By Tim Hunt
Lund Ranch opponents call in paid helpUploaded: Jan 21, 2016
Neighborhood traffic battles have taken a new twist in the signature-gathering drive against the City Council’s approval of Lund Ranch II.
The council voted 3-1 to approve 43 homes instead of more than 100 that were proposed originally. The approval also includes 177 acres of open space with the homes clustered on the remainder of the 195-acre parcel.
Residents living in Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek have mounted the referendum drive because the majority of the traffic from the new homes will run through their neighborhood. Of course, that has been the plan since both developments were approved and original homebuyers signed acknowledgements of those plans.
The city staff and the council divided the traffic so some will run through Ventana Hills where Independence Drive currently is stubbed out, with the majority going through the two developments off Sycamore Road.
The difference, this time, is that instead of mounting a drive using their own time and recruiting volunteers, the wealthier folks simply have hired a professional signature-gathering firm that has crafted a message that some have labelled as misleading with its reference to Measure PP. The measure, drafted by citizens to halt or limit development on hillsides, was interpreted by the council with its decision that roads are not structures.
What’s notable to me is that former city councilwoman Kay Ayala, one of the authors of Measure PP, has written to publicly affirm the council’s decision. That’s an opinion that residents should weigh when deciding whether to sign the petitions.
The professional firm is the first time in my memory that a citizens’ group has paid for that type of help. There have been some developers who have enlisted professional firms to help with strategy and outreach against referendum drives, but this is a new one for Pleasanton—probably representative of the type of wealth that is clustered in some neighborhoods.
Ironically, Allen Roberts, who is serving as spokesman for the anti-Lund Ranch group doesn’t have an immediate traffic stake in the battle. He lives in a gated community built on a ridgeline that would not be permitted under Measure PP. The same goes for many other homes, particularly on the smaller eastside hills.