Full house as San Ramon council debates Faria Preserve

Council opens public hearing on proposed developement, continues discussion indefinitely

The San Ramon City Council discussed the proposed Faria Preserve residential development for nearly four hours Tuesday night before deciding to continue the public hearing to an undetermined date later this summer.

The additional time gives city staff an opportunity to analyze and report back on concerns raised by some council members about traffic impacts, creek disturbance, senior housing and pedestrian safety related to the project planned for northwestern San Ramon.

The proposal from developer Lafferty Communities would add 740 new homes and neighborhood amenities on approximately 286.5 acres near Deerwood and Bollinger Canyon roads. Plans call for new single-family homes, town houses, condominiums, apartments and senior housing as well as plans for a community park, house of worship and educational facility.

The council was reviewing the San Ramon Planning Commission's May 6 approval of the project.

Councilman Harry Sachs filed a formal call for council review of the commission decision on May 15, citing concerns about landslide risks and whether the project could obtain state regulatory agency permits based on potential impacts to creeks, wetlands and natural habitats.

More than 100 citizens packed the city council chambers for the public hearing Tuesday night, with some attendees standing in the hallway and even a few peering through exterior glass doors and windows as the main meeting room was standing-room only.

Lafferty representatives and consultants presented to the council for about an hour and 15 minutes toward the beginning of the discussion.

The consultants supported their findings and action plans with regard to landslide mitigation and expressed confidence that the project would receive approvals from other regulatory agencies such as the Regional Water Quality Control Board and state and federal fish-and-wildlife departments.

The floor then opened for about 40 minutes to a dozen citizen speakers, a majority of whom denounced the project.

The opponents voiced concerns about a range of issues, including traffic safety, public school impacts, water service to the development, potential landslides, visual affects, quality of life for residents and whether city officials have acted properly during their Faria Preserve deliberations.

The conversation then moved to the council, and Sachs expanded upon the concerns outlined in his call for review.

The councilman said he wanted three new provisions added to the project: more senior housing in one neighborhood to alleviate issues with commute traffic and schools, construction of an off-site pedestrian walkway at Norris Canyon and Bollinger Canyon roads, and a reduction in overall residential units.

The mayor and other councilmen went on to offer their own thoughts and concerns related to the proposed development.

In the end, the council asked city planning staff to further explore five issues: the proposed off-site walkway, impacts to Interstate 680 on- and off-ramps at Bollinger Canyon Road, senior housing, traffic study estimates for the area during commute hours and ways to reduce negative creek impacts.

Council members voted to continue the public hearing temporarily, indicating they planned to hold a special meeting on the issue later this summer. An exact date was not scheduled on Tuesday.

Approximately 45 residents were still in attendance by the time the council approved the continuance motion just before 11:30 p.m.

Editor's note: A full story about the Faria Preserve hearing will be posted later this week.


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Posted by senior citizen
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 9, 2014 at 8:00 am

Have seen many communities fill up with houses over time.

Hidden city interests are the revenues which they see filling the coffers.

But the income is soon consumed by raising costs and demands on diminishing ill begotten revenue.

More houses doesn't a community make; but brings more contentious issues which cant be addressed nor resolved in time since more is nor more.

We live in an area which was once the outskirts of a "big city", which many wanted to leave behind, and now the "big city" has chased the "country" environment down to become much like the "big city".

What do you want?

Will your children, grandchildren, relatives live well in the congested "new big city"?

Developers will always tell the good story and "money-eyed " city councils look at the big favors, gifts, grants, and declarations they can bestow to gain political seats!!! Be they good or bad, it always comes down to that.

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Posted by Cool Hand Luke
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 9, 2014 at 8:33 am

Last November the residents of SR voted for more development by electing Hudson and Sachs to the council.

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Posted by JT
a resident of Danville
on Jul 9, 2014 at 9:14 am

Don't worry San Ramon, your "city" council and planning commission are doing an absolutely incredibly great job of turning your community into a sprawl of epic proportions. Maybe you can help them out by resurrecting plans for a Bollinger Canyon Highway into Lafayette. Or an upgraded, safer highway from San Ramon to Castro Valley. You could ask to have the Crow Canyon ridge line pass just west of the intersection at Bollinger, bulldozed so it is less of a climb, saving gas, and maybe lives to, when the number and sharpness of curves are reduced.

Then you can all celebrate when the SRCC approves yet another shopping mall disquised as a city center, with the amazingly genius idea of putting parking on a roof!!! Wow, isn't that incredible. These developers and city council stiffs are geniuses with these parking lots.

Hey, and be prepared for being called NIMBY's, the greedy classes put down attempt at reducing local opposition to their "projects."

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Posted by San Ramon Observer
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 9, 2014 at 12:08 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


They are NIMBYs. This plan has been approved and reapporved at least twice in the last ten years. The property has changed hands a couple of times too. The only people who object to nearby developments are people who live nearby, and that includes residents of Danville living nearby, since this one is at the Danville border.

Yes development brings in revenue to the city -- not to City Councilmembers. That's what keeps the city as nice as it is, and it is nice and still nice since 1997 when I moved here. Lots of development happened over those 17 years and San Ramon still has a suburban feel to it, probably because all the neighborhoods are units in themselves.

Developing the Faria property isn't going to suddenly turn San Ramon into San Jose, and it is the last property in San Ramon left to develop other than the City Center lots on Bollinger Canyon Road, which most residents want.


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Posted by David
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 9, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Bottom line is that the people who went to this hearing already have their homes and want to keep others from having their homes. We call this selfishness. The people who are complaining about new developments should thank the homeowners who were here in San Ramon before they were for letting them come in. The American Dream is for everyone--not just for those who already have it!!

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Posted by Carmen
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 9, 2014 at 3:59 pm

I don't think it's selfish at all for San Ramon residents to want to keep San Ramon from turning into Walnut Creek or Hayward; there was a reason we chose San Ramon. Traffic is a nightmare as it is; I can't even imagine what the exits will look like after Faria. Money and greed are driving this deal; it has nothing to do with good hearted people wanting to give others a chance to live here. They don't care about anything else except how this translates into cash for them. It's greed, plain and simple.

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Posted by Ms. bunny
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 10, 2014 at 6:30 am

I continue to believe? Throughout ALL this planning? -That 740 units (and more originally) was NEVER a realistic NUMBER for THIS AREA whatsoever. Aside from basic quality of life mitigation measures? THIS has been my GREATEST concern for that small, hilly, more sensitive area. I believe in tempered and measured development...Always have. But this has not ALWAYS been the case, as we both saw firsthand with the ugly massive, wall-to-wall housing in Dougherty Valley. No one can tell me (coming from the background I do?) that the valley housing could NOT have been substantially improved by reducing the "numbers" once again, of the units and other "green" amenities. Didn't happen. I am concerned here even more so, because of the geography of this hilly land and it's location at strategic roadway intersections in the event of a natural catastrophe. I believe many others are also. So honestly, I don't see the NIMBY issue you do here in San Ramon on this development in particular.

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Posted by JT
a resident of Danville
on Jul 10, 2014 at 9:16 am

Celebrate NIMBY's... There the only reason that development has not run unchecked for all these years. Think about Blackhawk... what was there, IOW what was it contiguous to, before it was put in? Not sure? Open space... leapfrog development at its worst. Several visionary locals, those that had "back yards" in the community, rose up and fought the developers. And thank goodness, because out of their grass root efforts, much of the land was deeded over to what is now part of our beloved Mount Diablo. Don't believe it? read the history section of

Those that pull the NIMBY card are desperados, who believe in the almighty of the US dollar. That currency trumps civil exchange on how neighbors develop land.

Celebrate the locals who stand up to be counted.

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Posted by Jim Stewart
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 10, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Here's a copy of my email to Harry Sachs:

To: Harry Sachs

Last night I watched on CCTV the entirety of the 7-8-14 S. R. City Council meeting as I was unable to get inside the meeting chamber on 7-8-14.

I am writing to thank you and to congratulate you for your performance during that meeting. You obviously did your homework, which must have taken many, many hours of research and preparation. Your articulate and cogent arguments were easily understood and above all, persuasive.

Paring back the Faria project as you propose is the best and most feasible outcome to minimize adverse I impacts to San Ramon residents and to the environment. Your well reasoned arguments appear to have caused some of the council to sway in the right direction, toward your point of view.

In the bigger picture, beyond your well reasoned and researched arguments, and most important of all, is that your taking the initiative to champion this issue (and not taking the easy "yes man" way out), has significantly "raised the bar" for the S.R. City Council. No longer can the S.R. City Council get away with merely "rubber stamping" a developer's project regardless of the objections of adversely affected San Ramon residents.

I believe that you, for the first time (to my knowledge), have "broken the mold" and forced the S.R. City Council to be truly accountable and responsive to the residents of San Ramon. No longer can the City Council get away with doing whatever they please after being elected, simply because some on council think they can get away with it.

I live in Twin Creeks, just on the West side of 680. I got involved in local politics because of the significant adverse impacts to the residents west of 680 that the proposed HOV ramps at both Norris Canyon and at Executive Parkway would cause.

I am retired, actually from two different careers; first career was a mechanical project engineer managing projects across the US & CA, and then decided to convert my avocation to my vocation and worked my way up to a corporate pilot captain job at a fortune 500 company. With my background, I especially appreciate your cogent and well reasoned arguments that actually force people (and other councilmembers) to think hard about the real issues.

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Posted by Eddie
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 10, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Here, here. I was there; both Harry Sachs and Phil O'Loane were engaged and thoughtful. Mr. Hudson not so much.

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Posted by San Ramon Observer
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Seven Weeks ago I met with Harry Sachs at the Thursday Farmers' Market to Touch Base. Web Link Harry told me he was planning to bring the Faria project back to the City Council for review. He said there are safety issues with the size of the project and the property itself.

Safety is important, and if the size of the development is too large, and Ms. Bunny says it is with her experience in housing developments, then it is. I'm not pro or con this development. If it needs to be reduced in size, then reduce it.

If the people living nearby simply want no development at all, they are NIMBYs. If they oppose it because it would be unsafe to put such a big development there, they have a good case.

This doesn't have to be all or nothing. If the safety factors reduce the number of homes that can be safely built to too few to make it worth their expenses, Lafferty will sell the property to someone else and the process would start all over again.


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Posted by JT
a resident of Danville
on Jul 11, 2014 at 9:37 am

So is "Safety" the only legitimate argument then. So we need to argue that 760 homes is "unsafe," whatever that means. So what number of residents is "safe?"
OK, so more traffic is unsafe? Well I can find your millions on millions of locales that have more traffic then the area impacted by Faria that are regarded as safe.
OK so more homes will result in more wildland fires? hmmm...
OK so more homes will bring in more felons intent on home invasion, car break ins, murders and rapes. hmmm...
OK so more homes will bring in a different diversity of residents that existing residents think are unsafe?
You spit out NIMBY like it is something bad. Not-In-My-Back-Yard. Exactly, just the people you want for advocacy, the ones that CARE about their backyards!!!
Like I said earlier, those that throw out NIMBY are desperadoes intent on silencing those that care through shame. Well shame on you!

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Posted by longtime resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 11, 2014 at 11:52 am

The standard comment from Roz regarding any resident that attempts to protect their community from anything such as excessive/poorly planned development, etc., is that resident is a "NIMBY". That hackneyed, predictable comment from Roz is getting tiresome and only emphasizes her callous disregard for residents that care about the quality of life here.

Roz is flat out wrong many times, just look at her recent comments at the council hearing on the proposed huge cemetery. (check online, that hearing was taped) Roz got up in front of the council chamber filled with concerned residents and stated that the choice was between building the cemetery or having 4000 homes built there, at which point, councilman O'loane had to interrupt her and correct her erroneous claim about the 4000 houses and pointed out that since the area in question is beyond the urban limit line that 4000 houses could not be built there. This correction seemed to go right over her head. Roz has nothing to loose by calling residents the "N word", but she apparently does enjoy the limelight----at the expense of everyone else who would be severely impacted. Enough is enough!

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Posted by San Ramon Observer
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 11, 2014 at 7:57 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Longtime Resident

I don't lie to people. I try to get my fact straight. If or when I'm wrong I admit it and correct it. The speakers at Cemetery Workshop came prepared, with speeches and dinner. That's how prepared they were. I was not prepared to speak, but when nobody was answering them about how this happened, I felt it necessary to say something.

I was too worked up to be coherent, but I was not wrong about the 4000 houses. That was the number Phil O'Loane threw around when he was opposing Measure W in 2010 even though he knew that property was planned as a cemetery since 2005.

Now Phil believes that because our Council couldn't get our Urban Limit Line moved into Tassajara Valley that the property will be protected from development by Contra Costa County. I don't trust the County. The Supervisors can vote to move their Urban Growth Boundary in 2016. If they see dollar signs in it for them, they will take it.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Green Valley Elementary School

on Jun 1, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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