Development company SummerHill Homes is no longer participating in the proposed 69-home project on Magee Ranch land in Danville, and Magee Investment Company -- one of the site's owners -- has taken over as the project applicant in the town of Danville's consideration process.
Company president Jerome Magee Jr. asked the town in a letter Friday to substitute his company in as the new applicant because SummerHill Homes isn't associated with the project anymore.
No reason was given for the change. SummerHill Homes representatives did not respond to requests for comment Monday.
Town Manager Joe Calabrigo confirmed that Magee Investment Company is now considered the applicant. The project proposal remains unchanged otherwise, with officials poised to complete a study of the potential bicycle-safety impacts of the development as ordered by the court.
"Nothing else changes and the project status remains the same -- 69 homes proposed; currently in the process of addressing the one environmental deficiency that was identified by the lower court," Calabrigo added in an email Monday afternoon.
The 69-house development, proposed for part of a 410-acre site near the southeast corner of Diablo and McCauley roads, had been approved by the Town Council three years ago, but the project stalled amid litigation initiated by environmental advocacy group Save Open Space-Danville (SOS-Danville).
The courts ultimately upheld one of SOS-Danville's arguments -- that the town failed to adequately analyze bike-safety impacts before endorsing the projects -- and as a result, the town was ordered to rescind the 2013 approvals. Town officials could reconsider the entire project after completing a bike-safety review.
"We are hopeful that the withdrawal of SummerHill Homes from the 'Magee Ranches' project will be positive for the community," Maryann Cella, an SOS-Danville representative, said Monday. "We don't know, however, what the intent of the land investors ... is in substituting in for SummerHill Homes as the applicant for the 'Magee Ranches' project."
She added, "SOS-Danville Group's goal remains to obtain for any proposed Magee Ranch open space residential development a fair, livable and safe result for local residents and other users, including bicyclists and motorists, of the traffic-choked, flood-prone Diablo Road corridor."
Calabrigo said there is no timetable for when the bike-safety study will be completed and incorporated into a new final environmental impact report, which would then be released for public review. Town officials would need to hold public hearings on the updated EIR and the development proposal before taking final votes.
As proposed, the project would cluster the 69 single-family homes on approximately 38 acres, which would be rezoned from agricultural land to planned-unit development. The remaining 372 acres would be designated as permanent open space.