Residents come out in droves to contest draft General Plan update
Original post made
on Dec 12, 2012
It was standing room only at Danville's Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night, as hundreds of residents turned out to learn about and comment on the draft 2030 General Plan. Many carried signs and cheered loudly as speakers called for change, transparency and local control.
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posted Tuesday, December 11, 2012, 10:45 PM
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Posted by Juley Hull
a resident of Green Valley Elementary School
on Dec 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm
As many speakers have said, and much more eloquently than I could ever hope to do, we don't need FORCED growth. We need sensible, careful growth, as decided by the residents, voters, and tax payers of Danville.
The minute we agree to re-zoning our agricultural land in the General Plan, we open ourselves up to even more pressure from the State & ABAG.
How about we tell them "No way!" right now, instead of fighting an even steeper uphill battle later on?
We all know that once we approve a tax, a bond, or what have you, it never goes away. Gradually there seems to be a need for ever increasing funding, and once it sunsets, we resuscitate it by renewing & even increasing that tax or bond.
The proposed changes are too far-reaching in too short a span. We must REJECT P-1 Zoning altogether, and allow the voters to have a say in what happens to this community regarding A-2 and A-4.
To the person who wrote he is struggling because of poor business decisions & what-have-you, I believe what many of us are concerned about is Low Income Housing being a euphemism for high density structures for Section-8 housing, which brings in whole host of problems which have been discussed. I doubt this applies to you.
We are not trying to sound elitist, it is not up to us whether or not you or anyone else can afford to live in Danville, we simply suggest that people who cannot afford to live here need to live where they can afford it. If that means selling a property & renting an apartment to live in Danville, so be it. There's no shame in that.
Section-8 Housing, if you are unfamiliar with it, is subsidized housing for low income people, where the County or State (?) decides what the fair rent is instead of going with market rate. Often, and I know this is a generalization, but, many of these people are already receiving other entitlements and are long-term low-income people who do not find the motivation to earn their own way. Many of these families bring several children into small dwellings, into what is already a high-density building. They do not pay property taxes, so they are a drain on our services, which are already strained as it is.
If anyone has a problem with what I am saying, let me tell you that I have witnessed this other kind of lifestyle up close, so I know that there is a genuine reason for concern here. I am not saying all of these people are "bad", but they often don't know any other way of life than to take from the taxpayers. Unfortunately, people living in poverty also become desperate and may become or may already be criminals.
What I say is not politically correct, but it is based in truth.
Global Warming is a FACT, people, and there's no point in denying it no matter how scary it is. Regardless of WHY it is happening, we need to implement legitimate, scientifically-proven, methods. But we need to do it individually, and as a community, not by force but through incentives.
We cannot undo in 20 years what it took 130 years or more to create, no matter how urgent the situation. Some of these mandates are tantamount to telling people to stop having children because we have no place to put them all! How popular would that be?
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Posted by Maryann Cella
a resident of Los Cerros Middle School
on Dec 14, 2012 at 8:50 am
I am reprinting below an email I sent yesterday to all SOS-Danville members. Please see our website at www.sos-danville.com
Please note that SOS-Danville representatives will be at the Farmers' Market and Trader Joe's Saturday morning between 10 and 12 to collect signatures on our Open Space protection initiative petition. The initiative will protect and strengthen Danville voters' existing Measure S rights to decide whether Agricultural, General Open Space, and Parks and Recreation lands can be changed to residential or other uses. We need 4000 registered Town of Danville voters to sign the petition in order to place it on the ballot in a special election.
"THANKS SO MUCH to the many of you that attended the Tuesday night Planning Commission hearing about the draft 2030 General Plan and the draft Sustainability Action Plan. Special thanks to those that came at 6:15 and helped gather signatures and distribute signs: Sheila and Paul Truschke, Kathy and Mike Jones, Ray Brant, Harry Baggett, Arlene Reed, Joan and John Hines, Roger Tuma, Denise Armanino, Denise Regna, and Juley Hull. Apologies if I missed anyone! WE GOT ABOUT 150 SIGNATURES!!
We ran out of the 50 signs I had brought for our supporters to hold. The signs were yellow and standard letter-sized, and read "OBEY MEASURE S!" AND "NO RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT ON OPEN SPACE". The "Obey" signs were taken first-- I will print more of those next time. Supporters held up the signs before and during the meeting to great effect!
OVER 300 WERE IN ATTENDANCE! There were numerous reporters and photographers present as well. Even though the Commission had opened a side room to accommodate overflow, there were still people standing around the room and in the hall just outside. Rich Oas spoke at the meeting to say that the next meeting should be in a much larger venue with more parking. He reported that he was forced to park far away and that others got so discouraged about the poor parking situation especially given the cold, drizzly rain that they went back home. Thanks for pointing that out, Rich. Let's hope the Commission listens in regards to the next meeting.
The Town opened the meeting with a self-serving presentation about how the proposed 2030 General Plan will change almost nothing----which we know is false. They went head-on to deflect our legal attack on their flouting of Measure S by showing slides relating to the 86 home/12 apartment KB Homes development of Elworthy Ranch and how wonderful it will be. That project should have had a Measure S vote! Their point appeared to be this: who cares if you got your vote? Look at the wonderful project we got for you! We later pointed out that had the public had a chance to vote on that project, it would have undoubtedly turned it down! The Town used various techniques to add about 80 homes to what could have been built under the property's existing A-4 ( one home per 20 acres) zoning.
They bragged about how the Council had put Measure S on the ballot and how that showed their intent to protect Open Space----deliberately omitting the fact that Measure S was put on the ballot by the Council to defeat Measure R, a CITIZENS' initiative that would have given the public much more control over development of Open Space. Todd Gary, SOS-Danville Steering Committee member and an attorney, skillfully pointed that out later when he had a chance to speak. How ironic---the Council puts Measure S on the ballot to defeat Measure R, and now the Council won't even follow Measure S! For the record, Measures R and S both passed but Measure S got more votes so it became law and Measure R did not.
The Town had also prepared a self-serving flyer about the draft 2030 General Plan. It states that "[t]he draft 2030 Plan is largely a 'factual update' of the 2010 plan, as Danville is a largely 'built out' community. Nothing in the 2030 General Plan would significantly change this." On the back page, the untrue and misleading statements are even more explicit: such as declaring that Agricultural lands are not "Open Space"! Check out p. 52 of the 2010 General Plan to confirm that the Agricultural land use designation category is listed under "Open Space Areas" along with "General Open Space" and "Parks and Recreation". Also look at the Land Use Map on page 45, where there is a list of "Public and Open Space" areas. The list consists of "Public and Semi-Public", "General Open Space", "Agricultural", and "Parks and Recreation" lands. Moreover, the title the Town gave to Measure S when it was on the ballot was "Danville Open Space Preservation Initiative" applying explicitly to land designated for "Agricultural, General Open Space, and Parks and Recreation" use (see Measure S).
The crowning half-truth (and I don't use that term casually) on the flyer is the only bold-face statement on it: "[t]he draft 2030 General Plan does not propose any change to Measure S." As if adding P-1, Planned Unit Residential development, zoning as an allowable zoning on Agricultural land does not change Measure S by allowing its circumvention! In any case, the Council could not legally directly "change" ---i.e. rewrite---Measure S because it is a voter-approved ballot measure. Under CA law, only the voters can change Measure S directly.
Needless to say, at the conclusion of the Town's presentation, SOS-Danville members and Stuart Flashman, our attorney, pointed out the flaws in the Town's presentationand the Town's flyer. We called on the Town to remove the illegal changes to the 2030 General Plan that add P-1 clustered residential as an allowable zoning on Ag. land, and that upzone all the A-4 Ag. land in Danville to A-2, effectively quadrupling the number of homes entitled to be built on such land. Speakers included Stuart Flashman, SOS-Danville's attorney; me, Todd Gary, SOS-Danville Steering Committee member and attorney, Sheila Truschke, Roger Tuma, former Council Candidate Bob Nealis, and Rich Oas, and some others whose names I did not know. Please forgive me if I missed naming any of our speakers. I will estimate that 75 or more SOS-Danville members were in attendance.
A large, vocal contingent of opponents of the Town's implementation of ABAG's housing allocation to Danville was also in attendance. According to the Town's agenda for the meeting, the 2030 Plan will allow the Town to redesignate up to 35 total acres, mostly within the Downtown area, to allow multi-family residential developments, or mixed uses including multi-family residential. The Plan will also create a new residential high-density zoning to allow 25-35 units per acre (more with density bonuses) to be built on such lots. Existing multi-family zonings will also be recalibrated to allow for higher densities than previously allowed. One such redesignation is for the Darby Plaza site at the corner of El Cerro and El Pintado, next to the 680-North on-ramp. With density and other bonuses, possibly 75 apartments could be built on that lot.
If you haven't already, please send an email or letter to the Town (email@example.com) expressing your opposition to the Plan's agricultural sections. "