Council: Danville won't further appeal SummerHill Homes case

Airbnb support, 'urgent' Camino Tassajara paving, IT manager resignation among other meeting topics

The Danville Town Council has decided not to challenge a state appellate court's recent ruling in the lawsuit over the council's 2013 approval of a 69-home development in the northeast part of town.

The First District Court of Appeal determined Danville officials did not violate state planning law when approving the SummerHill Homes project at Magee Ranch, reversing a county judge's earlier finding that the town acted improperly when it rezoned agricultural land at the site during its approval process.

But the three-judge appellate court panel, in its Sept. 11 decision, agreed with the county judge's determination that the town violated state environmental law by failing to determine whether the proposed development had significant impacts on bicycle safety.

In a unanimous closed-session vote Tuesday night, the council decided it would not appeal the appellate court's decision, according to Geoff Gillette, town public information coordinator.

Save Open Space-Danville (SOS-Danville), the environmental group that sued the town over its approval of the housing project at the southeast corner of Diablo and McCauley roads, has not decided whether to challenge the court of appeal's ruling, according to spokeswoman Maryann Cella.

"No, we haven't decided yet," Cella said Thursday. "We have until 40 days from the Sept. 11 decision to file a petition for review to the California Supreme Court, and we won't be making our decision until then."

The SummerHill Homes project has remained in limbo amid the ongoing litigation.

The council's closed-session discussion and vote occurred after its 95-minute open-session meeting Tuesday night at the Town Meeting Hall.

In open-session business

* The council heard from three people speaking in favor of Airbnb and asking the town to continue allowing short-term residential rentals in Danville.

The speakers -- two town residents who rent rooms in their homes through Airbnb and a woman who uses Airbnb when commuting to Danville -- gave their comments during citizen input on non-agendized items. Council members said they could not respond because the issue was not listed on the meeting's agenda.

The trio's appearance Tuesday came one week after the council held a study session on the topic and directed staff to prepare a draft ordinance that would ban short-term residential rentals, city attorney Rob Ewing said in an interview after the meeting.

At the Sept. 8 study session, the council heard feedback from some residents concerned about Airbnb rentals in their neighborhoods, Ewing said.

The town currently has no ordinance specifically addressing short-term rentals -- generally defined as rentals of less than 30 days -- so the council was considering whether to regulate such rentals or ban them altogether.

The prohibition ordinance, when drafted, would go to the Danville Planning Commission for a recommendation before heading to the council for final consideration, according to Ewing. "My goal is to get it to the council in November," he said.

* The council authorized $468,000 in expenditures for a series of information technology upgrades.

Almost half that amount goes toward a $230,000 contract with EMC Corp. to replace the town's existing on-site tape backup equipment with a new redundant backup and storage system.

Another $78,000 is committed to ongoing work to improve the town's land management system by replacing the existing permit, code enforcement and licensing software applications.

The remaining $160,000 goes toward consulting services for two projects -- the land management system and new electronic document management system upgrades, which aim to unify the town's filing structure, maximize storage capacity and provide easier access to public information.

The four initiatives are part of the town's continued implementation of its five-year information technology master plan adopted in 2010, according to Tai Williams, Danville's administrative services director.

* Williams also announced publicly to the council that Renee Collins, the town's information systems manager, is resigning this month as part of "transitioning to a new phase in her life."

Collins has held the position since 1999.

* The council approved a contract with Danville-based Jim Freethy Excavating, worth a maximum of about $41,600, for "urgent" pavement work on westbound Camino Tassajara between Wood Ranch Road and Woodside Drive.

Town officials received complaints from drivers about a dip in the road through the area, which was ultimately deemed to be caused by the settlement of backfill material surrounding a large storm drain pipe beneath the road, according to town associate civil engineer Steven Jones.

Fixing the dip is considered urgent because of the speed limit on the well-traveled road, Jones said.

The contract was approved as part of the council's consent agenda -- a collection of items deemed routine and voted on all at once.

* Another consent agenda item was awarding a construction contract worth a maximum $701,007 with Atlanta-based Sprinturf for synthetic turf replacement at Diablo Vista Park.

The project includes replacing about 87,000 square feet of rundown synthetic turf at the sports field between the parking lot and tennis courts on the park's south side. Other work will consist of associated drainage improvements, concrete curbing and a wheelchair-accessible drinking fountain.

Construction is expected to begin this winter and be completed in the spring, according to Bob Russell, town landscape architect.

* Council members approved a recognized obligation payment schedule of $930,777 for the Successor Agency to the town's former Community Development Agency for the period of Jan. 1 through June 30, 2016.

* The council announced the town is recruiting for two Heritage Resource Commission members to serve four-year terms beginning Jan. 1.

Interested residents can obtain an application from the town website. Applications must be completed and submitted to the City Clerk's Office by 4 p.m. Nov. 12.

Interviews will take place in December, with the council set to make final appointments Dec. 15. For more information, contact city clerk Marie Sunseri at 314-3401 or

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2 people like this
Posted by Dazed and Confused
a resident of Danville
on Sep 21, 2015 at 5:10 pm

Ok I give up.....who won? and is Summerhill proceeding once the Council submits the report regarding bicycle safety.
An interpretation is appreciated

Like this comment
Posted by JT
a resident of Danville
on Sep 22, 2015 at 9:05 am

Of course danville is not going to appeal the bicycle issue. They won on the development. They will just address the issue of bicycle safety along Diablo Road by white washing it away. It is a multi-million dollar price tag to widen Diablo Road, you think Danville is going to do that. No, they will find a way to pretend that bicycle safety on that stretch of the road is no big deal. Well it is a huge safety issue for bikers and car drivers, a section of the road that is dangerous for both. And that is in today's configuration, with today's traffic.

And don't get started on the value of Measure S, it has been gutted with this precedent.

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

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