Developer addresses traffic, school concerns for Magee Ranch project

85 homes possible on remainder of property

Traffic concerns and the impact on schools dominated an informational meeting held Wednesday by a developer looking to put as many as 85 homes on the remainder of the Magee Ranch property.

Summerhill Homes is planning to build on 410 acres south of Diablo and Blackhawk roads, east of McCauley Road and the original Magee Ranch subdivision. Summerhill Land Acquisition Manager Wendi Baker said Wednesday's meeting was the last of four planning informational meetings to get input from local residents and explain the plans, and about 40 people showed up to ask questions.

Baker said the current plan is to build 64 homes on the eastern side of the property first; 60 would be on lots of a minimum of 10,000 square feet. The remaining four lots would be larger, for custom homes. A second potential phase on the western side of the property could add an additional 21 homes off Diablo and McCauley roads, and the remainder of the land would be designated permanent open space.

Residents at the meeting were leery about the possibility of added traffic along the already-busy and winding Diablo Road, especially during peak drive times in the morning when adults leave for work and kids are headed to school.

"We are talking about something that could generate 700 to 1,000 car trips," said nearby resident Todd Gary.

Other residents noted that predictions for prior subdivisions underestimated the traffic and school impact, with some homes housing several generations of people. That could be further complicated by the possibility of casitas -- separate studio-type apartments -- that are optional for some of the home plans.

Baker said Summerhill is conducting a traffic study that could offer plans to help mitigate traffic problems, and promised to provide that information to neighbors when it's available.

"How many children are you expecting to move into this area and what school district would serve them?" asked Michelle Erickson.

Baker said her company is working with demographers to determine the number of students. She said she'd already spoken to school officials who said those students would attend Green Valley Elementary.

That didn't sit well with some of those at the meeting.

Erickson, for example, said her neighborhood had seen turnover, as families with older children move out and others with younger children move in. At times, she said, students of different ages are being sent to two different elementary schools, complicating the lives of parents who have to cross the area to pick them up -- and adding to the traffic problem at the same time.

Resident Christopher Cross was worried about water pressure. He noted that there are already problems with pressure where he lives, not far from the proposed new homes.

Baker said that question, like the others about utilities, would be addressed by professionals. A draft Environmental Impact Report is set to be completed by the spring, and many of the answers to residents' questions would be included.

The project would require rezoning of the property and have to be approved by both the Danville Zoning Board and Town Council.

To see the plans, click here.


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Posted by natural terrain admirer
a resident of Green Valley Elementary School
on Nov 6, 2010 at 9:30 pm

To see the complete list of areas Summerhill Homes has "developed," visit their website One developed area--Stone Valley Road, Alamo/Stone Valley Oaks 37 family homes (plus 10 custom home sites) community is located on bulldozed ridges accessed by a widened Stone Valley Road. Could Magee East and West be far behind?

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Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Nov 7, 2010 at 12:08 pm

The last thing Danville needs is anymore development of homes, particular at that area where the traffic on school days is horrible. I would suggest a new policy that our town implements on any residential development plans: Make the developer pay for a special election, and let the residents of Danville vote themselves on whether to approve the development. The new developments would affect our schools, traffic, pollution, and increase the need for more police and fire that would probably result in more taxes. Since the residents of Danville are the ones affected by this in the long term, not the planning commission, let us residents vote on this. It is truly the American way.

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Posted by Al Guzman
a resident of Green Valley Elementary School
on Nov 8, 2010 at 7:42 am

Try driving through Diablo Rd.,Green Valley Rd. and McCauley Rd. between 7:30am thru 9:00am-2:15pm thru 5:30pm and on days and nights where there are events at the Elementry School. The location is already above the safe saturation level. The intersections are blocked and don't allow for proper flow through traffic control light sequencing and there are big, unsafe backups as well as high volumes of pedestrian and bike traffic too. Parking on McCauley during these times creates a one lane road way. The intersection of Diablo/McCauley Rds. currently uses two school crossing guards to provide safe crossings. Weekends are not any better with all the sports teams playing on the sport fields. Adding 700-1000 cars to this area is not realistic especially as Windemere continues to grow and their residents use the back roads to access the 680.

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Posted by Danville Resident
a resident of Danville
on Nov 8, 2010 at 8:23 am

Four homes on one acre is not in keeping the with the feel of Danville...which is fine if the Town of Danville is trying to follow the San Ramon/ Bollinger Canyon lead. Additionally, it's ridiculous that the current plan doesn't provide for a bus turn-around in the development---could the developers at least pretend that the new residents will have the opportunity to participate in the Traffix busing program? Additionally, it's interesting to note that there is no guarantee the new busing will continue--it's funded by agencies that are broke.

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Posted by concerned
a resident of Danville
on Nov 8, 2010 at 8:32 am

Don't forget all of the students zoned to go to Monte Vista from the Blackhawk,Bettencourt,Somerset,Tassajara Ranch and Shadow Creek Developments as well as the neighborhood behind Dablo Vista Middle School. Almost all of these students travel Diablo Road to get to and from Monte Vista!

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Posted by Ally
a resident of Alamo
on Nov 8, 2010 at 8:40 am

Some of the property is zoned ag. preserve which allows 1 unit per 5 acres,and some is zoned a2 which allows 1 unit per 2 acres. When you take out for steep slopes, slide areas, wetlands, etc. how much is left over for density calculations? Whatever the math, that is how much should be supportable. Also, the current owner has been the beneficiary of taxes based on current zoning. If prop is rezoned, should there be a retro tax assessment?

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Posted by Michelle
a resident of Blackhawk
on Nov 8, 2010 at 10:28 am

Let's not create more traffic and less room in our schools.

If you object to SummerHill's development, please sign the petition that has been created for concerned Danville residents.

Web Link

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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Danville
on Nov 8, 2010 at 11:34 am

The bulk of this new proposed subdivision empties onto Blackhawk/Diablo Road at Jillian, right where the worst traffic is. That will be 60 homes, plus another 15 additional separate living units per lot MINIMUM (to satisfy low income housing requirements) but NO maximum on these "casitas." That means between 75 and 100 new living units dumping into Blackhawk/Diablo Road right at the bottleneck. Count on the vast majority of these lots having children, with one adult taking kids to school and another adult (or two based on Casitas!) heading off to work in the morning. There are no plans to expand Traffix to handle this new subdivision (and of course Traffix may not continue indefinitely). So figure on an additional 2 to 3 car trips per lot out onto Diablo/Blackhawk in the morning at peak traffic -- somewhere between 120 and 180 MORE cars than now. (And that's not counting the rest of the day!) Think Wednesdays are bad? And what if TRAFFIX is discontinued? We'll be gridlocked. Folks this is not just a lifestyle issue -- it's a life safety issue! Emergency vehicles will be hampered from reaching or leaving our homes at many key times of the day. Even if you could speed up the flow of traffic at Mt. Diablo Scenic by adding a traffic light, and again through the S-curves by widening the road and straightening the curves, it would merely push the problem down the road to the Green Valley/McCauley signal. And the remainder of this proposed subdivision will dump into McCauley -- with the bulk of it right opposite the Green Valley School driveways! There is simply no amount of "traffic mitigation measures" that could remotely address the traffic this proposed subdivsion would add to our roads. Our planning department should not permit this property to be rezoned to support this. There is no "entitlement" to this use, when our traffic problems are already severe.

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Posted by mr.not happy
a resident of Danville
on Nov 8, 2010 at 12:02 pm

A case of $$$$ trying to turn Danville into Bummerhill project!!!
See no good in the project.
Housing values

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Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Nov 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Wow American - I think hades just froze over! I actually agree with every word of your post.
Thanks for the petition link Michelle.

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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Green Valley Elementary School
on Nov 8, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Single Family Homes generate between 9 and 12 car trips per day, with the majority of those being outgoing trips in the morning. (The larger the home, the more trips typically generated. The less urban area, the more more trips generated. Attached separate living units increase it even more.)

Thus, 85 homes with 21 to 60 additional "casitas" stands to generate between 765 and 1,020 DAILY CAR TRIPS on Diablo/Blackhawk/McCauley/GreenValley.

(Sources: Institute for Traffic Engineers Trip Generation Manual, 8th Edition (Web Link); San Diego Municipal Code, Land Development Code, Trip Generation Manual (p. 6) (Web Link); City of Chula Vista Trip Generation Table, May 2010 (p. 2) (Web Link)

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Posted by Heather-Green Valley School, Hidden Valley resident
a resident of Danville
on Nov 8, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Oh! I love Mr. Not Happy's moniker of "Bummerhill" above! Parfait! (Perfect). I call it "The Waking Nightmare Project" myself. The number of homes in "the cluster ?"and I'll leave that one lay for individual add-ons..Was presented to our neighborhood as 85-100 homes with 25% of the top number of "casitas" to meet the state "fair housing" requirements for "low income" housing compliance. Do we really think THAT will be enforced?! Come on! They will be au-pair/in-law/aged parents living there, OR part of a 2-3rd generation family (like happened in Windemere) so the combined incomes can pay the mortgage. Do not take this as I am "anti-fair housing", (I'm not) just that the potential for more kids in schools in which many grades are impacted, but the school isn't technically at max enrollment...I talked to the district and got the numbers. Add to that more cars/trips, ravaging and sacking of sensitive habitats, no more grazing cows, much less the eyesore! REALLY?! Let's Fight The Fight People! Let your voice be heard!
All I have to end with is YUCK THIS SUCKS!

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Posted by fed up with traffic
a resident of Diablo
on Nov 8, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Danville has recently requested comments on "Bummerhill" to be made WITHIN THE NEXT 30 DAYS "to assist the Town in ... [its] initial review of the project." You should email your written comments on the project ASAP to (or mail to 510 La Gonda Way, Danville, CA 94526). Also, be sure to ask to be put on the notification list for future meetings/hearings regarding the project. Fight on!

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Posted by Caroline
a resident of Danville
on Nov 8, 2010 at 9:44 pm

The beauty of Danville is that there are still open spaces in and around town. A development like this one takes away that beauty. And adds nothing but a headache of traffic. The questions is: who really benefits from the development? Developer or Danville?

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Nov 9, 2010 at 7:16 am

Received in the mail this morning notice from the Town of Danville about the project dated November 5th. Today is the 9th and the notice says the last meeting to discuss the project was the 3rd of November. What doesn't make sense about this timing?

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Posted by Ck
a resident of Danville
on Nov 9, 2010 at 7:33 am

@Concerned: trips are Most important for impacts to roads (ie wear and tear). Traffic is best represented by AM and PM Peak Hour trips (morning and afternoon commute times). The ITE, that you cite and is used to evaluate this impact estimates ~1 peak hour trip per house during the AM and 1 during the PM peak hours. Essentially, one person leaves the house in the morning and someone comes home in the evening. (note: a trip is one-way EITHER inbound or outbound. So if you leave your house, go to the store that's 2 trips. 1 trip leaving and 1 trip coming back).
61homes plus casitas, so roughly 85 peak trips.

The important thing is to make sure the EIR mitigates the traffic (and school) impacts properly. It's someones property and they have property rights to build on it. That's not up to someone else to decide. As long as they meet the zoning, general plan, etc and properly mitigate their environmental impacts, which is the purpose of an EIR, then the developer and city have done their jobs.

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Posted by a vocal mom
a resident of Danville
on Nov 9, 2010 at 9:34 am

You can beat the developer but you must be diligent!! I have been through this before and my neighborhood prevailed over the proposed development. Keep up the fight!! Stay involoved!!! Show up to those planning and city council meetings!!!

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Posted by Been There Done That
a resident of Danville
on Nov 9, 2010 at 9:52 am

Vocal Mom,you are absolutely right. Neighbors need to be prepared for a marathon not a sprint. In another time and neighborhood I helped to found a homeowners association to address similar development issues. Staying involved required countless calls to Planning and Zoning and attending City Council meeting to express concerns. In many cases, the battle lasted years. For the developer it s just a cost of doing business. They stand to make many millions off the development so it is worth their time and resources to conduct a battle of attrition.

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Posted by Mike Philben
a resident of Danville
on Nov 9, 2010 at 10:42 am

We live off McCauly and some days spend 30 minutes just trying to get by the Diablo Road intersection.

"Baker said Summerhill is conducting a traffic study that could offer plans to help mitigate traffic problems, and promised to provide that information to neighbors when it's available."

Lets try out these plans before building starts and see if the current traffic gridlock disappears.

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Posted by John
a resident of Blackhawk
on Nov 10, 2010 at 12:28 pm

from my understanding, this proporty has been zoned and planned for development for a long time. why are people now complaining? what do you think your neighborhood was before it because home? duh...fields, wildlife, maybe even cattle. The developer and the town need to insure that the development mitigates for their impacts--traffic, environmental, etc., but NIMBYs need to realize that just because you like the empty field behind your house is not justification enough to oppose this project.

i drive Blackhawk and Diablo every day. yes traffic sucks, and yes it will suck more with more cars on it. but the road is not at capacity as the traffic study will likely show.

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Posted by Marnie
a resident of Danville
on Nov 10, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Please sign the petition and contact your council members.

Web Link

Web Link

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Posted by Sally N.
a resident of Danville
on Nov 11, 2010 at 8:54 am

What does it mean for a road to be "at capacity?" And how are we not there yet?


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Posted by Michelle
a resident of Danville
on Nov 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm

For those interested, a group of concerned residents have created their own website: with more information about this project.

There is also an online petition (as others have mentioned) that folks can sign. More than 270 folks have signed this petition since its creation on November 3, 2010.
Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Michelle
a resident of Danville
on Dec 15, 2010 at 1:50 pm

The Town of Danville issued a press release at 5:00 pm on Monday, December 13 as an alert to inform residents that it will hold a public meeting on December 15 to discuss updates to the Town of Danville's General Plan. Not sure why residents are only being given 2 days notice...but, if you are concerned about the SummerHill Homes Magee Ranch project please try to make this meeting. Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Geoff Gillette
a resident of Danville
on Dec 15, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Geoff Gillette is a registered user.

Good afternoon!

While we certainly encourage our residents to come out to tonight’s Joint Session of the Town Council and Planning Commission, I just want to clarify that this is a meeting to talk about the process of updating the Town’s General Plan. There won’t be any direct discussion of the Magee Ranch property as that is not part of the scope of this evening’s meeting.

It will be strictly informational, with no public hearing, no decisions made or actions taken.

To get a more in-depth look at what is on tonight’s agenda, there is a short article posted on the Town’s website at Web Link.

If you are interested in the long range future of the Town and how the General Plan will be adjusted to take us to that future, then this is the meeting for you!

For further clarification, this is a special meeting of the two bodies which was announced two weeks ago and has been on the Town’s calendar. Additionally, the agenda was sent out to those who subscribe to the Town’s E-News alert service on December 10, 2010. The press release Monday was to remind the press and the E-News subscribers that the meeting was taking place this week.

For those interested in E-News, go to the Town’s website and at the bottom click on E-News.

Hope this helps. Have a great night!


Geoff Gillette
Public Information Coordinator
Town of Danville
(925) 314-3336

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