor measure S while they are at it. They need to respect the people who pay their salaries. If they don't, there will be a fight.


Posted by Bob Gilardo, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2013 at 10:45 pm

I want to know if Mr. Combs of the commission is appointed or elected. At a recent meeting, he may have tried to pull a lib trick. A young lady, Heather, had followed the rules and submitted her speaking card. She patiently waited for her turn. Mr. Combs tried to bring the meeting to a close without calling her!!!! He "claimed" she had not turned in a card! I personally believe this was a ploy to shut her and the anti general plan people DOWN. DISGUSTING BEHAVIOR!!! Go to San Francisco if this is your game.


Posted by Mar Kernwood, a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2013 at 10:52 am

Dear Danville Town Council and City Staff,
As a Danville resident and businessman since 1973, I strongly oppose the SAP plan and the goals imposed by ABAG. I urge the Town to investigate the exact extent of what the State can impose on us and at the worst, do no more. As far as the potential for loss of funding for failure to comply, put this isue to the voters and let them decide. I am very willing to lose funding to preserve Danville's small town charm.

I also ask the Town to sek out other communities to join in legal action to fight these impositions.

Mark Fernwood


Posted by Honor Measure S, a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2013 at 12:14 pm

The Town staff are being disingenuous. (And I'm being polite.) They say the proposed 2030 General Plan "makes no changes to Measure S" (which is the will of this Town's residents, and now the law!), but merely "describes how the measure has been implemented since the time of its passage in 2000." Hmm. That's pretty easy to describe: There has never been a Measure S vote since passage of the measure. Why? The Town staff and Council approved the Elworthy West development (the bulldozers you see flattening the hills along along San Ramon Valley Blvd) as a clustered P-1 zoned subdivision of less than 1/4 acre lots - which is explicitly inconsistent with an Agricultural land use desigantion in the 2010 General Plan -- on land designated Agricultural, without changing its land use designation to Rural Residential (which would have permitted the development). Why? Because actually changing the land use designation would have required a public vote under Measure S. The Town staff and Council so abhorred the thought of a public vote on this development that they violated state housing law by zoning it inconsistently with the general plan. So, now we know how Measure S has been "implemented."

Well, the SOS-Danville folks caught them at this game when they tried to continue it with the next major Agricultural tract - the SummerHill proposal out on Magee Ranch. Oops. So now, Town staff have proposed to make P-1 zoning consistent with an Agricultural land use designation in the 2030 General Plan. Why? Because by redefining what can be done under Agricultural land, they can allow developers to do anything under Agricultural land use designations that they can do under Rural Residential designations. Why that? So they never need to change the land use designations, and never need to give the public their right to vote under Measure S.

Hmm. So there's never been a Measure S vote (despite their approval of major clustered residential subdivisions on Agricultural land), and if they get their proposed changes in the 2030 General Plan, there never will be. But as Mr. Calabrigo says, oh no, they're not making any changes to Measure S. Honest. Trust them.

By the way, this applies not only to the Magee land, but to the Purcell property, and to the Elworth East land out by Greenbrook/El Capitan.


Posted by Honor Measure S, a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2013 at 1:22 pm

What can you, the legal residents of Danville, do to protect your rights against this power grab and violation of the law, before it changes our Town forever? (And let's be clear: the Town's communications - whether this open letter, the new general plan web page, the handouts at the hearings, and the comments by staff at those meetings -- are very clearly propaganda designed to promote the Town staff's agenda/outcome, especially to the vast number of residents who haven't become better informed.)

1) Sign SOS-Danville's Preservation Initiative. It is designed to protect the Town Residents' right to vote on development like this. You can see their website here: Web Link and you can read the full text of their ballot measure here: Web Link You will have a chance to sign it at all of these hearings, often times at Farmers Market on Saturdays, and you can always contact them and make special arrangements.

2) Tell all your friends and neighbors about what the Town is doing, ask them to tell their friends. (Give them this link.) Spreading the word is critical. Ask them to become active now. Later is too late. (The Town is counting on its citizens being lazy, ill-informed, or indifferent. They keep trying to placate the populace by repeating that there will be lots of hearings, that the plan isn't final, etc. Don't count on it. We all know what the final Plan will include if we don't raise the roof.)

3) Give SOS-Danville your email and contact information. They have a thousands-strong grass-roots database of supporters which they can contact on an ASAP basis to referend the 2030 General Plan if the Town Council approves it. (The Council can approve the 2030 General Plan on their own vote. If they do so, Town Residents can force the Plan to a full vote of the Town, but they must "referend" the Plan by collecting thousands of signatures in 30 days.)

4) Donate to SOS-Danville. We've got to back our voice with money. SOS-Danville has legal counsel who's protecting our rights, but that costs money. They can file a legal challenge to the 2030 General Plan if it is approved in its current form, because it illegally redesignates Agricultural land as Rural Residential land without a Measure S vote, and because it illegally rezones all Agricultural land from A-4 to A-2 through a general plan amendment, which is illegal.

5) Contact the Town planning comissioners and the Town Councilmembers, and tell them you are opposed to the proposed 2030 General Plan amendments (for example, to the changes to the definitions and uses of Agricultural land use designations, or to the higher density downtown components, or to both), and that you will support the Plan being brought to a vote of the Town citizens.

6) Continue to attend hearings. There is another this Tuesday Jan. 22 on the 2030 General Plan, and on Tuesday Jan. 29 on the new DEIR of the SummerHill/Magee Ranch development proposal. (Critical: January 29 will be the one and only opportunity to submit oral comments on the DEIR for the SummerHill development!)

7) Don't give up. Don't relent. (The Town is hoping for that.) Help build the support anyway you can.


Posted by Common Sense, a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2013 at 4:45 pm

If the Town Council was truly interested in thewelfare of the town of Danville, its residents, and its future, we would not even be having these open forum discussions.

Unfortunately, we need to resort to what even means necessary to prevent this stupid cluster brick of an idea from occurring.


Posted by Arlene, a resident of Diablo
on Jan 19, 2013 at 12:26 pm

To All Involved In Danville Planning:

Magee/Summerhill project along Diablo Road east of Green Valley will cause havoc. We are extremely worried about the excessive traffic and danger on the already small and hazardous Diablo Road. If there were any emergency like a fire, etc., people would not be able to get to safety. We ask that you personally drive there during school and commute times to get an idea of the problem! There are four schools in the area that already contribute to horrendous traffic now. The construction work will cause extreme problems and additional danger. In addition, the development will cause an adverse effect on our schools, creek and erosion problems, and overall damage to our property value. We moved to the area because of its open space, rural beauty, and small town feel. Your change of zoning for the Magee/Summerhill project is inconsistent with Measure S. We insist that you honor Measure S and have the required public vote to change the zoning of this agricultural land to residential.


Posted by DEborah , a resident of Monte Vista High School
on Jan 20, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Danville is a bedroom community, its location does ot warrant it to be urban nor metropolitan, clearly the tax paying citizens of this community, do not want this to become like other Bay Area cities as Fremont and Dublin. HomeOwners choose to live here as it is, a quiet enclave of the East Bay and not with the outside interference and outside government or pseudo-government regulating bodies to decide what is best for this community. Let the people of this community make their own governing decisions.


Posted by Danville Watch, a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Has anyone seen the "homes" going up on San Ramon Valley Boulevard, just south of town?
They are absolutely hideous! Now downtown is going to be "redeveloped" with plans that were approved 8 years ago, and those approvals have expired but then renewed via Gov. Schwartzenegger and Brown due to the "economy".
The downtown remodel for the Danville Hotel area HAS high density housing in the plans. I think that the CURRENT residents of Danville should approve of or disapprove this plan since it's so DATED!
Where is the transparency? Where is our say?


Posted by Concerned in Danville, a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2013 at 10:44 pm

I think I have this figured out. We have the Town staff recommending to the Town Council and Planning Commission the adoption of the 2030 General Plan in a form that satisfies the goals of ABAG and assures funding to Danville. Could that be because that same funding guarantees that same Town staff their pay checks???


Posted by Concerned in Danville, a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2013 at 10:44 pm

I think I have this figured out. We have the Town staff recommending to the Town Council and Planning Commission the adoption of the 2030 General Plan in a form that satisfies the goals of ABAG and assures funding to Danville. Could that be because that same funding guarantees that same Town staff their pay checks???


Posted by Seen This Before, a resident of Sycamore Valley Elementary School
on Jan 22, 2013 at 3:26 pm

I don't even need to read the General Plan to figure out or wonder how this is all going to end. I lived next to an area in Walnut Creek (Pleasant Hill BART) that was zoned for high density with a percentage required for low income housing. Obviously, the local residents fought against it. I read multiple letters just like Joe Calabrigo's during the debate. Eventually, the promises of "nothing will change" and "it's for the greater good," won out and the construction began.

2 years later to Danville because I got tired of all the traffic congestion and my car getting broken into every weekend. The high density construction completely changed the immediate living environment for the worse. If you think it's any different in Danville, you are naive.


Posted by Danville Watch, a resident of Danville
on Jan 22, 2013 at 7:57 pm

They are about to DEMO the Danville Hotel to start construction of the high density housing above the new "shops". If you look at the signs at the back of the Danville Hotel, they said 'Construction beginning in Spring 2013" and had a contact number for the real estate broker who is responsible for the rental units there.
Good luck to all of us!
We can stop it, we have a right to review this plan that is over 8 YEARS OLD!


Posted by Concerned citizen of Danville, a resident of Danville
on Jan 23, 2013 at 9:13 am

Life as we know it in Danville is about to change. The decision we make today will impact our tomorrow. Effect of our decision will not be visible to us for some time, but it will leave a lasting impression on our children and grandchildren.

I have lived in Danville close to 20 years and have enjoyed the small community atmosphere. I can't imagine what it would be like to have apartment buildings, section 8 housing and low income housings brought right into our downtown and take away the charm that we all enjoy right now. When are we going to stop the development of our beautiful open green land? Just check out Dougherty Valley to see all the small farms and wildlife that is gone and in its place we have rows and rows of houses and traffic jams. Soon Danville will become a city and not a town. Let the people of Danville make this decision and not allow outside government bodies who have no other agenda than to win the next votes and get government funding. These people don't live here; they just want to make a name for themselves by taking away your rights to make decision in your community.

Good luck to Danville!


Posted by JRM, a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Jan 23, 2013 at 9:43 am

Fellow Citizens, the "Darby Plaza" located at El Cerro and El Pintado is also targeted for Section 8 high density housing. I would suggest the Council members try to make a left turn (westerly) out of Adobe sometime onto El Cerro. Frequently a congested mess. Nothing against Mr. Darby, but as a real estate agent I'm sure he quickly and eagerly seek to convert his property. STAND UP FOR OUR RIGHT TO PRESERVE OUR TOWN !!!


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