The Danville Town Council has voted unanimously to appeal a Contra Costa County judge's recent ruling that the town acted improperly during its approval of a new residential development proposed for the northeast part of town.
Mayor Robert Storer announced the decision publicly following the council's closed-session deliberations with legal counsel during Tuesday night's council meeting at the Town Meeting Hall.
"The Town Council will continue to strongly defend the right to determine consistency with our General Plan and continue to protect our ridgelines and hillsides," Storer said in an email Wednesday.
There is currently no exact timetable for submitting the appeal, according to Danville City Attorney Rob Ewing, but a notice of appeal must be filed with the state's Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District within about two months to meet the legal deadline.
The town plans to fight Judge Steven K. Austin's July 28 ruling that found the council was improper last year when it rezoned agricultural land at the project site, known as the Magee Ranch property, without first seeking a general plan amendment to change the agricultural land-use designation.
Environmental advocacy group Save Open Space-Danville (SOS-Danville) sued the town nearly one year ago to challenge the town's approval of the 69-home development proposed by SummerHill Homes for land at the southeast corner of Diablo and McCauley roads.
Town officials contend the council's endorsement of the project on July 2, 2013 was in line with Danville General Plan policies for the Magee Ranch property.
"(The appeal) is not particularly surprising to me," SOS-Danville's attorney, Stuart Flashman, said on Wednesday. "They are, one would have to say, defiant."
Flashman said his clients are currently weighing whether to file a counter-appeal of Austin's decision, which was a mixed ruling for each side.
The judge denied SOS-Danville's claims that the town failed to adequately address cumulative traffic impacts, consideration of project alternatives, and potential impacts to traffic on Diablo Road, California red-legged frogs, and emergency access and evacuation.
Austin did rule that the town failed to properly address potential bicycle safety impacts of the project. The council, at this point, has decided not to appeal the bike-safety aspect of the ruling, according to Ewing.
Representatives from developer SummerHill Homes offered no comment about the appeal when reached Wednesday.